This year’s crop of free agents has spent the 2022 season putting together résumés with the hope of cashing in this winter.
Here are 13 impending free agents (listed alphabetically by last name) who could help -- or in some cases, hurt -- their causes in the coming weeks.
Tyler Anderson, LHP, Dodgers
Anderson picked the right time to have a career year, going 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA while making his first All-Star team. But while some may wonder if 2022 was an outlier for the 32-year-old based on his track record, he’ll have a chance to put a final stamp on his year in the postseason. He’s been to the playoffs twice (both with the Rockies), throwing one inning in relief in 2017 and making a strong start in 2018 (6 IP, 1 ER in a National League Division Series loss to the Brewers).
Chris Bassitt, RHP, Mets
Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mets
Jacob deGrom isn’t the only Mets starting pitcher likely headed to the open market -- both Bassitt and Walker have options in their contracts that should make them free agents. Bassitt had the better regular season of the two, but both pitched well enough that they should draw interest from teams looking for rotation help. Max Scherzer and deGrom will garner most of the headlines, but if either of these two pitchers step up in October, it will certainly help their causes in free agency.
Josh Bell, 1B, Padres
Bell did not perform well after being traded to the Padres at the Deadline, hitting three home runs with a .587 OPS in 52 games. The 30-year-old slugger will be playing in the postseason for the first time in his seven-year career, giving him an opportunity to shine on the biggest stage as he enters free agency for the first time.
Mike Clevinger, RHP, Padres
Clevinger might not even have an opportunity to pitch in the postseason if the Padres get bounced in the Wild Card Series, because Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell are likely to make the three possible starts in that round. Should San Diego advance, Clevinger would likely join the rotation, and given his mediocre season coming back from Tommy John surgery, an October exclamation point would make him an intriguing free-agent option for pitching-needy teams.
Jacob deGrom, RHP, Mets
It might seem strange to include a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner on a list of people who can raise their stock, but this October could be very important for deGrom. After making his season debut on Aug. 2, deGrom posted a 1.66 ERA through his first seven starts. Since Sept. 13, however, the right-hander has a 6.00 ERA in four starts, raising questions about his health. deGrom is expected to opt out of the final year and $30.5 million on his contract, but at the age of 34, he may need a big postseason to land the type of free-agent contract he’s expecting.
Edwin Díaz, RHP, Mets
Díaz is the favorite to win this year’s Trevor Hoffman Award as the NL’s best reliever, and industry insiders believe he will surpass Aroldis Chapman’s record contract of five years and $85 million -- which came after Chapman helped the Cubs to a World Series title. Closing in the postseason brings a different type of pressure, giving Díaz a chance to show he can come up big on the biggest stage the game has to offer.
Mitch Haniger, RF, Mariners
Haniger missed more than three months this season, first because of COVID-19, then a major right ankle injury. Since his return on Aug. 6, Haniger’s overall numbers haven’t been impressive (seven home runs, 26 RBIs, .712 OPS in 47 games), though his bat showed more life in the final two weeks of the season (.938 OPS in 11 games since Sept. 22). The Mariners snapped their 21-year postseason drought, giving Haniger a chance to perform under the bright lights for the first time in his career as he heads toward free agency.
Trey Mancini, 1B/OF, Astros
After six years without appearing in a postseason game for the Orioles, Mancini gets his first crack at meaningful October baseball. His two-month stint with the Astros has not gone well: He slashed .180/.264/.373 in 50 games with Houston. Mancini will be entering his age-31 season as he hits free agency, so a big October would boost his value this winter.
Brandon Nimmo, CF, Mets
Nimmo had his best season since 2018, posting an .800 OPS in a career-high 151 games. The 29-year-old’s bat won’t overwhelm anybody, but he’s a steady presence atop the Mets’ lineup. Nimmo will be an important table-setter for the likes of Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso in October, where he can show the world the value he brings to an offense.
José Quintana, LHP, Cardinals
Quintana was one of the game’s best bargains in 2022 after he signed a $2 million deal with the Pirates last November. A solid first half led to a trade to St. Louis, where he posted a stellar 2.01 ERA in 12 starts, helping the Cardinals run away with the NL Central title with a minuscule 0.89 ERA in five September starts. St. Louis has a number of options for the postseason rotation, but if Quintana can cap his comeback season with a strong October, the 33-year-old won’t be settling for a one-year deal this winter.
Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves
This will be the fourth straight postseason for Swanson, who hit two homers with an .804 OPS in the World Series for Atlanta last fall. Swanson has performed well in 33 postseason games, hitting five home runs with 15 RBIs and a .768 OPS, but given that he’ll be part of a solid shortstop free-agent class, another strong October will strengthen his résumé.
Jameson Taillon, RHP, Yankees
Taillon had a strong second season in New York, giving him an opportunity to pitch in the postseason for the first time in his career. The right-hander will likely join Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino in the Yankees’ rotation, trying to help them get back to the World Series for the first time since 2009. Entering his age-31 season, Taillon would benefit from pitching well on a national stage.