A dozen major card stops, some of them top stars, could become free agents at the same time this fall.
With more supply than demand, prices will almost fall. But a bigger factor is the threatening prospect of a strike or lockout that could affect the start of the 2022 campaign.
Teams seeking card stop upgrades have many choices, including Javy Báez, Carlos Correa, Brandon Crawford, Wilmer Flores, Leury Garcia, Jose Iglesias, Corey Seager, Miguel Rojas, Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, Trevor Story and Chris Taylor.
The biggest name on the list at the start of spring training has already signed. It was Francisco Lindor, the wrestler-striking slugger who was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the New York Mets in January. He signed a 10-year extension of $ 341 million the day before the 2021 season opened.
Curious about the extra million? Lindor insisted on a higher payday than the San Diego Padres put on Fernando Tatís Jr., which received a 14-year extension of $ 340 million in February.
As prices rise every day, what will Correa, Seager or Story have if their current team cannot or will not sign them in the near future?
Think about their credentials:
Correa, who does not reach the mature age of 27 until the end of September, is the youngest in the group and one of the largest at 6’4 “tall. In 2015, his first year, he had 45 extra base hits and 198 total bases in 99 matches, and convinced writers to choose him as American League Rookie of the Year.Injuries have prevented him from playing more than 110 games in a season since 2016, but his combination of power, speed and defense is impressive. with hit 11 after season homers.
Seager also owns Rookie of the Year hardware. He was the National League choice in 2016, when he also drew votes for Most Valuable Player with a .308 season that included 26 homers. In 2020, he was the MVP for both the NL Championship Series and the World Series – not bad for a guy who had surgery on Tommy John two years earlier.
Like Seager, Story is 28 years old and a two-time All-Star whose resume also includes a pair of Silver Sluggers. He had 72 homers during the two-season span from 2018-19, but skeptics say it is because he plays half of his games in Coors Field, where the air is thin and the ball flies. But the statistics show that the story also hits well. And he is a strong defensive shortstop with a good arm.
Baez, 29, may be the most versatile player in the gang. He has played more than 100 games in short, second and third, but won his only gold glove when he was stationed at shortstop in 2020. The two-time All-Star was number two in the MVP poll in 2018 after reaching the career highs with 34 home ground. races, 101 scored races, 111 run-in races, and an average of 0.290. He got some help from the prevailing winds in the “friendly setting” at Wrigley Field, his home park, but struggled early this year.
Like Baez, Rojas can use versatility as a selling point if he decides to leave Miami for a new team. Although he spent most of his time on the shortstop, he also has considerable experience at all three bases and some in the outfield. In addition, he has a decent stick, albeit with minimal force. He turns 27 next month.
Simmons, now with Minnesota, is a skilled fielder with more gold gloves (four) than any of the other potential card stops. A. 268 career hits with just 68 homers in his 10-year tenure, Simmons compensates for any shortcomings on the record with the defense so spectacular that he is already considered a dark horse candidate for a future berth in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He will be 32 by Labor Day.
Teams that want more sock from the position can look at the Semien, shunted to others this year because the Toronto Blue Jays already had Bo Bichette in short. He finished in third place in the voting for the American League MVP in 2019 after beating. 285 with 33 homers, 123 runs scored and 92 runs scored for Oakland Athletics while playing the full 162 game schedule.
Crawford figures somewhere between Simmons and Semien. A two-time All-Star with three gold gloves, he is a .249 lifetime hitter who has an average of 14 home races a year. But his age may work against him; he has already celebrated his 34th birthday.
The lid on homemade food may convince some of the players on this list to accept a “home town discount” when negotiating new contracts. Correa and Báez, for example, have said they hope to stay in Houston and Chicago, respectively.
In the Houston radio station KBME-AM, Astros general manager Jim Click spoke about the Correa situation. It’s no secret that there will be a lot [shortstop] talent in the market, and we have some talent that comes up through the system that can help us as well, ”he said.
“Our goal is to have a conversation with Carlos to see if there is anything that can line up. He has been an Astro throughout his career and has made it clear that he would like to be here. With such a talented guy as he is, it would be prudent for us to try to line it up, but it takes both sides. It is a high priority, and we will get to it. ”
The volume of available star card stops, combined with a possible labor war over the expiring basic agreement, is practically sure to push the market and reduce the likelihood of bidding war. As a result, some of the star stoppers, with a view to their future, may be able to sign earlier with their current clubs – even if it means negotiating during the season.
Teams that are not or are not able to meet the requirements of star players can also change them before the deadline of July 30. Since the rebuilding Colorado Rockies have already unloaded unhappy third baseman Nolan Arenado and have just hired Bill Schmidt as interim general manager, Story may be next.
A lot depends on club performance in the first place. With ten teams in the playoffs left after a year of experimenting with 16, fewer clubs will consider themselves competitors for bunk beds after the season. They are willing to trade assets instead of losing them to a free agency. Baseball history shows that even a two-month lease of a star player can turn a competitor into a champion.