2022 was a busy year for baseball. It all started in the middle of a lockout which threatened the season. Then we had a flurry of transactions when business opened up as teams frantically prepared for the upcoming season. The season itself provided plenty of entertainment, whether it was on the field as Aaron Judge chased 62 home runs, or off the field where Juan Soto was traded in one of the biggest deadline deals in history. The season culminated with the Astros beating the Phillies in the World Series. Since then, we’ve seen a flurry of free agent action with most of the top players signing before Christmas.
MLBTR has enjoyed being there throughout, so as we call time on 2022 we thought we’d share our most read articles of the year. A big thank you to you, our readers, for contributing and we look forward to seeing what excitement baseball has in store for us in 2023!
1. March 19: Trevor Story Reportedly Choosing Among Four Teams
Much like this winter, the 2021-22 free agent shortstop class was packed with talent, and it all came to a head over a few days in late March. Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Javier Baez had all come off the board pre-lockout, so when baseball reopened for business in mid-March there were two clear top options remaining – Carlos Correa and Trevor Story. The first report surfaced early in the afternoon on the 18th, as Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that Story was choosing between four teams, including the Giants and Red Sox. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed the Red Sox were in on Story later that afternoon. Yet the twist came that night when the Twins shocked the baseball world and agreed a deal to sign Correa, leaving Story as the clear top free agent left on the market. Sure enough, with Correa suddenly off the board, Heyman reported the next morning that Story had “multiple new suitors”. Adding further intrigue was the uncertainty over what sort of deal Story would take, with reports suggesting he’d be open to short or long term contracts, as well as shifting positions. A day later, Story had a new home, inking a six-year, $140MM contract with the Red Sox.
2. August 2: Report: Padres On The Verge Of Acquiring Juan Soto
It’s hardly surprising to see one of the biggest deadline deals in recent memory make it high up this list. When it was reported in mid-July that Soto had turned down the Nationals’ $440MM extension offer and were willing to listen to trade offers, there was no doubt that the young superstar would dominate the trade deadline headlines. Over the next few weeks, information slowly came out that the Nationals would not offer more than their $440MM mark, and they wanted a monstrous trade haul for Soto. There wasn’t really a precedent for a deal of this magnitude, which made it tricky to predict possible trade packages. Yet on August 2 the Padres satisfied Washington’s huge ask, sending a haul of premium young talent including CJ Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, James Wood, Robert Hassell III and Jarlin Susana to get Soto, and rental first-baseman Josh Bell. There would be another wrinkle, as San Diego had planned to send Eric Hosmer to the Nationals as part of the deal, but he exercised his limited no-trade clause to block the deal. The two teams would find a solution though, substituting Luke Voit in for Hosmer to complete one of the biggest trades in MLB history. While the Padres acquired one of the best players on the planet, and the Nationals jumpstarted their rebuild with a haul of young talent, it’ll be fascinating to revisit this trade in five or more years to assess how it panned out in the long run.
3. December 24: Mets Have “Raised Concerns” Over Carlos Correa’s Physical, Deal Still “Likely”
After signing a short-term contract with the Twins the previous winter, Correa looked like he’d cashed in on December 13 after it was reported that the Giants had agreed to a 13-year, $350MM deal with the shortstop. Yet that was just the beginning of a tumultuous few weeks that looks set to continue into 2023. On December 20, the Giants reportedly postponed Correa’s introduction press conference due to a concern over something in his physical. Then, in the early hours of the next morning, Heyman dropped a bombshell by reporting that Correa had instead agreed to a 12-year, $315MM deal with the Mets. While there was no official confirmation of the deal, Mets owner Steve Cohen had this to say to Heyman: “we needed one more hitter. This puts us over the top”. Such a comment from the owner before the signing is official seemed to suggest there was little concern that the concerns San Francisco saw would be an issue for the Mets. Yet on Christmas Eve, a report emerged that the Mets had “raised concerns” over Correa’s physical, particularly his surgically repaired right lower leg. Unlike with the Giants, there would be no quick pivot to a new team, and as things stand the two parties are still trying to work out how to proceed.
4. August 2: Red Sox Acquire Eric Hosmer
The background to this deal has been touched on earlier, and stemmed from the Juan Soto trade. When Hosmer exercised his limited no-trade clause to block being dealt to the Nationals as part of that deal, they quickly sent Luke Voit there instead. That didn’t mean Hosmer was staying in San Diego though, and the Padres quickly found a new trade partner, one that Hosmer could not block a deal to. Boston acquired Hosmer as part of a curious deadline strategy that saw them both buy and sell players. The Padres ate the remaining salary bar the league minimum, which was approximately two months of his $21MM 2022 salary, and a further three years and $39MM. Boston also got prospects Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier, while San Diego received Jay Groome in return. Hosmer’s time in Boston wasn’t particularly successful, he made just 14 appearances before back inflammation ended his season, then the Red Sox DFA’d then released him earlier this month.
