2021 MLB Free Agents: Rumors, Predictions for Kris Bryant, Freddie Freeman, More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2021

2021 MLB Free Agents: Rumors, Predictions for Kris Bryant, Freddie Freeman, More

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Major League Baseball offseason is (nearly) in full swing. Free agency has gotten underway, and some big-time deals have already been done.

    Pitcher Max Scherzer, for example, recently agreed to a three-year, $130 million contract with the New York Mets.

    However, things may grind to a halt on Monday. The league's current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is set to expire at midnight, and a work stoppage could ensure.

    "If a new deal isn't in place, owners are expected to choose the lockout option to push the union into a more urgent state of negotiation," ESPN's Jesse Rogers wrote.

    Because of this, deals that aren't reached by Monday may wind up in a holding pattern. Third baseman and outfielder Kris Bryant, for instance, isn't expected to sign with a new team before the potential stoppage—according to FanSided's Robert Murray.

    So, Monday may bring a flurry of activity, or, it may bring the last flood of free-agent buzz for the near future. Either way, it shouldn't be a boring day for hot-stove followers. Here, you'll find some of the latest rumors and predictions for some of the top remaining MLB free agents.

Kris Bryant

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Bryant is one of the bigger names still available on the free-agent market. A hot commodity at the trade deadline, he made his way from the Chicago Cubs to the San Francisco Giants in late July. In 51 games with San Francisco, he batted .262 with 49 hits and 28 runs.

    Bryant's decision to wait on signing isn't too surprising, as a new CBA could have an impact on how contracts are structured. It isn't keeping teams from being interested either, and the Seattle Mariners are among those showing interest, per Murray.

    According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Colorado Rockies are also high on Bryant.

    "The Rockies are interested in Kris Bryant as they are obviously aiming to compete in 2022. Geographically it would certainly work for Bryant, a Las Vegas native," Heyman tweeted.

    Both the Rockies and the Mariners missed the playoffs this past season, so Bryant wouldn't join an instant contender if picking between the two clubs. However, Seattle did win 90 games and recently signed AL Cy Young-winner Robbie Ray. The Mariners could be a prime landing spot if Bryant is looking to join an ascending team.

    Prediction: Bryant signs with Seattle

Freddie Freeman

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is another hot commodity. The five-time All-Star and reigning World Series champion declined Atlanta's qualifying offer and is at least testing the free-agent waters.

    According to Heyman, several teams are trying to pull Freeman out of Atlanta.

    "Teams are trying to pry superstar 1B Freddie Freeman from Atlanta. Some say they still don’t think it will happen but r surprised he’s still free," Heyman tweeted.

    Per Heyman, the Los Angeles Dodgers may have the best shot at landing Freeman, while the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays have also "reached out."

    While it does seem unlikely that Freeman will actually leave Atlanta, the Braves are exploring backup options, according to Heyman.

    "Braves have checked in on A's star 1B Matt Olson, presumably as a contingency plan in case Freddie Freeman leaves via free agency. Most still have a hard time envisioning Freeman in any other uniform but Braves want to be prepared," he tweeted.

    Anything could happen, of course, but Freeman has been with the Braves since 2010. Now that they've reached the pinnacle, it's hard to see him jumping ship.

    Prediction: Freeman returns to Atlanta.

Carlos Correa

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Shortstop Carlos Correa is also a free agent after declining a qualifying offer from the Houston Astros. With a surging market for the position, he could cash in with a massive deal. Fellow shortstop Corey Seager recently agreed to a 10-year, $325 million deal with the Texas Rangers.

    According to Mark Berman of KRIV Fox 26, Houston offered Correa a five-year, $160 million deal last month. That's an enticing contract, but it made sense for Correa to test the market before agreeing to anything.

    The Detroit Tigers were high on Correa, though they ultimately pivoted to Javier Baez.

    "The team was ready to spend, and manager AJ Hinch had a strong relationship with Correa from their five years together with the Astros. But in the end, Javier Báez made more sense for a rebuilding team that preferred to retain a measure of financial flexibility," The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal wrote.

    Detroit and Baez agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal.

    With Detroit out of the picture, returning to Houston might be Correa's best option. According to Rosenthal, Correa and the Astros have "remained in contact," and a return might provide Correa with his best payday.

    "The problem he faces is that few clubs are willing to pay one player $300 million or more," Rosenthal wrote.

    If Correa can't land $300-plus million on a 10-year deal, getting $160 million over five years is not a bad consolation prize.

    Prediction: Correa re-signs with Houston.

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