20-21 Free Agents

Today is Election Day. I voted. I’ve no interest in watching talking heads all evening about it. Thinking about baseball is a lot more fun.

As of 5 PM Sunday the main free agency period began, with the end of the period for players and teams to pick up or decline options. The MLBPA indicates there are over 180 free agents this year. A lot of them will get the same number of contract offers I will. A few will retire. It’s not the final number, some new free agents will be created via arbitration-eligible players being nontendered rather than being offered a deal. That deadline is Dec 2 this year.

This year qualifying offers are worth $18.9M for a one year deal. Six players were offered QOs: Trevor Bauer, JT Realmuto, George Springer, DJ LeMahieu, Marcus Stroman, and Kevin Gausman. The players have 10 days to agree to or decline the deal. Teams that lose them will receive draft compensation. Teams that sign them forfeit a draft pick, with their top first rounder exempted. Most players reject the offer, but I’ll be interested to see if Bauer signs. He’s on record as only wanting one year deals anyway.

In recent years, free agency has been drawn out with some players not finding homes until spring training. This year is the last on the current CBA. There is still uncertainty based on the pandemic. So expect it to be even slower this year.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of the better known free agents, by position:

Catchers—JT Realmuto, Yadier Molina (my bet is he signs for one last season with the Cards), Mike Zunino

First Base—Carlos Santana, Eric Thames

Second Base—DJ LeMahieu (good timing to be an MVP finalist), Jurickson Profar, Kike’ Hernandez, Jonathan Schoop, Kolten Wong, Tommy LaStella

Shortstop—Didi Gregorius, Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, Ha-Seong Kim (He is expected to be posted by Kiwoom of the KBO. In 137 games this year, he hit .308/.399/.526 with 30 homers and 24 doubles.)

Third Base—Justin Turner, Brad Miller

Outfielders—George Springer, Marcell Ozuna, Michael Brantley, Jackie Bradley Jr, Joc Pederson, Kevin Pillar, Ryan Braun, Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Shin Soo Choo, Edwin Encarnacion, Matt Kemp

DH, Gator’s fav position—Nelson Cruz

Starting Pitchers—Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman, JA Happ, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker, Jake Odorizzi, Charlie Morton, Corey Kluber, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Cole Hamels, Chris Archer (How the mighty have fallen, going from star with the Rays to dumped by the Pirates. The. Pirates.)

Relief Pitcher—Liam Hendriks, Alex Colome, Mark Melancon, Trevor Rosenthal, Greg Holland, Brad Hand, Aaron Loup, Sean Doolittle

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