Free Agent Notes: Richter, White Sox, Strahm

There is a growing belief that the Dodgers will make a run for AL MVP winners Aaron Richterreports Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Heyman notes that the Dodgers released $100 million Cody Bellinger, Craig Kimbrell, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heney, David Price, Trea Turnerand Justin Turner no longer on the list, and that the Dodgers have an outfield gap to fill. The New York Post’s Justin Terranova adds that the Dodgers were previously seen as on the sidelines of the Aaron Judge sweepstakes, with the Giants posing the biggest threat in his return to the Bronx. The Yankees have already sent the superstar’s camp a new offer, but Terranova notes that the Giants “indicated that they were willing to break the bank for the judge’s services.”

There has been speculation that Judge, who grew up outside of San Francisco, might tend to play closer to home, with’s Randy Miller noting that the star “Parts of his off-season in Linden‘ but lives in Tampa. For his part, Judge has played coy when asked about his agency, telling reporters after winning the AL MVP that he “I look forward to getting the free agent process started,‘ but noting that ‘A lot of things don’t start until the winter meetings in December‘, per Terranova.

Different in the league:

  • White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz has hinted that his team “to need[s] another starter” With Johnny Cueto Entry into the free hand, according to NBA Sports Chicago’s Tim Stebbins. Katz adds that Chicago has been in talks about bringing Cueto back and it was previously reported that Cueto is open to returning to the team. Cueto, who landed a minor-league contract in early April, joined Chicago in late May and enjoyed one of his strongest seasons in five years. The 36-year-old worked 158 1/3 innings to a 3.35 ERA, albeit with a career-low strikeout rate of 15.7% and a strong walk rate of 5.1%. As mentioned in the 2022-23 Free Agent Starters MLBTR article, Cueto’s age, lack of missed bats and 91 MPH fastball probably won’t land him a big deal, but he will almost certainly earn a guaranteed rotation slot for the 2023 season.
  • After a successful season in Boston Matt Strahm is looking for a way to break into the free-agent market, according to Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. However, Speier notes that the seven-year veteran has only talked about bullpen opportunities so far this offseason. Strahm last started in the 2019 season before moving to a bullpen role with the Padres in July of that season. After a slow recovery from patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2020, he was treated by the DFA after the 2021 season and was subsequently picked up by the Red Sox on a one-year, $3 million contract. Though limited to just 27 1/3 innings in the 2020-2021 seasons, Strahm played an integral part in Boston’s pen in 2022, throwing to a 3.83 ERA in 44 2/3 innings and making four saves. Importantly, after two years with strikeout rates under 20%, Strahm was batting an above-average 26.9% of opposing batters while walking a solid 8.8%.

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