1 Player Each MLB Team Should Avoid in 2022-23 Free Agency, Trade Season

Zachary D. RymerNovember 15, 2022

1 Player Each MLB Team Should Avoid in 2022-23 Free Agency, Trade Season

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    Yeah, we'll say it: Aaron Judge isn't a slam dunk for everyone.
    AP Photo/John Minchillo

    On Major League Baseball's free-agent and trade markets, it isn't so much "be careful what you wish for" as "be careful whom you sign."

    Allow us to illustrate by highlighting one player each team should be wary of acquiring this offseason.

    To avoid linking, say, Aaron Judge with the Oakland Athletics, we only considered moves that fall within the realm of possibility. From there, we sought to identify player-team fits that make sense on paper but are awkward when you drill down into the specifics of how, exactly, the union would solve problems.

    We'll go one team at a time, proceeding in alphabetical order by city.

Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Michael Fulmer

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    ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 12:  Michael Fulmer #52 of the Minnesota Twins in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 12, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen told reporters in October that he would be looking to "increase the power" in a bullpen that, notably, ranked 28th in fastball velocity in 2022.

    There are harder throwers than Michael Fulmer out there, but the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year still qualifies as a power reliever after ranking in the 63rd percentile with his fastball velo and 71st percentile with his whiff rate last season.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Though the Arizona bullpen indeed needs power arms generally, what it specifically needs is to improve on a 19.7 strikeout percentage that was the worst in the majors.

    To this end, Fulmer is fool's gold. Even though he threw hard and missed plenty of bats, he still only landed in the 45th percentile in strikeout rate.

Atlanta: RHP Kenley Jansen

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    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 15: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Atlanta Braves reacts to a home run by Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning in game four of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 15, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Dansby Swanson-size hole at shortstop obviously takes priority, but there's no ignoring that Atlanta also has a Kenley Jansen-size hole in its bullpen.

    The three-time All-Star had another fine season in leading the National League with 54 games finished and 41 saves. He was especially dominant in the final push for the National League East title, allowing only one run in his last 11 appearances.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    One might say Atlanta filled that Jansen-size hole before it even opened when it acquired Raisel Iglesias at the trade deadline. He's a natural choice to take over closing duties.

    Besides, Atlanta fans surely remember that it wasn't all smooth sailing for Jansen in 2022. His ERA was pushing 4.00 as late as Sept. 11, and he finished with the highest contact rate of his career.

Baltimore Orioles: SS Xander Bogaerts

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    BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox runs to first base against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 11, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
    G Fiume/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    After experiencing nothing but hard times from 2018 to 2021, the Baltimore Orioles turned a corner in winning 83 games in 2022. Per GM Mike Elias, it's now time for the team to spend:

    MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM @MLBNetworkRadio

    The Birds are back! <br><br>After being one of the biggest surprises this season, Mike Elias and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Orioles?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Orioles</a> have big plans. <a href="https://twitter.com/Orioles?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Orioles</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Birdland?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Birdland</a> <a href="https://t.co/tQgEtFVJ8n">pic.twitter.com/tQgEtFVJ8n</a>

    It's unclear whether Baltimore has enough for Xander Bogaerts, but there's no question he would be a huge offensive upgrade for a shortstop spot that produced a 76 wRC+ in 2022.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    It's not because Bogaerts isn't actually a good hitter, as it's hard to fake career numbers that include a .292 average and 118 wRC+.

    Rather, the issue is Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Moving back the left field fence unsurprisingly had the effect of suppressing right-handed power. Take that away from Bogaerts, and he's a singles hitter who also plays a merely passable shortstop.

Boston Red Sox: LHP Andrew Heaney

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    SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: Andrew Heaney #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after a home run by Trent Grisham #2 of the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning in game three of the National League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 14, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Boston Red Sox rotation was a strength out of the gate in 2022 but less so as injuries contributed to an American League-high 4.97 ERA in the second half.

    According to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, Boston likes Andrew Heaney to fill one of the holes it now has in its rotation. He's fresh off tapping into previously untapped upside with the Los Angeles Dodgers, notably by way of a career-high 35.5 strikeout percentage.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    The catch, of course, is that Heaney pitched only 72.2 innings in 2022 because of shoulder problems. He also had those in 2019—and elbow problems in 2017 and 2018.

    The Red Sox are therefore kidding themselves if they think Heaney would be a reliable source of innings, which is something they badly need in a rotation that's riddled with durability question marks.

