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Grades for the biggest free agent deals in the 2022-23 offseason

Home » MLB » MLB free agency grades 2022: Reaction to free agent deals

With yet another week of spending frenzy, our MLB free agency grades 2022 have arrived.

All teams are throwing money left and right, but just a handful of them have managed to get significantly better. So here, we’ll detail the most important deals taken place thus far.

MLB free agency grades 2022

Those who don’t know about qualifying offers in baseball or need to have free agency explained may not agree with some of these grades.

However, it’s worth noting that MLB free agent signing grades often have to do more than fit and whether a team overpaid or not rather than the player’s quality. So, without any further notice, let’s break it down.

Michael Conforto – Giants, 2 Years, $36M

Well, the San Francisco Giants desperately needed a win after missing on Aaron Judge and the Carlos Correa fiasco. Losing Carlos Rodon didn’t do much to help, either, but landing Michael Conforto at that price range was a massive win for the Bay area team. It was a win-win scenario for everybody involved.


If Conforto lives up to it, then he could either opt out next season or try free agency again a couple of years from now and get a massive payday. It’s a gamble for the Giants, but one they needed to do after such a tumultuous offseason. He’s just 29 years old, so he could still become a big part of this team’s future if everything goes well.

Grade: B

Nathan Eovaldi – Rangers, 2 Years, $34M

The Texas Rangers aren’t messing around, again. They proved it by spending big bucks to land the best pitcher on Earth in Jacob deGrom. But it was evident that they still needed more firepower in their rotation, and they added just that by landing Nathan Eovaldi.

The Rangers showed some promise at points last season, but their inconsistent rotation shot them in the foot over and over. Martin Perez is likely due for some regression, but even with that, the Rangers should be a much better team next season upon Nasty Nate’s arrival.

Grade: A+


Seth Lugo – Padres, 2 Years, $15M

Seth Lugo hasn’t always been a synonym for consistency, but he was one of the best relievers available at this point in the offseason, and that’s an area the San Diego Padres desperately needed to improve from last season. The deal includes multiple performance-based bonuses and a player option, so it was pretty reasonable.

Lugo boasts one of the best curves in the Majors and a decent five-pitch repertoire. He’s been dominant through stretches and is nearly unhittable when he’s at his best. Playing on a pitcher’s-friendly park will surely help as well, so this was a solid pickup for the Friars.

Grade: B+

Taylor Rogers – Giants, 3 Years, $33M

Taylor Rogers will join twin brother Tyler in the San Francisco Giants bullpen. They had to pay a steep price to acquire his services, though, and they may have overpaid for a guy who went just 4-8 with a 4.76 ERA and 31 saves over 66 appearances in 2022 with the Padres and the Brewers.

The Giants also lost Tommy LaStella to make room for the 32-year-old veteran in what looked more like a desperate move after enduring one of the most infamous offseasons that could come to mind in recent times. At least, it’ll be a good storyline.

Grade: C

JD Martínez – Dodgers, 1 Year $10M

The Los Angeles Dodgers needed to do something. They lost Joey Gallo, Justin Turner, Trea Turner, and Cody Bellinger along with multiple bullpen arms, and had only signed Noah Syndergaard. So, this might seem like a bit of a desperate move.

But JD Martínez is one of the most consistent sluggers in the world, so he was worth the pickup, even at his age. But, truth be told, Martínez doesn’t give them anything they didn’t have already, and sure doesn’t fill the holes they have on their roster now.

Grade: C

Justin Turner – Red Sox, 2 Years, $22M

The Boston Red Sox made some questionable moves in the offseason, not to mention they suffered some tough losses. So, you gotta give it to Chaim Bloom for managing to salvage things by signing Justin Turner. Still, banking on a 38-year-old to turn things around may not be wise.

If anything, it was kind of crazy to think that they would commit that much money on Turner instead of just bringing JD Martínez back. But then again, Turner can actually be an everyday player and play the field, as opposed to Martinez.

Grade: C+

Dansby Swanson – Cubs, 7 Years, $122M

Despite making several moves, it sure didn’t seem like the Chicago Cubs were up to something in the offseason. Now, by adding Dansby Swanson, they’ve proven that they’re eager to compete right now, finally landing a marquee shortstop after striking out on Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Trea Turner.

Swanson is one of the best defensive infielders in the game, and he’s coming off a breakout offensive year as well. The Cubbies could still use an upgrade to their starting rotation, even after adding Jameson Taillon, but this team looks poised to make some noise in 2023.

Grade: A

Carlos Rodón – Yankees, 6 years, $162M

Well, the New York Yankees got their guy. They signed Carlos Rodón to bolster a rotation already featuring Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, and Luis Severino. Should he stay healthy, then the 30-year-old southpaw could be the missing piece they craved for years.

And while they may have overpaid, they managed to sign him to a six-year deal rather than the seven-year contract he was looking for. It’s been a near-perfect offseason for Brian Cashman and the Bronx Bombers. They’ve finally shown a willingness to spend big bucks like in their glory days, and it’s been long enough since they raised a pennant.

