Notes: Judge, White Sox, Vázquez

There is growing belief that the Dodgers will make a run for AL MVP winner Aaron Judgereports Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Heyman notes that the Dodgers cleared $100 million with Cody Bellinger, Craig Kimbrell, Tyler Andersen, Andrew Heaney, David Price, Trea Turnerand Justin Turner no longer on the roster, and that the Dodgers need to fill a hole in the outfield. Justin Terranova of the New York Post adds that the Dodgers were previously seen as being on the fringe of the Aaron Judge sweepstakes, with the Giants being the biggest threat in his return to the Bronx. The Yankees have already sent the superstar’s camp new offerbut Terranova notes that the Giants “indicated they were willing to break the bank for Judge’s services.”

It has been speculated that Judge, who grew up outside of San Francisco, would tend to play closer to home, with Randy Miller of NJ. com noting that the star spends”parts of his offseasons in Lindenbut lives in Tampa. Judge, for his part, played coy when asked about his free agency, telling reporters after winning the AL MVP that he “looking forward to kickstarting the free-agent process,” but noting that “many things don’t begin until the winter gatherings in December‘, for Newfoundland.

Elsewhere in the league:

  • White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz has indicated that his team “need[s] another entree” of Johnny Cueto entering free agency, according to Tim Stebbins of NBA Sports Chicago. Katz adds that Chicago has been talking about bringing Cueto back, and it was previously reported that Cueto is open to a return to the team. Cueto was signed to a minor league contract in early April and came to Chicago in late May and posted one of his strongest seasons in the past five years. The 36-year-old worked to a 3.35 ERA in 158 1/3 innings pitched, albeit with a career-low 15.7% batting percentage and a strong 5.1% running percentage. As noted in MLBTRs 2022-23 Free Agent starters article, Cueto’s age, lack of missed bats and 91 MPH fastball probably won’t get him much, but he will almost certainly earn a guaranteed rotation spot going into the 2023 season.
  • After winning his second World Series title, veteran catcher Christian Vasquez goes to free agency for the first time. While he’s sure to have some suitors, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis mailing service recently discussed the potential for a deal between the Cardinals and the backstop. In his article, Goold notes Vazquez’s relationship with franchise fixture Jadier Molinaincluding Vazquez reaching out to Molina for advice earlier in his career and Molina coaching Vazquez for Team Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic in March. The 32-year old catcher said that earlier playing time and reaching the postseason are two key factors in his free choice; with four consecutive postseason appearances and the departure of Molina, the Cardinals meet both requirements.

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