Chicago Cubs: 1B Anthony Rizzo

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 23: Anthony Rizzo #48 of the New York Yankees celebrates his RBI double in the second inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 23, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Chicago Cubs are already shopping for shortstops, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, but they also need to upgrade a first base spot that produced 0.1 rWAR in 2022.

    Why not a reunion with Anthony Rizzo? He surely made the most of his decade on the North Side, and he showed he still has plenty left in the tank by matching his career high of 32 home runs in 2022.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    As much as anything, Rizzo has Yankee Stadium to thank for his latest successful season. It's where he hit 19 of his 32 home runs, several of which (see here, here and here) barely made it into the stands.

    Few other stadiums are as friendly to left-handed sluggers. Because Wrigley Field isn't one of them, the Cubs would be wise to keep their distance from their old friend.

Chicago White Sox: RF Anthony Santander

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    BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 05: Anthony Santander #25 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after striking out in the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during game two of a doubleheader at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 05, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Chicago White Sox need to balance a lineup that leans right-handed, but don't expect them to do so with free-agent signings. Because of payroll constraints, GM Rick Hahn is more likely to shop on the trade market.

    Well, how about Anthony Santander? The switch-hitter is a seemingly expendable piece for Baltimore and a good target for the White Sox after he smashed 22 of his 33 home runs from the left side in 2022.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Santander's big flaw is his lack of strike-zone discipline, particularly from the left side. His 34.4 chase percentage from that side dwarfed his 27.6 chase percentage from the right side in 2022.

    As Sox hitters had the second-highest chase rate in the majors, the last thing they need is another free swinger. No matter how much power he has.

Cincinnati Reds: RHP Jimmy Nelson

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    GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 17: Jimmy Nelson #40 of the Los Angeles Dodgers poses for a photo during the Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day at Camelback Ranch on Thursday, March 17, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
    Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Cincinnati Reds aren't going to be shopping on the high ends of either market after losing 100 games in 2022, but they figure to follow the usual rebuilding playbook of taking on reclamation projects in hopes of turning them into trade bait.

    As he'll likely have to take what he can get after missing the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Jimmy Nelson seems like a possibility for Cincinnati's paper-thin bullpen.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Even if the 33-year-old Nelson is healthy enough to pitch, he shouldn't be in any rush to call Great American Ball Park home.

    It indeed deserves its reputation as a home run haven, which makes it no country for fly-ball pitchers. Nelson was one of those in each of his last two seasons.

Cleveland Guardians: C Danny Jansen

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    TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 01: Danny Jansen #9 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks at his bat before batting in the seventh inning of their MLB game against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on October 1, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
    Cole Burston/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    Few needs around MLB are as obvious as the one that the Cleveland Guardians have behind the plate, especially from an offensive perspective. The 55 wRC+ mustered by their catchers in 2022 ranked 29th in the game.

    Cleveland might consider the catchers that the Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly shopping. Of the bunch, Danny Jansen seems like an especially appealing option by way of the 140 wRC+ he posted last season.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    As noted by Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, though, the Guardians didn't go after Willson Contreras in the summer because manager Terry Francona wants his catchers to do more than just hit.

    As such, Jansen doesn't seem fit to play for Francona either. Though his bat was plenty solid in 2022, on defense he placed in the 45th percentile with his pop time to second base and 42nd percentile with his framing.

Colorado Rockies: LF David Peralta

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    CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 08: David Peralta #6 of the Tampa Bay Rays strikes out in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Guardians in game two of the Wild Card Series at Progressive Field on October 08, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Colorado Rockies have just two left-handed hitters on their projected 26-man roster. If they can't sign Brandon Nimmo to play center field, they should look into a platoon partner for Kris Bryant and Randal Grichuk in left and right.

    David Peralta is a candidate for such a role at this stage of his career, and he's seemingly a good one with a career 121 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Peralta has at least one obvious red flag in diminishing returns against fastballs, which is probably irreversible now that he's 35 years old.

    This is not good under any circumstances, but especially not if he were to join the Rockies. Breaking balls and off-speed pitches notoriously don't play at Coors Field, so it's vital that the Rockies are able to hit fastballs.

Detroit Tigers: CF Brandon Nimmo

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    ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets reacts as a ball goes foul during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 30, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Detroit Tigers were an affront to the very concept of offense in 2022, wherein they finished last in MLB with 3.4 runs per game. It didn't help that they had the second-lowest on-base percentage at .286.

