مشاركات عشوائية

MLB free agency: A far too early ranking of the 2023-24 market after Rafael Devers' extension with the Red Sox

featured image

The Red Sox reached an 11-year extension with third baseman Raphael Devers Wednesday, assuring that he, unlike Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, will not become the last star to leave Boston. Devers’ new deal doesn’t change Red Sox short-term outlook — he was already on the roster, and they weren’t keen on trading him this offseason anyway — but it has an immediate effect on next winter’s free agent class.

Indeed, Devers could have played rope with the Red Sox before testing the open market next winter as one of the best two or three players available. Instead, the free agent class will have a little less starpower to dream of. That doesn’t mean the 2023-24 market will be without big names, though.

Namely, let’s prematurely try to rank the top 10 players who should be available in about nine months. As always, note that this is for entertainment purposes only and we do our best to make educated guesses about which players will retire and which will not.

Now let’s continue.

Ohtani is an unprecedented talent heading into an unprecedented payday. How much are teams willing to pay a player who is above average in both throwing and hitting? Barring an untimely injury, it seems likely we’ll find out next winter. Ohtani was adamant that he wanted to win a World Series, which the Angels are not well positioned to do. The Dodgers and Dishes, among others, should continue it if and when it becomes available. In other words, Ohtani won’t have to choose between riches and victories.

Machado has the option to opt out of his contract after the season, leaving five years and $160 million on the table. By then, he’ll be 31 and could be out of a run that has seen him be named most valuable player for four consecutive seasons. Strange things can happen with unsubscribe calls — Nolan Arenado stayed at st. Louis, for example – but we think Machado could either beat his average annual value or increase his overall payout by signing one of those super-long-term fashionable contracts. If he decides he loves living in San Diego too much to care… well, that’s fine.

3. Julio Urías, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Urías will enter his marching year having amassed the fourth-best ERA+ among pitchers with at least 300 innings pitched during the pandemic era. Take into account that he will only be 27 years old; how he throws with his left hand; and how the Dodgers have plenty of financial flexibility heading into the new year, and that would all seem to bode well for his chances of landing a big payday.

Nola is a few years older than Urías and his pandemic-era stats aren’t quite as bright due to a dwindling 2021 campaign. Nonetheless, he is an established workaholic with multiple top-five Cy Young Award finishes. Nola should be able to secure a lucrative long-term contract, whether it’s from the Phillies or elsewhere.

Chapman rebounded from a career-worst effort in 2021 in his first season with Toronto by posting 115 OPS+ and homer 27 times in 155 games. Of course, he’s not just an above average hitter, he’s also one of the best third basemen in the majors. Provided Chapman avoids another disappointing outing like he did penultimate season, he should be in short supply.

6. Yu DarvishRHP, San Diego Padres

Darvish will celebrate his 37th birthday in August, making him the oldest player in the top 10. That said, he remains a very competent starter in the big league. If that were to be the case in nine or ten months, it would bode well for his chances of closing a deal similar to the short, stacked deals signed by Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander over the past two offseasons.

We expect it to be an over- or under-rank of Rosario. He’s coming off his career-best season, but it stands to reason teams will have differing opinions on his defensive ability and the durability of his offensive gains. After all, Rosario punched more than four times as often as he walked last year. A lot could hinge on his performances this year, during his campaign at 27.

8. Rhys Hoskins1B, Philadelphia Phillies

The market tends to be nasty with 30-year-old right-to-right first basemen. That’s bad news for Hoskins, who will turn 30 in March and hasn’t played in another position since 2018. (Remember when he played on the left in reference to carlos santana?) Hoskins is a good hitter, no doubt; his 127 OPS+ during the pandemic era is tied for eighth among first basemen, behind Matt Olson and Jose Abreu. He’s just not the kind of transcendent hitter needed to overcome market bias.

Happ might not go to free agency, as the Cubs are rumored to have been longing to extend him since last summer. A deal has yet to be struck, so we feel compelled to include him on this list. Happ had a rewarding season in that he reduced his strikeout rate, reducing it to a career-best 23.2%. It still walked and jumped quite a bit, although a return to its previous levels would send its stock skyrocketing.

Good center players are hard to find these days, as free agents or otherwise. Bader is a defensive demon who has been an above-average hitter in two of the last three seasons. The biggest knock against him is his durability. He’s been injury-limited to 239 games over the past three seasons, and he’s never appeared in 140 games in a big league campaign. A season where he is warm and vigorous throughout his run would go a long way to strengthening his stock.

Others that were under consideration: RHP Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox; HPR Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals; SS/3B Gio Urshel, Los Angeles Angels; HPR Frankie MontasNew York Yankees.

Post a Comment