MLB’s so-called hot stove is up and running this month, there have already been some major signings, but that could come to a halt when the current collective bargaining agreement ends on December 1. If there is a closure, negotiations with the agents will stop until a new agreement is reached between the players and the owners.
Until then, everything continues as usual, at least that’s what the general managers were saying at their meetings in California recently.
Along those lines, we surveyed 20 team executives and MLB experts from both leagues on free agent landing spots and who is likely to move in the trades this offseason. Voters were assured anonymity and given the option to skip any questions that came too close to home.
This is how they voted and what they said about their elections.
Where will each free agent star shortstop land?
Javy baez: Mets 10, Astros 3, Rangers 3, Cubs 2, Mariners 2
Carlos Correa: Tigers 10, Rangers 6, Yankees 3, Astros 1
Corey seager: Yankees 12, Tigers 4, Rangers 2, Dodgers 2
Marcus semien: Mariners 8, Tigers 5, Rangers 4, Blue Jays 3
Trevor story: Rangers 8, Tigers 5, Astros 3, Yankees 2, Mariners 2
Although in most cases there were clear majorities about where these stars would play in 2022, most of the respondents were not very sure of their answers. They hedged their bets, mentioning more than one multiplayer team, although we only counted the best option for each. Teams looking for a shortstop don’t seem to be up for debate, but there were a lot of mixed thoughts about who ends up where.
“Everyone assumes that AJ Hinch and Correa will meet in Detroit, but don’t rule out Texas,” said one voter. “They need to build around someone and think that they will draw well in their new stadium if they have a star or two. Winning won’t happen right away, and Correa is young enough to be a part of whatever they build.”
“The Yankees need Seager,” said another voter. “They can’t add another right bat when a left-handed shortstop is looking at them. It makes too much sense. And we know he can handle the pressure after playing in Los Angeles. I’m picking him as the least pressured guy by agreeing to a huge free agent contract to play. In New York”.
“I think there could be a Javy Baez meeting with the Cubs if Baez wants to get back on the market in a year,” said another voter. “But if he’s willing to stay at second base, then the Mets have all the sense in the world.”
Which shortstop will get the biggest contract and for how much?
Carlos Correa (unanimous) – Average response: 10 years, $ 304 million
This was a unanimous choice, perhaps because he is the youngest of the group. Although he has had some injuries, voters overlooked any of those problems while offering a large number of contracts. The highest was $ 350 million for 12 years, while the lowest reached eight years for $ 250 million.
“His size makes him perfect for moving to third base eventually,” said one voter.
“He picked a good year to win the Gold and Platinum gloves,” said another voter. “You will get that during your peak years here, but no one can predict where your defense will be as you get older. Third base will be a good choice when you get into your thirties.”
Who will be the biggest name traded this winter?
The two Oakland players dominated this question, as the Athletics have singled out other teams that they are open to negotiation. Most of the respondents who chose Chapman as their No. 1 choice mentioned Olson and vice versa. People are convinced that at least one will move. Some thought it was now or never for Buxton and the Twins: sign him to a long-term contract this offseason or trade him.
“The Athletics will be smart about this and will give up their players more than a year before free agency to maximize their performance or just put off a deal until they hear the right thing,” said one voter. “There is no immediate urgency other than payroll concerns.”
“Chapman’s OPS + has gone down each of the last four years, but he can still pick him in third,” said another voter. “What about the two players [Athletics] it’s that their age makes them suitable for a rebuild or a team ready now. “
Which team will make the biggest stir?
The question was asked before the Tigers signed Eduardo Rodriguez for five years, so they are off to a good start. Most believe they will get a shortstop on top of whatever pitching they acquire. The steps they took in 2021 under Hinch have led them to believe they are very close to competing in a weak AL Central, although that description could change in 2022. “The Tigers have always been willing to spend under their ownership, so its no surprise that [el presidente] Chris Ilitch is signaling it’s time for them to do it again, “said one voter.” They think they hit a home run with Hinch in charge of the club. Maybe they have. “
“Texas just seems ready to do something,” said another voter. “Their attendance was surprisingly good in 2021. And they have some pieces to build in Adolis Garciaas well as some young pitchers. They are not ready to compete, but I can see them taking a few steps forward this offseason. “
Which of these aces are you most confident returning to form in 2022 after getting injured: Justin verlander, Clayton kershaw or Noah syndergaard?
If the vote seems lopsided, it’s probably because Verlander is getting over his injury issues after undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing all of 2021, while voters were unsure of Kershaw’s situation. He missed this year’s postseason with left elbow / forearm problems, while Verlander has been declared healthy and has already re-signed with Houston. Syndergaard signed with the Angels, but no voters chose him over the two former Cy Young winners.
“It’s nothing against Kershaw, but Verlander is in a better position to come back,” said one voter. “He’s been rested before just to get back to Cy Young form.”
“Syndergaard is the youngest of the three, but I can’t pick him over the other two Hall of Fame pitchers,” said another voter.
Which player in this year’s free agent crop is most likely to win Cy Young or MVP in 2022?
Voters were interested in Scherzer specifically for 2022, as he is one of the oldest free agents available. At some point, the 37-year-old will show some decline, but the majority of respondents did not indicate that it will be next year. Correa would likely have to improve his career numbers to win the award, while those who voted for Freeman called him “money in the bank.”
“Put Scherzer in a good team and / or pitcher-friendly stadium, it’s almost automatic to be in the race,” said one voter. “He showed so much with the Dodgers, and if he re-signs there, he’s as good a pick as you can make in November.”
“One of these years, I hope I’m right about Schwarber,” said the voter who chose the Red Sox free agent. “He showed he has monstrous power and now he can hit for average. Whether he plays first base, outfield or designated hitter, who knows?”
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MLB Offseason Poll: Where Will The Star Free Agency Shortstop Land? Who will spend a lot?