    If they want to solve that problem, they could do a lot worse than Brandon Nimmo. Over the last five seasons, his .388 OBP ranks behind those of only five other players.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    If nothing else, the Tigers already have themselves a good center fielder in Riley Greene. He's a standout defender with a high offensive ceiling.

    As they finished last in the majors with 110 home runs, the Tigers need a slugger more than an on-base machine. He's never hit more than 17 home runs in a season, so Nimmo is more of the latter than the former.

Houston Astros: 1B José Abreu

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    OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox reacts after fouling a pitch off his foot against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the first inning at RingCentral Coliseum on September 10, 2022 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Houston Astros had little reason to complain with the work that Yuli Gurriel did at first base from 2016 to 2021, but his production cratered in 2022, and now he's a free agent.

    Among the possible replacements is José Abreu. The 2020 AL MVP has never not been a good hitter, including in 2022 when he posted a .304 average and 137 wRC+.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    He may have kept the hits coming, but Abreu clubbed only 11 home runs in the first half and then all of four in the second. In a related story, he finished with a career-high ground-ball rate.

    To boot, the 35-year-old pulled only 15.1 percent of his fly balls. Were that to continue with Houston, it would bar him from making good use of the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park.

Kansas City Royals: RF/1B Wil Myers

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    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 23: Wil Myers #5 of the San Diego Padres reacts to a strike out during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in game five of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 23, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
    Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Kansas City Royals aren't big spenders in free agency in the best of times, so nobody should expect anything different with a 97-loss season in their wake. Yet they might improve on the margins, perhaps by adding some much-needed right-handed power.

    The time seems right for a reunion with former Royals prospect Wil Myers, who has value to recoup after flaming out with the San Diego Padres over the last two years.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    It takes real power to hit a ball out of Kauffman Stadium, and whether Myers has that at this point is suspect. His batted-ball metrics took a turn for the worse in 2021 and 2022.

    Plus, his best defensive position is first base. With Vinnie Pasquantino in the majors and Nick Pratto also on the 40-man roster, the Royals have enough depth there already.

Los Angeles Angels: SS Dansby Swanson

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    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 14: Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves warms up on deck against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning in game three of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 14, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
    Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno may be looking to sell the team, but GM Perry Minasian has made it clear that doesn't mean there won't be any long-term deals:

    Sam Blum @SamBlum3

    Another key comment from Perry Minasian. <br><br>I asked him, hypothetically, if he went to Arte Moreno to try and sign a major free agent for multiple years, would Moreno be open to it?<br><br>"Absolutely. ... There's no 1-year, can only do 1-year (deal). There's no mandates."

    This seems to leave the door open for a shortstop, even if it means a lesser splash with Dansby Swanson in lieu of a bigger splash with Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa of Trea Turner.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    What killed the Angels at shortstop in 2022 was a lack of offense, as their 68 wRC+ ranked 29th.

    Swanson is a decent hitter—see his 25 home runs and 116 wRC+ in 2022—but he's not on the same level as Bogaerts, Correa or Turner in that regard. So if the Angels are going to break the bank on a shortstop, it should be for one of that trio.

Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Jacob deGrom

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets reacts during the third inning against the San Diego Padres in game two of the Wild Card Series at Citi Field on October 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
    Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Los Angeles Dodgers did well to quickly re-sign Clayton Kershaw, but that took care of just one of the three holes in their rotation since Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson also are free agents.

    Could the Dodgers fill one of those with Jacob deGrom? Jon Heyman of the New York Post raised it as a possibility, and the idea of baseball's most consistent powerhouse adding perhaps the best pitcher in the sport is nothing if not intriguing.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Kershaw last made 30 starts in a season in 2015. Tony Gonsolin missed more than a month with a strained forearm in 2022. Dustin May was unable to stay healthy after returning from Tommy John surgery Aug. 20.

    The Dodgers rotation thus already comes with a high degree of risk, so L.A. should think twice about spending $40-plus million per year on a player who has made just 26 starts over the last two seasons.

Miami Marlins: 2B Gleyber Torres

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 22: Gleyber Torres #25 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out against the Houston Astros \d7i in game three of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 22, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The Miami Marlins badly need to add oomph to their offense, so perhaps they'll revisit the Pablo López-for-Gleyber Torres talks Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported they had with the New York Yankees in the summer:

    Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

    Biggest name hear available in trade so far is Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez. Fish need hitters! Came close to dealing him to Yankees at deadline in a Gleyber Torres deal.

