Free agency ends up having its hands in everything in baseball, from roster construction to the Trade Deadline to even the Draft. Every team, and really every player, is thinking about it all the time. And it affects every team, regardless of whether it's a World Series contender, borderline playoff hopeful or a team that’s rebuilding all together. You gotta know who’s on the market, and who’s gonna be.
With that in mind, we take a look at the biggest free agent on every team this offseason. Who’s going to hit the market this offseason? Who needs to have a big final month? Who is going to top the free-agent wish list come November? Here’s a look at each team’s top free agent.
Ages listed are each player’s seasonal age for the 2022 season.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Marcus Semien, 2B/SS (age 30)
The one-year make-good contract he signed with the Jays sure looks like he’s making good: There might be no free agent who has improved his lot more than Semien has this season.
Orioles: Matt Harvey, RHP (age 33)
Rebuilding teams generally don’t have big-ticket free agents to worry about, and that’s the case here.
Rays: Nelson Cruz, DH (age 41)
He could probably get a series of one-year deals for the next decade, but it’d be great to see someone Julio Franco him and give him a three- or four-year deal. If the DH makes it to the NL, it might just be worth it. He’s just 59 homers away from 500, and at this point you have to think he’s going to try to stick around to get it.
Red Sox: Adam Ottavino, RHP (age 36)
That three-year deal he originally signed with the Yankees went by fast, didn’t it? The Red Sox might want to start thinking about a Rafael Devers extension (free agent after 2023) while they’re at it.
Yankees: Anthony Rizzo, 1B (age 32)
The possibility of some potential Rizzo postseason highlights -- something he’s awfully familiar with -- might be enticing to some suitors out there. The Yankees need to get there first, though.
Cleveland: Roberto Pérez, C (age 33)
Cleveland might pick up his $7 million team option, but honestly, with where Cleveland is right now, it’s difficult to know what the club is going to do.
Royals: Greg Holland, RHP (age 36)
He was terrific last season for Kansas City, but considerably less so this year. Someone will give him another shot, though.
Tigers: José Ureña, RHP (age 30)
He was unable to get himself back going with the Tigers this year, but with his history, someone might give him one more final chance this offseason. (Still two more years for Miggy.)
Twins: Andrelton Simmons, SS (age 32)
So why didn’t they trade him again at the Deadline? We’ll see what kind of market there is for him, and what kind of market the Twins might have missed out on.
White Sox: Carlos Rodón, LHP (age 29)
Talk about a guy having a career year at the perfect possible time. Assuming the shoulder woes that landed him on the IL are nothing serious, Rodón has made himself quite a bit of money this year, for certain.
Angels: Raisel Iglesias, RHP (age 32)
There’s a lot of money coming off the books for the Angels this offseason and, all told, Iglesias (and maybe Alex Cobb) is one of the few pieces they’ll actually miss.
A’s: Mark Canha, OF (age 33)
Starling Marte is another possibility here, but Canha has been a big part of the A’s success for quite a bit longer.
Astros: Carlos Correa, SS (age 27)
Lots of options on this team: It’s not every day a team potentially loses an All-Star shortstop and two possible Hall of Famers from its rotation like Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke.
Mariners: James Paxton, LHP (age 33)
He signed a one-year make-good contract last year and didn’t, alas, make good. But he could be on track in his rehab from Tommy John surgery to give it another try in 2022.
Rangers: Brock Holt, 3B (age 34)
Holt’s market is more likely to develop for his bat and defensive versatility rather than his pitching arm, one suspects.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Freddie Freeman, 1B (age 32)
Is he the biggest free agent on the market? Can the Braves possibly afford to lose him?
Marlins: Ross Detwiler, LHP (age 36)
The Marlins are building something that, hopefully, will make one-year fliers like Detwiler (and Sandy León, and Joe Panik) unnecessary in future years.
Mets: Michael Conforto, OF (age 29)
Conforto has had a down year, but it’s the first real down year of his career: He may be the ultimate one-year-contract bet-on-himself player. Noah Syndergaard, who hasn’t pitched since 2019 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, is another interesting name here, and a September cameo (which is still possible) could do wonders for his market value.
Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, 1B (age 37)
Here is your reminder that Zimmerman, when he has played, hasn’t been half bad this year!
Phillies: Andrew McCutchen, OF (age 35)
This assumes the Phillies won’t pick up his $15 million option, which may be too big of an assumption to make. The next most notable option is probably one of their relievers, such as Archie Bradley or Ian Kennedy.
Brewers: Eduardo Escobar, 2B/3B (age 33)
The Trade Deadline acquisition could showcase his game quite a bit in the postseason.
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright, RHP (age 40)
Both Wainwright and Yadier Molina (not to mention Andrew Miller, Matt Carpenter, Kwang Hyun Kim and, probably, Carlos Martínez) are free agents this year. Will the Cardinals bring them both back for one last rodeo?
Cubs: Zach Davies, RHP (age 29)
Yes, in fact, the Cubs did have a free agent that they didn’t trade away.
Pirates: Gregory Polanco, OF (age 30)
Given his .631 OPS and the fact that that he hasn’t panned out the way the club hoped, it’s difficult to see the Pirates picking up Polanco’s $12.5 million option.
Reds: Nick Castellanos, OF (age 30)
He is likely to opt out of the two years and $34 million left on his deal, and after the year he has had, he’ll be well-rewarded for doing so.
D-backs: Asdrúbal Cabrera, 1B/3B (age 36)
It’s going to be the year 2031, and you’re going to be watching a random baseball game on a Tuesday afternoon, and you’re going to catch yourself going, “whoa, Asdrúbal Cabrera is still hanging around?”
Giants: Kevin Gausman, RHP (age 31)
The downside to the Giants’ success with veterans is that they have to figure out which ones to re-sign in the offseason every year, including Gausman, Kris Bryant, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Alex Wood and, yes, Darin Ruf.
Padres: Tommy Pham, OF (age 34)
Pham has been an underappreciated aspect of the Padres’ success this year and is building himself a solid case for being a value free-agent acquisition this offseason.