5. November 14: 2022-23 Top 50 Free Agents With Predictions
MLBTR’s Steve Adams took the lead on this annual piece, with valuable contributions from Tim Dierkes, Anthony Franco and Darragh McDonald. This year’s Top 50 was, unsurprisingly, topped by the reigning American League MVP Aaron Judge. He’s since signed a nine-year, $360MM deal with the Yankees, which topped the eight-year, $332MM prediction made. Kodai Senga, Nathan Eovaldi, Clayton Kershaw, Joc Pederson, Martin Perez all had their contracts correctly predicted, while a further 14 player’s contracts fell within $5MM of the prediction.
6. December 12: Braves Acquire Sean Murphy, Brewers Acquire William Contreras In Three-Team Trade
Coming into the off-season, Oakland catcher Sean Murphy was arguably the most obvious trade candidate in the game. Murphy’s elite play combined with a lack of top catching options on the free agent market outside of Willson Contreras and Christian Vazquez made him an obvious candidate for a number of team. As many as nine teams had reported interest at some stage in Murphy, and that number could well have been higher. Ultimately, it was the Braves who acquired him, giving up a haul of prospects and sending their own promising catcher in Contreras to Milwaukee to seal the deal. In typical Atlanta fashion, they’d move quickly to lock up their new catcher, signing him to a six-year, $73MM extension just two weeks after acquiring him.
7. December 7: Yankees Sign Aaron Judge To Nine-Year Deal
The Yankees flexed their financial muscle to get this deal done, locking up the reigning AL MVP on a nine-year, $360MM deal and promptly announcing him as the team’s new captain. While Judge is almost certain to end his career in pinstripes now, it didn’t always look that way. After a monster platform year in which he belted an AL-record 62 home runs, Judge went to the open market making no promises of a return to the Bronx. The Giants put in a strong bid to bring Judge back to his northern California roots, and the Padres made a surprising late play to bring him to San Diego. With Judge’s free agency seemingly holding up the markets on a number of other top free agents, it all came to a head at the winter meetings. Judge would turn down opportunities to play elsewhere, instead securing a record free agent contract and a record AAV for a position player to end his career in New York.
8. March 13: Nelson Cruz Deal Moving Along Quickly
Just three days after the lockout ended, veteran slugger Nelson Cruz was moving quickly towards a deal with the Washington Nationals. Coming off yet another strong season at the plate, and with the DH now available to all 30 teams in the new CBA, it’s not surprising Cruz had a robust market once business opened up. The then-41-year-old inked a one-year deal worth $15MM with the Nats. Unfortunately for Cruz, he’d hit just .234/.313/.337 for a wRC+ of 85, the first time it’s been under the league-average 100 mark since 2007.
9. December 6: Aaron Judge “Appears Headed” To Giants
With the Judge sweepstakes heating up, reports from the winter meetings suggested there was momentum towards Aaron Judge heading to San Francisco. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he saw the reports and immediately called general manager Brian Cashman for an update, only to find there was nothing to report. The Giants, too, said Judge had not yet made his decision. Still, it was a sign that Judge’s free agency was coming to a conclusion and by the next day, it was confirmed that he’d agreed to a deal to return to the Yankees.
10. July 27: Yankees To Acquire Andrew Benintendi
Wrapping up our top ten is a move the Yankees made in advance of the deadline this summer. Devoid of left-handed contact hitters, and with regular left fielder Joey Gallo out of favor, Cashman jumped on the chance to acquire Benintendi, who’d put together a .321/.389/.399 line for Kansas City. Gallo would wind up traded to LA a few days later, and Benintendi would be the everyday left fielder. After slumping immediately after arriving in the Bronx, Benintendi recovered slightly to post a .254/.331/.404 over 33 games. He underwent surgery in September to repair a fracture hamate bone, missing the remainder of the regular season and the Yankees’ playoff run.
11. March 16: Dodgers, Freddie Freeman Reportedly Making Progress On Deal
12. July 29: Mariners Finalizing Acquisition Of Luis Castillo From Reds
13. March 20: Red Sox To Sign Trevor Story
14. August 1: Astros To Acquire Trey Mancini
15. March 14: Astros Step Up Efforts To Re-Sign Carlos Correa
16. August 1: Brewers Trade Josh Hader To Padres
17. March 14: Freddie Freeman Rumors: Monday
18. December 17: Cubs Finalizing Contract With Dansby Swanson
19: July 23: Latest On Juan Soto Trade Talks
20: December 21: Mets To Sign Carlos Correa
Kinda crazy that the most shocking thing to happen in baseball this year (Correa signing with the Mets) barely made the top-20. Maybe because it happened in the middle of the night? But nothing made me drop anything and go “wtf” and immediately run to this site more than that.
