2021 MLB Free Agents: Latest Rumors, Predictions Before World Series
Major League Baseball may be gearing up for the World Series, but attention is already being paid to the offseason and the plethora of high-profile free agents who could be soon joining different teams.
One such player is shortstop Carlos Correa, who is chasing his second World Series ring but will be seeking a major payday as soon as the Fall Classic wraps up.
Where might he, Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Boston Red Sox outfielder Kyle Schwarber call home next season?
Find out with this look at the latest MLB free-agent rumors, complete with a prediction for each player.
Carlos Correa to New York?
ESPN's Buster Olney reported on Wednesday that "after a year of limiting their spending, the expectation is that the Yankees will land a shortstop, and that will likely be either Seager or Correa—perhaps with the intention of eventually shifting that player to another spot."
He also revealed six evaluators believe Seager to be the better shortstop but acknowledged there is a sentiment within the Yankees organization that the Los Angeles Dodger would need to change positions.
The Yankees have Anthony Volpe, the team's top prospect, ready to make the jumps to the bigs "sometime in the next two seasons," seemingly necessitating a switch of positions regardless of whether the team signs Seager or Correa.
Correa is starring in the postseason, where he has the opportunity to win his second World Series ring. He is responsible for 9 runs, 11 hits and a home run, with a .297 batting average and an on-base percentage of .395.
The Yankees are undoubtedly taking note of his performance this offseason and weighing it versus those of both Seager and Volpe as they seek to upgrade. Time will tell where the Bronx Bombers decide to use the money it saved up by restricting its spending in this past offseason.
If the Astros win their second World Series since 2017, it would be difficult for the team to justify letting one of its cornerstones leave in free agency. Houston would have to shell out considerable money to retain Correa, but there is little denying he has earned it during his time in Space City.
With that said, when the Yankees are in the mix, and if they want a player badly enough, they have no problem throwing seemingly endless amounts of money at them. With the desire for a shortstop and Correa being the most dynamic available player at that position, he will have the team's attention.
Prediction: New York signs Correa.
Corey Seager Wants to Remain with Los Angeles
Seager may be the apple of the Yankees' eye for its hole at shortstop, but that doesn't mean he would gleefully join up with the club.
As The Athletic's Fabian Ardaya shared, Seager very much wants to return to the Dodgers: "Absolutely. I grew up here. I've spent a lot of time here. I believe in what these guys do. I believe in how we go about it. Yeah, absolutely [I want to stay]."
Seager is one of MLB's elite shortstops and in 2021 added 16 home runs and 57 RBI. More importantly, he enjoyed an on-base percentage of .394. If he does return to Los Angeles, there is no guarantee he sticks at shortstop as the Dodgers have committed to Trea Turner at the position next season, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (h/t Chris Halicke of FanNation).
Halicke reported the Texas Rangers are expected to be prominent players in the shortstop market, making them a potential landing spot for Seager.
With the Dodgers facing other free-agent decisions on Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw, it may be unfeasible to keep Seager on board, no matter how badly he wants to stay with the only Major League Baseball team he has known.
Prediction: Seager signs with Texas.
Kyle Schwarber Open to Red Sox Return
He echoed those sentiments immediately following the Red Sox's game 6 loss to Houston on Friday night. "I wish I could tell everyone I'm going to [return]," he told the media. ... "These guys made it so easy on me just to be able to come in. And me being hurt, like, they could all look at me sideways and think why did we trade for a guy that's hurt, right?"
There is going to be a demand for Schwarber's services following a season that saw him blast 32 homers combined across his stints with the Washington Nationals and Boston. He was a force behind Boston's postseason surge while batting from the No. 2 position. Should he return, he could find himself in a similar role or potentially as Boston's designated hitter amid uncertainty surrounding J.D. Martinez's status with the team.
Either way, Schwarber is open to returning to the team, and the city would be happy to have him back. Whether the organization can make it work with needs elsewhere in the lineup remains to be seen.
Prediction: Schwarber returns to Boston.