What a difference a year makes. This time last winter, Major League Baseball was engaged in an owner-imposed lockout, icing the free-agent market until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached in March. This spin around the sun, the free-agent market has been red-hot. Indeed, 30 of CBS Sports' top 50 free agents have already signed this winter, including seven of the top 10.
This, then, is a perfect time to offer another "reset" of the free-agent market. And what better way to do that than making utter fools of ourselves by attempting to predict where each of the top 10 remaining free agents will land? As always, consider these to be for entertainment purposes only.
Come aboard with us now, folks, as we sail the content seas.
1. Carlos Correa, SS, originally No. 3
Correa's market reportedly has three teams jockeying for position: the San Francisco Giants, the Minnesota Twins, and the Chicago Cubs. The Twins would appear to be the financial underdogs here, but they do have familiarity with Correa, having employed him last season. Alas, for as fun as it would be to see the Twins retain one of the game's top shortstops, the Giants and Cubs have to be motivated to save their winters. That's why we're leaning the way we're leaning when we type the following. Landing spot: Giants.
2. Carlos Rodón, LHP, originally No. 8
Give Rodón credit. A few winters ago, before he broke out, he refused to discuss any offer that had him moving to the bullpen. Betting on himself has already paid off, and he's certain to receive a lucrative long-term deal in the coming weeks. Where might he land? The Giants and New York Yankees are two obvious potential landing spots. The St. Louis Cardinals are also said to be in the mix. It's likely going to come down to terms, and with the Giants pegged for Correa, we'll go with the other financial powerhouse. Landing spot: Yankees.
3. Dansby Swanson, SS, originally No. 9
Swanson might have to wait for Correa to find a home before he can latch on somewhere himself. Fair enough. The Atlanta Braves have been busy landing Sean Murphy, and have reportedly had few negotiations with their long-time shortstop. That would seem to open the door for another club to take advantage. As such, we'll go with one of the teams who lost out on Correa in the hypothetical scenario we put forth above. Landing spot: Cubs.
4. Michael Brantley, OF/DH, originally No. 15
Brantley has long been a good hitter, but it's reasonable to wonder what he'll offer teams next season after missing most of last year because of shoulder surgery. Some contender is certain to step up and give him a roster spot with the hope that he can regain his past form. If they're correct, they'll have landed a quality hitter at a potentially discounted price. Landing spot: Blue Jays.
5. Andrew Benintendi, OF, originally No. 18
Benintendi is coming off his most productive season since 2018, as judged by OPS+. Even so, not every team will rush to hand over a multi-year deal to a left fielder whose ISO finished below .100 in a good year. Benintendi still seems like a fit for the Yankees, but for the sake of mixing things up, we'll slot him in as Brantley's replacement in Houston. Landing spot: Astros.
6. Jean Segura, 2B, originally No. 24
Segura is a reliably above-average bat who had his club option declined by the Phillies at the start of the offseason. His track record should be enough to fetch him a starting job on a contender. The Chicago White Sox don't seem to have a ton of resources to use this offseason, but they could use the help at the keystone. We'll let them figure out how to get it done. Landing spot: White Sox.
7. Jurickson Profar, LF, originally No. 28
Think of Profar as the downmarket version of Benintendi. He doesn't offer a lot of power or reliability, but he's coming off a solid year and he's just now entering his age-30 season. Another reunion with the San Diego Padres would make sense if they can't find someone they deem to be an upgrade. You can never count out A.J. Preller, but we'll roll with them. Landing spot: Padres.
8. J.D. Martinez, DH, originally No. 29
Martinez isn't the premier slugger he used to be, but he's still good enough to serve as some team's most-days DH. He hasn't popped up in any rumors yet this winter, but we'll go with the Diamondbacks here because they could use another above-average bat and they have familiarity with him from 2017. Landing spot: Diamondbacks.
9. Justin Turner, 3B, originally No. 30
The Los Angeles Dodgers may have declined Turner's club option at the onset of the winter, but count them among the teams who have been connected to him in recent days. The others are the Miami Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks. Presuming the Dodgers aren't low-balling Turner, we think he'll end up back in Los Angeles for another year. Landing spot: Dodgers.
10. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, originally No. 31
It wouldn't be too surprising if Eovaldi's market is chillier than he expected. After all, the Boston Red Sox attached the qualifying offer to him at the beginning of the winter. He's still a veteran arm with a track record of being an above-average starter. The Padres could use some rotation help, and it's easier to give up additional draft picks after you've made the first cut. Maybe this is overzealous and Eovaldi ends up with the Twins, Rangers, or even back in Boston. But that's the beauty of this exercise folks: No one will remember what we guessed here. Landing spot: Padres.