Ryan Hanson– Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- The Major League Baseball (MLB) winter meetings have ended, giving many players new teams to call home.

The Winter Meetings are an industry gathering. Executives, team staff, media, exhibitors meet with all free agents in hopes of signing new players to their respective team.

MLB free agency is an exciting time for fans of all teams, where high valued players seek years and money, and others take a pay cut for the chance to be a World Series champion.

The Tampa Bay Rays are one of the most consistent MLB teams, making the playoffs consistently in the past couple of years. In free agency so far, the Rays have signed right-handed starting pitcher Zach Eflin, who put up a 4.04 earned run average (ERA) through 20 games with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2022.

LRHS Sophomore Heyden Kudelko said “Hopefully the Rays spend more money and make better moves, I believe that this isn’t the worst signing, but there’s room for improvement on the Rays roster.”

One of the biggest signings of the free agency so far has been two-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher Jacob deGrom, who left his long-time team the New York Mets for the Texas Rangers.

His contract is for five years/ $185-million. In an interview, deGrom said that he heard the Ranger’s plan to bring a World Series title to Texas, and he believes that he can be a key addition to the team.

In response to deGrom leaving, LRHS junior Logan Stolte said, “He was a great pitcher when healthy, but constant injuries plagued him, I believe in the Mets plan, and I am excited to see how they proceed.”

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The most anticipated contract signing of the free agency has been that of Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, who won the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award with a 62 homerun, record breaking season.

Judge signed a nine year, $360-million contract with the New York Yankees, including $360-million guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $40-million. His contract is one of the biggest in MLB and Yankee history.

LRHS senior and Yankees fan Connor McManus said, “It feels great to have him back, but I am worried about his consistency and performance in the postseason. I’m glad we are making moves to add to our team and hopefully make it to the World Series in the next couple of years.”