    After his power disappeared to the tune of just 12 home runs over 169 games in 2020 and 2021, Torres got his groove back by hitting 24 home runs last season.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Torres is only capable of playing second base, where the Marlins have Jazz Chisholm Jr., and faking shortstop, where they have Miguel Rojas. So...where exactly would he fit?

    Besides that, his power is largely a Yankee Stadium creation. He hit 17 of his 24 home runs there in 2022, and only five overall qualified as "no doubters," according to Statcast.

Milwaukee Brewers: DH J.D. Martinez

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    BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 11, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
    G Fiume/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    Though the Milwaukee Brewers generally weren't hurting for offense in 2022, they didn't get much out of Andrew McCutchen at designated hitter. As such, his free agency presents a chance to upgrade.

    If the Brewers want to go back to the decorated veteran well, they could consider J.D. Martinez. The five-time All-Star is fresh off yet another quality season, having hit .274 with a 119 wRC+.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Even though Martinez kept his productivity above water, it marked another step down for his once-mighty power. He collected only 16 home runs and finished with his second-lowest expected slugging percentage in the eight-year Statcast era.

    To the naked eye, it seems as if Martinez's bat speed is slowing down. There's also statistical evidence to support the idea, including his fading ability to hit four-seam fastballs.

Minnesota Twins: 1B Josh Bell

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    San Diego Padres' Josh Bell pauses at the top of the dugout during the third inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
    AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

    Why the Fit Works

    Whether the Minnesota Twins re-sign or replace Carlos Correa at shortstop, they will need to think about adding a first baseman so Luis Arraez can shift back to second base.

    After he punched a hole in his value with a cold finish to 2022, Josh Bell could be a viable high-reward target. Inconsistent though he may be, he has done a little bit of everything in establishing a career 116 wRC+.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Arraez was indeed a Gold Glove Award finalist at first base, so let's grant that the Twins don't need to move him off the cold corner.

    Even if they do go that route, it should be for the sake of adding a right-handed hitter to a lineup that skews left. Though Bell bats from both sides, he's typically less effective as a righty.

New York Mets: C Willson Contreras

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    CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 2:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs prepares to play against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field on October 2, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    There's pressure on the New York Mets to add power to an offense that hit only 171 home runs in 2022. As they got only seven homers from their catchers, behind the plate might seem like a good place to put it.

    Willson Contreras, who's topped 20 homers four times in seven seasons, is the top option on the market. And for what it's worth, the Mets reportedly tried to acquire him at the trade deadline.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Rather than go for an immediate fix at catcher, the Mets could simply have a little more patience with Francisco Álvarez. The 20-year-old ranks as MLB.com's No. 1 prospect, and he's indeed already gotten his feet wet in the majors.

    This is to say nothing of the defensive question marks that hang over Contreras, which are especially well-founded with regard to his framing.

New York Yankees: RHP Justin Verlander

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    Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander walks to the dugout after the top of the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
    AP Photo/David J. Phillip

    Why the Fit Works

    The New York Yankees haven't bothered to hide that re-signing Aaron Judge is their top offseason priority. At some point, though, they'll also need to address the open spot in their rotation.

    The New York Post's Jon Heyman wrote that the Yankees could try again for Justin Verlander after missing out on him last offseason. He's likely to win his third American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday, so stealing him from the rival Astros and re-teaming him with Gerrit Cole would be quite the coup.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    The hole in the Yankees rotation is more at the back end, which makes a front-end ace such as Verlander more of a want than a need. Plus, this particular one is set to turn 40 on Feb. 20.

    So even if the Yankees are willing to spend big bucks on a No. 1, it could be less risky to target Jacob deGrom, who's "only" 34, instead.

Oakland Athletics: C Bo Naylor

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    Cleveland Guardians' Bo Naylor warms up before a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Cleveland, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
    AP Photo/Phil Long

    Why the Fit Works

    Unless they pull off a miracle and reach a resolution to their stadium situation, probably the only thing of note the Oakland Athletics are going to do this offseason is find a taker for Gold Glove Award-winning catcher Sean Murphy.

    There's perhaps no more obvious suitor for Murphy than the Guardians. They reportedly tried to acquire him in the summer, and their cache of young trade chips includes 22-year-old catcher Bo Naylor.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Truth be told, the A's are in such dire shape that there frankly aren't any players out there whom they should deem a hard no. Naylor included.

