It’s hard to say what this offseason will bring with the CBA deadline coming in less than a month, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t free agents. I already ranked my top 15 over at Inside the Crown and used my own rankings there, so go ahead and give that a read, but it’s fun to go even deeper...so I did! Usually I get to about 25 and give up, but not this year because I am not a quitter.
So what I’ve done is I took the rankings from Fangraphs and put them all together. Some of my top 15 did not make it into the top 15 over there, but that’s okay. We’re still all friends, I think. I used their rankings and made a top-50 list. Here’s the thing about predicting free agents in any modern offseason. It’s hard. Okay, that’s probably true of any offseason period, but this one feels a little bit harder. For one thing, who knows which teams will decide they’re done spending money and trying to win? It’s a total crapshoot. For another, like I said before, this might be the longest freaking offseason ever while we wait to see if there’s even a work stoppage. And for a third, when you get past like number 20, you’re throwing darts that might be semi-educated but still darts.
Without further ado, here are the top 50 free agents with their destination.
Top 50 Free Agents
|Rank||Free Agent||2021 Team||2022 Prediction||Years||Total Dollars|
|Rank||Free Agent||2021 Team||2022 Prediction||Years||Total Dollars|
|1||Carlos Correa||Astros||Tigers||10||$325 million|
|2||Corey Seager||Dodgers||Yankees||10||$335 million|
|3||Marcus Semien||Blue Jays||Twins||5||$105 million|
|4||Max Scherzer||Dodgers||Dodgers||3||$93 million|
|5||Freddie Freeman||Braves||Braves||5||$130 million|
|6||Kris Bryant||Giants||Giants||6||$135 million|
|7||Robbie Ray||Blue Jays||Mets||4||$76 million|
|8||Marcus Stroman||Mets||Astros||4||$84 million|
|9||Starling Marte||A's||Mets||3||$51 million|
|10||Trevor Story||Rockies||Astros||5||$110 million|
|11||Nick Castellanos||Reds||Blue Jays||5||$90 million|
|12||Javier Baez||Mets||Nationals||6||$114 million|
|13||Eduardo Rodriguez||Red Sox||Red Sox||3||$60 million|
|14||Kevin Gausman||Giants||Nationals||3||$57 million|
|15||Noah Syndergaard||Mets||Mets||1||$18.4 million|
|16||Chris Taylor||Dodgers||Phillies||4||$62 million|
|17||Carlos Rodon||White Sox||Angels||2||$28 million|
|18||Clayton Kershaw||Dodgers||Dodgers||1||$16 million|
|19||Justin Verlander||Astros||Astros||2||$32 million|
|20||Kyle Schwarber||Red Sox||Padres||3||$46 million|
|21||Avisail Garcia||Brewers||Royals||3||$39 million|
|22||Michael Conforto||Mets||Nationals||4||$68 million|
|23||Mark Canha||A's||Guardians||2||$24 million|
|24||Raisel Iglesias||Angels||Angels||1||$18.4 million|
|25||Kenley Jansen||Dodgers||Braves||2||$25 million|
|26||Yan Gomes||A's||Mariners||2||$18 million|
|27||Nelson Cruz||Rays||Twins||1||$14 million|
|28||Brandon Belt||Giants||Red Sox||3||$52.5 million|
|29||Anthony Rizzo||Yankees||Giants||1||$14 million|
|30||Kyle Seager||Mariners||Yankees||2||$24 million|
|31||Steven Matz||Blue Jays||White Sox||3||$39 million|
|32||Jon Gray||Rockies||Giants||4||$60 million|
|33||Collin McHugh||Rays||Dodgers||1||$7 million|
|34||Seiya Suzuki||Japan||Rangers||5||$65 million|
|35||Kwang Hyun Kim||Cardinals||Brewers||2||$16 million|
|36||Anthony DeSclafani||Giants||Mariners||3||$42 million|
|37||Corey Kluber||Yankees||Twins||1||$12 million|
|38||Alex Cobb||Angels||Royals||3||$33 million|
|39||Eduardo Escobar||Brewers||Blue Jays||2||$20 million|
|40||Zack Greinke||Astros||Cardinals||1||$11 million|
|41||Mark Melancon||Padres||Phillies||2||$19 million|
|42||Joc Pederson||Braves||Braves||1||$9 million|
|43||Kirby Yates||Blue Jays||Cubs||1||$3 million|
|44||Andrew McCutchen||Phillies||Marlins||1||$10 million|
|45||Kendall Graveman||Astros||Twins||2||$20 million|
|46||Aaron Loup||Mets||Tigers||1||$6 million|
|47||Michael Pineda||Twins||Twins||2||$22 million|
|48||Jonathan Villar||Mets||White Sox||1||$7 million|
|49||Jorge Soler||Braves||Rangers||1||$8 million|
|50||Yusei Kikuchi||Mariners||Giants||1||$10 million|
- I did predict that both Iglesias and Syndergaard will accept their qualifying offers. Maybe that’s naive of me, but I have a tough time believing that Iglesias will think he can do better. And Syndergaard wants to stay in New York. Just accept that offer and figure out a deal from there.
