Waiting for a big free agent signing and remembering a Hall of Famer

Considering he has had more than a few good days over the years at the Orioles expense, it’s pretty easy to guess where most O’s fans would like to see Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge playing next year. That is anywhere but the Bronx. San Francisco could be nice that time of year.

With the Winter Meetings now just a few days away, Judge, the No. 1 ranked free agent, is still available. While it is possible he signs somewhere that is not New York or San Francisco (the Dodgers could be involved), there have been almost no reporting from major outlets indicating we are going to get a surprise here. But it wouldn’t be the first time.

Last year, Judge recorded his best season yet, setting the American League record for homers with 62. He posted a career-best OPS at 1.111, which produced an OPS+ of 211. He led the majors in runs (133), home runs, RBIs (131), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.686) and total bases (391) this past season.

Judge of course picked a great time to have his career year. His MVP 2022 season produced a 207 wRC+ that stands as the best offensive season in recent history. Barry Bonds was the last player to match or exceed that level, and prior to him, no qualified hitter had done so since Ted Williams in 1957.

Judge has 35 homers in 87 career games versus the Orioles with a career .310 batting average and 1.133 OPS against Baltimore pitchers. That is his most homers against any team and that OPS tops all against teams he has played 25 or more games against. He has hit 19 career homers at Camden Yards, his most at any park outside Yankee Stadium and by a big margin with his 12 homers at Rogers Centre in Toronto next. His career OPS at Oriole Park is 1.154.

SportsBetting.ag has been offering Judge next team odds since late September.

At that time, San Francisco was a 9-1 longshot to sign the slugger. A month later, the Giants had 2-1 odds, and now, they are the odds-on favorites, albeit ever so slightly. The Giants are listed as -130 to sign Judge, while the Yankees are at -110.

Some believe we will see a Judge signing at the Winter Meetings, and maybe even just before or as they start. The Yankees recently put forth a new offer of reportedly eight years and $300 million. They could sign Judge and then appoint him their first team captain since Derek Jeter.

But if New York falls short and Judge signs with San Francisco or a surprise team, don’t expect Birdland to do much but celebrate such news.

Is it Taillon time?: Another 2022 Yankee is in free agent news. MLB.com reported this week that right-hander Jameson Taillon has been taking Zoom meetings with clubs and that his market is “gaining stream.”

That could mean he eventually signs for more than projected by MLBTradeRumors.com. They ranked him as their No. 14 free agent with a projection that he would sign for four years and $56 million.

Based on comments here, Taillon seems to be a favorite of O’s fans, who seem to size him up as near the best of the second-tier pithcing market after Carlos Rodón, Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander.

Taillon, who recently turned 31, went 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA last year for the Yankees and that produced an ERA+ of 100, which is exactly league average. He made 32 starts throwing 177 1/3 innings with a 1.128 WHIP, 1.3 homer rate, 1.6 walk rate and 7.7 strikeout rate.

For his career, he is 51-35 with a 3.84 ERA, producing an ERA+ of 107. For comparison sake, lefty John Means has a career 121 ERA+.

Taillon was the No. 2 pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, one spot behind Bryce Harper and one ahead of Manny Machado. He has had two Tommy John surgeries and missed all of the 2020 season.

In the end, will he really do better than a $56 million dollar deal?

A Hall of Famer died: Pitcher Gaylord Perry, a 314-game winner and Hall of Famer, died Thursday at his home in South Carolina. He was 84.

Perry was a five-time All-Star, pitched a no-hitter for the Giants against the Cardinals in 1968 and won at least 20 games five times. The right-hander was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

Via his Twitter account, O’s Hall of Famer Jim Palmer said" “Gaylord Perry passes at 84. Known for the spitter, but 314 wins, 53 shutouts, 5350 innings, Cy Youngs in both leagues tells the story. Got to know him in Cooperstown, he will be missed."

Said Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the Baseball Hall of Fame: “Gaylord Perry leaves a lasting legacy in baseball and in Cooperstown as one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. During a remarkable 22-year major league career, he became the first pitcher to win Cy Young Awards in both the American and National Leagues while throwing more than 5,000 innings. The Hall of Fame will greatly miss Gaylord's presence, as he loved returning for Induction Weekend to be with his friends and fans. We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Deborah, and the entire Perry family.”

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