2022 MLB Free Agency Prediction & Analysis

Max Abate, Staff Writer

The 2022 Major League Baseball season has concluded, with the Houston Astros winning the World Series, it is time for the off-season. Teams will start discussing contracts with players during a signing period called MLB Free Agency, which will last from early November to mid-February when spring training begins. Many players’ contracts expire and will be let go by their previous team making them free to sign anywhere a few days after the World Series ends.
This season’s free agency class is stacked and one of the best I’ve seen in recent memory, so plan to see some record breaking contracts handed out. Top free agents such as Aaron Judge, Trea Turner, Carlos , and Jacob DeGrom will all be available to sign a new contract with either their current team or a new team.
MLB Free Agency is arguably the best free agent period in sports because not everything happens in one or two days such as the NFL and NBA where everybody signs during the first and second day of the free agent period. Players and teams take their time when it comes to making signings due to the short gap between the end of the season and the start of the free agent period. There may be a move or two every single day for two months instead of all moves happening during a two-day period and nothing happening afterwards. Some people might think MLB Free Agency moves as slowly as the game of baseball itself as they don’t have the excitement they do for NFL or NBA Free Agency due to the lack of moves over the first few days of the period and many players may wait a month or two to sign their deals.
There are many players who go into free agency at all positions, but there are very few who make the impact these guys do. Shortstops are the most sought after position in this season’s free agency class as teams value the defense and speed of the players that play the position. Over half the league is looking for a shortstop which increases the demand. Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson are the biggest names on the market this offseason and will all command contracts over $100 million. You can never have enough starting pitching and about every single team around the league will be looking for upgrades at the positions. Pitching is probably the most important position in baseball when it comes to the playoffs and many guys with playoff experience such as Jacob DeGrom, Justin Verlander, Chris Bassitt, and Carlos Rodon will be available in free agency. Lots of teams will be looking for catchers this offseason due to recent retirements or trades that have created a need at the position and Willson Contreras is the top option on the free agent market. Catchers do not earn as large of a payday as pitchers and shortstops may due to not being able to play everyday due to their work behind the plate which can have an impact on their joints as they squat for half a game. There is usually an abundance of star outfielders available in free agency, but this season’s outfield class outside of superstar and reigning MVP Aaron Judge is quite weak. Judge is expected to earn the largest free agent contract in baseball history due to his home runs numbers and defensive abilities and teams in larger markets such as the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, and the New York Mets will be looking to pay him
I predicted landing spots for these ten players a few weeks back right before the season ended and I have most players signing with a new team, but a couple of them signing back with their current teams. There are also predictions for what type of contracts they may receive from these specific teams including the years on the deal and the money earned.

(So are these things that happened or things you predicted??)
Yankees Outfielder Aaron Judge → San Francisco Giants 8 Years $300 Million:

The top free agent on the market Aaron Judge signs with the San Francisco Giants on an eight year $300 million contract as he leaves the Bronx in arguably the biggest and most impactful free agent signing of all time. Judge and the Yankees fail to agree on an extension that makes sense for both sides, and he joins a Giants team coming off a disappointing season looking to bounce back and return to World Series contention.

Mets Pitcher Jacob DeGrom → Atlanta Braves 3 Years $135 Million:

Longtime New York Met Jacob DeGrom will stun the baseball world and leave the Big Apple for a division rival in the Atlanta Braves. The Braves will look to upgrade their rotation with one such move and form a dynamic duo including DeGrom and ace Max Fried who is coming off an All Star season. I believe DeGrom will sign for $45 million per year over the next three seasons and become the highest paid pitcher in the history of baseball with this deal.

Dodgers Shortstop Trea Turner → Baltimore Orioles 6 Years $200 Million:

Trea Turner has become one of the most electrifying players in all of baseball in my eyes and he is expected to earn a massive contract this winter. There are rumors floating around Turner would prefer to join an east coast team and the perfect fit for him would be to land in Baltimore. He would form a frightening duo with top prospect second baseman Gunnar Henderson on the infield and would jolt the Orioles into playoff contention in the American League.

