Opening Day is three weeks away, and here at MLB Trade Rumors it’s time to look ahead to the 2021-22 free agent class. These players are on track to become free agents after the 2021 season, but a lot can change before we reach that point. As always, these players are ranked by my estimate of their 2021-22 open market earning power. You can see the full list of 2021-22 MLB free agents here.
It’s worth noting that the collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1st. With so much uncertainty as to how that will play out and whether there will be a work stoppage, I’m going to mostly set it aside for the purposes of this post.
1. Francisco Lindor. The largest MLB free agent contract ever signed was Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $330MM deal with the Phillies two years ago. Meanwhile, the largest extension was the 12-year, $365MM deal signed by Mookie Betts last summer. The highest average annual value was the $36MM achieved by Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole. These are the records Lindor figures to be aiming for if he reaches free agency after a strong 2021 season. A 5-WAR season, which is what projection systems call for, would help fully erase a 2020 campaign that saw the shortstop post a career-worst 102 wRC+ in 266 plate appearances.
Lindor is not the game’s best-hitting shortstop, and might not even belong in the top five. But it is the combination of a quality bat and strong defense that puts him in the conversation for the best overall at his position. As you’ve no doubt heard, the 2021-22 free agent shortstop class is exceptional, with eight potential starters at the position. At least half of them are star-caliber.
Lindor’s nickname, Mr. Smile, comes from the impression that he represents “nothing but pure baseball joy,” in the words of Will Leitch. Lindor’s personality will be amplified now that he’s been traded to the big-market Mets. Upon the January 7th trade, there was an assumption by some that the suddenly deep-pocketed Mets would move quickly to sign Lindor to a contract extension. Those talks might be taking place right now, based on this Jon Heyman tweet, and he describes Opening Day as “at least a soft deadline.” By the next installment of these Power Rankings, we should know whether Lindor is likely to reach the open market at age 28. Lindor is represented by SportsMeter.
2. Corey Seager. Born about five months after Lindor, Seager is arguably just as good. Seager finished 9th in the NL MVP voting in the abbreviated 2020 season, and he too is forecasted to post a 5-WAR 2021 season. Seager played beyond that level from 2016-17, but he underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2018 and was limited to 26 games that year. His 2019 return was more good than great, but then Seager put up a 152 wRC+ in 232 regular season plate appearances in 2020, going on to win both the NLCS and World Series MVP awards. Aside from possibly Fernando Tatis Jr., no shortstop carries a more potent bat than Seager.
Defensively, Seager’s work does not jump off the page, especially that which came after his Tommy John procedure. It stands to reason that Seager may be expected to move to the hot corner at some point during the course of his next contract. For that reason we’ve got him a touch behind Lindor in earning power, but that could change. The Dodgers have the inside track to signing Seager if they want to, and it’s even plausible they could lock him up while dipping back under whatever the base tax threshold is in 2022. Seager is represented by the Boras Corporation.
3. Trevor Bauer. Will Bauer return to the free agent market after a single season with the Dodgers? He’s built the option into his contract. If Bauer opts out of the remaining two years and $64MM, he gets a $2MM buyout, but $20MM of his ’21 salary will be deferred without interest until 2031. So there’s a financial calculation to be made, and locking in more guaranteed money – potentially more than $200MM – could become especially appealing if Bauer pitches at a Cy Young-caliber level for all of 2021. He’ll also be free of the qualifying offer the next time around, though it remains to be seen how that might be adjusted in the next CBA.
The easier choice might be to opt out after 2022, at which point Bauer will have earned $85MM over two seasons and wouldn’t be risking much. Bauer is represented by Luba Sports.
4. Trevor Story. Story’s 13.5 WAR since 2018 has only been bested by Lindor and Xander Bogaerts among shortstops. Still, age is a big factor in free agent earning power, as it affects the number of years teams are willing to give. And Story is a full 22 months older than Carlos Correa. Story is still a young free agent, however, as he’ll play at age 29 in the first year of his next contract.
Story mainly has to contend with Coors Field, in that he has a 141 wRC+ there since 2018 but a 105 mark on the road. It’s not that simple, and many good hitters have seen continued success after leaving Coors. But Story’s earning power may be boosted if the Rockies move him at the July trade deadline and he puts up his customary 120 wRC+ for a new team. Plus, he could potentially shed the qualifying offer with a trade.
Story’s defense likely slots in ahead of Correa and Seager, and he’d beat any fellow free agent in a foot race. As an all-around player, Story is quite valuable and comes with few question marks outside of the Coors Field factor. He’s represented by Excel Sports Management.
5. Carlos Correa. Correa was once mentioned in the same breath as Lindor and Seager for those prognosticating about this free agent class, but his star has dimmed considerably since the Astros won the World Series in 2017. There’s the sign-stealing scandal, in which Correa was a central player. But so too was George Springer, and he was able to land a strong $150MM contract after re-asserting his hitting prowess sans trash cans.
For Correa, the problem is more that since 2017, he’s not been able to post a season in which he was both healthy and an above average hitter. He raked at a 143 wRC+ in 2019, but was limited to 75 games due to a cracked rib and a back injury. He avoided the IL in 2020, but put up a career-worst 98 wRC+ in 221 regular season plate appearances before going nuts for 55 PA in the postseason. So before extending a contract of seven-plus years, teams need to see if Correa can be the 5-WAR player he once was. His defense probably rates somewhere between Lindor and Seager.
Correa has age in his favor, as he’s about five months younger than Seager and 10 months younger than Lindor. Still, he has the widest error bars of anyone on this list, and his 2021 season is crucial. The Astros are at least taking the typical stance of planning to explore an extension. Correa is represented by WME Baseball.
6. Nolan Arenado. Arenado, who was paired with Story on the left side of the Rockies’ infield for five years, has the ability to join him in free agency. It’d require opting out of the remaining five years and $164MM on his deal. To take such a leap, Arenado’s lone season with the Cardinals would have to be reminiscent of his stellar 2015-19 work, rather than the below-average output of his 48-game 2020 campaign. He did play through a shoulder injury for much of the 2020 season. Even with a 5-WAR 2021, Arenado might prefer to stick with the certainty of his current contract rather than chase a sixth guaranteed year. Arenado is represented by Wasserman.
7. Freddie Freeman. Freeman had received MVP votes in five separate seasons prior to 2020, and despite a July COVID positive he went on to win the award. He’s inarguably one of the top eight hitters in baseball right now, and possibly better than that. Freeman signed a record contract extension for his service class back in 2014, which is why he’s scheduled to reach free agency as a 32-year-old. Paying him through age 36 would mean a five-year term. The Athletic’s David O’Brien has made it clear Freeman is highly unlikely to leave the Braves, so perhaps he’ll be surrendering his place on this list before long. Freeman is represented by Excel Sports Management.
8. Kris Bryant. It seems odd to put Bryant this low, as he put up a 4.8 WAR season as recently as 2019. At that point a free agent contract below $200MM would have seemed silly, but Bryant floundered in an injury-marred 2020 season and bears a 3-WAR projection heading into his age-29 campaign. His defensive work at third base rates somewhere around average, and he’s generally held his own in the outfield corners.
It’s possible Bryant peaked early, with a 20.7 WAR total over his first three seasons that placed him on a Hall of Fame trajectory. It’s also possible there are many more 130 wRC+ seasons left in his bat, and he’ll be a cornerstone in someone’s lineup. Despite losing a grievance against the Cubs for manipulating his service time, and more recently enduring trade rumors, Bryant remains open to contract extension offers from the North Siders. He seems more likely to hit the open market following a critical 2021 season. Bryant is represented by the Boras Corporation.
