From All-Star infielders like Carlos Correa and Marcus Semien to future Hall of Fame hurlers like Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw, much dinero will bless these star players.
Thank you, Max. For everything.
• 189 starts
• 1,610 strikeouts
• 76 10-K games
• 6 All-Star selections
• 2 Cy Young Awards
• 1 20-K game
• 1 World Series ring
• A lifetime of memories
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 30, 2021
Free Agent Game Changers
Free agency begins the day after the World Series ends. However, per league rules, MLB free agents can’t sign with a new team until five days following the conclusion of the World Series.
The five-day period gives teams an exclusive window to negotiate their impending free-agent talent.
Here’s a list of the top free agents who will most likely be playing elsewhere next season.
1. Carlos Correa
The Astros were quietly hoping that Correa’s market value would dip due to injuries or struggles at the plate, which in return might drop his asking price and keep the Astros in contention to retain their homegrown World Series shortstop.
Well, that plan has failed, as Correa is the top free agent position player on the market as he makes the top of our list.
The Astros don’t win this game without Carlos Correa at SS pic.twitter.com/6JmYaCNeSA
— Joshstros (@Joshstros1) September 23, 2021
The consummate teammate, playoff proven performer and budding superstar will earn upwards of $200 million on his next contract.
The two-time All-Star revealed in April that contract negotiations with the team never materialized, hinting at an imminent departure after this final World Series run.
Correa didn’t make it a secret that the Astros probably wouldn’t be able to afford the 27-year-old shortstop, who’s entering his prime.
He’s also probably ready to leave the stain of the cheating scandal and being associated with that moment in baseball history behind him and start fresh.
Correa is a phenomenal fielder and has a great bat. As of this weekend he ranked third at his position in WAR (Wins Above Replacement at 5.5), while also owning a solid (.863) OPS, and leading the league in DRS (Defensive Runs Saved).
2. Corey Seager
Corey Seager helped lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to their first World Series title in over 30 years while also being named the NLCS MVP and World Series MVP in the process.
His stock skyrocketed as he prepares for what’s sure to be a lucrative contract for one of the game’s most offensively explosive shortstops.
Many view “Seags” as the top available free agent of this class. He will be coveted by many teams.
Seager’s had his share of injuries in his career, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018 and dealing with elbow, hand and hamstring issues at times.
But when you boast an (.859 OPS) and 22.5 fWAR through 624 career games, those stats speak for themselves. He’s probably too pricey for the Dodgers, who already have a star-heavy payroll and shortstop Trae Turner.
The 2016 National League Rookie of the Year is on schedule to become one of the highest-paid players in MLB, but probably not with L.A.
3. Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant is one of the most intriguing free agents this winter. Once an NL MVP and considered one of the best players in baseball, the 29-year-old’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years.
Bryant posted a (.903 OPS) in 2019, but the COVID-19-shortened season saw him with a paltry (.644 OPS), one of the worst of his career.
His 2021 season has been a roller coaster as Bryant posted a .324/.406/.611 slash line with 12 home runs and a (1.016 OPS) in his first 50 games.
Over his next 43 contests with the Cubs, he slashed a disappointing .192/.296/.362 with a (.658 OPS).
Super agent Scott Boras will be able to negotiate a plentiful bag for the former rookie of the year and World Series champion.
4. Freddie Freeman
It’s hard to imagine Freeman, the 2020 NL MVP, wearing anything other than a Braves uniform.
Drafted with the 78th pick in the 2007 MLB Draft, he quickly ascended to become an elite prospect and made his MLB debut in September 2010.
More than a decade later, the five-time All-Star could hit the open market.
The Braves and Freeman have discussed an extension all year, but the two sides remain far apart.
He just turned 32, so the market for “Free Swinging Freddie” will be slightly reduced, as it is these days for most superstars 30 and older.
If the Braves plan to bring Freeman back and avoid a fan revolt, it’s likely going to cost in the $150 million-plus range.
5. Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies)
A relatively disappointing season won’t take too much of Story’s shine. He should still have a nice line of suitors for his services.
He played through an elbow injury for one of the worst teams in MLB, doing all he could in a non-competitive environment. Even away from Coors Field, teams should feel confident in his bat and glove.
Max Scherzer — The 38-year-old three-time Cy Young award winner is still worthy of big bucks
Marcus Semein — The former shortstop tied Davey Johnson’s record for most homers in a season by a second baseman.
Robbie Ray — 2021 AL Cy Young candidate seems to be getting better with age
Marcus Stroman — His durability and consistency will land him a great contract
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) September 5, 2021
Kevin Gausman — A definite No. 2 starter on any team