- ESPN MLB Insider
- Kiley McDaniel covers MLB prospects, the MLB Draft and more, including trades and free agency.
- Has worked for four MLB teams.
This winter’s MLB free agent market is solid, but more for its depth than top-end talent. With industry revenues down sharply, the broad expectation is that the handful of first-tier talents will be paid about the same as usual, but the majority of players beyond those five or so elite players will get less than they would expect in a typical year.
For this winter, the group of players with a shot at getting $100 million or more guaranteed is headed by catcher J.T. Realmuto, outfielder George Springer, pitcher Trevor Bauer and infielder DJ LeMahieu. You could argue for one or two others getting close, but that’s pretty much it. Industry sources think this winter will resemble a few winters ago when the overall market was depressed, with clubs eventually spending in February and March on extensions for younger players within their organizations that they were more familiar with and who were approaching or in their primes.
The next incredible class
Another reason clubs may not overextend themselves this winter is the riches that await next winter. The list of players set to hit free agency after the 2021 season with a good shot at getting at least $100 million guaranteed is longer: shortstops Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Javier Baez and Trevor Story, third baseman Kris Bryant and first baseman Freddie Freeman.
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