In this week’s MLB Power Rankings, we take a look at the top 10 MLB free agents this offseason and where they will sign.
Free agency has now taken priority for most teams. Before it officially begins, it’s time to look at the current MLB Power Rankings of the top 10 free agents this coming winter.
The ranking of these ten takes into account their performance in 2022, what we can expect from them in 2023, and the far more subjective star power.
Several of the players on this list are expected to opt out of their current contracts and are a safe bet to depart or re-sign with their current club. First, let’s look at some important dates in regards to free agency.
When does MLB free agency begin?
MLB free agency officially starts the day after the conclusion of the World Series. Because there is no telling if the World Series will go four games or seven or even include some rescheduled games due to poor weather, no exact date has yet to be set.
One important note about MLB free agency is that players cannot sign with a new team until five days after the World Series is over. Players rarely do sign immediately in early November. A key date in December is when things move along more quickly.
When are the MLB Winter Meetings in 2022?
The 2022 MLB Winter Meetings will take place from December 4-11 in San Diego. A warm weather city with a very good team in 2022, it’s an ideal place for MLB free agency to get even busier.
The MLB Winter Meetings are supposed to bring executives, agents, and maybe even a few players all together for a week in the offseason. While it’s not always the most active time of the offseason, it’s an important period to keep in mind.
As far as this offseason goes, it’s these ten MLB free agents a lot of people will be keeping a close eye on. Let’s predict where the top ten will end up.
10) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Clayton Kershaw signs with the Rangers
Clayton Kershaw has made a few trips to free agency in the past but ultimately remained with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This time around, he’ll be convinced to sign with the Texas Rangers.
Kershaw is coming off of a 12-3, 2.28 ERA season in 22 starts for the Dodgers. He has been more of a part-time pitcher in recent seasons. This is now the second straight season of making only 22 starts.
Kershaw is a Texas native, and there seems to always be a thought that he’d return home near the end of his career. Although he’s 34 and we’ve seen plenty of pitchers last much longer, Kershaw has an extensive injury history and almost 2600 regular season innings taxed on his arm.
The Rangers need pitching pretty badly. Along with Kershaw, they should look to strike with at least another free agent arm. As you’ll see in these MLB Power Rankings of the top 10 MLB free agents, they’ll likely land another pitcher to pair with him.
9) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Edwin Diaz signs with the Mets
New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz had an incredible 2022 season. Fans from other teams hoping to steal him away will be out of luck. Steve Cohen’s wallet is going to open up and Diaz is going to get $100 million, either in free agency or before he even gets there.
It’s incredible how Diaz has gone from a bust of a trade addition for the Mets back in 2019 to a fan favorite. His entrance is legendary. His abilities on the mound are even more impressive.
The Mets have a lot of free agent relief pitchers this offseason. It’s the closer who will be the priority. Without him, it’s going to be pretty hard to even come close to another 101-win campaign.
We’ve seen the Mets spend lots of money on a variety of places on their roster. This winter, they’re going to set new payroll records with their star closer.
8) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Dansby Swanson signs with the Cubs
Dansby Swanson had a terrific season for the Atlanta Braves at the exact right time. Unfortunately, the team didn’t make it past the NLDS, and the two sides never did come to terms on an extension before they were eliminated. This doesn’t remove the possibility of Swanson returning. However, the Braves have an obvious replacement with Vaughn Grissom.
Because of this and a desire by the Chicago Cubs to upgrade their roster, it’s the Northsiders who will end up with Swanson in the end.
Nico Hoerner had a fine year for the Cubs as their starting shortstop, but they can always move him to second base and give themselves a strong double-play combination. The Cubs bought lightly last winter. This offseason, they need to go bigger.
Swanson is behind several other free agent shortstops on this week’s MLB Power Rankings. A 25-home run season paired with 96 RBI wasn’t quite enough to push him forward following several disappointing seasons.
7) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Carlos Rodon signs with the Giants
Free agent starting pitcher Carlos Rodon had a fantastic season with the San Francisco Giants. He’ll get another shot in 2023 and beyond as the Giants will re-sign him.
Rodon is one of the free agents on this list with an opt-out available. Topping 110 innings pitched quite easily, he’ll look to stay with a Giants team that we can all expect to make some major offseason moves.
Rodon’s first year with the Giants included a 14-8 record and 2.88 ERA. They’re going to need him back in the rotation next year to have any shot at competing seriously. As active as they will be this winter, they need to retain a few of their best players.