- While the Astros are likely to sign a shortstop, maybe it isn’t Story. Maybe they go after Baez or Semien or even Taylor to go a bit of a different direction. Or maybe they decide that Alex Bregman can shift to shortstop more or less full time and they go after someone like Kyle Seager or Eduardo Escobar to play third. I don’t think that’s where they go, but maybe they go super big and sign Bryant. It’s hard to say what direction they’re going, but I wanted to make sure they got a shortstop.
- Some of the free agent pitchers this year are TOUGH to decipher. The best is Scherzer and he’s closer to 40 than 30 and kind of wore down during the playoffs. Guys like Ray and Gausman are coming off monster years but neither exactly has a track record of big success. That doesn’t mean they can’t be successful, but it’s tough to determine how teams are going to view that. Then add in guys like Kershaw and Verlander who are total health question marks and things just get sort of weird. Stroman is probably the best combination of success and track record, but he doesn’t strike guys out, so while he’s had a lot of success, there will be some teams that just won’t pay as much for a guy who gets that much contact, no matter how weak it is.
- I don’t know why, but I have a hunch the Seager brothers end up together and the place that made the most sense in my head was the Yankees. They’re losing Rizzo and could shift DJ LeMahieu to first with Gleyber Torres at second, so you get the Seagers on the left side of the infield and let them take advantage of that short porch and it’s kind of fun. I don’t quite know how realistic it is, but like I said at the top, once you get past the top group, it’s kind of a shrug emoji and I could make that make sense in my head.
- Some contracts were kind of easy to predict, at least in the ballpark. We know that Correa and Corey Seager are going to get paid. We know that Freeman is going to get his money (and I just can’t see him leaving the Braves). But then there are guys like Schwarber and Castellanos and some of the pitchers who I honestly kind of shot in the dark on. It just feels like the variance there is huge on what teams might offer on them. Take Castellanos for example. I don’t think I’d be surprised if he got a nine-figure deal or if he’s the guy who doesn’t get near what he wants and settles for like four years and $72 million. Okay, I’d settle for that, but you get the idea. And again, this doesn’t even address the question of who will actually be spending money this year.
- With the Royals, I think they will ultimately want to add a bat if they can, a starter and a reliever or two. I’ve mentioned trading a million times, but I wonder if they are more interested in someone like Cobb. His peripherals are intriguing and I think he could be a nice fit in the rotation. I’m almost definitely going to think they gave him too many years, which is why I predicted three. And Garcia fits what they’re looking for in an outfielder. I wrote on ItC yesterday about the Royals defense and mentioned him and he’s a guy who makes them better in that area. I think they’ll be in on Graveman and a handful of other relievers, but ultimately I think they’ll get someone not on the top 50 list. I’ve mentioned Daniel Hudson a number of times, and I still kind of like that idea.
So that’s my top 50. Now it’s your turn. Let us know your predictions in the comments. And if you don’t want to go to 50, I understand.