9. Michael Conforto. Conforto is easily one of the 30 best hitters in baseball, and with his recent excellent work a case can be made for top 20. Though the Mets gave him some time in center field in 2017-19, he fits best in a corner. It’s been a while since a non-superstar corner outfielder has landed a six-year deal in free agency, but that figures to be a target for Conforto in light of George Springer’s contract. Interestingly, Mets president Sandy Alderson told reporters recently that one reason the team stopped at five years in the Springer bidding was that going to six would have made it harder to extend Conforto.
Conforto will be a full 29 months younger on Opening Day 2022 than Springer will be this year. So there’s a case to go to a sixth or even seventh year for Conforto, though he’s generally not as center field capable as Springer. As with Lindor, the Mets may look to hammer something out before the season begins. Conforto is represented by the Boras Corporation.
10. Clayton Kershaw. Despite a Hall of Fame worthy 13-year career, Kershaw is only about to turn 33 years old. As of last month, though, he was non-committal about even playing in 2022 before later saying he has “a few years left in the tank.” Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman told Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times, “Obviously, it’s personal for him and Ellen, but I feel like all is right in the world if he finishes his career, whenever that is, in however many years, as a Dodger.” As Castillo notes, it would certainly be appealing to Kershaw to play close to home for the Rangers next year.
If it’s only a two-horse race and Kershaw is not likely to chase the money, perhaps his earning power is diminished. But a four-year contract paying him through age 37 wouldn’t be unreasonable, if he wants to play that long. Kershaw may prefer the flexibility of a two or three-year pact. Kershaw is represented by Excel Sports Management.
At this point, generally the potential for a $100MM contract gets a player onto this list. I see three more players who could get there: Javier Baez, Max Scherzer, and Noah Syndergaard. Players such as Lance McCullers Jr., Kevin Gausman, Marcus Stroman, Dylan Bundy, Anthony Rizzo, and Lance Lynn might comprise the next tier.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
I want Max to stay a Nat. Mets should extend Conforto first, because if Lindor is subpar (probably won’t be) they have many options to choose from.
I like that logic
Lindor surprisingly has never had a 100 rbi season. Over 30 homers in 18 and 19. Was Cleveland’s offense that bad? I’d expect 100 ribbies at that power level. Still love the player but I’d have to analyze things a bit before stating he’s the number 1 free agent next November.
Did you know that mostly he batted lead-off?
Did you check out his runs scored?
Did you know that almost all baseball statistics are meaningless unless there is an understand of the variables being entered.
Who cares if he never had 100 RBIs? RBIs are context-based and dependent on many variables, including how many runners were on base ahead of him. Some of you are living in the stone age when it comes to player analysis. RBIs are more important in fantasy baseball, which I love to play, than in real baseball.
I knew he led off which after the start of the game has become less important with the DH and teams often using a “double lead off” lineup with the 9th batter. I did not though realize his runs scored and that’s on me. That said, the object is still to score more than your opponent so I’ll take a line up with a bunch of 100 rbi players any time. To me rbis is more valuable than home runs. Usually they coincide but if m choosing, I’m taking the team 0layer first. Home runs is more associated with strike outs which is ruining the game. Not ranting about strikeouts and Lindor, just making a general statement.
OPS rules. A team’s OPS coincides with runs scored at a materially higher rate than HRs. And, of the two OPS components, I have found that OBP is slightly more important than SLG.
Ducky Buckin Fent
OPS is the ultimate stat for a quick & dirty look at any players offensive production. Easy to understand & explain, too.
Hank – RBI not important ? You should be barred from this site
I’ll take an RBI groundout over a walk to set up the double play every single time. The RBI matters. Walks matter in some circumstances and not all. RBI matters in some circumstances also.
Listen to Pedro2004.
Why extend Conforto at this point? It’s just a free agent signing at this stage, not really a classic extension. I don’t wanna lose Conforto next year but I also don’t wanna have pay him prime money several years past when he’s worth it, which is the contract he’ll demand at this point.
@Cosmo2: Extending him right now would prevent other teams from getting the opportunity to offer him a ton of money. Plus, if you wait and he has a monster year, he will cost more.
Just the opposite. You can always replace a non-elite corner OFer who played way above his head in 2020. His BABiP is completely unsustainable. The potential pool of SS’s next year is deep, but none are coming cheap. Lock up the elite SS.
@lordd99: While his 2020 BABIP was crazy high, he averaged roughly a 130 OPS+ from 2017-2019. He’s great and not easily replaced.
It seems like the Mets will no doubt sign Conforto to a massive extension at some point in 2021. It feels inevitable, especially with his career trajectory to this point.
No way CS is behind Lindor. Not after their performance last season and CS performance in the playoffs.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
I think it may because of Seagers health. Idk if thats the case because he’s played a decent amount of games in past 2 seasons
It’s…because of the reasons I wrote in the post…
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
My bad, only read the HM and players I like. Not a huge fan of Seager. I guess I will read Seager and KB now
Woah! You write things after the headline?
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Probably not a good idea but I don’t like Seager so I could care less about him. Roast me all you want
Who’s gonna roast you if nobody cares?
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
I mean pun seemed like he cared. I agree with you because its not important.
I’ll roast you on the fact that the phrase is “couldn’t care less” not “could care less”. You are saying that have the ability to care even less than you currently do.
@Luc (not a fan of reading) Seager is pretty easy to not like. He’s so low key and has about the best hit tool on LAD.
If you’re not a fan of him, the logical way to express is that by saying “you couldn’t care less.”
You’re phrasing implies you have a deep crush on him.
Oh, well let me clear that up. I don’t care.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Ah my bad I’m speed typing this since im on online class and listening to the Nats game. You make it seem like I have to like Seager when you say he has the best hit tool. Who knows maybe I have a crush on Kyle
My comment was a reply to Tim, but you can’t really tell from the way the comments are laid out….it was more needling him a little. I really don’t have an opinion on Seager v Story v Lindor.
Luc, you could care less? So how much do you care then. It has to be some amount, since you said it could be less. You could care a lot, you could care a little. The only thing we can say for sure is that you don’t don’t care at all.
Being low key makes someone unlikeable?
You must have been a delight in school
Lurking, I was mostly being facetious in my comment. I’ve liked Seager since his career began. His bat-to-ball skills are elite. He is low key, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Kersh even teased Seager about his quite demeanor on the Glove Connection.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Nope, I have a smoothie machine. Make some more money out of those lol
Low-key is wonderful. It provides a role model for all the kids that want to play well and don’t necessarily want to be flashy, like many are in today’s game.
Seager is awesome and I love the quiet nature with which he plays also. Guy is a stud on offense ……
Dumpster Divin Theo
He literally said he could care less?
@antone You’re one to talk about grammar… your second sentence literally makes no sense.
Lindor is the best SS in MLB…..which is saying something with Trea Turner out there.
A switch-hitting 5 tool player that does things to help his team win every game.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Trea Turner is so underrated. His fielding needs work but still under appreciated
As a Braves fan I concur that Turner is underrated. He’s a player I hate, mostly because of how good he is and also because how the Pads just gift wrapped him to the Nats for basically spare parts.
Sorry, the best SS in baseball has to have a higher OPS+ than 118/102 in the last two seasons. Lindor is extremely overrated. Top 5 easy but the idea he is far and away better than his peers is ridiculous.
Lindor is overrated. I say this as a Mets fan. Basically, any player that has a 7 WAR season becomes an instant hall of famer to some fans. Right now Met fans are touting him as a once in a generation talent, can’t miss, HOF’r, mega-superstar. It’s a very common delusion. He’s a very good player but way over valued, especially, right now, by Met fans.
Four 5+ WAR seasons over his six year career. You’re undervaluing him greatly and you should be ashamed of yourself.
That’s in the past, Trotsky, the past.
Funny how Mets fans are already making excuses for their inevitable failures.
What failures? Resigning Lindor and making the playoffs, again.