Fever Pitch Guy
walls – I think the fact Correa to the Mets happened during the holidays is what kept the views down. This is the busiest time of year for many people.
Personally, I hope this article about the most read articles becomes the most read article.
Then Simon would have to update this article. Heheheheheh!
Fever – he’s got a convenient out however. Any views that happen after midnight technically become a ‘read’ of 2023… thats why it was posted so late in the evening, to dash machinations such as us refreshing a bunch of times just to wreak havoc at the 11th hour..
Fever Pitch Guy
GASox – I thought the year was based on the timestamp of the article, not when the article was read.
Ah well, it was a fun thought while it lasted. LOL
Agreed – it’s kind of cheating – as #3 was all about Correa signing with the Mets. But – nothing made me double take more when I woke up and saw that notification.
Would’ve loved to see the page views on each
I thought maybe robotic umps would be on here but I guess Angel Hernandez has 9 lives.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
Two things: 1) That Arson Judge to Giants thing will forever. 2) Trevor Story makes for quite the story. I really don’t get how he gets more attention than Judge, Correa, etc.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
*will live forever
Yeah, I never got the fascination with Arson Judge. Kinda like the ringworm obsession. Idk. Must just be me.
Cool idea guys! Looking forward to another year of content! Happy New Year to all 🙂
We all know who drives clicks. No thanks necessary.
Nelson Cruz in the top 10 is surprising. I guess people were hungry for any news after the lockout.
4. August 2: Red Sox Acquire Eric Hosmer
DeGrom Texas Ranger
It was related to Juan Soto. Thus, the drama.
I was pretty surprised seeing Hosmer on there
Some of these are no doubt a function of how active the comment section was and people returning to continue conversations.
Not as stunning…
Red sox under chaim bloo. – great at placing highly in articles read. Not so great at placing highly in w/l records…
Like the old adage, you’re witnessing a train wreck, you want to look away and stop reading, you just can’t.
Nelson Cruz to Washington at 8 is a bit of a head scratcher
I guess he’s played for so many teams that there’s a wide range of Nelson Cruz fans.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
Cruz had a really elite history of hitting of late at that time.
I’m surprised a Trevor Bauer story didn’t make the cut.
Or articles about Tatis, the CBA deal/lockout or COVID protocols.
Think it’s safe to say NYY are the click champions. When you have a winning record for like 30 straight years or so – you don’t lose many fans. Have long wondered if NYY fans will stay engaged when team goes in the tank for a bit. Like the late 80s/early 90s Mel Hall, Butch Wynegar, Stump Merrill period when Yankee stadium was empty. But – have to take cap off to the organization for always being a contender. It’s remarkable
It doesn’t hurt that they have the largest market by a very large margin.
Click champions. Funny.
They do have to share that market.
NY could easily support two more teams. Even after sharing with the Mets, the Yankees market dwarfs other teams. Or look at it another way: the Yankees’market value is much bigger than the next team, the Dodgers, which is much bigger than the average MLB team.
Very surprised the Trevor Story was #1.
I wonder which articles had the most comments? What’s the record for most comments?
Oops! Simon, looks like the links to these articles are not working! Was that intended?
Yeah Sox nation. True baseball fans over here
Yeah Sox nation!! Proving we are the best baseball fans in the world!!
I demand a recount!
Project Censored’s Top 5 Stories That MLBTR Didn’t Report On:
5. Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens are aliens.
4. MLBTR is jointly owned and financed by BOTH George Soros & the Koch Brothers
3. Babe Ruth really didn’t hit all those HR.
2. Baseball is totally scripted and the season is played by athletic actors. Every foul ball, every boring at-bat.
1. Curt Schilling tried to storm the Hall of Fame.
Don’t forget Curt Flood was reincarnated as Aaron Judge and got his big contract.
Thanks for an AMAZING year MLBTR. Lookkkg forward to many knee tumors that come to fruition, and being entertained by the comments – especially the knowledgeable writers.
Fever Pitch Guy
lucius – Looking forward to many knee tumors?
Okay that’s it, I’m done for the rest of the year!
Happy New Year everyone …. even the Bloomers ;O)
Surprise that Nolan Arenado decide to stay with the Cardinals is not a article.
Thanks for all your hard work this year, MLBTR. I joined up on the site mid-year because your work was so good. Looking forward to 2023.
So what is going on with the Mets contract with Correa?
They currently don’t have one. That’s whats going on.
“The Giants, too, said Judge had not yet made his decision.”
“The Giants also said Judge had not yet made his decision.”