Judge stays; Padres nab Bogaerts in MLB free agency

The MLB winter meetings have been filled with offseason signings and movement all across the country. The home run king, Aaron Judge, will be staying put with his New York Yankees while Xander Bogaerts is taking his play to the other coast with the San Diego Padres.

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December 8, 2022 - 1:52 PM

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) smiles after hitting a home run to left field off Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jesus Tinoco (63) during the first inning of a game at Globe Life Field, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. Judge broke the American League single season record with his 62nd home run.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Farhan Zaidi got a text message from Aaron Judge’s representatives early Wednesday morning. And just like that, it was over.

It was time to move on.

With Judge returning to the New York Yankees on a $360 million, nine-year contract, the San Francisco Giants are mulling over their next move after they missed the playoffs this year.

“We always knew this was a possible outcome, and so we’ve done a lot of work on our other options,” said Zaidi, the team’s president of baseball operations.

“We’ll kind of re-evaluate our board and still looking for ways to improve the next team.”

San Diego also met with Judge before he went back to New York, and the Padres quickly jumped on another bat — reeling in All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts with a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract.

Zaidi is keeping his cards close to his vest, but there remained plenty of intriguing possibilities on the market as baseball’s winter meetings concluded on Wednesday.

All-Star shortstops Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson are free agents, along with left-hander Carlos Rodón after his terrific year for Giants. Speedy center fielder Brandon Nimmo could be a nice fit for San Francisco’s expansive outfield at Oracle Park.

“We have the support of ownership, but we’re not being mandated to get to a certain level payroll-wise,” Zaidi said. “We have the flexibility to do that if the opportunities are right.”

Judge’s contract — baseball’s biggest free agent deal ever — dominated the conversation at the winter meetings Wednesday, but catcher Willson Contreras and pitchers Jameson Taillon, José Quintana and Kenley Jansen all joined new teams, and the Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft.

Taillon joined the Chicago Cubs, agreeing to a four-year contract that is worth roughly $68 million. A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Cubs haven’t formally announced the move, but President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said the team has been looking at Taillon for a long time.

“I think he’s a really good starting pitcher,” Hoyer said. “He’s been really consistent.”

Contreras left the Cubs for NL Central rival St. Louis, which had a need at catcher after Yadier Molina retired. A person familiar with Contreras’ $87.5 million, five-year contract confirmed the move to The AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a physical.

Quintana agreed to a $26 million, two-year contract with the New York Mets, adding another veteran arm to the team’s rotation. Another person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a physical.

The Mets also finalized its two-year contract with ace right-hander Justin Verlander, worth $86.7 million. There also is a vesting option for 2025.

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