It’s one of our biggest days of the year! MLB Trade Rumors is proud to present our 17th annual Top 50 free agent list! Bear in mind that these are just the top 50 names, in our estimation, but you can check out a list of the entire free-agent class here.
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I took the lead on this year’s Top 50, though I did with with extensive input, exhaustive conversation and spirited debates from MLBTR founder Tim Dierkes and writers Anthony Franco and Darragh McDonald. For the second straight season, we’ll each be making individual team picks rather than going with one, universal “MLBTR staff pick” for each player’s ultimate landing spot. Contract predictions were still agreed upon collaboratively, although there are certainly players where the MLBTR team was not in consensus as to what prediction to put forth.
I’ll write this next sentence with the heftiest of “knock on wood” caveats, but we’re expecting the 2022-23 offseason to be the healthiest and most “normal” MLB offseason in quite some time. Obviously, the 2020-21 offseason was dominated by uncertainty and cost-cutting measures on the heels of a pandemic-shortened 2020 season where teams did not receive any attendance revenue. The 2021-22 offseason was really two offseasons: one fast-paced free-agent frenzy leading into a 99-day lockout as MLB and the MLBPA engaged in what felt like an interminable wave of collective bargaining… and a second, even more frenetic free-agent and trade bonanza on the heels of early March’s collective bargaining agreement.
There’s no telling if all 30 teams will finally be back to operating as though it’s business as usual, but that’s certainly the hope. Traditionally, the first offseason following a new CBA has seen increased spending, and some of that will be reflected in some of the contract predictions we’ve made below. In particular, we’re of the mind that last year’s record-shattering $43.33MM average annual salary for Max Scherzer could bring about some additional eye-popping AAV marks, and we’re also predicting a small step forward in what is a deep collection of middle-tier starting pitchers. Time will tell whether these prove true, or whether more conventional…