Athletics With Eli: Top 5 MLB Free Agents’ Projections


Eli Floyd, Contributing Writer

With the Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason coming to an end and the Houston Astros emerging victorious over the Philadelphia Phillies on November 5th, securing their second World Series in franchise history, MLB free agency has officially begun. Free Agency is a period in which teams start constructing their roster for the upcoming 2023 season, with spring training beginning in February. When a player’s contract is up with their respective team, they can look to seek a deal to return to their club or field offers from other teams. These contracts may vary in length and overall salary. There are some big names on the market this winter, but these five players can significantly impact wherever they end up. 


  1. Carlos Correa – Minnesota Twins Shortstop.

With the free agent shortstop market being so plentiful this year in particular, there are many good options at this position, making it very competitive for teams that want to get a high-quality player. Correa, who had a bit of a down 2022 campaign in comparison to his lofty standards, will look for a deal that’s within the 5-6 year and $180-$240 million range, making him one of the higher-paid players in the entire league. Correa can be considered the safe choice among his rival free agent shortstops because he is the youngest, and his proven consistency come October solidifies him as a franchise cornerstone. Correa posted an .834 OPS in 2022, putting him in the upper echelon of the league in that metric, though in previous years this number has been north of .900. Although this mediocre decline is no cause for concern, it is definitely something to keep an eye on. As for his glove, Correa has always been an above-average defender. He is versatile on the left side of the infield, playing both 3rd and shortstop comfortably. Correa brings all the intangibles that a playoff team could want or a young up-and-coming team desires in the clubhouse as a leader and veteran. 


  1. Nolan Arenado – STL Cardinals 3rd Base

Nolan Arenado has been an All-Star caliber third baseman since his rookie season in 2013. Playing most of his career in Colorado’s iconic Coors Field, some of his hitting numbers can be deceptive, seeing as Denver’s altitude affects how the ball carries greatly. Nevertheless, Arenado is still a well above average hitter, and the best defensive third baseman in the league, having won the Platinum Glove this past season. Arenado will command a deal within the 6-7 year range and upwards of $250 million dollars. The Cardinals, coming off of a short-lived playoff run, will make every effort to keep him on the roster, and I believe this will be the best fit for the National League MVP runner-up in the coming years. 


  1. Jacob DeGrom – New York Mets Starting Pitcher

Jacob “DaGoat,” as he is known to the Mets faithful, is maybe one of the best pitchers of all time. DeGrom is a proud owner of a career 2.52 ERA (earned run average), which puts him in the top 15 all time for starting pitchers with at least 250 innings of work. The All-Star starter is seemingly ready to move on from the New York Mets, and will look for a short-term deal, most-likely 4-5 years max. The reason for this short of a tenure is due to his recent subpar end to the 2022 season. The numbers he posted look good for almost every pitcher not named Jacob DeGrom, so no need to sound the alarm just yet. Look for DeGrom to stay in the NL East, whether it be with his Mets or the Atlanta Braves, or make his way South to the Texas Rangers.


  1. Trea Turner – LA Dodgers Shortstop

In my opinion, Trea Turner is the best shortstop in this free agent class. Turner, who has been a bat-to-ball guy for the better part of his career, is still capable of hitting some home runs, and posting good slugging numbers. Turner is one of, if not, the fastest players in the entire league, and his baserunning abilities could be of good use to any franchise willing to shell out well above $250 million. Although Turner is the oldest among the shortstops hitting the market, he is arguably the one with the highest upside. Turner is expected to receive a longer term deal within the 10-11 year range, making it a gamble as he gets up there in age, but I would be willing to make that bet with the projected return on investment. Expect to see Turner either staying home in LA, or end up with the Phillie’s faithful.


  1. Aaron Judge –  New York Yankees Outfield

All rise! Judge, who broke the single-season American League home run record, sending 62 balls over the fence, is commonly considered one of the best offensive players of the past decade, and will be one of the most sought-after free agents this winter. Obviously, Judge will not come cheap, nor will he be interested in any deal less than five years. Judge, who turned 30 this past season, is in the prime of his career, and will add an extraordinary boost to whichever lineup he finds himself in come March 1st. Although the deal he will be looking for will most likely be record-breaking, with some sources having it at over $330 million dollars, some may be hesitant to offer him that amount. The contract Judge will be most happy with will likely carry him through his age 38 season, and even though he is a generational talent, some teams may not be willing to take a chance on him due to the uncertainty that comes with old age.