We’re back with the fourth edition of free-agent superlatives — and this year’s free-agent class is certainly the most super we’ve seen in several years. What’s not so super is an offseason that may hit a wall thanks to the impending work stoppage at midnight on Dec. 1, when the owners will lock out the players, freezing transactions and signings, unless a last-minute deal can be struck on a new CBA. Let’s dig into some of the subplots and hope the owners and players can eventually agree to a new working agreement.
Most likely to get the biggest deal: Carlos Correa
This was not a foregone conclusion back in spring training. While one of the big-name shortstops would likely land the largest contract in free agency, all appeared capable of getting deals approaching or exceeding $200 million. Here’s how their seasons played out:
Francisco Lindor: Lindor signed a 10-year, $341 million extension with the Mets on April 1, forgoing free agency. Unfortunately for the Mets, Lindor hit just .230/.322/.412 in his age-27 season, missed time with an oblique injury and thought it was a good idea to “boo” the fans. The extension doesn’t even start until 2022. The agents for Correa (Jon Rosen) and Corey Seager (Scott Boras) will understandably link the Lindor contract as the basis for their clients, but teams may also view the deal more as a cautionary tale than an applicable comparison.
Correa: He had his best all-around season, hitting .279/.366/.485 with terrific defense (he deservedly won his first Gold Glove) and, most importantly, playing 148 games, after missing an average of 64 games per season from 20172019. Correa’s previous back issues will be a long-term concern and it’s worth noting the inconsistency in his slugging percentage through the years: .512, .451, .550, .405, .568, .383, .485. His two best slugging seasons came in 2017 (when he played 109 games and may have had a little extra help) and 2019 (when he played just 75 games). Still, he will be 27 on Opening Day and his combination of defense and power is too hard to resist.