MLB Hot Stove Survey – Where Do Star-Free Agent Shortstops Land? Who wants to spend big? Execs weighs in

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The hot MLB stove is up and running this month – there have already been some significant signatures – but it could stall when the current collective agreement ends on 1 December. If there is a lockout, trades and free agent negotiations stop until a new agreement is reached between the players and the owners.

Until then, it’s business as usual – at least that’s what the CEOs said at their recent California meetings.

That way, we asked 20 team leaders and MLB insiders from both leagues about free-agent landing spots and who is likely to be moved into trades off-season. Voters were assured anonymity and given the opportunity to skip issues that hit too close to home.

Here’s how they voted – and what they had to say about their election.

Where does each star land with free-agent shortstop?

Javy Baez: Mets 10, Astros 3, Rangers 3, Cubs 2, Mariners 2
Carlos Correa: Tigers 10, Rangers 6, Yankees 3, Astros 1
Corey Seager: Yankees 12, Tigers 4, Rangers 2, Dodgers 2
Marcus Semien: Mariners 8, Tigers 5, Rangers 4, Blue Jays 3
Trevor Story: Rangers 8, Tigers 5, Astros 3, Yankees 2, Mariners 2

Although in most cases there was a clear majority for where these stars would play in 2022, most respondents were not very sure of their answers. They secured their bets and mentioned more than one team for multiple players, even though we only counted the best choice for each. The teams looking for a shortstop do not seem to be up for debate, but there were plenty of conflicting thoughts about who ends up where.

“Everyone assumes AJ Hinch and Correa will be reunited in Detroit, but don’t count Texas,” one voter said. “They have to build around someone and think they will draw well at their new stadium if they have a star or two. Winning will not happen right away and Correa is young enough to be a part of what they build.”

“The Yankees need Seager,” another voter said. “They can not add another right-handed bat when a left-handed shortstop stares at them. It makes too much sense. And we know he can clear the spotlight after playing in Los Angeles. I choose him as the guy who is at least fascinated by accepting a giant free-agent contract to play in New York. “

“I think a Javy Baez reunion with the Cubs could happen if Baez wants to re-enter the market in a year,” said another voter. “But if he’s willing to stay on second base, then the Mets make all the sense.”

Which shortstop gets the biggest deal – and for how much?

Carlos Correa (unanimously) – Average answer: 10 years, $ 304 million

This was a unanimous choice, perhaps because he is the youngest in the group. Although he has had some injuries, voters overlooked some of these issues while offering huge contract numbers. The highest was $ 350 million over 12 years, while the lowest came in at eight years, $ 250 million.

“His size makes him a perfect fit to move over to third base eventually,” one voter said.

“He chose a good year to win the gold and platinum gloves,” said another voter. “You get that during his top year here, but no one can predict where his defense will be when he gets older. Third base will be a good option when he gets into his mid-30s.”

Who will be the biggest name traded this winter?

Matt Chapman, 9
Matt Olson, 5
Byron Buxton, 4
Willson Contreras, 1
Josh Hader, 1

The two Oakland players dominated this issue as the A’s have signaled to other teams that they are open for business. Most respondents who chose Chapman as their No. 1 choice mentioned Olson and vice versa. People are convinced that at least one will be relocated. A few thought it was now or never for Buxton and the Twins: Either sign him a long-term deal this offseason or swap him.

“The A’s want to be smart with this and dangle their players with more than a year before free agency to maximize their returns or just stick with a deal until they hear the right thing,” one voter said. “There is no immediate urgency other than any pay issues.”

“Chapman’s OPS + has dropped each of the last four years, but he can still pick it as the third,” said another voter. “That with both [A’s] Players are their age, which makes them right for a rebuild or a ready-made team. “

Which team will make the biggest splash?

Tigers, 8
Rangers, 5
Seafarers, 4
Parents, 1

The question was asked before the Tigers signed Eduardo Rodriguez to a five-year deal, so they are well underway. Most people think they get a shortstop in addition to any pitching they get. The steps they took in 2021 under Hinch have led them to believe that they are very close to fighting in a weak American League Central – although that description could change in 2022. “The Tigers have always been willing to use under their ownership, so it is not a surprise [Chairman] Chris Ilitch indicates it’s time for them to do it again, “said one voter.” They think they struck a home with Hinch running the club. Maybe they have. “

“Texas just seems ready to do something,” another voter said. “Their attendance was surprisingly good in 2021. And they have some pieces to build on [Adolis] Garcia as well as some young pitching. They are not ready to fight, but I can see that they are taking some steps forward out of season. “

Which of these aces are you most likely to return to form in 2022 after being injured: Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw or Noah Syndergaard?

Verlander, 16
Kershaw, 4
Syndergaard, 0

If the vote seems skewed, it’s probably because Verlander is getting past his injury problems after undergoing a Tommy John operation and missing all of 2021, while voters were a little unsure of Kershaw’s situation. He missed this year’s offseason with left elbow / forearm problems, while Verlander has been declared healthy and has already signed with Houston. Syndergaard has signed with the Angels, but no voters chose him over the two previous Cy Young winners.

“It’s not against Kershaw, but Verlander is in a better place for a comeback,” one voter said. “He has been written off before only to return to the Cy Young form.”

“Syndergaard is the youngest of the three, but I can not choose him over the other two Hall of Fame pitchers,” said another voter.

Which player in this year’s free-agent crop is most likely to win Cy Young or MVP in 2022?

Max Scherzer, 9
Freddie Freeman, 6
Carlos Correa, 3
Nick Castellanos, 1
Kyle Schwarber, 1

Voters were eager for Scherzer specifically for 2022, as he is one of the oldest free agents available. At some point, the 37-year-old will show some decline, but the majority of respondents did not indicate that it will be next year. Correa would likely have to improve his career numbers to win the award, while those who voted for Freeman regarded him as “money in the bank.”

“Put Scherzer on a good team and / or in a pitchers ball field, he is almost automatically in the running,” said one voter. “He showed just as much with the Dodgers, and if he signs again there, he’s a good choice you can make in November.”

“One of those years, I hope I’m right about Schwarber,” said one voter who chose the Red Sox’s free agent. “He showed he has monster power and can now hit an average. If he plays a first base, outfield and DH, who knows?”


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