MLB Off-Season Predictions

Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

MLB Off-Season Predictions

MLB

MLB Off-Season Predictions

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Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

MLB Free Agency officially began on November 7th, and since we’ve seen some players ink substantial contracts such as Eduardo Rodriguez’s five-year, $77 million contract with the Tigers, Noah Syndergaard’s one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels, and Manny Pina’s two-year, $8 million deal with the Atlanta Braves. However, there are still a ton of exciting young talent, future Hall of Famers, and superstars remaining on the market. 

Note: Order of Predictions has no meaning

  • SS Carlos Correa, Houston Astros

Correa is the clear top name on the market this year, its’ been reported nearly 20 teams are interested in signing the former AL Rookie of the Year and 2021 Platinum Glove Winner. The 26-year-old star shortstop will wind up reuniting with a former manager in one of the league’s upcoming teams with a massive need at Shortstop. 

Prediction: Detroit Tigers, Eight years for $265 Million

  • SS Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

Seager is another young slugger on the market, with the Dodgers acquiring Trea Turner from the Nationals at the deadline, it’s pretty unlikely to see Seager return to LA. He will be highly coveted by multiple teams after missing out on Carlos Correa. 

Prediction: New York Yankees, Seven years for $210 Million

  • 1B Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

Freeman is coming off a world series win with his longtime club, it’s almost impossible to think that Freeman would leave the Braves for a new team but it’s not impossible. Many teams are willing to fork out a ton of cash for the five-time All-Star, however, it’s hard to think Freeman wants to end his career anywhere other than Atlanta. 

Prediction: Atlanta Braves, Three years for $87 Million

  • SS/2B Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays

The Oakland As let Semien walk in 2020, and they struggled to find a guy to provide the same ability in the middle infield. Semien had an all-time season which saw him hit 45 Home Runs with a .873 OPS. Being 31-years-old already limits how likely teams are to fork over a ton, especially after a breakout year but his flexibility to play both second and shortstop brings a lot of interest. He could return to Toronto but one west coast team needs a second baseman badly. 

Prediction: Seattle Mariners, Two years for $66 Million

  • SP Max Scherzer, Los Angeles Dodgers

Scherzer wanted to go west when he was traded at the deadline, and he found himself the ace in a stacked Dodgers rotation. Scherzer turns 38-years-old in July so the chances he signs anything other than a one-year contract is highly unlikely. While resigning with the Dodgers is always a possibility, another NL West team sounds like a better landing spot. 

Prediction: San Francisco Giants, One year for $33 Million

  • SS Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies

Story likely signs after Correa and Seager to give himself the best choices. Story will not return to the Rockies, especially after they denied him the opportunity to play elsewhere after the deadline. The risk of a post-Coors Field Story is a possibility to drive teams away, but shouldn’t impact him too much. Story was born in Texas, and returns to play out the rest of his career, but which team?

Prediction: Texas Rangers, Six years for $190 Million 

  • 3B/OF Kris Bryant, San Francisco Giants

The Giants paid a price for Bryant at the deadline, and he worked out for them, slashing .262/.344/.444 with a 113 OPS+ in 51 Games at both third base and in the outfield. The Giants are trying to stay competitive, even after the retirement of future Hall Of Fame catcher Buster Posey. After signing Scherzer, the Giants recoup another valuable piece

Prediction: San Francisco Giants, Five years for $135 Million 

  • SP Robbie Ray, Toronto Blue Jays

Robbie Ray is coming off a Cy-Young season (he may be the Cy-Young as you are reading this). After singing only an 8 Million deal with the Blue Jays, the 30-year-old set himself up nicely for an absolute payday. The Blue Jays could look to resign him, but after giving Berrios a 7 year, 131 Million deal earlier this week it’s a ton of money to spend on your rotation. A west coast team is clearly focused on fixing pitching and bringing in Ray could catapult the rotation. 

Prediction: Los Angeles Angels, Five years for $120 Million

  • OF/DH Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds

Castellanos opted out of his contract with the Reds, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him go back on another contract but his market is going to be sky high after absolutely blowing the doors off his 2021 season. A lot of teams are going to be vying for the star outfielder. Two possible homecomings arise, the Marlins and Tigers, and both are in desperate need of an OF/DH bat. 

Prediction: Detroit Tigers, Three years for $60 Million

  •  SP Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants

Gausman broke out with San Francisco in 2021 and it’s hard to think of him going elsewhere after a career year with San Francisco and finishing as the ace of the best team in baseball. The Giants have shown they are willing to spend money, and a lot of it in recent years. With the prediction that Scherzer heads to San Francisco, he pairs with Gausman to form one of the best duos in baseball. 