Twins Shortstop Carlos Correa – Chicago Cubs 7 Years $240 Million:

Carlos Correa is expected to depart from Minnesota this offseason and I see him joining the Chicago Cubs, a team that has been in pursuit for a talented shortstop for a couple of years now ever since trading Javier Baez. General Manager Jed Hoyer will open the checkbook and bring in Correa to shore up the position for years to come and make him one of a few significant additions the Cubs make this offseason.

Astros Pitcher Justin Verlander – Houston Astros 2 Years $80 Million:

The future hall of fame pitcher is looking to cash in on a final contract and I believe there is no other way for him to finish his career other than resigning with the Houston Astros where he has won two World Series rings and multiple CY Youngs. Verlander is approaching his 40s and is mind blowing us with the way he is still pitching at such an older age. Multiple teams such as the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees may show interest in Verlander, but are unlikely to pry him away from Houston.

Giants Pitcher Carlos Rodon – Texas Rangers 5 Years $140 Million:

In my mind, Carlos Rodon is the best left handed starting pitcher in the free agent class because of this he should earn a massive contract based off his 2020 and 2021 seasons. The Texas Rangers need pitching more than any team in the American League as they have aspirations of contending, so I think Rodon will earn huge money from a team like Texas on a five year $140 million deal paying him $28 million per season.

Red Sox Shortstop Xander Bogaerts – Seattle Mariners 7 Years $225 Million:

I predict we will see another stunning move this offseason which includes the Seattle Mariners as they will go out and sign former Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a massive seven year deal worth $225 million and form one of the more deadly lineups in all of baseball. Bogaerts would be paired up alongside multiple stars such as Julio Rodriguez, Teoscar Hernandez, Cal Raleigh, and more. Jerry DiPoto, the general manager of the Mariners has been pursuing an impact bat in free agency for two years now and I believe this is the offseason he finally pulls the trigger and gets a deal done.

Braves SS Dansby Swanson – San Francisco Giants 6 Years $150 Million:

The San Francisco Giants will continue their spending spree with the addition of Braves All Star Shortstop Dansby Swanson as I predict he will join Aaron Judge as the second off-season addition the Giants make. Swanson would be a solid fit for a Giants team looking for long term infield help as they have declined the option of third baseman Evan Longoria and shortstop Brandon Crawford is getting older by the day. I believe Swanson fits the bill for San Francisco as they make a push to threaten the Dodgers and Padres in the American League West division.

Mets Pitcher Chris Bassitt – New York Mets 3 Years $60 Million:

If my prediction on Jacob DeGrom comes true, the Mets will have to be urgent in their search for starting pitching and retaining an all star of their own in Chris Bassitt would be the right idea as he is expected to command a multi year deal. I have the Mets retaining Bassitt on a three year $60 million deal worth $20 million per year as he helps anchor their starting rotation along with Max Scherzer and Carlos Carrasco.

Cubs Catcher Willson Contreras – St. Louis Cardinals 4 Years $80 Million:
Willson Contreras has been expected to leave the Chicago Cubs for a while now and this will be the off-season he finally does as a divisional foe in the St. Louis Cardinals will pay up and sign him to a four year deal worth $20 million per year making him one of the highest paid catchers in all of baseball. He will join a lineup involving perennial all star talents such as third baseman Nolan Arenado and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and make the Cardinals the clear favorite in the National League Central division. St. Louis will need a replacement for longtime Catcher Yadier Molina and Contreras seems like the perfect fit.

There is an abundance of talent to go around in Major League Baseball and a significant portion of that talent will be available to teams all around the league this offseason and many teams will end up with these prized stars and set the tone for their baseball club for the 2023 season. I see these players receiving the largest contracts as they have earned it throughout their careers and can make the biggest impacts for their new teams or current teams. If people are interested in baseball and want to know who could be switching teams this upcoming season, these are the guys I listed and may interest people the most due to their talent and ability to play the game of baseball in multiple ways.