The World Series is now in the rearview mirror and hot stove season officially began with the free-agent market opening on Nov. 1. We’re entering an offseason of uncertainty. After tallying major losses across the board in 2020 due to the impacts of the pandemic-shortened season, teams are still lacking in clarity regarding revenue projections for 2021, and many will be attempting to cut payroll this offseason as a result.
We’ve already seen teams more hesitant to spend at normal rates. Veteran starter Charlie Morton, a high-level arm coming off a run to the World Series, had his $15 million option declined by the Rays. Brad Hand, one of the best closers in baseball who led the majors with 16 saves in 2020, had his $10 million option declined by the Indians, who placed him on waivers, giving all other MLB teams a chance to snag him for only the cost of that option. None of the other 29 teams claimed him, and the left-hander joined a free agent pool that will only grow in the weeks ahead as teams non-tender several players in efforts to cut costs.
Signings this winter could very well move at a snail’s pace, but what still seems likely is the top free agents getting paid well. Here’s my list of the top 10 MLB free agents and predictions for landing spots and contracts.
Note: Ages listed are the age of the player on Opening Day 2021.
Also considered: SS Marcus Semien, RP Liam Hendiks, SP Masahiro Tanaka, OF Jackie Bradley Jr., INF Ha-Seong Kim, SP Jake Odorizzi, SS Andrelton Simmons, RP Brad Hand
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