Prediction: San Francisco Giants, Three years for $60 Million

  •  SP Marcus Stroman, New York Mets

Stroman had a career year with the Mets in 2021 and has stated he loves playing in New York. The Mets have shown they have no questions when it comes to spending large amounts of money. Stroman, at only 30-years-old, and coming off back-to-back All-Star level seasons, is in line for a payday. 

Prediction: New York Mets, Four years for $85 Million

  •  OF Michael Conforto, New York Mets

Conforto has to show the ability to stay healthy if he wants a massive payday down the line. However, he’s only 28 coming off a season that saw him hit 14 home runs in 406 at-bats with a 101 OPS+. There should be no worry that Conforto can return back to his 2017-2019 form, and he’ll be paid like it.

Prediction: Cincinnati Reds, Five years for $95 Million

  •  OF Starling Marte, Oakland As

The As acquired Marte at the deadline from the Mariners for a top young pitching prospect, however, it’s likely the As are going to be severely cutting their payroll and Marte just doesn’t fit that mold. He was electric after the deadline posting a .317/.359/.446 line with 23 stolen bases. At 33, his market is slightly down but a ton of teams need a center fielder. 

Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies, Three years for $65 Million

  •  SP Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox

Rodon bet on himself last off-season. He signed a $3 million deal with the White Sox and turned out to be an ace for them, possibly winning the AL Cy-Young. At only 28, there are durability concerns but Rodon is in for a payday for nearly any team in need of pitching help. He likely doesn’t return to the White Sox, as they are struggling with payroll as it is. 

Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays, Four years for $110 Million

  •  SS/OF Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers

Chris Taylor is one of the more interesting names on the market right now, he’s going to be a star for any team that invests in him. The question is mainly where does he play. He doesn’t have much playtime at shortstop, but he projects as a top player in the MLB in the infield. He has the power with a .330+ OBP and an impressive .780 OPS. Most teams are going to crave defensive flexibility and hitting ability. 

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays, Four years for $70 Million

  •  SS/2B Javier Baez, New York Mets

Baez is such an interesting name on the market, he wasn’t the best out of the gate in New York but really turned it around the last month and a half of the season which rebounded his market. Baez can bring field, power, and versatility to a team, which is going to be valued. 

Prediction: Houston Astros, Five years for $100 Million

  •  1B Anthony Rizzo, New York Yankees

Like Baez, Rizzo is another interesting name. One of the four key pieces shipped off by Chicago in an attempt to retool the farm system, Rizzo found himself in New York. He absolutely smashed the ball there but he hasn’t been shy about making it known he misses Chicago. Rizzo isn’t the same he used to be but he’s playing great. The Yankees will likely push hard to keep Rizzo.

Prediction: Chicago Cubs, Three years for $45 Million

  •  3B Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners

Seager’s power and left-handed bat make him an intriguing piece for any team. He’s 34 and likely going to decline, but for a team in need of a left-handed bat or third baseman, he’s a great option available. With his brother Corey being a free agent, it’s not out of the question the two will pair up together and play a few years on the same team for the first time in their pro careers. 

Prediction: New York Yankees, Two years for $24 Million

  •  SP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw is likely the first name you think of when you hear the name Los Angeles Dodgers, and it’s with good intentions as well. He’s a lifelong Dodger and like Freddie Freeman, it’s hard to think of him playing anywhere else. However, he isn’t what he used to be so his market isn’t going to be nearly as high but he will still draw heavy interest.

Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers, One year for $20 Million

  •  OF Mark Canha, Oakland Athletics

Canha, like Robbie Grossman in 2020 will be a great addition to a team on a two-year deal that wants to increase their walk rate and on-base percentage. Canha could return to the As but it’s unlikely. With him likely looking to be a starter somewhere that does limit his options a bit but not completely. 

Prediction: Miami Marlins, Two years for $20 Million

  •  SP Anthony DeSclafani, San Francisco Giants

An under-the-radar name on the market, DeSclafani puts up good but not great numbers as a starter and can be a middle-of-the-rotation for a contending team. He’s put up around a 3-4 ERA the last 3 seasons which shows consistency some teams are chasing. 

Prediction: New York Yankees, Three years for $40 Million

  •  OF/1B/DH Kyle Schwarber, Boston Red Sox

Schwarber was amazing with the Red Sox this season after being traded from the Nationals. It’s hard to think he leaves Boston to go elsewhere, especially after being such a key piece in that lineup. If the NL adopts the DH that improves his market a ton, but for now it remains very limited outside of the AL. 

