One of the most interesting groups among free agents this winter is the one formed by the baseball players who will have a new opportunity to find that great contract that every player craves: Those who signed one-year deals last offseason and increased their value substantially. in 2021.
It is one of the reasons why this market for free agents is especially strong. Not only do you have players trying free agency for the first time and seasoned stars coming from completing long mega-contracts, but you also have several who played in 2021 under one-year deals.
Here are nine free agents who fall into that last category and could end up getting multi-year deals this time around. (The age they will be in 2022 is listed).
Kevin Gausman, RHP (age 31)
2021 contract: US $ 18.9 million with SF
Rather than test the free market after a solid 2020 season (3.62 ERA 11.9 K / 9, Gausman accepted San Francisco’s qualifying offer for $ 18.9 million, thus betting on his own talent. The 30-year-old right-hander responded to big, setting career caps in ERA (2.81), WHIP (1.04), FIP (3.00), innings pitched (192) and strikeouts (227) with those Giants who won 107 games.
Marcus Stroman, RHP (age 31)
2021 contract: $ 18.9 million with NYM
The only other player to accept the qualifying offer last winter, Stroman did so after deciding not to play in 2020. He returned to make 33 starts in 2021 with a 3.02 ERA and a 3.49 FIP in 179 innings. The 30-year-old pitcher isn’t a great strikeout, but he’s a proven starter in both leagues.
Marcus Semien, 2B / SS (age 31)
2021 contract: US $ 18 million with TOR
After surprisingly finishing third in the AL MVP voting in 2019, Semien did not fare well in 2020 with the Athletics. In the end, he signed with the Blue Jays and moved to second base because of the presence of Bo Bichette at shortstop. Semien played all 162 Toronto games and ended up leading the Blue Jays in WAR (7.1, according to Baseball-Reference) and setting the record for most home runs (45) in a season by a second baseman.
Kyle Schwarber, 1B / OF (age 29)
2021 contract: US $ 10 million with WSH (changed to BOS)
After a frustrating 2020 with the Cubs, Schwarber signed with the Nationals in January and hit 25 home runs in 72 games before injuring his right leg in July. When he returned, he was wearing the Red Sox uniform. He was one of Boston’s best hitters down the stretch (.291 / .435 / .522 with seven home runs in 41 games in the regular round) before hitting another three home runs in the playoffs. His contract has a mutual option for US $ 11.5 million by 2022, but it is expected that he will not exercise it.
Robbie Ray, LZ (30 years old)
2021 contract: US $ 8 million with TOR
Semien wasn’t the Blue Jays’ only big one-year signing. Toronto retained Ray despite the left-hander posting a 6.62 ERA with 45 walks and 13 homers in 51.2 innings in 2020. The bet paid big bonuses: Ray led the LA in ERA (2.84), WHIP (1.04) and innings. (193.1) and the Major League Baseball in strikeouts (248), also dropping his strikeout rate from 17.9% to 6.7%, the best of his career. Despite an inconsistent career, doing in 2021 and a lifetime strikeout rate of 11.2 K / 9 will make him have plenty of suitors.
Anthony DeSclafani, RHP (32 years old)
2021 contract: US $ 6 million with SF
San Francisco signed DeSclafini for $ 6 million after the veteran finished 2020 with a 7.22 ERA and a 6.10 FIP in 33.2 innings in 2020. Boy, he did better in 2021. The 31-year-old right-hander finished with the best ERA. (3.17) and career-best WHIP (1.09) with 152 strikeouts in 167.2 innings.
Mark Melancon, RHP (37 years old)
2021 contract: US $ 3 million with SD
Melancon, who once signed for $ 62 million with the Giants for four years, solidified San Diego as a closer, leading MLB with 39 saves in 45 chances and a 2.23 ERA in 64.2 innings. At 36, he’s a free agent again.
Carlos Rodón, LZ (29 years old)
2021 contract: US $ 3 million CWS
After being released by the White Sox after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2019 and pitching just 7.2 innings (an ERA of 8.22) in 2020, Rodón waited months in free agency before re-agreeing with Chicago. The southpaw pitched like an ace, pitching a no-hitter in his second start and posting a 2.37 and 185 ERA for just 36 walks in 132.2 innings. The big question remains health, as he lost time in the second half due to shoulder fatigue. However, there should be many interested in a pitcher who at times seemed like MLB’s most dominant starter in 2021.
Kendall Graveman, RHP (age 31)
2021 contract: US $ 1.25 million with SEA (changed to HOU)
Traded from the Mariners to the Astros in July, Graveman finished the season with a 1.77 ERA and continued to enhance his postseason resume as one of manager Dusty Baker’s trusted arms. In a year without truly elite relievers in free agency, Graveman could be an interesting option.
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After a year, they return to the free market