So is your meaningless comment. It’s in the past…what’s the point? Previous performance is an indicator of future performance. It’s what tells us that Mike Trout will probably have a pretty decent year this season, or that the Dodgers are the favorites to win the world series. Every prognostication is built on the past
WAR does,of course, rely also on defense. So the comments here mostly attack Lindor’s offensive skills which are not in the same league as Seager’s or Story’s. But defense matters so Lindor is as good as them. So often I feel nobody respects defense anymore. Maybe it’s a fantasy thing.
Lindor hasn’t been the best SS in 2 years Sam. Live in reality, not pretending Lindor just repeated 17/2018 year over year
He wasn’t even the best player in Cleveland for the last 4 years ( if you go by the #s or War) but he was a top 10 player in baseball and the guy in Cleveland ( Ramirez) that was better than him was ranked outside of the top 10, so that tells me he is overrated, is he good? Yes , is he great? Maybe, is he as good as they rank him? No , he is just one of the most likeable players in the game.
The performance in a short season with no spring training? Sorry but it’s pretty easy to write that off.
But his 118+ the year before started a downward trend… I’ve always felt WAR overvalued defense and isn’t a reliable barometer.. yes his D is excellent… but his OPS+ and WRC+ are not elite anymore… as a met fan I pray they don’t give him $300M and may even prefer Seager or story
@Ma4170….. bWAR accounts more for defense, fWAR not as much.
Looking at shortstops over the last 2 seasons, Lindor is not top 5.
The following is over 2019 and 2020.
Overall- Based on fWAR, Lindor ranks 6th behind Turner, Story, Bogaerts, Semien and Bergman who is first.
Hitting- Based on wRC+, Lindor ranks 9th behind Story, Torres, Seager, Semien, Turner, Anderson, Bogaerts and Bregman who is first.
Defense- Based on DRS, Lindor ranks 6th behind Adames, Story, Ahmed, DeJomg and Baez who is first.
The point of the write up was to say Lindor isn’t the greatest at either but is really good at both and that’s why he is the top Free Agent. According to those names you gave, the only SS you can say is collectively better than Lindor is Story. Story is 3 years older and has an inflated offense due to Coors, thus why it is easy to overlook him. I would say your argument gives more credence to Lindor being the best SS of the group.
@Steve….. Great point! Both Lindor and Story have the most across the board skills: hit; power; run; field; and arm.
To this point, when you consider the careers of Lindor, Story, Seager, Correa, Turner and Baez, it’s a great era for MLB shortstops.
I’m wondering why you included Torres and Bregman in your comment. I’m aware that they’ve played SS sparingly at the MLB level. But are they shortstops? Sample size is significant when looking at statistics.
The names were taken from Fangraphs. Bregman played sixty something games at short in 2019 but I agree is a 3B. Gleyber on the other hand played at SS exclusively in 2020. Also isn’t he the Yankees SS this season?
Understood, I hadn’t looked up how much each has played there in the last few seasons
CS is behind Lindor.
Lindor is clearly a better and more durable player than Seager. Small sample sizes mean very little.
Seager had issues that were taken care of with surgery. He’s not some injury plagued player, his missed time was for injuries clearly now resolved, given his 2019 “recovery” season and his exceptional 2020 regular and postseason.
His metrics also point to 2020 being who he is at the plate, matching well with his early career as well. He’s someone that hits the ball very, very hard to all fields and elevates the baseball.
Get over your man crush !!!!! Not even best SS in NY !!!
Is there a typo in the Bauer segment? How is 20m of his 2021 salary deferred if he opts out after this year? Does he owe money back? Is it 20m of his 2022 salary that would be deferred?
I’m going by Cot’s, which is usually reliable. Apparently his $28MM salary this year is all payable on Nov 1, so I guess most of that becomes deferred if he does opt out.
Ok that makes sense! Didn’t know that. Thank you
Here’s that info from the AP.
Maybe a more finance-minded person than me could explain what the present day value would be on that $20MM if he defers it without interest until 2031-40.
The present value of the deferred money, ten years in the future, depends a lot on the assumed discount rate you use. If you use a modest 5% rate it’s approximately $9.61MM but if you use a higher rate that you could probably receive from a diversified portfolio, say 8%, it drops to $6.14MM.
Also, having the money spread out $2mm a year over 10 years would hurt him. If instead he had received all $20mm in 2031, the 20mm would be worth $11.97MM with a 5% discount rate and $8.69MM at 8% – so that 10 year payment period clause reduces the value somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.3-2.5MM in today’s dollars.
Without going into too many details, since we don’t know for sure when to calculate the date of the first deferred payment. I calculate the first $2M to be $2,000,000 * 1.05^10 = $1,227,827. If you agree with that calculation, then the rest is simple, progressing from the ‘^10’ to ‘^19’, and coming up with a total of $9,954,998.
Or, where I said *, I assume everyone knows I mean divide.
Bauer is a mad man! I’d say no one would ever defer all that money and there’s no way he opts out but then he’s Bauer so he’s almost certain too
I get how compound interest works. But still, all these deferred baseball salaries are crazy. Nats owe Scherzer a fortune for a very long time. That has to effect future budgets and make ur team less competitive
IRT Bauer, the option only costs him about $10M. If his 2021 is similar to his 2020, then $10M is a pretty small price to pay to buy your freedom.
The bigger kicker is that, if he opts out after 2022, he gets $15M of his 2023 $32M salary. Assuming he is healthy, that means his marginal gain in 2023 is only $17M, making it really likely he’d opt out of 2023..
That effectively makes this an $85M/2 contract.
He would be a mad man to opt out. A lot can happen in ten years. I’d be afraid of the entity folding and losing the entire deferred payment. Happens and people on the outside don’t even realize it. A company (UAL) most of us have used closed for a few minutes then reopened under same name, same logos etc. Shareholders were left holding the bag. I wouldn’t trust a company to hold 20 million for me for ten years after I’d earned it.
Kerhsaw is going nowhere
I can’t imagine him playing anywhere else
As for the others
Freddie Freeman would look good in an O’s uniform, but I cannot see that happening
So would Corea, it annoys me to no end that the Astros took him and we (well the O’s got stuck with Gausman) but oh well they were #1 and they got him and good for them
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Kershaw is going to the Astros, because in The Show he always ends up with them lol. Both of those FA’s you mentioned probably want to win rn since they’re in their prime and want to compete and get a ring especially Freddie.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
The Astros… maybe, but there would have a to be a special reason
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
It was a joke, but its always funny to see him on the stros in MLB the show
As a Braves fan, no, Freddie would not look good in an O’s uniform.
Atlanta needs to lock Freddie up, and I believe they will. I want him to be a Brave for life.
I could see Baltimore making a play for Correa because of the Elias/Houston thing, but isn’t Baltimore about 2-3 years away yet? I know your Catcher is probably coming this year. Feels like they may sit the bench in FA for a year or two more, though.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
He probably will be which sucks for me as a Nats fan. Lets say Freddie decides to leave which team could you see him with. Just a scenario
IF Freddie leaves, I could see LAA as the most probable. He’s from SoCal, though parents are proudly Canadian, which he embraces. LAA can spend when they want to, their GM was ATL’s AGM and Pujols is about to leave. No, it’s not going to happen because Jared Walsh is exactly what they need (cheap, productive, base-setter with a lot of power).
@Luc, I’d have to agree with RunDMC and say the LAA for the reasons he listed. If I were going to go with a darkhorse, maybe the Rangers. I could see them going crazy in FA one day soon.
Freeman would look great in a Blue/Orange Mets uni. Alonzo could shift to DH and Dom Smith could stay in LF or be traded for more pitching. Then we would be like, “damn, I’m glad we saved that Springer money for Freeman!”
If the Rangers make a splash, it would most likely be for Story. Dallas-area guy comes home (if that’s what he wants). However, Texas will need a lot more than one splashy FA signing to become a contending team.
As a Braves fan, no, Freddie would not look good in an O’s uniform.
