MLB Free Agency 2020: Early Predictions For Mookie Betts, George Springer, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 26, 2020

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 26: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs back to the dugout from right field during a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels at Camelback Ranch on February 26, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers took a step forward in their quest to end their World Series drought by acquiring Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox this offseason. 

At the moment, the 27-year-old is scheduled to be around Dodger Stadium for one season, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020 campaign.

Of course, the Dodgers and Betts could come to an agreement before he hits the market, but his availability could be a talking point once the Major League Baseball season begins. 

If he hits the open market, he would headline a free-agent class led by sluggers, including Houston Astros outfielder George Springer and Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto. 


Early Predictions For 2020 MLB Free Agents

Mookie Betts

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

The Dodgers made a bold move in February by landing Betts and starting pitcher David Price.

With Betts in place, the Dodgers could be in the best position to win the World Series than they have been in the last decade. 

If the Los Angeles lineup lives up to its potential, Betts, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner and others could wreak havoc on plenty of pitching staffs across the majors and end the championship drought that dates back to 1988.

To make a run at the pennant in 2020, the Dodgers were willing to pay Betts $27 million and part ways with prospect Alex Verdugo among others. 

Betts is the second-highest paid player on the Los Angeles roster behind Clayton Kershaw, and if he delivers from the top of the order, he could be worth more than the southpaw's current $31 million salary in the future. 

Keeping him in the long term is possible, but it could come with some obstacles because of other expiring deals. 

The 35-year-old Turner is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season, and Bellinger is under a one-year deal with three years of arbitration ahead. 

The Dodgers can find a way to keep Betts and Bellinger in the heart of the order, but they might have to opt against Turner's return to do so. 

No matter which scenario you look at, it would wise of the Dodgers to keep Betts past this season due to the price they paid and the power he can bring on a long-term basis.

Prediction: Betts lands long-term deal with Dodgers. 


George Springer

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Springer comes into the 2020 campaign with the fourth-highest deal on the Astros roster at $21 million.

The 30-year-old outfielder has four straight seasons with 20 home runs, and he has at least 71 RBI in those campaigns. 

His consistency at the dish should be rewarded by the either the Astros, or another suitor if he hits the open market. 

If Springer commands a pay increase, the Astros would have to figure out how to work those numbers with three other expensive deals in their possession.

Justin Verlander is scheduled to earn $33 million in 2020 and 2021, Zack Greinke is under contract until 2021 and Jose Altuve's deal lasts until 2024

The good news for Houston is none of its top three earners will experience a significant raise for the duration of their respective contracts. 

That combined with Josh Reddick and Michael Brantley becoming free agents after this season could allow the Astros some flexibility when working with Springer. 

Houston could allow Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker to take over for Brantley and Reddick to combine with Springer to become one of the more formidable outfield trios in the majors. 

Prediction: Houston finds a way to keep Springer.


J.T. Realmuto

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Over the last two seasons, Realmuto has proved to be one of the best offensive catchers in baseball.

He produced 21 home runs, 74 RBI and a .825 OPS with the Miami Marlins in 2018 and then improved his totals with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2019.

Realmuto mashed 25 home runs, drove in 83 runs and increased his slugging percentage by .09 points to .493 last season. 

In 2020, the 29-year-old is scheduled to earn $10 million before he hits the free-agent market. 

If he comes close to replicating his numbers from the previous two years, Realmuto would likely gain interest from a handful of parties in free agency. 

The Phillies have displayed a willingness to spend recently by bringing in Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler.

According to Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Realmuto's agents "are believed to be using Joe Mauer's catcher-record $23 million average annual salary as a baseline in extension talks." 

A $23 million-per-year deal would see Realmuto make $4.5 million less than Harper, who is scheduled to earn a total salary of $27.5 million from 2020-28.

Signing Realmuto to a long-term deal would be yet another statement of intent for the Phillies, and since they can negotiate with the catcher first, they could find common ground to keep him on the roster.

Prediction: Realmuto, Phillies agree to an extension.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.

Contract information obtained from Spotrac.


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