MLB free agency gone wild: Aaron Judge, Willson Contreras big winners as rumors, news sizzle




The MLB Winter Meetings shopping spree continued Wednesday with the biggest prize of the free agent market, AL MVP Aaron Judge, returning to the New York Yankees for a nine-year, $360 million deal.

But that wasn't the only activity as player agents and team executives gathered in San Diego.

Even with Judge, Trea Turner, Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander no longer available, there's still plenty of talent to go around.

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Here are the latest developments and signings as the Hot Stove continues to sizzle:

Cardinals hit target with catcher Willson Contreras

Catcher Willson Contreras says goodbye to the fans at Wrigley Field after the Cubs
Catcher Willson Contreras says goodbye to the fans at Wrigley Field after the Cubs' season finale.  

With Yadier Molina finally retiring after a 19-year career in St. Louis, the Cardinals are in need of a starting catcher. So why not start with the top one available in free agency? And if you happen to snag one away from your archrival, even better.

The Cards have set their sights on former Chicago Cub Willson Contreras, with ESPN's Jeff Passan reporting a five-year, $87.5 million agreement has been struck.

A three-time All-Star, Contreras is clearly the top free agent catcher, ahead of Christian Vazquez, Tucker Barnhart, Omar Narvaez and Austin Hedges.

Utilityman Aledmys Diaz lands in Oakland

Versatile infielder/outfielder Aledmys Diaz has agreed to terms with the Oakland A's on a two-year, $14.5 million contract, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

Diaz spent the last four seasons in Houston, playing every infield position and even seeing some time in the outfield.

Red Sox get closer Kenley Jansen

Kenley Jansen ranks second among active pitchers with 391 career saves, just three behind Craig Kimbrel.
Kenley Jansen ranks second among active pitchers with 391 career saves, just three behind Craig Kimbrel.  

Longtime Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen left L.A. as a free agent last season and thrived after signing a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. Jansen, 35, led the National League in saves with 41 -- which strengthened his case for another big-money deal.

He'll move to the American League for the first time in his career after agreeing to a two-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

The addition of Jansen will allow the Red Sox to move Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock into the starting rotation after both occasionally served as closers over the past couple seasons.

Mets bolster rotation with lefty José Quintana

Jose Quintana had a career-best 2.
Jose Quintana had a career-best 2.  

Left-hander José Quintana revitalized his career at age 33 after a midseason trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In his final dozen starts for the Cardinals, Quintana posted a 2.01 ERA and finished the season with a 2.93 ERA.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports Quintana is headed to the Mets on a two-year deal, joining Verlander in a rebuilt rotation that also includes Max Scherzer, Tylor Megill and Carlos Carrasco.

Cubs pick up starter Jameson Taillon

In two seasons with the Yankees, Jameson Taillon went 22-11 with a 4.
In two seasons with the Yankees, Jameson Taillon went 22-11 with a 4.  

The Chicago Cubs are expected to be major players in the free agent market, with most of the attention centering around shortstops Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.

They did add former NL MVP Cody Bellinger on a one-year deal Tuesday.

However, they also have some holes in the starting rotation to fill. One of those rotation spots will go to Jameson Taillon, who spent the past two seasons with the Yankees.

ESPN reported late Tuesday night Taillon will receive a four-year deal.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB rumors, news updates from Winter Meetings: Big signings continue

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