Hahahaha, I am pretty certain he will stay a Brave
This is where the really good front offices make their money. Great as Freddie is, he turns 32 this year. Do you sign a 5 year mega-extension with a 32 year old position player? It’s a real question.
It wouldn’t be a “mega-extension”. It’s been said many times that Goldy’s extension (5/130M) is a foundation for Freeman’s. Tack on another 15-20M in same amount of years and I think it gets done.
Seam, you absolutely sign it if it’s an MVP caliber 1B. Freeman’s game isn’t built on his legs, so I think he ages well. He may not be as quick in the field by the end of the deal, but it’s a small thing. I only worry about speed and glove guys with long term monster deals because those skills go in the blink of an eye it seems.
I expect the O’s to sign Freddie for $200M, in 2027 when he’s 37 years old.
A Mere Bag of Shells 200M
I know this is a joke but I would bet everything that Freddie stays in ATL
Seems like nearly everyone but Kershaw sees him playing somewhere else even though the evidence for it is zero. But you know, he’s from Texas so playing for the Rangers, that has to appeal to him. How could it not? Gotta keep that speculation going somehow.
If freeman leaves, I think the dodgers are knocking on his door hard
Predict Lindor will not sign an extension with the Mets. Defensively challenged team that will never win anything. Few quality prospects in the farm system. He’s not going to get stuck there for 4-5 years.
Yankees – can play next to his buddy Urshela (played next to one another for years in the minors). Gleyber goes to 2nd where he belongs. DJ to 1st. Yanks trade Voit and Sanchez for some young pitching and a Catcher that can handle a pitching staff. Those two will pay Lindor’s salary.
Long shot – Marlins. The coming team in MLB. Their young pitching is just sick. Lindor raised in Miami, he can be the centerpiece – i.e. the Derek Jeter – that can make that team into a WS contender starting in 2022 (they will be anyway). In the meanwhile, I expect the Marlins to contend in the NLE this year, and finish 3rd, maybe 2nd. That will get Lindor’s attention.
I think the Yankees would prefer Seager since he’s a left-handed bat. Yes, Lindor is a switch hitter, but I suspect that because Seager may be a bit cheaper while being just as good if not better, my bet would on him if they decided to do this.
However, one question is whether the Dodgers will extend him.
Lindor makes a team go. Seager does not.
You are correct, the money plays here. Am sure the Dodgers would love to be in on Lindor but they already have massive contracts on their books.
In the case of the Yankees, you take Voit and Sanchez off that payroll, then Lindor can fit (he’ll cost a little more, but it’s managable). In turn, their infield and Catcher positions would radically improve defensively. They have too many limbering RH power hitters that get hurt a lot. No one will take Stanton, and Judge is now the longest tendered Yankee star so they can’t dump him. In short – the Yankees are unsustainable as presently constructed. They need some younger blood and have to stop playing HR, K, or W and expect to get to a WS.
Of course there are other teams that will be interested if Lindor hits free agency – the Angels for sure. Imagine him with Trout, Rendon and Ohtani as a foundation, playing next to Fletcher. Buy an ace pitcher and fill in around them.
I can’t see Lindor signing long term with the Mets. Just makes no sense for him. They are pretty much maxed out as a team. Other then Alonso and Smith, none of the players seem to have much upside. No farm system prospects. Not an athletic team and a terrible fundamental team. A 2nd year manager in his 30’s going up against Girardi, Snitker, Mattingly, Martinez – guys with decades of experience managing and coaching players. One would think Lindor and his agent are negotiating to get a starting point for contract negotiation in free agency. Butttt…….
“Lindor makes a team go, Seager does not”. Such an awful narrative. I love how Lindor doesn’t have to actually put up great stats to get people to fawn over him. Did you watch last postseason? Seager singlehandedly won his team the NLCS. At this point Seager is clearly the better hitter.
Yeah, I don’t know what “Lindor makes a team go, Seager does not” even means. It’s a nonsensical comment.
Also, he’s a bit off on the “unsustainable as presently constructed” since he feels the Yankees need younger players. This is surprising since most of the position players are under 27/28.
It’s not a nonsensical comment. You’re is a one lacking in understanding baseball. Particularly the SS position and how it affects a teams defense and pitching; and how a player with speed and power at the top of the order ignites an offense.
Watch some baseball games. Find some video showing the Indians playing without Lindor and the Dodgers playing without Seager.
The Dodgers look like they’re missing a little hitting. The Indians play like a entirely different team….and their W-L record reflects it.
“The Dodgers look like they’re missing a little more hitting. The Indians look like a totally different team”
Don’t you think that says more about the Dodgers/Cleveland than it does about Seager/Lindor?
As an Indians fan I believe that the “Lindor makes a team go” narrative is way overplayed. Last season he played with minimal effort and hurt the team by dogging it countless times. If your banking on him being a tremendous leader; you’ll be sorely disappointed. Also, his defense is regressing because he’s either bulked up too much or just loses focus far too often.
You’re talking like Seager is Marcus Semien lol. I think you need to check the stats and watch some games because Seager is a better career hitter than Lindor. Your boy looked lost last season while Seager was hitting HRs in what seemed like every other AB deep into the postseason.
So you’re logic for “Lindor is more impactful” is the rest of each roster is different?
What a stupid stupid line of thinking. Don’t look at their actual personal numbers! Give lindor 300M based on how others play! Wow
Do you ever watch gamers and observe how a player can influence an offense without getting a hit? Influence a defense without catching a fly ball or ground ball?
Did you know that players do thing’s that turn a game good or bad for their team that don’t show up in any statistic?
Every play the sport?
Samuel, those intangibles do not outweigh the 50 point difference in their OPS+ last season. Pretty sure Seager going home run derby mode in the NLCS is more impactful than the occasional harder ground ball that Lindor gets.
Here we go again…….
Out of how many dozen of statistics that are available you find one that suggests my point was not perfect so therefore I’m wrong.
Tell you what……
Call up Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts. Tell them that you can deliver them Lindor or Seager on a long-term contract for the same amount of years and money. Ask them which player they want.
And by the way – why haven’t the Dodgers already signed Seager being as he’s so valuable. They extended Bellinger and Betts before their walk years. (The Mets are furiously in negotiations with Lindor’s agent to extend him, as Lindor has made in known that after Spring Training there will be no negotiations until after the season).
P.S. Talk to me in a year and tell me who go the most lucrative contract.
Your arguments are so bad. First of all Bellinger was not extended. Seager and Belli are Boras clients. Who is the last Boras client to sign an extension? Strasburg 5 years ago. Friedman has stated multiple times they very much want to keep Seager. Lindor probably getting a bigger contract means nothing. If Lindor can’t get his offense back to par and Seager has another big year, Seager will get a bigger contract. At the end of the day they are both great players. Your fawning over Lindor over reasons you can’t even back up with stats is such a lame narrative.Sorry there are SS just as good as Lindor whether you believe it or not.
Seager just “made a team go” all the way to the World Series which they ended up winning (also Seager was the teams best player last year), What has Lindor ever done? Nothing close to what Seager did, that’s for sure.
I don’t liked being personally attacked or being called names because people don’t like my position on something……
Seager is a very nice player. And I have doubts he’ll hold up. Time will tell.
Baseball statistics are deceiving because they don’t take into account what a players role is with a team. We wouldn’t discuss the number of K’s or K/9 that two pitchers have if one is a starter and the other a one inning relief pitcher. They have different roles. They approach their jobs differently.
In this case we have 2 guys that play the same position. One team plays power BB, emphasizing position players swinging freely, uppercuting the ball, and playing for 3 run HR’s. The other team plays small ball – emphasizes pitching, defense, getting on base and moving runners along.
Now we’re supposed to look at statistics regarding power and run production and compare the guy from the power team that bats down in the order and swings away, to a guy on a small ball team whose primary job is to see pitches, get on base, and ultimately touch home plate.
