MLB Free Agent Predictions: Landing spots for top 20 players, Yankees signing Correa; Bryant at the Mets
Major League Baseball Hot Stove season is underway, with free agents able to sign anywhere they see fit. Some players, like left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney, have already found new homes; others will certainly follow by December 1, before the expiration of the current collective agreement. The owners should block the players at this point, bringing the offseason to an end.
Regardless, we continue with our normal winter activities, including posting articles like this one in which we predict the landing points of the top 20 free agents. (You can check out our full ranking of the top 50 free agents here.) As with psychic readings in the beautiful state of New Jersey, we are legally obligated to note that these predictions are for entertainment purposes only.
With that out of the way, let us deal with it.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he had the payroll “leeway” to make additions. What this precisely implies is to be seen. Correa makes a lot of sense to the Yankees: He can provide them with better defense in the shortstop, and he would give their roster another impact-level bat. The Yankees have already signed a massive contract with a former Astro, in Gerrit Cole, suggesting the New York front office shouldn’t be too worried about the sign-theft scandal.
The Cubs have signaled, both publicly and privately, that they intend to spend the money this winter. Seager would give their new team a face while giving their roster a much needed boost. Whether Seager would eventually have to slip over the shortstop seems to be less of a problem for a transitioning team than it was for, say, the Dodgers.
Bryant’s defensive versatility makes him a candidate for multiple teams. We’re going with the Mets here because they could use another powerful bat. Plus, it would be cool to see Bryant playing next to Francisco Lindor.
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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has set his sights on the best free agents he can pursue without breaking public promises. Semien, who has led the majors to a winning over substitution position since 2019, would still seem to fit.
It would be shocking if the Braves allowed Freeman to walk right after winning their first World Series in over two decades. We think they will figure it out.
Since Semien is moving elsewhere, we’ll keep Ray in Toronto. The Blue Jays certainly have the means to reward his excellent season with a longer and more lucrative contract than the one-year $ 8 million they gave him last winter.
Scherzer would have had a preference for the West Coast by the trade deadline. If this holds true, then he could end up choosing between the three enemies of National League West. The Giants are losing most of their rotation to free agents, which means they might be more motivated than the Dodgers or Padres to close a deal.
The Angels are perpetually looking for help with the rotation. Gausman has established himself as a top starter over the past two seasons. General manager Perry Minasian has also known Gausman from his shared days with the Braves organization.
The Mariners have a lot of good young pitchers on the approach or at the big league level. Stroman would give them another above-average arm, this time strapped to a veteran, to fit near the front of their rotation.
If the Tigers are going to come close to discord, they could afford to add someone like Marte. He’s the best outfielder around and he would give them a boost at the top of the roster. With Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene approaching The Show, it makes sense for Detroit to start adding above-average veterans.
The Rangers need some offensive help. History would provide that. He could also come cheaply, given concerns about his position (or, more specifically, his arm strength) and his gaps on the road home. The Rangers should be able to take the risk.
With Semien heading elsewhere, Toronto could use another midfielder. Taylor would give the Blue Jays a versatile defenseman and an above average hitter. He’s likely to be a popular target for teams looking for their own Enrique Hernández.
# 13 Javier Báez, INF: Phillies
The first of two back-to-back predictions for the Phillies, Báez would give Philadelphia an immediate overall improvement to the shortstop position. And, if Didi Gregorius is showing signs of life, or if Bryson Stott can make a quick climb to the majors, then Báez can slip into third place, taking advantage of his big arm and defensive versatility.
Finding a place for Castellanos is a little more difficult than it looks. He’s a hell of a hitter, but not all teams will appreciate him much due to his defensive limitations. The Phillies could use another stick, and it’s some improvement over their left fielder.
N ° 15 Seiya Suzuki, OF: Rangers
Suzuki, a five-time Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star, is an all-around player who should be in high demand if he is posted by Hiroshima Carp after the Japan Series. (Think late November.) The Rangers, who have consistently dipped their toes into signing NPB players, seem like an obvious solution.
There have been rumors that Kershaw has wanted to plant near his hometown in recent years. This might be his best chance of getting there, as the Rangers have money to spend and he has already won a World Series ring.
If the Dodgers lose Scherzer and Kershaw to free agencies, then they’ll have to catch up somehow. This will likely come through trades, but we think Verlander is likely to land with a competitor on a short-term pact. Why not there ?
We believe Syndergaard is the player most likely to accept the qualifying offer. It would bring him back with the Mets for another season as he tries to rebuild value.
N ° 19 Eduardo Rodríguez, LHP: Signed with the Tigers
Rodríguez feels underrated despite having spent his entire big-league career with Boston. The Red Sox could have used the rotation aid, so it was surprising that he was walking as he signed a five-year, $ 77 million contract with the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
We had already predicted that the Dodgers would lose Kershaw; why make matters worse for Los Angeles fans by also planning a Jansen departure?