Biggest story lines with the start of the Offseason

Just days after being crowned with a new world championship, Major League Baseball dives into the holiday season.

The GM meetings, which officially begin Tuesday in Las Vegas, will kick off the Hot Stove League, where CEOs from all 30 clubs begin talking about deals, free agents and more.

Winter meetings in December are usually packed with action, but there are plenty of storylines and intrigue this week as the MLB kicks off what should be another big off season. Here’s a look at a few:

Free agent madness

As of Sunday morning, teams were allowed to speak to free agents, but were not allowed to discuss contract terms and sign deals until 5 p.m. Thursday. The main attractions of this year’s class are Aaron Judge, Jacob Degrom, Justin Verlander, Carlos Correa and Tria Turner.

Aaron Judge leads the MLB free agency intrigue.
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Mets closer, Edwin Diaz snatched first deal of Sunday season When he agreed to return to Citi Field on a five-year, $102 million deal, Maddie awaited. This deal is a record for a loyalist, beating Aroldis Chapman’s five-year, $86 million contract that expired this year. The average annual value of $20.4 million is also a record, exceeding the $18 million in season Liam Hendrix earned from the White Sox in 2021.

But the crown jewel of free agency characters to be a judge, who rejected a seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer from the Yankees just before the start of the season Then he broke the record in the American League at home.

In addition to the Yankees, who remain apparently the favorites to sign him, suitors from Judge are expected to include his hometown Giants and Dodgers, among others. The right-hand man could be in line for record-breaking center player Mike Trout with an average annual value of $36 million.

The best shooters available tend toward the older side with Degrom especially Verlander and Clayton Kershaw, although left-handed Carlos Rodon is a better choice on the younger side.

Ohtani lottery?

Could the historical two-way star of Angels already be ready? It remains to be seen, but it will certainly be a popular topic of conversation as a potential business target.

Ohtani, who had a 2.33 ERA as a junior kicker and thrashed 34 times at home with a 0.875 OPS as a hitter, will play for the $30 million deal in 2023, his last season before free agency.

Shuhei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani will enter his final season before becoming a free agent.
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The wild card in the equation is Archangel Arte Moreno The team is expected to sell out in the near future. How does this affect the angels’ desire to make Ohtani available in commerce, but there should be no shortage of suitors if they at least decide to listen. The Yankees were one of the few teams to make a serious bid for Otani on the trade deadline, according to John Heyman of The Post. The Mets, led by GM Billy Eppler, who played a key role in Ohtani’s recruitment when Eppler was Angels’ GM, could certainly use him as well.

Loaded other SS class

After a year leading the Free Agent class by Star Shortstops, it will be like that. Correa, Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson will all be in line for the big payday days.

One team that is unlikely to participate in the lottery, for the second year in a row, is the Yankees. General Manager Brian Cashman said Friday that the Yankees will be in contention for the position, as prospects Oswald Perazza and Anthony Volpi move closer to poised to oust Isiah Keener-Valiva from the starting role.

Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa in the big pay queue.
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Astros uncertainty

It seems counterintuitive that the team that just won the world championship would have an easy decision to keep GM and its manager. But the case of the Astros is somehow not a done deal. Owner Jim Crane declined to commit to either GM James Click or Manager Dusty Baker for 2023 during the post-season. Crane told reporters Saturday night, in the midst of the Astros’ celebration, that he will reconsider decisions regarding Click and Baker on Monday, according to the Houston Chronicle. Baker is likely to return, while the former chief of baseball operations, David Stearns, may be a candidate to replace Click.

Other contractual works

Thursday will be the deadline for teams to extend eligible offers to their free agents. The eligible bid — set at $19.65 million for 2023 — was nearly scrapped in a new collective bargaining agreement approved earlier this year, but was tied to a formula for an international draft, which MLB and the union could not agree to. So the qualifying bid continues, meaning that teams that submit it to players who later sign with another team will receive the draft pick compensation.

Last year, the qualification bids for 14 players were extended and accepted by only one player, Brandon’s Giants belt.