Of course the guy on the big ball team with guys on base is going to have higher power and RBI numbers, and of course the guy on the small ball team batting after the # 8-9 hitters is going to have lower power and RBI numbers.
What does “get his offense back on par mean”? Does it mean he should demand to bat 3rd behind 2 guys that get on base a lot and swing away? When you go to your job and your employer says pick up these box’s of glasses, carry them to the shipping area and place them on that table; do you think – hey, my buddy picks up boxes of paper towels and throws the boxes into a cart in the shipping area….so I’m gonna do that with the glasses? Figure you’ll be working there long?
Lindor had a role on the Indians team. When he was out inured a few times their record slipped badly. Due to what he did on both offense and defense. A few years ago he was playing basketball in the winter, injured himself, and didn’t play in April. The Indians did poorly in April and missed the playoffs by 2 or 3 games. Without him in the line-up they were a totally different team.
There’s an old saying – “Statistics are for losers”. And one accountants and corrupt government officials (throughout history) love – “I can prove or disprove anything with figures”.
To people like you – players individual statistics tell how a team did. To people like me – a teams Won-Lost record tells how a team did. Bill Parcells said it best – “You are what your record says you are”. I value players that produce for the team in their roles. You value players that produce individual numbers. We will never agree. As a fan you are in the overwhelming majority. Around a clubhouse, dugout or front office, I’m with the unanimous majority. Baseball teams are not constructed to bring in players to run up their induvial stats….much to the chagrin of most in today’s media as well as most fans. They’re built to produce wins. Sometimes during rebuilding they’re used to teach players to help produce wins for their team…..and when those players don’t, management brings in other players.
Seager helped a talent laden team win. Lindor was a major reason a small market, small ball team won.
“I doubt that he is a top 5 SS. Maybe 5-10”. This is just a beyond out of touch take that’s not based in reality and makes your wall of irrelevant text lose credibility. Seager at age 21 was an elite hitter who had remarkable bat skills. He has done nothing but produce outside of the 2018 season where he had two massive injuries. There is zero reason reason you to say you don’t buy his stats. Once again you are talking like this is Marcus Semien. This man finished 3rd in MVP his rookie season. Corey Seager is a top 2 SS and top 10 player in all of baseball. As a Dodger fan I’m more than happy to have him hitting 2nd for the next decade. You can pay Lindor 330 million to put up an OPS+ in the 110 range. Fine by me.
Mets are maxed out? What do you base that on? They have a ton of money available and are way below the luxury tax. Lindor and Conforto are both staying AND I expect another major addition next year even with Cano coming.
Don’t worry about Cano, I’m sure he will not yet figure out how to mask his PEDs by then.
You’re falling all over yourself on Corey Seager because of his stats last year. What about the 2 previous seasons? Nothing special. Lindor has been much better than Seager over their careers cumulatively…just look at the WAR each has put up. Lindor blows Seager out of the water – offensively and defensively. It’s not even close. So what if he had a so-so season last year, just like half the league did.
KCJ, Seager had hip surgery AND Tommy John at the same time, and 2019 was his first year post surgery, but he did not have the offseason to weight train
2020 he had a full offseason to bulk and he started hitting like 2016/17.
when he’s healthy, he hits the ball really really hard
Even taking those seasons out of consideration, Lindor smokes Seager in career WAR
I’m not saying that Seager is anything short of a fantastic player in his own right, but I can’t understand all the Lindor bashing going on in this thread. They are both special players
Classic case of reading numbers without understanding what is behind them. The real Corey Seager is the one we saw before his surgeries and the one we saw after he was healed up from them. He was the real thing from the first day he stepped into the batter’s box. Anybody who follows baseball in this time zone could see it.
@KC, Very bold to say the person with a 12 point less career OPS+ blows the other person out of the water.
Legit question is if lindor doesn’t resign would dodgers make a move and leave seager out in the wind? Boras is a nightmare to deal with and will drag things on till there’s no backups available. If seager wants 300 million why not pay lindor 330 and get the better player. Why pay seager shortstop money if he will be moved to 3rd during the length of next deal and already having turner there (potentially Kodi hoese) Lindors defense alone makes him worth it for dodgers especially if he rebounds to his career Norms offensively.
What’s the Dodgers future payroll obligations in comparison to what ownership can allow?
From afar it seems that they are have so many mega contracts that letting Seager go and installing Lux or someone else at SS would give them some breathing room. Many of those young pitchers will want major salary increases in coming years if they continue to blossom. I don’t see Seager as a guy they must have to continue to win in the coming years. He is not a Bellinger or a Betts.
Incredibly low. Over 100M comes off the books by 2023.. The Mariners have more money tied up in 2024 payroll than the Dodgers do. They can essentially re-sign Kershaw, sign Seager as a FA, extend Bellinger and still reset the luxury tax (if needed after the new CBA) in time to extend Buehler.
So now Samuel is making predictions while being too lazy to look up one basic piece of information, and naturally he assumes the complete opposite of reality
Do better buddy
Lux might be used at SS to spell Seager occasionally but he is the starting 2B this year, so says Dave Roberts. Aside from that Lux has a long way to go before he shows he’s Seagar’s replacement either on the field or in the lineup.
As for money coming off the books, it’s a pretty meaningless concept when expiring contracts represent the core of a team and those players will either have to be re-signed or replaced. I believe the Padres are looking down the road at the Dodgers payroll beyond this season and seeing an opportunity if the Dodgers don’t spend big to retain or replace their most important “coming off the books” players. They can get less expensive but only by downgrading.
I love guys like you.
Tell you what – look up what group of statistics and information translates into a group of players on a roster winning the WS. Run that against opening day rosters and get back to me with the team that will win the WS this year.
Many years ago I got fed up with this nonsense about statistics and information being truth. During the offseason I looked up the individual WAR that each player had accumulated while playing for 5 teams (many players play for multiple MLB teams each year so I only counted the WAR they accumulated with said team).
I went though all the players from each of 5 teams in a division. Totaled up the WAR for each team. Here was the result:
1st place finisher – 3rd in WAR
2nd place finisher – 1st in WAR
3rd place finisher – 2nd in WAR
4th place finisher – 5th in WAR
5th place finisher – 4th in WAR.
I didn’t bother doing the other 5 divisions as doing one took me a couple of hours. (That data may be available to download onto spreadsheets today…why not do the exercise?)
By the way – have you ever gone back after a season and reviewed the pre-season predictions from the forecasters that pick the teams that will win and the players that will have good seasons? Do you realize how pathetically wrong they are each and every year? I read people here that continue to cite them as impeccable authorities. After all they have data and information.
The question was how much is in future obligations, and the answer is not much. I think it’s common sense that money off the books gets replaced by new contracts. But as we’ve seen continuously with the Dodgers, the core of the team is a cycle of cheap, younger players mixed with more expensive guys. Player development has shown multiple times that the certainty of “less expensive means downgrading” is simply not inevitable. Also, the Dodgers have essentially announced that spending big is the plan for every season moving forward..
Holy hell all you spew is nonsense
No one cares about predictions. No one is talking about HR or RBI numbers as you claimed above, for why seager is somehow worse than Lindor
We are looking at OPS, ops+, wRC+, WAR as well. These have nothing to do with position in the order. It has to do with how hard the guy hits the ball, and how he succeeds
All you are claiming is you know better than every stat out there. No, it has NOTHING to do with the rest of the roster. It’s how well they hit the ball. Jeez. No one is attacking you btw, we’re just calling you out for having stupid logic. Big difference
Also, no extension for Bellinger. No 300M payroll. Maybe get your facts right before replying? Maybe you actually look at the numbers? Maybe you stop telling me how subpar the Indians are without Lindor, so therefore he’s better. Sure, intangibles have value. But not when it’s a 20-50% difference in offensive production. Stop being a homer
Samuel= WAR?? hahahahahahahaha
Thankfully, Gleyber Torres is better than both of them. Tim probably just forgot to add him up at the top.
