Major League Baseball has officially entered the offseason with the Houston Astros winning the World Series just a couple weeks ago. The season’s end brings in one of the greatest free agent classes in recent history, filled with the likes of Justin Verlander, Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom and many more. This creates a lot of speculation as to which player goes where and for how much, which are a baseball fan’s favorite things to think about in November. I’m one of the biggest speculators out there and love seeing players shake up the league with record breaking contracts. Here are some of the best available players I believe will find new homes this upcoming season and where they might end up.
Carlos Rodón, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Rodón opted out of his contract with San Francisco after just one season in which he made his second consecutive All Star Game appearance. He posted a 2.88 ERA in 178 innings pitched, the most he’s reached ever in his eight-year career. St. Louis has made four consecutive playoff appearances but has nothing to show for it. The Cardinals have one of the best offensive and defensive teams in baseball with a solid pitching staff too, but they need that one piece to bring them over the hump. Starters Miles Mikolas, Jordan Montgomery, Adam Wainwright and Jack Flahtery are all above average starters that fill the Cardinals rotation as of now. Add Rodón to that mix and you have one of the best teams in baseball.
Carlos Correa, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
This is one of the best shortstop classes to hit free agency and Correa might be the best option for any team. He is just one season removed from finishing fifth in MVP voting and has proven he can perform outside of Houston as he batted .291 and had a 140 OPS+ with the Twins this year. Unsurprisingly, he opted out of the rest of his three-year deal with Minnesota to capitalize on the market. Los Angeles is expected to be big spenders as usual, and it looks like Trea Turner will be leaving them. Add in the fact they turned down third baseman Justin Turner’s option, they will drop a bag on any infielder, with Correa as their best option.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, Minnesota Twins
Boston has changed up their roster in the past couple seasons, becoming more reliant on free agents and trades than homegrown talent. New head of operations Chaim Bloom has reportedly not been in agreement with what Bogaerts thinks he is worth. It seems as if Bogaerts and Boston might not agree on the same price. Minnesota will most likely lose Correa in free agency and will gladly spend that cash on an all-star and silver slugger. The Twins will have to turn to free agency to fill the gap Correa leaves and Bogaerts just makes sense. Bogaerts has hit over .300 in three of the past four seasons and batted .295 in the year he didn’t. He was just awarded his fifth silver slugger award, made the All-Star Game four times and is a two-time world series champion.
Trea Turner, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
In my opinion, Trea Turner is the best position player on the market. He’s versatile and can play any position asked of him. He is the definition of a five-tool player with speed, hitting, fielding, power and great throwing. His former Nationals teammate, Bryce Harper, already has a large contract with the team that could play a role in his decision. Philadelphia went out and signed Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos in last year’s free agency, both moves propelled them to their first world series appearance since 2009. Turner has been connected to Philadelphia in recent weeks, and general manager Dave Dombrowski is one of the biggest spenders in baseball. With the recent success of the Phillies, they are not satisfied with being runners up and want the championship. Signing Turner proves to the rest of the league that they’re serious about the direction of the franchise.
Aaron Judge, OF, San Francisco Giants
Judge just had a monster season, totaling 62 home runs breaking the American League record, bringing in 131 RBIs, slugged for .686 and won his third ever silver slugger award. San Francisco’s general manager has come out and said that they won’t be outbid and there’s definitely interest at Judge’s end. He was born in California and a homecoming reunion would set the baseball world on fire. Expect New York to be heavily involved but they’re already paying Gerrit Cole’s nine-year $324 million contract. New York isn’t the only big spender in the market, like they used to be, and would need a decent roster change to afford Judge’s price tag. San Francisco, on the other hand, ranks 17th in current payroll compared to the Yankees at sixth.
Jacob deGrom, RHP, Texas Rangers
Probably the best starting pitcher on the market looks to be heading to Arlington this winter. Jacob deGrom totes four All Star Game appearances, two Cy Young awards (2018, 2019) and held an ERA of less than 2.50 in each season between 2018 through 2021. Texas spent big last off-season with the signings of infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien for a combined $500 million worth of contracts. Despite how much they gave out, they finished 26 games below .500 and fourth in the AL West with the ninth worst team ERA in the entire league. The biggest red flag that comes with deGrom is his health, having several injuries in the past few seasons. Texas needs to fix their pitching and despite the risk of deGrom, they seem like the team most willing to pay for him.