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2022 MLB free agent predictions: Ranking the 10 best, more

Carlos Correa MLB free agent predictions
Carlos Correa leads MLB's free-agent class of 2022.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The holiday season isn’t just for family and good tidings. In Major League Baseball, it’s hot-stove season as free agency ramps up and some of the top stars available on the market begin signing deals. 

This year may provide a different feel; potentially one with some urgency as MLB’s expiring Collective Bargaining Agreement at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 1 could usher in a lockout that begins the moment the clock strikes midnight on the morning of Dec. 2.

If history suggests anything, negotiations between the league and the players’ association won’t bear an immediate resolution, which means a lockout and the ensuing roster freeze could see zero activity on the free-agent market for an extended period of time. 

That’s why you’ve already seen some big names commit to deals as they don’t want to gamble on waiting through winter before starting up negotiations with teams again. 

It’s an unfortunate backdrop to an offseason that sees a plethora of big names and All-Stars available on the market, which is going to create an ever-so-intriguing offseason once teams and agents are given the green light to let it fly once more. 

While we give thanks for all the great things in our lives, let’s take a look at just how deep the market is by ranking the best of the best and where we think some of the biggest names are going:

2021-22 Top-10 MLB Free Agent Rankings, Predictions

1) Carlos Correa

  • Age- 27
  • Position- Shortstop
  • Previous team- Houston Astros
  • 2021 stats- .279/.366/.486 (850 OPS), 26 HR, 92 RBI
  • Predicted team- Detroit Tigers
  • Why?- Correa would re-unite with former manager A.J. Hinch to thrust the Tigers back into playoff contention after finishing the 2021 season with their best record since 2016.

 

2) Corey Seager

  • Age- 27
  • Position- Shortstop
  • Previous team- Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 2021 stats- .306/.394/.521 (.915 OPS), 16 HR, 57 RBI
  • Predicted team- Houston Astros
  • Why?- The Astros have quite the void to fill with Correa potentially leaving in free agency. Seager would be quite the consolation prize to plug in next to Jose Altuve.

 

3) Kris Bryant

  • Age- 30
  • Position- 3B/OF
  • Previous team- San Francisco Giants
  • 2021 stats- .265/.353/.481 (.835 OPS), 25 HR, 73 RBI
  • Predicted team- New York Mets
  • Why?- The Mets have long been after Bryant and now have a clear path to him without having to concoct a trade or lose a draft pick. Bryant could either fill the void at third or take up a corner-outfield spot that could be in flux depending on the future of Michael Conforto.

 

4) Marcus Semien

Marcus Semien Yankees rumors
Marcus Semien/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
  • Age- 31
  • Position- Shortstop
  • Previous team- Toronto Blue Jays
  • 2021 stats- .265/.334/.538 (.873 OPS), 45 HR, 102 RBI
  • Predicted team- New York Yankees
  • Why?- Gleyber Torres isn’t the answer at shortstop and two of the Yankees’ three top prospects play the very same position. Semien offers big-time production without the super long-term.

 

5) Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer Mets
Max Scherzer/Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
  • Age- 37
  • Position- Starting pitcher
  • Previous team- Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 2021 stats- 15-4, 2.46 ERA, 0.864 WHIP, 11.8 K/9
  • Predicted team- Los Angeles Angels
  • Why?- Scherzer wants to stay out west after being traded mid-season from the Nationals to the Dodgers. He could very well stay in Los Angeles, but it might be with an Angels team that is re-stocking its rotation. They’ve already signed Noah Syndergaard to pair with Shohei Ohtani and Scherzer could suddenly create quite a trio.

 

6) Trevor Story

  • Age- 29
  • Position- Shortstop
  • Previous team- Colorado Rockies
  • 2021 stats- .251/.329/.41 (.801 OPS), 24 HR, 75 RBI
  • Predicted team- Texas Rangers
  • Why?- Story is a Texas native, growing up approximately 10 miles from Globe Life Field. The Rangers could be adding a ton of cash to their payroll this year and Story would add immediate legitimacy to their ranks. 

 

7) Freddie Freeman

  • Age- 32
  • Position- 1st Base
  • Previous team- Atlanta Braves
  • 2021 stats- .300/.393/.503 (.896 OPS), 31 HR, 83 RBI
  • Predicted team- Atlanta Braves
  • Why?- After winning the NL MVP in 2020, Freeman followed it up with a monster 2021 and a World Series title to boot. There’s no way the Braves let their superstar finish his career anywhere else.

 

8) Robbie Ray

  • Age- 30
  • Position- Starting Pitcher
  • Previous team- Toronto Blue Jays
  • 2021 stats- 13-7, 3.84 ERA, 1.045 WHIP, 11.5 K/9
  • Predicted team- New York Mets
  • Why?- The Mets are not only in dire need of starting pitching, but left-handed starting pitching. The defending AL Cy Young Award winner checks both of those boxes.

 

9) Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman Mets
Marcus Stroman/Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
  • Age- 30
  • Position- Starting Pitcher
  • Previous team- New York Mets
  • 2021 stats- 10-13, 3.02 ERA, 1.145 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
  • Predicted team- St. Louis Cardinals
  • Why?- The Cardinals need more pitching after signing Steven Matz — another former Met. St. Louis needs some stability with Jack Flaherty, Carlos Martinez, and Miles Mikolas all dealing with injuries. Stroman provides just that.

 

10) Javier Baez

Javier Baez Mets
Javier Baez/Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
  • Age- 28
  • Position- Shortstop
  • Previous team- New York Mets
  • 2021 stats- .265/.319/.494 (.813 OPS), 31 HR, 87 RBI
  • Predicted team- New York Mets
  • Why?- Baez and the Mets are already in talks and the All-Star is proven he can succeed in Queens. He’d be willing to make the shift to second base if it meant playing long-term with his best friend in Francisco Lindor.

 

Other notable predictions

  • Kevin Gausman, SP- Toronto Blue Jays
  • Nick Castellanos, RF- Chicago White Sox
  • Clayton Kershaw, SP- Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Starling Marte, CF- Philadelphia Phillies
  • Anthony Rizzo, 1B- New York Yankees
  • Seiya Suzuki, OF- Oakland Athletics
  • Michael Conforto, RF- Seattle Mariners
  • Kyle Schwarber, OF/DH- Philadelphia Phillies

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