    It's just that he would be superfluous, as the presence of young catchers Shea Langeliers and Tyler Soderstrom is part of the reason Murphy is trade bait.

Philadelphia Phillies: SS Dansby Swanson

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    Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson runs to first base during an at-bat in a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

    Why the Fit Works

    Shortstop was the Philadelphia Phillies' weakest position in 2022, so it's a good thing for the National League champs that Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Trea Turner are out there.

    A couple of things makes Swanson more appealing than the others. His experience within the National League East, for one. For another, his Gold Glove Award would provide quite the boost to a defense that ranked 29th in outs above average.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    As much as Swanson's defense would help, it would also be a drop in the bucket. Said defense is more than just one good defender from flipping from a weakness to a strength.

    The Phillies would be better off leaning in to their offense-first approach by signing Bogaerts, Correa or Turner, each of whom has Swanson beat in offensive upside.

Pittsburgh Pirates: LHP Dallas Keuchel

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    Texas Rangers starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel walks to the dugout after working against the Detroit Tigers in a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
    AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

    Why the Fit Works

    The Pittsburgh Pirates almost certainly aren't going to be in an adding mood after a second straight 100-loss season, but it's not too much to ask that they bring in veteran arms who could help shepherd their young hurlers.

    For instance, Dallas Keuchel. He was an ace-caliber pitcher as recently as 2020, but he's now looking for a fresh start after flaming out with three different clubs in 2022.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    It was never because of velocity that Keuchel pitched to a 3.25 ERA from 2014 to 2020, so you won't get us to say he doesn't know pitching.

    Trouble is, the 6.35 ERA Keuchel posted across 2021 and 2022 doesn't lie about how much his ability to pitch has diminished. He doesn't even get ground balls like he used to, which basically gives him zero margin for error.

San Diego Padres: 1B Josh Bell

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    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 07:   Josh Bell #24 of the San Diego Padres looks on before the Wild Card Series game between the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets at Citi Field on Friday, October 7, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
    Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    The San Diego Padres' biggest hole is in left field, but one wonders if they could plan on having Fernando Tatis Jr. play there rather than shortstop when his suspension is over. If so, the club's most pressing need defaults to first base.

    The Padres have a number of free-agent options they could pursue, including reunions with Anthony Rizzo, Wil Myers, Brandon Drury and even Josh Bell if they still have faith in the track record he authored prior to his coming to San Diego.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Whether the Padres even see Bell as a first baseman is a good question. They didn't let him play there much down the stretch, preferring instead Myers and Drury.

    Besides, it's really right-handed thump San Diego needs in a lineup that doesn't have much of it outside what Manny Machado provides.

San Francisco Giants: RF/CF Aaron Judge

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    New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge watches his solo home run ball during the second inning of Game 5 of an American League Division baseball series against the Cleveland Guardians, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
    AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

    Why the Fit Works

    Every indication is that the San Francisco Giants are ready to spend, and there are likewise indications aplenty that they want 62-homer slugger and presumptive AL MVP Aaron Judge.

    Hey, why not? The Linden, California, native was a Giants fan before he was a Yankees superstar, and his power would go a long way toward helping the team recover from a disappointing 81-81 season.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    If FanGraphs' WAR projections are any indication, the Giants are more than just one player away from being a contender again. Yes, even if that one player is Judge.

    The process of building a winner around Judge may therefore be a multiyear one, so it should scare the Giants more than it apparently does that he's already 30. To boot, Oracle Park's big outfield wouldn't figure to help him age gracefully.

Seattle Mariners: LF Joc Pederson

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    SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 03: Joc Pederson #23 of the San Francisco Giants looks on during the fourth inning of a game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on October 03, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    There's intrigue as to whether the Seattle Mariners will swoop in for one of the market's top shortstops. Yet that wouldn't solve all their problems, including their need for depth on either side of center fielder Julio Rodríguez.

    Unless the Mariners are going to make a run at Aaron Judge, Joc Pederson is their next-best option from an offensive standpoint. After two straight down years, his stock is back up again after he went off for a 144 wRC+ and 23 home runs in 2022.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    The Mariners already have three left-handed-hitting corner outfielders in Jesse Winker, Jarred Kelenic and Taylor Trammell, so they really don't need another.

    Pederson would also cost more than just money if he were to reject the qualifying offer the Giants made him, in which case he'd be tied to draft-pick compensation. It would cost the Mariners their third-highest pick in the 2023 draft to sign him.