Grade: A

Mike Zunino – Guardians, 1 year, $6M

The Cleveland Guardians were looking for a defensive upgrade behind the plate, so it made perfect sense for them to pursue Mike Zunino, especially at such a reasonable price. However, it’s not like there was much of a market for the veteran catcher.

The former third overall pick has always been an outstanding defender, but his offense has yet to catch up. If anything, he’s regressed vastly at the plate as the years have gone by. So, even though we love the value, we’re not so sure about the impact.

Grade: C+

Ross Stripling – Giants, 2 years, $25M

The San Francisco Giants are likely to lose Carlos Rodon in free agency, but they won’t rest on their laurels. Shortly after signing Sean Manaea to a similar deal, they inked Ross Stripling on a reasonable contract to see whether he could build off that impressive season with the Toronto Blue Jays.

With Alex Cobb, Anthony DeSclafani, and Alex Wood also in their rotation, the Bay area team is looking to build one of the most reliable pitching staffs in the National League, albeit they still lack a legit ace or number one option, assuming they do lose Rodon.

Grade: B+

Carlos Correa – Giants, 13 years, $350M

Just like Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa decided to bet on himself. And just like Aaron Judge, it was most definitely the right call. Now, he’s making generational money after proving that he can be a franchise cornerstone wherever he goes, playing outstanding defense and top-notch offense.

Correa is the best shortstop in the game, and it’s not close. The Giants wanted to make a statement and land a generational talent. They failed to sign Judge but got the job done with Correa, so we expect them to be quite aggressive in years to come in their pursuit of even more talent.

Grade: A

Kodai Senga – Mets, 5 years, $75M

Well, it’s pretty evident that Steve Cohen couldn’t care less about the luxury tax. He’s trying to build a World Series champion and won’t spare any expenses or risks to get it done. So, after replacing Jacob deGrom with Justin Verlander and also adding Jose Quintana, he’s now finished his rotation with the addition of Kodai Senga.

Senga was the most dominant hurler in Japanese baseball last season and is projected to be a stellar talent overseas as well, even though his breaking balls aren’t considered elite by any means. Cohen may have jumped the gun a little bit here, but this is the kind of offer any team needed to secure the 29-year-old.

Grade: B+

Chris Bassitt – Blue Jays, 3 years, $63M

Chris Bassitt is the true definition of a late-bloomer. He was mostly an afterthought and a fill-in starter for the better part of his career, failing to make an impact until he slowly worked past his woes and became a reliable yet non-spectacular hurler.

Maybe, that’s just what the Toronto Blue Jays needed. They overpaid for Bassitt, but they know exactly what they’re getting out of him, and that’s a lot to say after a year of struggles with volatile pitching. We definitely don’t love the price, but there’s some upside to this deal.

Grade: B

Brandon Nimmo – Mets, 8 years, $162M

It was evident that the New York Mets didn’t want to lose one of their most versatile players. Brandon Nimmo keeps getting better, and even though there’s always some injury risk with him, he’s coming off a 151-game season in which he was the true definition of consistent and impactful.

Nimmo fetched a big price, but that’s what was needed after that breakout year, as there was no shortage of suitors for his talents. He’s a great lead-off hitter and a master at getting on base, and it seems like he’s got his best years still ahead of him.

Grade: B+

Xander Bogaerts – Padres, 11 Years, $280M

Xander Bogaerts finally left the Boston Red Sox after years of giving them hometown discounts. However, the fact that he joined the San Diego Padres, a team that’s already stacked at the shortstop position, is a major head-scratcher.

So, as much as we love Bogaerts’ defense and consistency, this is a questionable deal until they move some of their players.

Grade: C

Jacob deGrom – Rangers, 5 Years, $185M

The Texas Rangers are again looking to prove that they want to compete at the highest level, and just like last season, it may not be enough to turn the franchise around. However, signing the best pitcher on the planet is a no-brainer when you have the money, so props to them for landing Jacob deGrom.

Once again, the only question is whether he’ll stay healthy enough to live up to this massive deal.

Grade: A-

Justin Verlander – Mets, 2 Years, $86.6M

Justin Verlander is fresh off a Cy Young season. He turned back the clock and proved that he was still one of the best hurlers on Earth.

That being said, he’s not getting any younger, and he does have a long history of postseason shortcomings. The Mets needed to replace deGrom, and they found the second-best guy out there, so that’s good. But the price is a bit of a question mark.

Grade: A

Aaron Judge – Yankees, 9 Years, $360M

And, of course, the biggest move on our MLB free agency grades 2022 is Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees. Judge’s sweepstakes were the story of the offseason, but there was always confidence that he’ll end up in Pinstripes for the better part of his career.

The Yankees may have overpaid, and he won’t hit 60+ homers again every year, but Brian Cashman couldn’t afford to lose the team’s franchise cornerstone, no matter the price.

