MLB Winter Meetings winners, losers: Giants fall short in Aaron Judge pursuit

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Winter meetings winners, losers: Giants fall short in Judge chase originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 2022 MLB Winter Meetings set a record with approximately $1.6 billion worth of contracts handed out to free agents.

From Aaron Judge to Trea Turner to Xander Bogaerts, superstar sluggers came flying off the board, signing eye-popping contracts and delivering one of the most memorable meetings in baseball history.

Here are the winners and losers from this week's winter meetings in San Diego.

Winner: Free agents

The free agents this offseason are absolutely rolling in money. Not one, but two $300-plus million contracts were signed at the winter meetings, with Judge reportedly agreeing to a nine-year, $360 million contract with the Yankees and Turner signing a monster 11-year, $300 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Not to mention the 11-year, $280 million contract Bogaerts agreed to on Wednesday, which fell just short of the $300 million price tag.

Remember the days when $300 million contracts were unheard of? If you're a young free agent superstar in today's game, there's a good chance you'll receive something in that neighborhood.

In addition to the three superstars that signed at the winter meetings, starting pitchers Jacob deGrom ($185M), Justin Verlander ($86M), Taijuan Walker ($72M) and Jameson Taillon ($68M), plus catcher Wilson Contreras ($87M), first baseman Jose Abreu ($58M) and Mitch Haniger ($43M) made out well for themselves in free agency this offseason.

Winner: Aaron Judge

Whether the twists and turns throughout Judge's free agency were intentional or not, the reigning AL MVP and his agent put together a masterclass of a free agency.

In spurning the Giants to re-sign with the Yankees, Judge positioned himself perfectly to where two big market teams battled it out for his services, ultimately landing him a deal (nine years, $360 million) that is worth $146.5 million more than New York's original offer (seven years, $213.5 million) in spring training of last season, not to mention his market reportedly reached as high as $400 million with a last-minute informal offer from the San Diego Padres.

Judge's free agency has captivated the baseball world since the end of the 2022 season. He stayed very quiet throughout the process, but the video of him arriving in San Francisco to visit the Giants -- and San Francisco's heavy pursuit -- plus the timely release of his feature in Time Magazine for Athlete of the Year appeared to have worked in putting extra pressure on the Yankees. Bravo, Mr. Judge. Bravo.

Loser: San Francisco Giants

Always a bridesmaid, never the bride. The Giants once again were left heartbroken and failed to lure a superstar player to San Francisco. It has been a common theme over the years and is becoming a clear and obvious dilemma.

Their top priority this offseason was to bring Judge, a Northern California native, back home. They failed yet again.

Whether it be the non-hitter-friendly ballpark or the current state of a roster that leaves little to be desired, the Giants have been unable to reel in the big fish. Now they shift their focus to free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa, the biggest name available on the market. Will they finally be able to secure their superstar? For some reason, recent history says no.

Winner: Philadelphia Phillies

There are three National League teams with an absolute gauntlet in the middle of their order. The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies.

After dishing out a $300 million contract to Turner, the Phillies' lineup, in no particular order, consists of Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Turner, Nick Castellanos, J.T. Realmuto, Alec Bohm and Rhys Hoskins. Disgusting. Offensively, Philadelphia should be nothing short of a powerhouse.

In addition to signing Walker and further bolster the starting rotation, the Phillies are having themselves a very productive offseason thus far.

Loser: Los Angeles Dodgers

A Phillies win equals a Dodgers loss in this scenario. Los Angeles is left with a huge hole in their lineup after Turner signed with the Phillies. Although the Dodgers still have a great lineup, it certainly took a hit this week.

In addition to Turner, the Dodgers also lost outfielder Cody Bellinger, who signed a one-year, $17.5 million prove-it contract with the Chicago Cubs during the winter meetings. Los Angeles also declined longtime third baseman Justin Turner's 2023 option earlier in the offseason.

It's still early, but the Dodgers have lost quite a bit of depth already.

Winner: New York Mets

Big market teams spending obscene amounts of money without a care in the world is so awesome. The New York Mets have "F-You" Money and have spent it as such under new owner Steve Cohen the last two offseasons.

After losing a generational talent in deGrom, the Mets recovered by signing none other than the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. Talk about a pretty sweet backup plan. In addition to Verlander, New York also signed starting pitcher Jose Quintana, further bolstering their rotation behind Max Scherzer. Not to mention the Mets also signed electric closer Edwin Diaz to a five-year, $102 million extension earlier in the offseason. Yes, nine figures for a closer.

Oh, don't forget about outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who the Mets just re-signed on Thursday to an eye-popping eight-year, $162 million contract.

Here's a current look at the Mets' payroll:

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Winner/Loser: San Diego Padres

The Padres experienced some high highs and some low lows this week. The winter meetings began with San Diego offering Turner $342 million, only for the star shortstop to turn them down for a deal with the Phillies worth $42 million less. Yikes.

RELATED: Giants trade for Sabol, lose heap of players in Rule 5 Draft

San Diego then tried to swoop in and sign Judge at the last minute, reportedly offering him as much as $400 million, far more than the Yankees and Giants, who each reportedly offered him $360 million. Yikes again.

The Padres ended the winter meetings on a high note, signing Bogaerts and adding another premiere bat to a lineup that already consists of Juan Soto, Manny Machado and (eventually) Fernando Tatis Jr.

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