St. Louis Cardinals: C Willson Contreras

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    CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 13: Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs looks on in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 13, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    Yadier Molina's 19-year run with the St. Louis Cardinals has come to an end, so they are in need of a new everyday catcher for the first time in a long time.

    It's fortunate for them that the trade and free-agent markets are flush with options, including Willson Contreras. The Cards know him well from his time with the Cubs and are thus surely aware of how much his bat could help their offense.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Defensively speaking, it's hard to fathom a bigger step down than one from Molina to Contreras. One is a nine-time Gold Glover, whereas the other tends to attract questions about whether he should even be catching.

    As he's otherwise not the left-handed hitter St. Louis needs to balance things around Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, Contreras wouldn't be an ideal offensive upgrade.

Tampa Bay Rays: DH Matt Carpenter

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    NEW YORK, NY - JULY 30: Matt Carpenter #24 of the New York Yankees watches his home run against the Kansas City Royals during the seventh inning of a game at Yankee Stadium on July 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    There's more than one reason why the Tampa Bay Rays had a rough go of things offensively last season, but one of them is that they slugged only .342 from the left side of the plate.

    Among the potential solutions for this problem is Matt Carpenter, who may yet fall within the Rays' price range after he enjoyed an extraordinary comeback with the Yankees to the tune of a 217 wRC+ and 15 home runs in 47 games.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    The catch with Carpenter has long been that he's hard to place in the field. This is especially true now, as it's basically designated hitter or bust for the 36-year-old.

    If that wasn't reason enough for the Rays to pursue other options, there's the red flag that the slugger's OPS at Yankee Stadium was nearly twice as high as it was elsewhere.

Texas Rangers: RHP Jacob deGrom

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 08: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets reacts to striking out Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres to get out of the third inning in game two of the Wild Card Series at Citi Field on October 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    Texas Rangers starters posted a 4.63 ERA and just 4.9 rWAR in 2022, so there's no faulting GM Chris Young for identifying rotation help as the team's top offseason priority:

    SNY @SNYtv

    Rangers GM Chris Young says starting pitching is their "number one priority" this offseason: <a href="https://t.co/vqu4zZR7ee">pic.twitter.com/vqu4zZR7ee</a>

    Per MLB Network's Jon Morosi, Jacob deGrom is one of the hurlers in whom the Rangers are interested. And according to the New York Post's Jon Heyman, the interest is mutual.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Even more so than the Dodgers', the Rangers rotation raises the question of how much risk is too much. It needs a proper workhorse at the top, and whether the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner can be that player after missing so much time with injuries in 2021 and 2022 is very much uncertain.

    If the Rangers do sign deGrom, it simply must be in tandem with a move for another ace. Like, say, Carlos Rodón, Koudai Senga or even Corbin Burnes.

Toronto Blue Jays: RHP Chris Martin

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Chris Martin (58) looks on during the MLB game between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 4, 2022 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    Even though it was generally effective, the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen racked up too few strikeouts and gave up too many home runs last season. These are shortcomings that must be addressed.

    Chris Martin, whom Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reported was on Toronto's radar in the summer, would help if he picked up where he left off with the Dodgers, who acquired him in a deadline deal. Over 24.2 innings, he struck out 34 and allowed just one home run.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Reading into Martin's late-season home run suppression isn't the best idea. It previously wasn't uncommon for him to struggle with the long ball, including while he was with the Cubs earlier in the year.

    Plus, Martin's balancing of a 94th-percentile strikeout rate with a 54th-percentile whiff rate doesn't seem especially sustainable.

Washington Nationals: RHP Dylan Bundy

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    HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 24: Dylan Bundy #37 of the Minnesota Twins glances at first base during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 24, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
    Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

    Why the Fit Works

    With a 107-loss season behind the Washington Nationals and a sale somewhere ahead of them, it'll be a while before they are ready to contend again. But in the meantime, they should do something about a rotation that posted minus-4.8 rWAR in 2022.

    Coming off a year in which he logged 29 starts and 140 innings, Dylan Bundy would be a low-cost innings-eater if nothing else.

    Why the Fit Doesn't Work

    Bundy can eat innings, all right, but his 5.35 ERA across the last two seasons doesn't bode well as to the quality of those innings. There's probably no fixing that unless someone can bring his slider back from the dead.

    If the Nats want innings that come with more upside, they could consider Noah Syndergaard, Mike Clevinger or Matthew Boyd instead.