It’s possible we see it take a while for Rodon to sign. Still a little unproven in terms of durability, the Giants make the most sense to give him the best contract.
6) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Justin Verlander signs with the Mets
This is a preview of what’s to come later on. Justin Verlander will opt out of his deal with the Houston Astros and sign with the New York Mets. He’ll be reunited with Max Scherzer. Will it feel so good?
The Astros can definitely afford to pay Verlander, but a more logical step for them and their future could be to sign two lesser veteran arms. Maybe they even swap Verlander to ink Chris Bassitt and someone else of equal ability.
We already know the Mets will be incredibly aggressive in the offseason. There might not be a flashier move than signing Verlander for the rotation.
Of course, starting pitching was only a part of the reason why the Mets failed in the postseason. Verlander would give some short-term excitement to the team as they go “all-in” once more in 2023 with a deal nearing $40 million handed to Verlander.
5) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Jacob deGrom signs with the Rangers
If you haven’t figured it out already, Verlander is the replacement for Jacob deGrom. The free agent Mets pitcher will opt out of his contract and sign with the Texas Rangers. He’ll have his own co-ace on the staff with Clayton Kershaw, another big-name free agent joining the Rangers as well.
deGrom to the Rangers is an easy connection to make. The Rangers made several big offseason signings last offseason, but they didn’t have quite enough from their starting staff.
deGrom and Kershaw would both have a questionable ability to stay on the field, as each player missed a good portion of 2022. However, if paired together, the Rangers would be able to survive much more easily.
The offense in Texas was pretty good this past year. What’s missing is an arm like deGrom to shut down the opponent on the days when they aren’t doing so well.
4) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Xander Bogaerts signs with the Red Sox
It’s not exciting. It’s not thrilling. Xander Bogaerts is going to stay with the Boston Red Sox. Why? They’re letting everyone down if they let him sign elsewhere.
The Red Sox won’t be able to easily retain Bogaerts without a few other clubs sneaking around and looking to take him away. The fact that the Red Sox and Bogaerts were never able to come to terms on a new deal is alarming. We have to think logic will prevail.
Boston may not have a particularly awesome offseason. However, they do have a lot of money coming off the books and no excuse not to keep Bogaerts.
Trevor Story can stay at second base, Rafael Devers can get an extension, and Bogaerts can return on a brand new deal.
3) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Carlos Correa signs with the Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles will come out swinging big this offseason. Their biggest addition will be shortstop Carlos Correa on a deal topping $300 million.
The Orioles have an exciting young team in need of a little more experience. Correa will be their one big addition to the lineup. The other signings they may make will come to improve the starting rotation.
It was clear almost from the start that Correa would opt out of his deal with the Minnesota Twins. The team’s failures in the regular season helped confirm it.
Correa is taking a little bit of a chance at signing with the Orioles. However, with a World Series ring already sitting pretty on his finger, why not become a hero in a city that needs one for its baseball team?
2) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Trea Turner signs with the Giants
This winter will have a Trea Turner heel turn as he goes from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the San Francisco Giants. It’s time for the Giants to move on from Brandon Crawford — or at least replace him as the starting shortstop.
Turner had a monster year for the Dodgers full of power and run production. He’ll be a very popular man this offseason. The Giants, in their quest to improve the offense, will look toward him as their next leadoff or No. 3 hitter.
Turner is one of the league’s most exciting players. He’s capable of doing a little of everything. The Giants need someone like him.
Does it end with Turner? There’s one other major free agent they’ve been linked to. Can they sign the second-best and the best free agent in the MLB Power Rankings?
1) MLB Power Rankings: Free agent Aaron Judge signs with the Yankees
The Aaron Judge saga ends with a return to the New York Yankees. It’s pretty simple. The Yankees don’t build monuments for people who leave in free agency after such a monstrous season.
Judge might eventually want to return home to Northern California, and maybe he will one day. In this trip to free agency, the Yankees will pay him the money he earned by hitting 62 home runs in 2022.
Nobody was more valuable to their team in the regular season than Judge. His ability to play center field saves the Yankees for months. Shohei Ohtani might be able to pitch, but Judge can do everything else at an All-Star level.
The Yankees go back to being the Yankees this offseason by securing Judge long-term. However, it does come with one downside: it’s about all they do this winter aside from a couple of minor moves.