Major League Baseball

MLB Free Agency Preview: Where will the big names go? by Andres Chavez

The MLB offseason has officially started. The pending MLB lockout hasn’t stopped teams from looking for upgrades for the 2022 campaign, and we have already started to see some moves.

Nov 23

MLB Free Agency Preview: Where will the big names go?

The MLB offseason has officially started. The pending lockout – there hasn’t been an agreement between owners and players about the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, as the old one expires in December – hasn’t stopped teams from looking for upgrades for the 2022 campaign, and we have already started to see some moves.

Besides clubs extending qualifying offers to some of their own free agents, the Toronto Blue Jays extended pitcher Jose Berrios with a seven-year, $131 million deal, and hurlers Eduardo Rodriguez and Noah Syndergaard inked five and one-year pacts, respectively, with the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels.

However, the bulk of the free agents, including the top ones, remain unsigned. Some may wait until after a new CBA is finalized, but others may sign sooner than expected.

Here is a list with the top 20 free agents still available, and their potential destinations:

Carlos Correa – Detroit Tigers

The prize of free agency, several teams are competing to get Correa’s signature. The Yankees, Phillies, Mariners, and even the Astros are in the mix, but the Tigers are hungry, have money, and are determined to sign him.

Corey Seager – New York Yankees

The Yankees need a shortstop, and Seager, while not a wizard defensively, is the best hitter of the bunch. He is also a lefty, and that’s a bonus for the Bombers.

Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves

While many, many teams would love to sign Freeman, it’s highly unlikely he leaves Atlanta. He is a Brave for life.

Kris Bryant – Seattle Mariners

The Mariners lost Kyle Seager, need a reliable third baseman, and have some money to spend. It’s simple math.

Kevin Gausman – San Francisco Giants

Gausman broke out with San Francisco in 2020 and consolidated those gains in 2021. It looks like his place in the world.

Marcus Semien – Toronto Blue Jays

Semien is a 40-homer, 15-steals middle infielder with elite defense. Someone will pay for him, and Toronto seems like the most likely team to do so given the fact he was brilliant for them in 2021.

Robbie Ray – Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays just extended Jose Berrios and should be able to make Semien a competitive offer. However, retaining Ray is perhaps the biggest goal of their offseason, as they need pitching to go with that amazing offense.

Trevor Story – Philadelphia Phillies

Didi Gregorius is one of the worst starting shortstops in baseball, and the Phillies can’t afford to have him on the field regularly if they are serious about winning. Story makes a lot of sense for Philly.

Max Scherzer – Los Angeles Dodgers

Mad Max was phenomenal for the Dodgers after the trade deadline, and they are one of the few teams in baseball with the financial flexibility to give Scherzer the kind of contract he wants.

Marcus Stroman – New York Mets

After losing Syndergaard to the Angels, the Mets absolutely need not to botch this one. Stroman was huge for them this year, especially after Jacob deGrom got injured, and he should be retained at all costs.

Nick Castellanos – San Diego Padres

The Padres’ lineup needs some thump after Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado. Castellanos is a lousy defender, but there could be a designated hitter in the National League starting next season, and his bat is too valuable to pass up.

Javier Baez – New York Mets

Baez took a step forward with his plate discipline after arriving to the Mets from the Cubs at the trade deadline. His power-speed combo and defensive prowess can really help New York.

Starling Marte – Miami Marlins

The Marlins traded Marte (and the transaction netted them top young pitcher Jesus Luzardo) this season, but he is a free agent now and both parties are interested in a reunion. The player loves Miami, and they can work something out.

Kyle Schwarber – Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox’s depth chart is getting tight at the positions Schwarber plays. But his bat is too good to ignore and let him go to another team.

Chris Taylor – New York Yankees

The Yankees need someone who can play center field regularly, and with Taylor, they get a jack-of-all-trades type of guy with some offensive talent, too.

Raisel Iglesias – Los Angeles Angels

By getting Syndergaard, the Angels prove they are serious about improving their pitching. Retaining Iglesias to headline their bullpen is a must.

Carlos Rodon – Los Angeles Angels

Rodon comes with some injury risk, but he showed he can be a difference-maker when healthy this season with the Chicago White Sox. If it weren’t for injuries, we might be talking about the AL Cy Young winner.

Seiya Suzuki – Texas Rangers

The newest Japanese sensation is an outfield capable of hitting for both average and power. The Rangers are trying to start a new era of respectability, and bringing Suzuki would be a good first step.

Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers

Like Freeman, Kershaw has all the looks of a one-team star. Injury concerns will likely drive the price down, but he should eventually return to Los Angeles.

Justin Verlander – Houston Astros

One of the best pitchers in the market, Verlander will have a long list of suitors, but he should ultimately return to the team that revived his career: the Astros.