Free agency always ends up touching every facet of baseball, from building a roster to the trade deadline and even to the draft. Every team, and really every player, is thinking about her all the time. And it affects every club, regardless of whether it is a candidate to win the World Series, a ninth who dreams of reaching the postseason or a team that is rebuilding. You have to know who is available in the market. And who will be soon.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top free agent on each team for this upcoming offseason. Who will enter the market this winter? Who needs to close the campaign at full speed? Who will be the most wanted free agent when November rolls around?
The listed age is the one that each player will have by July 1, 2022
Blue Jays: Marcus Semien, 2B / SS (age 30)
The decision to sign a year with the Blue Jays is looking better and better: There is probably no free agent who has raised his bonuses more this season than Semien.
Orioles: Matt Harvey, RHP (age 33)
Rebuilding teams generally don’t have great free agent cases to worry about. And that’s the situation here.
Rays: Nelson Cruz, BD (age 41)
The Dominican could probably land a string of one-year contracts over the next decade, but it would be great if someone gave him three or four years. If the BD permanently returns to the National, perhaps it would be worth it. He’s just 59 home runs short of 500, and by now you have to think he’s going to try to stay active to get there.
Red Sox: Adam Ottavino, RHP (age 36)
That three-year contract you originally signed with the Yankees went fast, right? The Red Sox may want to start thinking about an extension for Rafael Devers (free agent after 2023) as they decide what to do with Ottavino.
Yankees: Anthony Rizzo, 1B (age 32)
The prospect of seeing Rizzo shining in the postseason – something he is well acquainted with – could be quite appealing to several suitors. But the Yankees need to get to October first.
Cleveland: Roberto Pérez, C (33 years old)
Cleveland could exercise the team’s $ 7 million option, but honestly, in the situation the team is in right now, it’s hard to know which direction management is going to take.
Royals: Greg Holland, RHP (36 years old)
He was fantastic last year with Kansas City, but considerably less so this season. Someone will give it another chance, however.
Tigers: José Ureña, RHP (30 years old)
The Dominican couldn’t find his way again with the Tigers this year, but with his track record, someone could give him one last chance this offseason. (Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera still has two more years on his contract).
Twins: Andrelton Simmons, SS (32 years old)
So why didn’t they change it last month? We’ll see what market there is for him and what kind of opportunity the Twins may have missed.
White Sox: Carlos Rodón, LZ (29 years old)
Speaking of someone who has his best season at the perfect time. Assuming the shoulder discomfort that put him on the disabled list is nothing serious, Rodón is surely securing a good chunk of money this year.
Angels: Raisel Iglesias, RHP (32 years old)
The Angels will have several free agents this year, but truth be told, Cuban Iglesias (and maybe Alex Cobb) is one of the few pieces that they are really going to miss.
Athletics: Mark Canha, OF (age 33)
Starling Marte is another possibility here, but Canha has been a part of the A’s for the longest time.
Astros: Carlos Correa, SS (27 years old)
There are many options on this team: It doesn’t happen very often that a team can lose its short stop star and two potential Hall of Famers from its rotation like Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke.
Mariners: James Paxton, LZ (age 33)
He signed a one-year contract and it didn’t go well. But he could be well on his way to his recovery from Tommy John surgery and try again in 2022.
Rangers: Brock Holt, 3B (age 34)
Holt’s market could focus more on his bat and defensive versatility than his pitching skills, one suspects.
Braves: Freddie Freeman, 1B (age 32)
Will he be the brightest free agent on the market? Can the Braves have the luxury of losing him?
Marlins: Ross Detwiler, LZ (age 36)
The Marlins are building a team that will hopefully turn options like Detwiler (and Sandy Leon and Joe Panik) into unnecessary signatures in the future.
Mets: Michael Conforto, OF (age 29)
Conforto has had a bad year, but it really is the first bad year of his career. It should not be ruled out that he is seeking a one-season contract to restore his value. Noah Syndergaard, who hasn’t pitched since 2019 and is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, is another interesting name here and a successful September comeback (which is still possible) could do wonders for his future.
Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, 1B (age 37)
We are here to remind you that Zimmerman, when he has played this year, has not done badly at all.
Phillies: Andrew McCutchen, OF (age 35)
This is presuming that the Phillies do not exercise their $ 15 million option, which is unclear. The next notable option is probably one of your relievers, like Archie Bradley or Ian Kennedy.
Brewers: Eduardo Escobar, 2B / 3B (33 years old)
The Venezuelan, who came on a trade from the D-backs, could showcase all his talent in the postseason.
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright, RHP (age 40)
Both Wainwright and Puerto Rican Yadier Molina (not to mention Andrew Miller, Matt Carpenter, Kwang Hyun Kim and probably Carlos Martinez) will be free agents this year. Will San Luis bring them back for a senior year?
Cubs: Zach Davies, RHP (29 years old)
Yes, believe it or not, the Cubs have a free agent that they didn’t trade last month.
Pirates: Gregory Polanco, OF (age 30)
Given his .631 OPS and the fact that he didn’t end up being the player the club expected, it’s hard to see the Pirates exercising the Dominican’s $ 12.5 million option.
Reds: Nick Castellanos, OF (age 30)
He is likely to get out of the two years and $ 34 million left on his contract. And after the year you’ve had it, you’ll probably get a good reward for doing it.
D-backs: Asdrúbal Cabrera, 1B / 3B (36 years old)
It will be the year 2031 and you will be watching any game on a Tuesday afternoon, and when you suddenly see the Venezuelan you will ask yourself, “Is Asdrúbal Cabrera still playing ?!”
Dodgers: Corey Seager, SS (age 28)
The Dodgers have so many stars that I wouldn’t blame you if you pick Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer or even Chris Taylor (among the top 20 position players in WAR, according to FanGraphs).
Giants: Kevin Gausman, RHP (age 31)
The downside of the Giants’ success with all of these veterans is that they are going to have to determine which ones to sign offseason, including Gausman, Kris Bryant, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Alex Wood and Darin Ruf.
Parents: Tommy Pham, OF (34 years old)
Pham is one of those players who has come under the table amid the Padres’ success this year, but is clearly positioned to land a good deal this winter.
Rockies: Trevor Story, SS (age 29)
Everyone presumes that he will not return and that will probably end up happening… but considering his downturn and the amount of options that will be in the shortstop market, he is at least likely to accept the qualified offer.