Prediction: Colorado Rockies, Three Years for $55 Million

  •  RP Mark Melancon, San Diego Padres

At 37, Melancon is still a stellar closer in the MLB. The Padres could look to keep him but with a younger pitcher on the way it’s likely smart they go with a younger arm and move on. Not many teams are in the need of a one-year rental arm but his market should still be strong. 

Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals, One Year for $7 Million

  •  SP Steven Matz, Toronto Blue Jays

Another member of the Blue Jays stellar rotation that is set to hit free agency. With Jose Berrios locked up long-term and Robbie Ray headed off to the Angels, the Jays need to lock up another arm. Matz was good but not great for the Jays in 2021 which does limit how much he’ll make but not enough to make a huge difference. 

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays, Three years for $25 Million 

  •  OF/DH Jorge Soler, Atlanta Braves

Soler was a massive part of the Braves world series run, and it came while playing the outfield. Soler is not a good defender but he did show some solid traits during Atlanta’s postseason run. Like Schwarber his market is limited if the NL doesn’t adopt a universal DH, but it doesn’t limit him as much as Schwarber. 

Prediction: Boston Red Sox, Three years for $34 Million

  •  RP Trevor Rosenthal, Oakland A’s

Rosenthal inked an $11 million deal with the A’s in the 2020 offseason but suffered injuries that caused him to miss the entire 2021 season. He’s coming off a major injury and is currently 31. Rosenthal dominated in 2020 with the Padres but considering the factors, his market is going to be small, but not gone. 

Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays, One year for $5 Million

  •  SP Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies

Gray had a great year for the Rockies, with all things considered. Teams could be wary if they look at his ERA but considering his stuff with control and velocity he could excel given the opportunity to play long term outside of Coors Field. He’s one of the more intriguing names in free agency and if teams are willing to commit to a possible risk determines his market, heavily.

Prediction: Chicago Cubs, Four years for $56 Million

  •  OF Joc Pederson, Atlanta Braves

Joc Pederson could have been said to basically change the course of the Atlanta Braves season. He is a great person off the field and brings the energy each time. If Pederson wants to remain in Atlanta as the 4th outfielder or designated hitter if implemented it makes a ton of sense. However, it seems he wants to play every day which won’t work in Atlanta

Prediction: Miami Marlins, One year for $12 Million

  •  CP Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

Jansen has seen his career decline in the last 2 years but he still has a respectable ERA, WAR and walk-to-strikeout ratio. At 34 years old there is still potential for Jansen to turn back into one of the league’s dominant closers we have seen him as for the last almost decade. 

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays, Two years for $25 Million

  •  RP Raisel Iglesias, Los Angeles Angels

Iglesias is going to be paid in free agency after declining his qualifying offer from the Angels. Iglesias, who will be 32-years-old, is the best reliever set to hit the market this year and is going to cost a team a fortune. He’s one of the league’s top closers and still has years to give.

Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers, Four years for $50 Million

  •  SP Alex Wood, San Francisco Giants

The Giants choose to not give Wood a qualifying offer which makes him very enticing for teams that are looking to add a quality starter without having to pay a fortune. He turns 31-years-old in January, he is set up nicely to get a payday with a team on a shorter contract. He has suffered from injuries in his career which will likely hinder his market but if he stays healthy he’ll be a great mid-rotation starter for a team.

Prediction: Detroit Tigers, Two Years for $22 Million

  •  SP Tyler Anderson, Seattle Mariners

Anderson, like Wood, is one of the more under-the-radar pitchers in this class. He hasn’t had a great ERA but he has shown the stuff to be a top of rotation pitcher for a team. Anderson is set to turn 32 soon and with his fringe ERA and slight durability concern he won’t receive a lengthy deal but something with substance. 

Prediction: Cleveland Guardians, One Year for $8 Million

  •  3B/SS/RF Seiya Suzuki, Hiroshima Carp (Japan)

The Hiroshima Carp are expected to post Suzuki for MLB teams. He’s been highly praised in the Japanese league. This year he has slashed .319/.436/.640 with 38 home runs, 26 doubles, and 9 stolen bases. He has a good mix of power, speed, contact, and works well in the field. He is a versatile piece and it’s going to be interesting if he chooses to play for a high market team or one of the younger upcoming teams. A ton of the top teams are going to have a hard time trying to put Suzuki into their lineups which will limit the teams that will have interest. Teams on the rise that are looking to make a potential splash signing and need that guy to help them turn the corner seem to be the better fits. 

Prediction: Texas Rangers, Five years for $55 Million

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