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Bowden’s 25 predictions for the 2022-23 MLB offseason of signings and trades

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The MLB offseason has begun, and while the fireworks have yet to begin, there have already been some notable signings, trades, and front-office moves.

Who can blame the Astros for parting ways with general manager James Click? The team only made three postseason appearances during his three-year tenure, winning two division titles, two pennants, and a world championship. He simply needed to improve.

Edwin Daz, the best closer in the game, could have sparked a serious bidding war if he had reached free agency, but the Mets made him a record-breaking offer four days before, and he took it. Meanwhile, the Rays, who are looking to add left-handed bats, traded Ji-Man Choi to the Pirates.

Were all three of those events predictable outcomes?

It’s just another reason I enjoy this game so much: it’s always unpredictable, even in the offseason. This year, I’ve decided to embrace the chaos, so here are 25 predictions — some serious, some silly, and some somewhere in between — for what is shaping up to be another entertaining offseason. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

1. Of the 14 players who received the qualifying offer (one year, $19.65 million), only Joc Pederson, Martn Pérez, and Tyler Anderson accepted.

2. The Cardinals have found their catcher for the post-Yadier Molina era: Sean Murphy, whom they acquired from the A’s in exchange for a package of prospects, beating out the Guardians, who were also interested in trading for him.

3. Justin Verlander returns to the Astros on a three-year, $135 million contract, putting him on track to pitch in the majors for the 20th time.

4. The Angels shock baseball by signing shortstop Trea Turner to an eight-year, $264 million contract. Turner will bat first, with Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Anthony Rendon following him. And, yes, they still require pitching to be considered a contender.

5. The Nationals are sold to a group led by Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals. The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), the Orioles and Nationals’ shared regional sports network, has been resolved. Mike Rizzo, the team’s president, has received a five-year contract extension.

6. On December 4, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are controversially elected to the Hall of Fame by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee, and the news goes viral on sports talk shows as the Winter Meetings begin.

7. The Braves astound Mets fans by signing Jacob deGrom to a two-year, $90 million contract with an opt-out clause after the first year.

8. Dana Brown, the Braves’ vice president of scouting, is hired as the Tigers’ new general manager by team president Scott Harris.

9. The Mets persuade David Stearns to leave the Brewers organization and become president of baseball operations for the Mets.

10. The Red Sox finally wake up and sign Rafael Devers to a multi-year, $300 million contract extension.

11…. But Xander Bogaerts is off to Philadelphia. The Phillies sign the star shortstop to a seven-year, $196 million deal, and Bryson Stott moves to second base. Stott changes his walk-up song from Tai Verdes’ “A-O-K” to Black Sabbath’s “Changes.”

12. The Cubs, to everyone’s surprise, sign Carlos Correa to a 10-year, $327 million contract.

13. Aaron Judge, the American League MVP, has agreed to terms with the Yankees on an eight-year, $330 million contract extension.

14. The Pirates decide to cash in on one of their best trade assets by sending Bryan Reynolds to the Marlins in exchange for three pitching prospects.

The Angels have been sold. The team’s president and CEO is Theo Epstein, with Perry Minasian remaining as general manager.

16. The Padres sign three-time All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a three-year contract, beating out the Yankees.

Carlos Rodón is signed to a five-year, $144 million contract by the Rangers.

Carlos Rodón is signed to a five-year, $144 million contract by the Rangers.

18. The Mariners sign Dansby Swanson to a six-year, $154 million contract and move him to second base, relegating J.P. Crawford to the outfield.

Zack Greinke is back with the Royals on a one-year deal. It’s like déjà vu all over again.

20. The Rays finally settle their stadium dispute, cementing the team’s presence in the Tampa/St. Petersburg market for decades.

21. Major League Baseball announces 2025 season expansion. Nashville and Las Vegas are the early front-runners for new franchises.

22. Michael Conforto signs a two-year, $34 million contract with the Blue Jays, with an opt-out after the first year, providing Toronto with a much-needed left-handed power bat to help balance the lineup.

Kenley Jansen, 23, returns to the Braves on a two-year, $34 million deal.

José Abreu, 24, signs a two-year, $34 million contract with the Rays.

25. The Padres announce that Juan Soto will move to left field and Fernando Tatis Jr. will move to right field, clearing the way for Ha-Seong Kim to play shortstop.

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