Grade: A-

Masataka Yoshida – Red Sox, 5 Years, $90M

The Boston Red Sox are trying to salvage a disastrous offseason with the addition of Masataka Yoshida. And this is a prime example of when MLB free agency grades 2022 don’t have anything to do with a player’s talent.

Yoshida is an elite player overseas coming off an outstanding campaign, but he’s not much of an athlete and is a sub-par defender.

Grade: C

Cody Bellinger – Cubs, 1 Year, $17.5M

MLB free agent grades are funny. Cody Bellinger‘s agent should get an A++, but we cannot say the same about the Chicago Cubs… for now.

Cody Bellinger is a former MVP, he’s still young, and it’s evident that the physical traits and upside are still there. However, he was nothing short of a disaster over the past couple of years, hitting rock bottom last season and looking nothing like an everyday player. This could wind up being the ultimate bargain if he gets back on track. If not, it’ll go down as one of the biggest heists in baseball history.

Grade: C

Willson Contreras – Cardinals, 5 Years, $87M

Willson Contreras is one of the most underrated and potentially-impactful MLB offseason acquisitions. The St. Louis Cardinals needed an elite player to replace a legend like Yadier Molina, and they pulled it off by landing the best-hitting catcher in the game, an elite defender, and a guy who knows the division quite well.

Also, they managed to keep him away from the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees.

Grade: A+

Trea Turner – Phillies, 11 Years, $300M

The Philadelphia Phillies sure got a lot better. Thus, they’re one of the biggest winners in our MLB offseason grades.

They landed one of the best leadoff hitters in the world in Trea Turner, a plus-defender at multiple positions that could finally help them turn around that chaotic defense once and for all. Also, we cannot stress enough how much of a blow this is for the Dodgers, even despite their incredible offense.

Grade: A

Mike Clevinger – White Sox, 1 Year, $8.5M

Not so long ago, Mike Clevinger was considered one of the most promising pitching prospects in the game, but injuries have derailed his progress. Now, he’ll be touted with a big responsibility as the Chicago White Sox look to bounce back from a fairly disappointing season.

Clevinger used to dominate them during his days with the Cleveland Guardians, and he has the potential to improve an already-impressive rotation featuring Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Michael Kopech.

Grade: B

Jose Quintana – Mets, 2 Years, $26M

The New York Mets often get mixed results when it comes to baseball free agency grades. But this time, we have to give credit where it’s due, as they landed one of the most underrated hurlers in the game at a reasonable price and a short-term deal.

They needed a southpaw in their rotation, and Jose Quintana was most definitely one of the few bright spots for the ever-struggling Pittsburgh Pirates last season. The Mets also have an elite pitching staff, so he might well be a legit Cy Young candidate next season.

Grade: B+

Josh Bell – Guardians, 2 Years, $33M

The Cleveland Guardians were one of the biggest surprises in baseball last season. However, they did struggle offensively, especially at the DH spot. So, signing Josh Bell will most likely solve those woes ahead of the next campaign.

Moreover, the fact that they got him on a short-term deal proves that there’s some concern about his drop-off after joining the San Diego Padres, but he has an opt-out clause at the end of this year, so he won’t hurt their payroll for long if things go south.

Grade: B+

Anthony Rizzo – Yankees, 3 Years, $51M

The Yankees’ free agency outlook didn’t look good at all, especially if they lost Aaron Judge. Fortunately, they were able to get things started on the right foot by re-signing Anthony Rizzo on a three-year deal.

He’s become an integral part and a leader of the locker room, and they didn’t have to give up that much to get him, as the third year of his deal will be a team option with a buyout clause.

Grade: A

Jameson Taillon – Cubs, 4 Years, $68M

Jameson Taillon is coming off the best season of his career, so it was obvious that he was due for a big payday. He throws hard, can handle a big workload, and is efficient enough to crack any rotation.

However, whether he can be the ace some believe he can, remains to be seen, and it seems like, once again, the Cubs jumped the gun and overpaid.

Grade: B-

Taijuan Walker – Phillies, 4 Years, $72M

Taijuan Walker will get to stay in the division while playing for a legit contender fresh off a trip to the World Series. Pitching really hurt the Phillies down the stretch, and they’ll now add a workhorse at a reasonable price.

Having him as a no. 3 or no. 4 starter is surely a luxury. This team was way better after firing Joe Girardi, and they don’t want last year’s trip to the World Series to be just a fluke.

Grade: B

Jose Abreu – Astros, 3 Years, $58.5M

With the White Sox ready to move on to Andrew Vaughn and the Astros looking for an upgrade over Yuli Gurriel, Jose Abreu arriving in Houston seemed like a match made in heaven.

He’s still a dominant slugger, but the price was driven down, given his history of injuries. The champs just got better, even if he’s only healthy enough to play as their DH.

Grade: B+

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