WAR says Lindor is the MUCH better player over the course of their careers. It’s not even close, dude
Samuel, your huge display to prove war is wrong couldn’t be bothered for you to specify which division NOR what year you’re talking about. I have no reason to believe you’re telling the truth
And Lindor hasn’t been a superstar with the bat since 2018
And was a superstar ONLY in 2018 with the bat. His value comes largely from defense and speed. Not like those skills will age quickly
@DeanConklin. Sense isn’t very common, if you ask me.
Downgrading isn’t inevitable maybe, but it is likely where we’re talking about losing high-caliber players to free agency with nobody of equal caliber to promote from within. The Dodgers don’t have anyone internally who can replace Seager or Bellinger without downgrading, and those two will be come huge ticket items in free agency over the next few years. The Dodgers will also I believe find a way to retain Kershaw. It’s hardly inconceivable that between the three of them we’re looking at close to $100M annually. So there’s your money off the books going right back on the books, and without even considering arbitration raises. Bauer may not opt out, so figure in another big ticket.
Big spenders they should be, because the revenue is there. Yet I don’t believe the Dodgers will want to be CBT offenders forever. Unless the CBA changes in some big way it will get really expensive in a hurry.
Kenley+Kelly+Seagers current salary should easily cover his 2022 and beyond number. Really Seager+Kenley likely covers Seagers new AAV(that’s about 33M), so Kelly AAV would be a net gain
Kershaw I do believe will re-sign, and while I expect the dollars to be significant, he probably takes an aav decline of some degree.
Bauer is gone before Bellinger hits FA. That’s a non issue.
Claiming that every dollar falling off needs to be replaced in FA is just a lazy narrative. They save 30M from the pen and re-invest in keeping their big name hitters. When Price+Bauer leave at the end of 2022, there’s 60M leaving that can be replaced internally with Gonsolin and May
No, every FA will not be replaced with a prospect. But some will be, and that money can be safely assumed to be invested in a different star. They didn’t sign Mookie for 360m to stop spending now. They probably do not violate every year. But I’d expect them to be right at the limit, at a minimum, most years for the next handful at least
It isn’t lazy and it isn’t a narrative. No need to respond in code words. The point you seem to have missed is they are going to have a tough time ducking under the CBT over the next few years no matter how much is “coming off the books” next year, and I don’t believe they intend to exceed it from now and into the foreseeable future. Note this does not mean they will “stop spending” but that they will want to reset the tax rate after a couple years, assuming the system doesn’t change much with the new CBA. That’s where the pinch could come.
I would also not count on May and Gonsolin being replacements for Price and Bauer in 2023. Assuming they will be is a prime example of the problem I am describing. It’s always easier to get cheaper than better and it’s reasonable to expect the Dodgers will want to do both especially now that the Padres are legitimate challengers in the division.
Again they didn’t sign Mookie to worry about the luxury tax immediately. I’d bet they plan to be over for at least 3 years. The Padres spending at a ridiculous pace+ their increase revenue from the WS only fuels that speculation, along with promising Bauer 40M then 45M. They certainly aren’t trying to duck under with a 45M salary+Mookie on the books, then everyone else
With another year of MLB time, or especially by 2023, it’s hardly a stretch to believe Gonsolin and May would be ready for full time rotation spots. They more than held their own in 2020 as a SP. they’d be #3s or worst 4s on most teams in 2021. Let alone 2022 or 2023. I’d expect an innings increase for both in 2021 but no more than 75-100 for each. So 125-150 in 2022, and full bore 2023?
The reality is the dodgers will likely never go with a 100% home grown rotation. They’d rather keep the depth. But there’s also no reason to expect the purse strings to suddenly close. This team is in the middle of their window to become a true dynasty. They aren’t going to be the Cubs and just rest on their laurels. Friedman and Co haven’t done that once since they got here
I find it hilarious that you’re on a baseball rumors blog and don’t realize that there’s no chance in you-know-where that that Marlins will sign a $30m/yr contract in the next year. They literally couldn’t pay it.
The same team that gave Stanton a record contract at the time? Yes, they could, and no, you know know much about what their Front Office will or won’t do.
The Stanton signing was a disaster for the Marlins. They are still paying him to NOT be a Marlin. They should have traded him when he only had a year left before free agency. There is zero chance the Marlins will outbid the Mets, Yanks, and Dodgers for Lindor.
Their last major free agent signing 10 years ago was also a disaster (Jose Reyes). They had to package their ace (josh Johansson) to get Reyes’ salary off the books.
Look at that cheap, young pitching they have (I love what the Indians do developing pitchers – the Marlins have outdone them).
Next look at the position players. Some good youngsters that are cheap. A few veterans sprinkled in.
As one highly-paid ESPN statistical guru once put it – “See, when you give up less runs you don’t need to score as many to win” (he also bragged about his cutting edge knowledge and how traditional baseball thinkers were “dinosaurs”….but I digress).
The Marlins can afford one mega contract. And with what I see them accomplishing in the next 5 years, they will radically increase their revenue stream.
You (and almost everyone else) are radically underestimating the quality of the FO people Jeter rounded up, and in turn the people that they brought in. The scouting and the development of their young pitchers borders on astounding. They need a catalyst (and leadership) for the position players, and SS is the best position to do that. Lindor not only fits perfectly there, but the guy fits perfectly with the Latin-orientated plan that the Marlins put together to mesh with the community. Latins LOVE baseball. Unlike native Americans, they play it day and night and understand how to play the game to win (as opposed to obsessing over statistics and playing on a computer).
What the Marlins planned and are carrying out will be the feel good story of MLB over the next 5-7 years, and may actually save the sport.
He will sign with the highest bidder.
A bit early for such a list. At least wait until opening day when a contract extension or three might materialize and reduce the list of free agents. Realistically, a post summer trade deadline article feels most appropriate since that would also indicate whether any top FA’s would even be eligible for a qualifying offer next offseason.
This series is a longstanding MLBTR March tradition! The whole idea is to take an early stab at it and let the list morph throughout the season with new installments as players drop off and move spots for various reasons and QO info can be added. The well of hot stove news is gonna be pretty dry from now until mid-July, with the exception of a few extensions.
I always look forward to this series starting before the season.
I love these early lists and seeing how they change as it gets closer. I’m already looking forward to the way too early FA predictions for next offseason!!!
It’s not too early at all. They can run multiple updates.
“Centra figure” hasn’t stopped any of the other former Astros from getting paid, including the actual ring leader Cora. If a player can play they will get paid. But, doubtful Correa makes it to Free Agency.
We’ve had a test case of literally one star player from the scandal who reached free agency, though. And as I wrote, he had a good season to help dispel it.
Marwin signed a pretty decent contract. All the teams knew what was going on before the commissioners report.
and I think “central figure” isnt exactly valid. the guys named in the report were central figures. anyone else *may* have been. (and while Correa didnt overall do well last year, I remember that he did start off well)
Your mileage may vary on Tony Adams’ work, but I like it as an indicator of which players were fully participating in the scheme. It’s the best we have.
I dunno, I don’t feel that Marwin signing a one-year, $3MM deal is relevant in Carlos Correa’s market.
I suspect he was referring to Marwin’s Twins contract, 2/$21, though the Gonzalez contract was signed long before the depth of the sign-stealing setup with uncovered.
Most stacked free agent class ever?
i see what you did there
Half these guys won’t go to market though, so maybe not. I think Story, Bauer and Corrrea and Bryant are the headliners.
Betcha Bauer doesn’t opt out. Of all the elite pitchers around baseball, he’s the one who will be hurt the most by baseball (eventually) cracking down on illegal substances to generate spin. Remember he was a mediocre, up-and-down pitcher most notable for his anger management issues before deciding to join in on the fun before he hit free agency, and he’s smart as hell and wants to live in L.A. Bet he stays.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
No because the pitching isn’t the best and some will probably sign extensions
Bauer wolnt opt out. he probably got the extra opt out simply because he had the leverage to do so and to give him self the feel of taking it year by year. Arenado also isnt opting out.
