Though Main League Baseball fans’ eyes are set squarely on the World Collection, the peak of the Fall Basic will result in many questions for all 30 groups.
It’s going to be a busy off-season indeed, especially given the uncertainty surrounding labor negotiations and the likelihood of a piece-stop when the current CBA expires on Dec. 2.
This will have a major impact on when companies will be reached. The free company officially begins 5 days after the end of the World Collection, but past experience has shown that groups usually don’t offer marquee players until the winter conferences at the earliest.
All of this is price preservation in mind for the long term. Right now, however, there’s a lot of excitement among the biggest players who could be on the transfer this off-season.
Xander Bogaerts prepare to meet the Free Company after 2022
After buying and selling Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the start of the 2020 season, the long-term path forward for the Boston Crimson Sox involved Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers becoming All-Stars.
That mission was accomplished in 2021 as each player was named to the Midsummer Basic and played key roles within the Crimson Sox to achieve the American League Championship Collection.
Devers and Bogaerts remain signed with the Crimson Sox next season, but after that things get murkier.
According to ESPN’s Joon Lee, Bogaerts plans to use the choice in his contract after next season to become a free agent.
The Crimson Sox signed Bogaerts to a six-year, $120 million contract ahead of the 2019 season. The deal sees a $20 million participant pick for 2023 per Spotrac.
Timing is an important part of free society. Bogaerts would draw almost a lot of attention if he could pick this offseason, but he’d even compete with the likes of Corey Seager and Carlos Correa for top shortstop.
The biggest potential post-season free-agent shortstops are Tim Anderson and Trea Turner, but talent has dwindled after those two players. Dansby Swanson, who only has one full season with an OPS over .800 in his profession (2020), would undoubtedly be number 3.
Bogaerts is 30 after next season, but he’s remained a top-flight defensive shortstop even as he’s aged. The three-time All-Star ranked eighth among all certified shortstops in defensive rating by FanGraphs (8.3) and ninth in out-of-zone performance (106) in 2021.
Batting is one thing Bogaerts never struggled with. He has a .290/.353/.459 professional slash and has batted no less than .493 in each of the last 4 seasons.
As long as Bogaerts has another robust season in 2022, there’s no reason for him not to see what the market has to offer him.
Anthony Rizzo Longing For Yankees Reunion
A disappointing 2021 season has caused many problems for the New York Yankees as they look to improve next year.
First base is a space that may have a gap depending on what the Yankees have to do with Anthony Rizzo.
If Rizzo has his approach, he can wear pinstripes next season. Bob Klapisch from the Newark Star Ledger quoted a family member as saying Rizzo is “pretty interested” in returning to New York in 2022.
Bob Klapisch @BobKlap
According to a family member, Anthony Rizzo would like to return #Yankees in 2022. That’s an important first step, assuming NYY needs it again. Must assume they do.
The Yankees will have nine free agents this offseason. Rizzo, Corey Kluber and Brett Gardner are essentially the most respected in this group. It seems unlikely Gardner, whose .689 OPS in 2021 was his worst since his rookie days (.582 in 2008), can do it again.
Kluber can take both approaches. Two-time American League winner Cy Younger was efficient when he pitched (3.83 ERA), but accidents limited him to 80 innings over 16 starts. He has shuffled just 116.2 innings over the past three seasons and can turn 36 on April 10.
Rizzo was a steady hitter in 2021 between his time with the Yankees and the Chicago Cubs. The three-time All-Star had a .248/.344/.440 slash in 141 video games.
At first glance, the primary basis market appears to be robust, with Freddie Freeman and Brandon Belt being the best.
Belt is a risky participant due to its damage history. He’s missed no fewer than 25 video games in six of the last eight seasons, including 65 in 2021. Assuming he turns 34 on April 20, it seems like there’s a lot of danger to bet on him staying healthy.
Freeman is probably one of the most resilient players in MLB. The reigning NL MVP missed just 4 games in 4 mixed seasons now.
The Yankees can also bet Luke Voit will stay healthy. He’s a prolific offensive player when he’s playable. The 30-year-old has a .267/.357/.510 slash line in 5 MLB seasons, but that only covers 351 games due to accidents.
Rizzo can’t be counted on to deliver on the same stage as he did with the Cubs at his peak, but he could prove to be the safest pick for the Yankees at first base because he doesn’t take damage often.
Cubs are reportedly buying Willson Contreras
The Cubs are stuck in the early stages of a rebuild that began last season with buying and selling much of the remaining core from their 2016 World Collection roster alongside Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant.
One of the few remnants of this roster is Willson Contreras, although his future with membership can be very uncertain.
According to The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma, Cubs baseball operations president Jed Hoyer will “almost put Contreras in storage” this offseason if the two sides cannot meet a long-term extension.
Contreras is a troublesome contestant who needs to complete a brand new contract as his profession is filled with contradictions. He ranked 39th among all catchers last season in framing, according to Baseball Savant.
It seemed like Contreras made important strides in this area in the 2020 season when he finished 10th.
The Venezuelan native threw out a career-low 21 percent in base stealers in 2021, according to Baseball Reference. It was his first time finishing worse than the league in this class.
Contreras’ racquet gets him to one of the many higher backstops in MLB. The two-time All-Star ranked fourth of 15 catchers with no fewer than 400 plate appearances on home runs (21), fifth in slugging share (.438), sixth in on-base share (.340), and fifth in weighted on-base common (. 337), per FanGraphs.
The 29-year-old earned $6.65 million in 2021 and has one more year of arbitration ahead of him before becoming a free agent.
Given the state of the Cubs roster after a 71-91 season, there is little incentive for the entryway to keep Contreras. He occupies a demanding place where few players can age gracefully.
Buster Posey resurrected his career with the San Francisco Giants, in part due to how it was managed. The 2012 NL MVP consistently performed just two out of three video games in the largest collection throughout the season.
Contreras’ up-and-down MLB career thus far makes him a dangerous gamble for any workforce. His advantage is high enough to make him price bets, especially for a potential competitor trying to improve their lineup.