That includes a number of stars who went through this last year and are free agents again.
For various reasons, the 11 players listed below signed one-year contracts (or multi-year deals with opt-out clauses after one year) before the 2022 campaign, then hit the field and put up impressive numbers to significantly increase their value before trying the free market again.
Contract in 2022: 1 year, $8 million with the Dodgers
Technically, this isn’t Anderson’s second chance at free agency, but rather his fourth. He tested the market after the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons, signing for one year each time. But after having the best season of his life at age 32, Anderson could be well positioned to receive a multiyear deal. Anderson finished 2022 with a 2.57 ERA in 178.2 innings for the Dodgers and also shone in the postseason, throwing five two-hit scoreless innings against the Padres in his only playoff outing.
Contract in 2022: 3 years, $105.3 million with the Twins (including clauses to leave after 2022 and 2023)
Part of the remarkable group of shortstops who hit free agency after the 2021 season, Correa was expected to fight for the biggest contract of them all. However, he ended up signing a surprise deal with the Twins that guaranteed him $35.1 million a year while also giving him a chance to get out of it and test the market again this winter. Correa effectively dropped out, joining another solid group of shortstops along with Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson and Xander Bogaerts. Now 28, Correa leads all shortstops in Baseball-Reference WAR for the past two seasons.
Contract in 2022: 1 year, $900,000 with the Reds
After hitting .214 with 20 home runs and a .624 OPS in 218 games for the Yankees, Blue Jays and Mets between 2018 and 2021, Drury’s free agency options were very limited. The veteran signed a minor league deal with the Reds and made the team in Spring Training, earning $900,000. Already 30 years old, Drury ended up setting career highs with 28 home runs, 87 RBIs and an .814 OPS in 138 games between the Reds and the Padres, who acquired him midseason. With the ability to defend adequately at first, second and third base, Drury could be a very popular name these months.
Contract in 2022: 1 year, $6 million with the Giants
Power is Pederson’s best attribute, but after hitting .227/.304/.416 with 25 home runs in 180 games for the Dodgers, Cubs and Braves between 2020 and 2021, his value when he entered free agency last year was not it was exactly at the highest point. Pederson rebounded with the bat in 2022, posting an .874 OPS. The 30-year veteran isn’t much of a defender and he’s a bat to see right-handers, but his ability to snap against right-handers should open up several options on the market for him.
Contract in 2022: 1 year, $4 million with the Rangers
Perez’s contract with the Rangers received little attention in March, especially after the team signed Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray for a total of $556 million. A free agent for the fourth year in a row, the left-hander signed another one-year deal, returning to the team he began his career with in 2012. Pérez was a second-half rotation starter during his first decade in the Majors, but he emerged as the Rangers’ ace in 2022, posting a 2.89 ERA in 196 1/3 innings.
Contract in 2022: 1 year, $2 million with the Pirates
Quintana bottomed out in 2021, when he posted a 6.43 ERA in 63.0 innings for the Angels and Giants, giving the Colombian left-hander a 4.51 ERA since early 2017. However, the 33-year-old pitcher headed with the Pirates in the first half of 2022 (3.50 ERA) and improved after joining the Cardinals (2.00 ERA) at the trade deadline. Quintana finished the regular season with a 2.93 ERA in 165 2/3 innings, and then pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series.
Anthony Rizzo1 B
Contract in 2022: 2 years, $32 million with the Yankees (with the option to opt out after 2022)
Rizzo was one of the most consistent hitters in the majors from 2014 to 2019, averaging 30 home runs and 99 RBIs a year with a combined .901 OPS, but his production dropped in the two years before he became a free agent. The Yankees re-signed Rizzo to a two-year deal, guaranteeing the 32-year-old first baseman $16 million a year and giving him the option to opt out after the first season. After rebounding with 32 homers and an .817 OPS in 130 games in 2022, Rizzo will try his luck on the free agent market again.
Contract in 2022: 1 year, $3.5 million with the Cubs
After throwing just 18 2/3 innings from 2019 to 2021 and spending much of that time recovering from Tommy John surgery, Robertson returned to health in 2022. The 37-year-old pitcher had 20 saves and posted a 2.40 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings for the Cubs and Phillies, re-establishing himself as a reliable late-inning weapon heading into another foray into the free-agent market.
2022 contract: 2 years, $44 million with Giants (with option to opt out after 2022)
Rodón had a brilliant campaign for the White Sox in 2021, but it was hard to gauge his value as a free agent because of his injury history and inconsistent performance in his first six seasons. The left-hander ended up signing a two-year deal with the Giants, granting him the option to opt out of the deal after 2022. Rodón bolstered his breakout season with another brilliant year in which he posted a 2.88 ERA while leading the Majors in FIP ( 2.25) and strikeouts per nine innings (12.0) in 178.0 innings of work. He is one of the best starters available on the market this year.
Justin Verlander, LD
Contract in 2022: 1 year, $25 million with the Astros (plus a $25 million player option for 2023)
Although Verlander was limited to one start during the shortened 2020 season and missed all of 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, the Astros signed him for a guaranteed $25 million when he became a free agent a year ago. His contract also included a $25 million option for 2023 that he activated when he reached 130.0 innings. The 39-year-old veteran surpassed that number, and by far as he crafted a season likely to culminate in his third Cy Young Award. After finishing with a major league-best 1.75 ERA and 0.83 WHIP and 185 strikeouts in 175 innings, Verlander is expected to decline his option to pursue a multiyear deal.
Contract in 2022: 1 year, $7 million with the Red Sox
The Red Sox were Wacha’s fourth team in as many years. The veteran entered 2022 having posted a 5.11 ERA and a 5.07 FIP for the Cardinals, Mets and Rays from 2019 to 2021. Although a rocky finish affected his final numbers, the 31-year-old was Boston’s best starter in 2022, season in which he posted an earned run average of 3.32 and a WHIP of 1.12 in 127.1 innings. He had 3.3 WAR for the Red Sox, nearly double what he produced in the six seasons combined (1.7).
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A year later, these stars are free agents again