Yeah no way is Arenado opting out. He’d be crazy to, unless he really hates St Louis for some reason.
Freeman outside of the top 5 is a sham.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Maybe but 1B is an easier position and is less valuable. Also age maybe a factor
i imagine its a matter of earning power. Freeman may be ther better player here and now, but as you put, is older. that’s why Cruz didnt get a huge commitment – age.
I like Freeman’s earning power more than fellow MLBTR writers Steve Adams and Connor Byrne. They talked me down a bit and I agreed with them, though. I could see putting Freeman ahead of Arenado in earning power, but probably not Story at this point.
Setting my bias aside, I can’t see Freeman landing a larger deal than Story, either- it’s just premium position vs. non-premium position. I think Freeman is a better hitter than Nolan is though, so I’d be stunned if Nolan edged him out. If Nolan posts a monster year outside of Coors I could be swayed to change my mind, however.
As a 32 (turning this year) year old first baseman-only type? That’s not how baseball works.
I am big on the Kershaw to Texas train. 3 year deal, and I’d pay between 25-30 mil AAV. I love what he’s done at driveline recently, and the man is a still a beast. He could be the next Nolan Ryan for this franchise.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
I mean he always goes to the Astros in mlb the show so maybe the Rangers instead. I doubt it and I hope you would. Would be kinda cool tho if he did IMO, but also at his age he wants to win and the Rangers are 2-3 years away. Sam Huff looked real good tho
Something the “Kershaw to the Rangers” crowd doesn’t understand is he wants to win. He is not leaving the best team in baseball to go to the Rangers… a team that will be eliminated by August and has zero farm system or bright future. Zero chance he goes to to the abyss of baseball just cause he is from there.
Rangers are gonna be way better than you think.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
What do you mean by way better? They will be last, but won’t have a Pirates record. They have decent position players in Dahl, Huff, Gallo, Lowe, and Falefa. Some young players in Leody and Calhoun. Pitching is ok, Dunning and Folty. Gibson is ok. They just don’t have enough players and lack a star player to take them to the playoffs. I think they will be 78- 84
No no no, not this season. They will suck complete a** this season. But next season will look a lot better. Jung, Huff, and Taveras will all be up along with either Gallo or Gallo’s trade return plus guys like Dahl, Lowe, Guzman (who’s gonna be great this season), Solak, and either IKF or a free agent SS. The offense will be good.
The bullpen is always good, and the rotation will be suspect but that’s why we’d delve into the deep free agent market. Hearn, Cody, Allard, and even Wes Benjamin all look like candidates to be rotation members moving forward along with Gibson, Folty (who regained his velo in his first ST outing… 2 shutout against the Dodgers), and maybe Arihara. Just missing that ace.
I expect next off-season this will be a very busy Rangers team, and they will get either a strong SP or a strong SS.
LOL with what? Forget the rest of the AL, let’s just look at their own division. Astros and A’s are playoff caliber teams. Angels have a lot of good players and would surprise no one if they won 90 games. Mariners have a better MLB roster and a loaded farm to add to it. Rangers have a completey mediocre roster. They would be lucky to not lose 90 games.
I think the Rangers are going to be rebuilding for at least 2-3 more years. They do have a few prospects hitting the big leagues soon, but none of them are game changers like Kelenic or Rodriguez on the Mariners or even Marsh/Chris Rodriguez on the Angels. Just by looking at each team in the division for the next few years, I’m not convinced the Rangers have the prospects or the current talent to make a splash in the AL West.
I honestly think to get Kershaw Texas will have to outbid the Dodgers by a wide margin. All things being equal, I can’t see him leaving LA. So you’d probably be looking more like 35m annually to pry him out of LA.
Kershaw is going to Texas after he retires. If you’ve paid any attention to his words over the many years, he’s almost certainly a Dodger for life. His recent comments point to possibly retiring in a few years (not surprising, he’s literally accomplished every accolade and achievement possible in his career, other than counting stats), and if you think he’s interested in going to a rebuilding team instead of staying with a loaded Dodgers team, you’re fooling yourself.
Giants will lock up at least 2 of these guys next year and join the nl west party at the top of the division. Theyre coming!!
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Giants should get Seager and if Gausman performs well again re-sign him and maybe get a Mccullers or maybe Syndergaard
Won’t happen Luc. Seager won’t go to the Giants.
Why not? Is he allergic to money?
I’m a huge Lindor & Story fan, but Seager’s the best player on this list.
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Nah the injuries. His 2019 was decent and had a good 60 games and yes monster post but Story is more consistent even tho i’m a Coors effect guy. You could argue Lindor
Recency bias. Seagar’s actually very up and down, and is already at the end of his viable SS life.
Incorrect. He’s the best player here when healthy and his numbers are consistently positive at short.
He’s healthy now and his #’s reflect that.
Incorrect. Francisco Lindor and Trevor story are both better players when healthy. Both offensively and defensively. There’s a reason why there are talks about moving him to 3rd base. He’s a great hitter, but he is no Lindor or Story. Both of them have shown significantly more power potential.
All the talk about moving Seager to third has been there since he was a prospect, and it’s literally because he’s tall. It has always been talk based on historical comparison, shortstops aren’t usually as big as Seager.
The talk of moving Seager has mostly died down. It seemed to be mentioned in any and every article on Corey Seager from 2013 on, no matter what else was being discussed.
Yeah, Seag’s a banjo hitter. Man, what a terrible take.
@differentbears: exactly, though it should be said it could happen a few years down the road. Then everybody who said it would happen from when he was drafted will claim to have been right all along.
The talk of moving Seager has mostly died down.
That was just writers looking for a story or looking for hits. Seager might literally have been the least likely guy to get traded this off-season.
1-The :LAD were never to let go of a chance to repeat.
2-The LAD are not an organization that needs to beef up a failing farm.
3-At $13.75M, Seager is extremely affordable.
4-LAD has no one to replace him.
It’s impossible to make a case for having the LAD trade Seager.
JoeBrady: we’re talking about Seager being moved from SS to 3B. The only time I’ve seen Seager being talked about as a trade candidate was when the Dodgers were supposedly looking at Lindor before 2020. I repeatedly said it was silly then, and I think we see now it was.
Very sad. Such a beautiful rant.
But yeah, the Lindor/Seager trade rumors were insane. With two similar players, with one year each left, who in their right mind is going to trade the NLCS & WS MVP?
You can track seager’s down seasons directly to injuries. Any year he’s been fully healthy, he’s been one of the best hitting SS in the game
Can’t believe you left Rob Refsnyder off the list.
Freddie Freeman could probably take a bite out of an oil tanker with those chompers.
Dodgers could see Kershaw, Seager, Bauer, & Chris Taylor leave in the same year?
Sign them all Andy!
Yea and have a 300 million dollar payroll
They have almost nothing tied to 2022/2023. But sure, live in the narratives
Yes + extending Bellinger & Buehler too.
Scherzer has had a great career, but how is he considered a top FA next year, even to the point of honorable mention? He’ll be 38, and this past year his age was starting to show.
A new contract would start with Scherzer’s age 37 season. Verlander’s two-year, $66MM deal covered age 37-38, but I think if he had gone to the open market after 2019 he would have had strong three-year offers. So to suggest that Scherzer could have a shot at 3/100 is predicated on a big year, but projections do call for something close to 5 WAR in 2021.
And so far that 2 year extension for Verlander has been a big mistake. Scherzer will be 37 at the signing of any new contract, but would turn 38 during the first season of it. Maybe splitting hairs, but still his age is a big concern. So yea, first Scherzer would have to have a big year (and a healthy one), but even then a team would have to be pretty desperate to sign him to a 3 year deal. I guess bad deals are signed all the time so its not impossible, but I think any team that signs Scherzer to a 3/100 deal will regret it.
