Fresh off the heels of an overnight signing, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around baseball throughout the day:
1. When will the Correa market heat up?
Now that Xander Bogaerts is in San Diego and Trea Turner is in Philadelphia — both on 11-year contracts — Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson are the last two stars standing on the free agent shortstop market. With Swanson’s market potentially held up due to Correa’s lingering presence on the market, it begs the question of when Correa will sign. So far, the Giants, Cubs, and incumbent Twins appear to be Correa’s top suitors, while the Dodgers are known to be out of the Correa market. Correa’s market was likely being held up, to some extent, by San Francisco’s pursuit of Aaron Judge, but his market has remained fairly quiet since Judge agreed to a nine-year deal with the Yankees last week. It’s worth noting that in previous offseasons, agent Scott Boras has frequently been willing to allow negotiations for his top clients to stretch well into the new year in order to ensure they receive the best possible offer.
2. Rodon stands alone
With Kodai Senga set to pitch in Queens next season, the top pitcher on the market, Carlos Rodon, stands as not only the last remaining ace on the free agent market, but also the youngest option available, having just celebrated his 30th birthday over the weekend. The incumbent Giants could be moving on from Rodon, based on their late-night deal with Sean Manaea. Rodon, who is reportedly seeking a seven-year deal, still has plenty of rumored options available. The Yankees, Dodgers, Twins, Orioles, and Blue Jays have all been mentioned as having interest in Rodon, while the Cardinals may be entering the market for the ace as well. The Mets and Rangers were previously known to have interest in Rodon, as well. However, the Mets have agreed to deals with three starters (Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, Senga), while the Rangers have since signed both Jacob deGrom and Andrew Heaney. It’s possible neither is aggressively pursuing Rodon at this point. With the rest of the top pitching market largely decided, Rodon may be the next domino to fall at the top of the free agent market this offseason. Chris Bassitt and Nathan Eovaldi are among the best alternative options available for teams in need of pitching who don’t land Rodon.
3. How long will the trade market stay dormant?
This year’s Winter Meetings saw a bonanza of activity on the free agent market, with over $2 billion in spending on free agents. That activity masked a trade market that’s been very quiet this offseason, and figures to heat up now that so many free agents have come off the board. The trade market is particularly flush with catchers, as Oakland has made Sean Murphy available while Toronto has fielded interest on their catching trio of Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno. There’s also a fair number of rumors on the outfield market, with Bryan Reynolds requesting a trade from the Pirates, the Twins drawing some interest in Max Kepler, and the Diamondbacks listening on their surplus of outfield talent. Elsewhere on the market, the Reds are reportedly interested in dealing some of their surplus of infield prospects for outfield prospects, while the Marlins are known to be entertaining offers on much of their pitching staff, including Pablo Lopez and Trevor Rogers. As teams begin to exhaust payroll space and as the supply of impact free agents continues to dwindle, trade talks figure to escalate.