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Best Remaining Free Agents: Predictions On Free Agency

Some big names remain in free agency as Major League Baseball Opening Day approaches. Who will sign Michael Conforto?

Last season, the Cardinals were 8-1 on the road and 3-5 at home. With such a large and unusual discrepancy, it seemed like something worth further investigation.

The MLB season is thirteen days away, or just under two weeks. Rosters are starting to take form with some teams implementing the first round of cuts from major league camp, and the largest free agency frenzy has come to a halt. However, there are still plenty of names out in free agency that have yet to be signed. These names range from outfielder Michael Conforto, who has a comp pick assigned to his named due to the qualifying offer, to veteran starter Johnny Cueto. Let’s make some predictions on where the remaining free agents from Conforto to Cueto end up to end free agency.

OF Michael Conforto

The former Met is coming off of his worst year since 2016, where he OPS’d .725 as a 23 year old. The now 29 year old is sitting on the open market coming off of a season with just 0.8 bWAR, and has a comp pick attached. However, the lefty put up huge numbers in the COVID-19 shortened 2020, and has proven to be an elite OBP type. It seems unlikely that he reunites with the Mets, and the Blue Jays just traded for Raimel Tapia. The two teams I am keeping an eye on are the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox. The Rangers have already splashed with the additions of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, while the Sox have been quiet on adding bats.

Prediction: Signs with Texas for two years, 30M

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OF Brett Gardner

Another former New York product, this time from the Yankees. Brett Gardner has played 14 seasons with the Bronx Bomber’s, but has yet to find a home for the 2022 season. Gardner was another player linked to the Jays, but the addition of Tapia makes it unlikely. Without an injury to a Yankee’s outfielder, a reunion with his long-time club also seems non-existent. The lefty is coming off of a down year where he had an OPS+ of just 90 with poor defense. I believe that Gardner there is a good chance remains unsigned until a competitive team loses an outfielder to injury.

Prediction: Unsigned

1B/DH Albert Pujols

The future hall of famer is unsurprisingly still on the open market after he was cut by the Angels last season. However, he did show some signs of life playing for the other LA team, showing that he still has the ability to hit LHP. Albert hit lefties to the tune of a .939 OPS in 2021, good for an OPS+ of 158. The addition of the NL DH is great for Albert, as he no longer needs to play in the field. However, he remains far too slow to be an everyday type of player. Despite the lack of speed, I expect a team to pick him up due to his ability to crush southpaws and sell tickets.

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Prediction: Signs with Colorado for one year, 1M

RP Yusmerio Petit

Petit is the best reliever left on the open market, in my mind. The 37 year old has pitched for 6 different teams, most recently the Oakland A’s. He has experience pitching in all different types of situations, and can be a valuable arm to any bullpen, as he has a rubber arm. The righties strikeout numbers fell off a ton in 2021, which is a cause for concern. However, with the expanded rosters in April, along with a shortened spring training, he can have a job if he wants one.

Prediction: Signs with Minnesota for one year, $2.5M

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SP Johnny Cueto

The starting pitcher market is now unbelievably thin, with most of the focus on A’s pitchers Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea. With the focus on the trade market, it is inevitable that a handful of teams are going to swing and miss, leaving them with a hole. Cueto isn’t nearly what he once was, but he’s good to give a club 100-150 innings a year without losing them a game. Much like Petit, he isn’t going to force swings and misses, but he’s a veteran prescience and knows how to win.

Prediction: Signs with Cincinnati for one year, $5M

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Written By

I am a senior college student studying sports administration. I hope to work in college athletics following graduation. I love the Iowa Hawkeyes, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, Oklahoma City Thunder, and New York Jets. I hate sac bunts and announcer's insisting teams do not need a 3 at the end of games.

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