Whether your favorite team is in the market for a big bat or an ace, this year’s crop of free agents has the potential to make this an exciting MLB offseason. But a number of factors are conspiring to make this winter’s hot-stove season run ice cold.
From uncertainty around labor issues to questions over revenues and the way teams were willing to wait out players last offseason, it’s hard to predict how much money will be out there for even the biggest stars. On the other hand, there have already been a couple of major deals, including the Angels signing Noah Syndergaard and the Tigers grabbing Eduardo Rodriguez on a five-year, $77 million contract.
Those are just precursors to some of the biggest free-agent deals waiting to be signed this year. Here’s a look at five of the biggest names who could move during the MLB hot-stove season.
Carlos Correa (Shortstop, Houston Astros)
Correa reached the World Series with Houston this past season, hitting .279 with 26 homers and 92 RBIs in his healthiest campaign since 2016. Just 27 years of age, Correa could easily land a large, multi-year contract, even in a marketplace that doesn’t favor such deals. The Yankees have emerged as an early favorite in the Correa sweepstakes, though it’s unclear how much they’re willing to spend. The Astros are also likely to compete to keep Correa on their roster.
Corey Seager (Shortstop, Los Angeles Dodgers)
Did I mention that this year’s free-agent class is loaded with shortstops? Seager is also 27 years old, and is also coming off a strong year – albeit one in which he broke his hand, costing him nearly half the season. He batted .306 with a .915 OPS in just 95 games, though he struggled in Los Angeles’ playoff run. The Dodgers and the Yankees appear to be the leading contenders to nab Seager’s services next year.
Trevor Story (Shortstop, Colorado Rockies)
Story rounds out our list of the top shortstops up for grabs in this MLB offseason. Most expected Colorado to deal Story during the 2021 season, as the Rockies could have gotten significant value back for the 29-year-old. Story hit .251 with 24 homers last year, with his production improving significantly in the second half. A host of teams are said to be interested in signing Story, from the Yankees (of course) to the Phillies, Rangers, Astros, and Mariners.
Max Scherzer (Starting Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers)
At 37 years old, Scherzer won’t be looking for a long-term deal. But the three-time Cy Young Award winner will still command a hefty price on the open market after going 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 2021. The Dodgers may look to resign him – turning him into more than a short-term rental – but will face competition from a host of teams, including the Astros, Yankees, and Angels.
Robbie Ray (Starting Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays)
Ray put together the best season of his career in 2021, winning a Cy Young Award to anchor the Blue Jays’ rotation. He put up a 2.84 ERA with a 13-7 record and a 1.045 WHIP, the kind of numbers that will make Toronto battle with numerous potential suitors to retain his services this offseason. The Blue Jays will make a strong push to keep Ray, but the Angels will also compete for all the top starting pitchers as they look to bolster their rotation around Shohei Ohtani and Syndergaard.