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MLB: 2023 MVP contenders

Following on from the Most Valuable Player awards won by Aaron Judge (American League) and Paul Goldschmidt (National League) in 2022, we take a look at a few possible candidates for the 2023 MVP award.

American League

Aaron Judge (Free Agent)

So this is the big question. Is Judge likely to be a New York Yankee in 2023? Currently Judge and his agent are exploring free agency and seeing who offers what for the reigning AL MVP.

Judge turned down a huge offer at the start of the 2022 season from the Yankees of a seven-year $213.5million contract, hoping to gain more. Judge though recently spoke to the MLB Network about having some regrets about having rejected the offer.

“It was tough in the beginning, definitely in April, when I think it took me two weeks to get my first home run. There’s a little doubt that creeps into your mind about it and you’re sitting in the outfield kicking yourself, like, man, maybe I should have taken that deal.

“After a couple of weeks, I chatted to my team-mates, talked with my family and cleared all of that. Go out there and play, and just be yourself and everything’s going to work out the way it’s supposed to. It’s out of your hands, out of your control. Just have your faith to go out there and play your game.”

Judge has previously won votes to be the AL MVP in 2017 (he won Rookie of the Year), 2018 and 2021. Finishing second to the Astros’ Jose Altuve in 2017.

Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels)

The 2021 Most Valuable Player award went to the Angels’ two-way star and he was nominated for the award in 2022. Judge rightly won but Ohtani arguably performed better in 2022 than when he won the award the year before.

Related MLB News

MLB: 2022 awards round-up

MLB: The rise of Jeremy Pena

Only last week, the Angels’ general manager Perry Minasian confirmed to reporters that the team are not in the market to trade Ohtani, which is the fans’ biggest fear. Ohtani agreed to a one-year $30million deal for the 2023 season last week, his final year before free agency. However, speculation had persisted throughout the year that the Japanese star could be traded, with the New York Mets pursuing vigorously.

Ohtani, barring injury, will have a great season as he has done since he joined the LA Angels. However, at some point his ambition will grow beyond the Angels who haven’t reached the playoffs since 2014.

Other Candidates

Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Pena all of the Houston Astros.

More of a punt on Altuve, who used to be a candidate on a regular basis for the MVP award and could return to that standard. Alvarez hit the go-ahead winning home run in game six of the World Series. Expecting big things for Pena, if he could add more offence to his excellent defensive game, then he has to be a consideration.

Julio Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners)

The Seattle Mariners are 16/1 to win the World Series, which would be their first one. They have the Rookie of the Year winner in their ranks, plus they have just added Teoscar Hernandez to their roster for 2023 in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Rodriguez has to be in the running for the MVP award in 2023 if he repeats his star 2022 season after taking the Mariners to the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

National League

Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado (St Louis Cardinals)

Both players had stellar seasons which saw the red birds reach the playoffs after winning the National League Central Division. Goldschmidt beat his colleague Arenado in the award for the MVP in 2022. Arenado is so consistent though with his performances, first for the Colorado Rockies and now the Cardinals. I could see Arenado winning this award for the first time in 2023.

Freddie Freeman (Los Angeles Dodgers)

You can never rule out Freddie Freeman. The six-time All-Star who won the 2020 NL MVP had a slight down year last year and, despite the Dodgers being so dominant in the National League, they fell short in the playoffs, losing to their Divisional rivals, the San Diego Padres in the NL Division series.

Other candidates

Maybe an outside look could be on Pete Alonso (New York Mets) or maybe the 2022 nominee Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres. If Machado, Tatis Jr, Juan Soto and others can click in 2023, then maybe they get a shot at the award plus the World Series.

The Padres are 14/1 to win the World Series for the first time in 2023.

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