The MLB offseason is underway and although the fireworks haven’t started, we’ve already had some noteworthy signings, trades and front-office moves.
The Astros parted ways with general manager James Click, and who can blame them: In his three-year tenure with the team, it only made three postseason appearances, won two division titles, two pennants and a world championship. He just needed to do better.
The best closer in the sport, Edwin Diazcould have sparked a serious bidding war had he reached free agency, but four days prior to that Mets made him a record-breaking offer, and he grabbed it. Meanwhile, the Rayswho are looking to add left-handed hitting, traded left-handed hitter Ji-Man Choi to the Pirates.
All three of those events were predictable outcomes, right?
It’s just another reason I love this game so much: It’s so unpredictable, and that includes the offseason. I’ve decided to embrace the chaos this year, so here are 25 predictions — some serious, some silly and others somewhere in between — for what’s shaping up to be another fun offseason. Please share your own predictions in the comments section.
1. Of the 14 players to receive the qualifying offer (one year, $19.65 million), Joc Pederson, Martín Pérez and Tyler Anderson are the only ones to accept it.
2. The Cardinals find their catcher for the start of the post-Yadier Molina era: Sean Murphywhom they acquired from the A’s for a package of prospects, beating out the Guardians, who also tried to trade for him.
3. Justin Verlander returns to the Astros on a three-year, $135 million contract, which puts him on track to pitch 20 seasons in the majors.
4. The Angels shock the baseball world and sign shortstop Trea Turner to an eight-year, $264 million deal. Turner becomes their leadoff hitter with Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon batting behind him. And yes, they still need pitching to be contenders.
5. The Nationals are sold to the group led by Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. The dispute over the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), the Orioles’ and Nationals’ shared regional sports network, is finally settled. Team president Mike Rizzo receives a five-year contract extension.
6. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are controversially elected to the Hall of Fame by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee on Dec. 4, and the news blows up on sports talk shows as the Winter Meetings get underway.
7. The Braves stun Mets fans when they land Jacob deGrom on a two-year, $90 million deal that includes an opt-out after Year 1.
8. Dana Brown, vice president of scouting with the Braves, is hired as the new GM of the Tigers under team president Scott Harris.
9. The Mets convince David Stearns to leave the Brewers organization and became their president of baseball operations.
11. … But Xander Bogaerts heads to Philly. The Phillies sign the star shortstop to a seven-year, $196 million contract and move Bryson Stott to second base. Stott decides to switch his walk-up song from Tai Verdes’ “AOK” to “Changes” by Black Sabbath.
12. The Cubs surprise everyone, especially me, and land Carlos Correa on a 10-year, $327 million deal.
13. Aaron Judge, the American League MVP, returns to the Yankees on an eight-year, $330 million contract.
15. The Angels are sold. Theo Epstein is named president and CEO of the team with Perry Minasian remaining as general manager.
16. The Padres swoop in and sign first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a three-year deal, beating out the Yankees for the three-time All-Star.
17. The Rangers signed Carlos Rodón to a five-year, $144 million contract.
19. Zack Greinke returns to the Royals on a one-year deal. Déjà vu all over again.
20. The Rays finally resolve their stadium situation, a development that solidifies the team’s presence in the Tampa/St. Petersburg market for decades.
21. Major League Baseball announces expansion for the 2025 season. Nashville and Las Vegas are the early favorites to land new franchises.
22. Michael Conforto signs with the Blue Jays on a two-year, $34 million deal with an opt out after Year 1, giving Toronto a much-needed left-handed power bat to better balance its lineup.
23. Kenley Jansen returns to the Braves on a two-year, $34 million contract.
24. José Abreu signs with the Rays on a two-year, $34 million deal.
(Top photo of Jacob deGrom: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)