This year's MLB free-agent class features a slew of big-name players who can be difference-makers on any team. As we inch closer to the offseason, anticipation about which teams will make a big splash to improve their rosters continues to build.
Here, we try to predict the outcomes for three of the top players set to hit the open market this year.
Prediction: Carlos Correa signs $300M contract with Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is poised to be baseball's next $300-million man. The 27-year-old is coming off a strong 2021 season in which he batted .279 with 26 home runs and 92 RBI while logging a career-high 7.2 WAR in the regular season. He's continued his stellar play during the postseason as well.
Correa is sure to have his fair share of suitors this offseason. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported earlier this month that the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers are expected to be in the market for a shortstop.
Correa is open to re-signing with Houston, but his price may be too high. After Francisco Lindor signed a 10-year, $341 million extension with the New York Mets this year, Correa can be expected to garner an offer close to those numbers.
One team Heyman also mentioned that makes sense for Correa is the Detroit Tigers. Signing with Detroit will reunite Correa with manager A.J. Hinch, who managed Houston from 2015-19.
The Tigers could use a major upgrade at shortstop after subpar performances from the trio of Harold Castro, Niko Goodrum and Zack Short in 2021. If Detroit wants to make the postseason for the first time since 2014, it would be wise to throw all its cash in Correa's direction and make him the ninth player in MLB history to receive a $300 million contract.
Prediction: Max Scherzer signs short-term deal to remain with Dodgers
Three-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer is set to become a free agent for just the second time in his career. While he's likely to receive a ton of interest on the open market, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the 37-year-old stay put in Los Angeles.
Scherzer had a 15-4 record with a 2.46 ERA and 236 strikeouts this season. After being traded to the Dodgers from the Washington Nationals at this year's trade deadline, Scherzer went 7-0 with four no-decisions in 11 starts.
The Dodgers' status as perennial contenders gives them a good selling point for Scherzer, who is chasing his second World Series title. Los Angeles is down 2-0 to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.
Scherzer struggled in his most recent start on Sunday, throwing 79 pitches and getting pulled after four and one-third innings. After the game, Scherzer said his arm "felt dead," which might raise concerns for other teams and lead to a reunion with the Dodgers.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported earlier this month that Scherzer will likely be in line for a record annual salary this offseason. The Dodgers are big spenders, so they would likely have no problem agreeing to Scherzer's contract demands.
Prediction: Yankees sign SS Corey Seager to three-year deal
The New York Yankees had another disappointing finish to their season, losing to longtime rival Boston Red Sox in the American League Wild Card Game. Despite making the playoff for five straight years, New York hasn't reached a World Series since 2009.
It's been a few years since the Yankees made a splashy move in free agency, and now would be the right time to change that. This year's free-agent class features a strong crop of shortstops in Correa, Trevor Story, Javier Baez, Marcus Semien and perhaps New York's most sensible option, Corey Seager.
Seager was limited to 95 games for the Dodgers this season after suffering a fractured hand in May, but he still managed to hit .306 with 16 homers and 57 RBI. When Los Angeles acquired shortstop Trea Turner in the Scherzer deal, it opened the door for the team to part ways with Seager this offseason.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post noted that Seager's lefty bat would fit nicely into the Yankees' righty-dominant lineup. His contact skills would also improve a team that had the sixth-most strikeouts in MLB last season.
The Yankees may choose to stand pat in free agency due to a strong farm system. Shortstop Anthony Volpe is ranked No. 15 in Bleacher Report's Top 100 prospect list after hitting .294/.423/.604 in Single-A and High-A this year. Infielder Oswald Peraza is ranked No. 60 and played at Triple-A this season.
But even if New York were to eventually call up one of those prospects, Seager has the versatility to be moved over to third base. Signing the two-time All-Star and former World Series MVP would improve the Yankees immediately.
The 27-year-old Seager does have an extensive injury history, including undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. He's played fewer than 100 games in each of the last two seasons.
While Seager would command a big-money contract, it's likely the Yankees or any other team wouldn't have to shell out as much money as the Mets gave to Lindor. Signing Seager to a short-term contract would solidify New York's status as contenders in the American League and allow them to reevaluate his status if he proves he can stay healthy.