The MLB lockdown is finally over, which means the freelance market is back up and running. Here are the top players who could be signed in the next few days.
The locking process has ended. Final.
The lockdown lasted 99 days. There have been alleged “deadline deadlines” with threats to cancel Opening Day and there have even been reports that the entire season could be missed. But on Thursday afternoon, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement — and it would send the entire industry into a frenzy.
Spring training will begin on March 17 or 18. The opening date could be April 7. And the free agency will open on Thursday night, just hours after the CBA is approved.
“It will be pandemonium,” said a well-known dealer.
“The free agency is unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” said a second agent.
“Teams will be looking to complete transactions quickly, so I think there will be some action,” another said.
Here’s a look at the top six players on the market just hours before the free agent opens.
Carlos Correa is one of the top free MLB agents
Shortly after locking lips, Carlos Correa turned his agent over to Scott Boras in hopes of getting a big contract in the free agency agency. He’ll be looking for a deal that’s higher than Corey Seager’s 10-year, $325 million contract.
The only question is: who gave it to him?
Correa, 27, has been connected to the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, among others. Rangers signed both Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, so they left, and the Tigers signed Javier Baez. Can they follow a similar pattern and try to add two more senior domestic players, reuniting Correa with his longtime manager AJ Hinch?
While the Tigers are said to be “in love” with Correa, they aren’t willing to spend over $300 million to sign him before closing. There will be plenty of interest in Correa, but if other major market teams are unwilling to accommodate his high demands, he could struggle to land the type of contract he is looking for. .
Entering the season, everyone predicted that Freeman would re-sign with the Braves. Alas, Freeman and the Braves failed to agree to a pre-lockdown agreement, and it cast considerable doubt about his future. It’s still hard for me to see him leave Atlanta, but the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and possibly others have turned into potential suitors.
The contract comparison made between rival executives was Paul Goldschmidt’s five-year, $130 million extension with the Cardinals. Both transactions will involve players in their 32-year-olds and both are represented by Excel Sports Management. But USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that Freeman is looking for a $200 million six-year deal, meaning there’s a $65 million gap between what he wants and the $135 million offer. la that the Braves launched in September.
My gut tells me he’s staying in Atlanta, but if he leaves, the Dodgers are a team to watch. One note: One source says that Max Muncy, the Dodgers’ current first baser, “prefers the second base to the first.”
The floor for Story could be Javier Baez’s six-year $140 million contract, which teams could see as a cheaper alternative to Correa.
According to sources from the major leagues, among the teams that expressed interest in Story prior to the closure was the Seattle Mariners. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Mariners want Story to play in third place and have a “long list of suitors” who want him to play multiple positions.
In October, Story not excluded back to the Rockies. But his first priority was, and still is, playing against an opponent. “Winning is at the top of the list and that’s what has always meant the most to me.”
Among the teams signed up to participate in Bryant include the New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros.
Bryant, 30, is arguably the market with the most cloud among the top free agents. There are mixed reviews among rival executives and agents about where he signed. One note: Before free agency, the Mariners called people close to Bryant and tried to gather information. “It’s kind of like a recruiting introduction,” said one source.
The Miami Marlins expressed a strong interest in Castellanos prior to closing. But with Derek Jeter leaving the team and reports emerging that their payrolls could drop after the cut-off, he could be out of their price range.
Castellanos, 30 in March, posted 140 wRC+ and 34 home runs, both placing third among freelancers. He’s one of the best in the freelance company, having made the easy decision to opt out of the remaining two years, with $34 million on his contract. He comes with concerns – he sticks to the qualifying offer and is a below average defender in the outfield – but with MLB deploying the commonly designated attacking player, he will attract strong interest in the market.
Among the teams that are significant for the Castellanos include the Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres, among others.
I’m a bit surprised Schwarber didn’t sign before locking the door. There have been a lot of rumors that a deal is in the works, but with universal DH done in 2022, his market is expected to be buoyant almost immediately.
Schwarber, 29, has a couple of things going for him compared to Castellanos because he’s a year younger and hasn’t been offered a qualifying offer. Additionally, Schwarber outperformed most top freelancers in multiple categories, including Castellanos, Freeman, Correa, Semien, and Bryant.
One team to keep an eye on Schwarber would be the Philadelphia Phillies, who had expressed strong interest before the game. The Texas Rangers are another team quietly interested in Schwarber, according to major league sources, though they are likely to leave after signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, among others.
https://fansided.com/2022/03/10/mlb-lockout-top-free-agents/ The top 6 free agents have now ended their MLB lockout