It’s fair. He’s still amazing (2020 notwithstanding, as it was awful for many great players) and his effectiveness is not really velocity dependent. Teams will be falling over themselves to sign a high value short term deal with him.
Your point about 2020 being a weird year for players is valid. So I guess it comes down to his performance this upcoming season. If he has a great year, maybe he will get a high value short term deal. I still think it would end up being a regrettable contract, as there’s very few pitchers throughout the history of baseball that have been high performers in their late 30s. Maybe Scherzer will be one of those few, but the odds are against him.
arte must be salivating reading this!
@Vizionaire: Yep, eight position players. He still won’t sign pitching though.
must be a misprint one of these FA’s had to have been signed by pirates
I’d rather have Story than Seager. Am I alone here?
Am I the GM in Colorado or somewhere else? In Colorado, give me Story. Elsewhere give me Seager. I’m not certain Story is the same player anywhere else. He could be, but I don’t want to spend 200m to find out.
Much of Story’s value comes from his elite defense and speed, both of which will play anywhere. Yeah he might hit fewer homers outside of Coors but he might hit even more if he ends up in the Bronx.
Story is 28, Seager is 26. They’re both great players, but I’d rather have Seager. Which is convenient, since my team already does have him.
Angels have a lot of money coming off the books this winter, with Pujols plus a ton of guys on one year deals. I could see them getting one of the SS and an arm, which means Arte will go hard at Freddie lol
The Angels may very well end up being happy with Iglesias and extend him. I’d love to see them get Story though.
“ Lindor is not the game’s best-hitting shortstop, and might not even belong in the top five.”
Ok, I can see he’s not number one but not top five? After listing Seager, Correa and Story below him? Who’s left besides Tatis and and Turner maybe? Can’t mean Bogaerts
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Trea is top 5
I think you’d put Tatis, Seager, Torres, and Bogaerts ahead of Lindor offensively. And then you’d have to at least put Turner, Story, Correa, and Bichette in a discussion for the #5 spot with Lindor. So if someone had Lindor outside of their top 5 offensive shortstops I wouldn’t argue.
I’m a Long time Yankee fan but I don’t think I’d rank Torres higher at this point. Potentially yes but not now.
Tatis is definitely better than Lindor
Arenado opting out seems to be dependent not merely on his performance in 2021 but also how the economics of the game are going, especially since there seems to be a distinct movement towards shorter contracts (unless we are talking about teams going longer for lower AAVs as a CBT dodge). I also wonder what the psychology is going to look like–when a free agent is signed to a multiyear contract, the assumption is that the value is going to be packed into the early years. Now that we’ve seen an “early” year just be wiped out for pandemic, will that factor into team’s thinking? They always had to count on injury, but this is a new factor.
Arenado is not opting out. He’d have to have a career year for any team to consider giving him more than he’s already owed and even then, it’s very unlikely.
I couldn’t quite remember his contract numbers, and upon looking at them, yea, you’re right. He is getting so much money, and so many years of guaranteed money that it would take a historic year for him to opt out of 6 more years at 30 million a year. That, or he’d have to hate playing for the Cardinals SO MUCH, lol.
Well, there is one other scenario: if inflation skyrockets this year and $30M/yr USD becomes worth half that or looks like it will be soon, he’ll opt out.
If the Cubs can’t work out an extension for Baez Im hoping they can at least sign him on a one year deal. I know he loses a year of free agency but it could end up a win/win for both if he has a good 2022.
How would it be a win for Baez? Unless he has a really bad 2021 and needs a year to prove he’s worth a big contract, he’d be dumb to sign a 1 year deal, as he’ll be 29 next year, a great age to sign a big contract.
I feel like the Cubs have to lock up Baez long term. I don’t see why he would ake a 1 year deal, he’s going to have massive multi-year offers on the table if he hits FA.
From the Cubs perspective, I think they need to retain some talent from that core and I don’t think it’s going to be Bryant that stays. Unless they’re doing a complete tear down and they like trade both of these guys mid-season, then letting them both walk seems like a major mistake.
I’d personally throw in some money for the Yanks to get Freeman
I don’t really believe Arenado will opt out. I don’t think Bauer will either. I also don’t see Freeman, Rizzo, or Kershaw making it to free agency as i think the Braves, Cubs, and Dodgers will all sign them to new deals before hand. After you get through the SS game of musical chairs it’s not a very inspiring group
2022 is going to be so interesting for the Mets. Will they bring everyone back? Conforto, Lindor, Stroman, Thor…that’s a lot of talent. The Mets can bring them all back, but whether they should or not will probably be determined by this season. Cano’s also back on the books. Fascinating time for a team with a brand-new owner wanting to spend big-time. They may have to go way over the luxury tax which explains their offseason this year.
Think people will be surprised at the numbers the big SS end up with. Having 5 stars on the market does not help them earn more. It hurts their earning power
Players may be wise to take an extension if the money is decent compared to recent big deals
5 stars on the market can also mean 5 teams just lost a star shortstop and want to buy a new one. It only hurts the market when they’re from teams that won’t join the bidding (like the Rockies).
I think the CBA uncertainty will cause some to take extensions rather than risk it though.
Braves need to lock up freeman now. I don’t care if he stinks the next 5 seasons (which he wont), he’s earned it. GO BRAVES!
Lindor is not even remotely on the same level as the guys mentioned in the article. Since 2016 he has topped a 120 WTC+ once. That isn’t a guy you commit big dollars to.
If the Nationals wait for another excellent year by Trea Turner and players like Lindor, Seager and Story to set the market it will be to their own detriment. And the reason why they let another superstar slip thru their grasp alarm Harper and Rendon.
Bryant a little too low you forgot how good his 2019 campaign was
3 yrs 25 mil a year – Kershaw
Correa is a fan favorite (right now) in Houston and elite on both sides of the ball when healthy. I will say that it’s amazing how quickly people forget with star players, good or bad. It wasn’t long ago that people were irritated with Correa and didn’t want him getting an extension. There’s a reason Bregman got a contract before him. Though, Correa has shown that he’s a great teammate and that he has star ability, he’s yet to achieve superstar status and at 300mil that’s what most would expect. Correa when healthy is highly underrated by most, his power and defense most notably. He just hasn’t been healthy long enough to really prove what he’s capable of. If the Astros don’t extend him, I’d be disappointed, but understanding.
The safe bets are Story and Lindor, Seager and Correa are the injury prone options with the highest ceilings. Baez is incredibly talented, just inconsistent. Major ups and downs
Conforto is the pretender here in this group. The Mets should have signed Springer and sent Conforto packing.
You should rename this article to “Total Earning Potential Power Rankings” and not just Power Rankings. A guy like Scherzer won’t command a $100+M contract anymore but he’s still a top 5 pitcher in the NL.
I stopped reading the article after the notion being asserted that Michael Conforto is one of the 30 best hitters in baseball. MLB Rumors indeed. The 2020 season is not indicative of a career, nor the sign of a trend.
I’m saying RBIs are more important in fantasy baseball than in real baseball!!
The guy runs away with the MVP, leads his team to within a game of the World Series, all while going through having COVID to begin the year and still he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. It should be obvious I’m talking about Freddie Freeman. It’s insane that he is just #7 I get he might have a little age on many of the others but this isn’t best long term options rankings it’s power rankings. Not one of the other top 10 comes close to his production and consistency. But hey that’s fine in the long run, the Braves can continue on with the games most underrated player leading their team he’s a top 5 player no matter who continues to overlook him.
Just look at the facts despite doing a full franchise overall, sending almost every star to another team and despite having a team friendly contract Freddie didn’t go anywhere and they never even contemplated trading him.
But yeah after his MVP I thought he’d finally get the respect he deserves. Chipper handed off the mantle of dominance and lifetime Brave to him and he never looked back.