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The MLB season is done and now we are in the glorious part of the year where some of the top names in the sport can go where they choose. Carlos Correa just played in a World Series and the 27 year old shortstop will be the prized pony this year, but there are some other names that can make a difference as well. Here are the top five free agents and where they could land this off season.
1. Trevor Story: SS, 29 years old
2020 Team: Colorado Rockies
Possible Landing Spots: New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles
Story had a rocky start to his 2020 campaign in Colorado (pun intended). It went as far as him wanting out of Colorado at the trade deadline, ultimately having to ride out the rest of the year after no deal was reached.
The 29 year old former silver slugger posted a heck of a slash line (.253/.337/.506) after the break and showed why he is one of the best in the business. Story has some precedence for success after leaving Colorado as well, with DJ LeMahieu becoming an All-Star caliber player after departing the Rockies in 2019.
2. Robbie Ray: LHP, 30 years old
2020 Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Possible Landing Spots: Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels
Ray has always been one of the most talented arms in baseball, but he had issues putting it all together in the past. In 2020 that changed as the lefty posted an AL leading 2.84 ERA.
Ray’s ability to throw power and work zones is a plus that many teams lack right now. He is also a lefty, which makes him a weapon to use against left handed batters. Look for him to be an ace and a possible Cy Young candidate in 2021.
3. Corey Seager: SS, 27 years old
2020 Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Possible Landing Spots: St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels
Seager is one of, if not the most purely talented shortstops in the MLB. He has posted a strong 132 wRC+ since 2015 which is the most of anyone at the position with 2000 plate appearances.
The only question mark is his injury history, which may keep teams at arms length with him. He is young and that bodes well for him, but he has only played a combined 147 games the last two seasons due to injury. Correa is his only competition as far as talent, but Correa has been available where Seager hasn’t, which tips the balance between the two.
4. Kris Bryant: 3B/OF, 30 years old
2020 Team: San Francisco Giants
Possible Landing Spots: Cleveland, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants
Bryant is one of the most impactful players in baseball, as evidenced by his 2016 MVP honor. He is a versatile defender and a great mid-rotation power bat, even at age 30.
KB is one of the reasons why the Giants had success in 2021 and has been consistent over the last four seasons, posting a .843 On-Base Plus Slugging percentage. The sentiment is the Giants will retain Bryant’s services but he will demand high dollar on the market.
5. Max Scherzer: RHP, 37 years old
2021 Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Possible Landing Spots: New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees
Max Scherzer was one of the most polarizing names in baseball this past season for obvious reasons. He was one of the few trade targets that yielded major interests from every club at the deadline regardless of need.
At age 37, Mad Max is still a threat on the mound. He had one of the best ERAs (2.46) and a league leading 0.86 WHIP. He can be a great complimentary starter for any club in need of that extra sure-armed starter in their rotation.
These five players are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a stacked 2021 free agent class. They are difference makers and will be the names that can make or break a club’s chance at a pennant in 2021-22.