Phillies

Key NL East players set for free agency

Phillies

The World Series will end either Tuesday or Wednesday night, and more than 100 players around the league will become free agents the following morning.

Teams have a five-day window to exclusively negotiate with their free agents, after which the players are free to sign anywhere.

The Phillies have nine players headed to the market, as outlined here.

Let's take a look at the rest of the key free agents in the NL East, beginning with a Braves team just one win away from winning it all.

Braves

  • 1B Freddie Freeman
  • OF Adam Duvall
  • OF Jorge Soler
  • OF Joc Pederson
  • LHP Drew Smyly

With or without a World Series win, it's difficult to imagine Freeman playing anywhere other than Atlanta next season. He was drafted by the Braves in the second round in 2007 and has been a Brave ever since, earning just under $140 million in his 12-year career.

Freeman just turned 32 years old. On the open market, he'd likely command a five-year deal. It will be interesting to see where the number falls if he stays with the Braves, both in years and dollars. They have both Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies on extremely team-friendly contracts, and Freeman's current contract also fit that description.

There is a $7 mutual option on Duvall's contract that can be bought out for $3 million. Given the options of paying him $7 million to play or pay him $3 million to walk, the Braves would likely lean toward keeping him if he agrees. If he doesn't, Duvall would become a decent free-agent option for the Phillies, who have a hole in left field and a need for more power.

 

Soler was terrible in Kansas City this season then thrived in Atlanta, hitting .269 with 25 extra-base hits and an .882 OPS in 55 games. In the NLCS and World Series, he's gone 6 for 19 with two doubles and two home runs.

Rosario had a .903 OPS with the Braves after the trade deadline, then won NLCS MVP by going 14 for 25 with three homers and nine RBI against the Dodgers.

Acuña is due back for the Braves next season, which will impact their decision-making with these free-agent outfielders. There is also uncertainty over Marcell Ozuna, who spent the majority of 2021 on administrative leave after allegedly assaulting his wife.

The Braves will want to keep a couple of these veteran outfielders but Rosario and Soler, in particular, might find more riches elsewhere.

Mets

  • OF Michael Conforto
  • INF Javier Baez
  • RHP Marcus Stroman
  • RHP Noah Syndergaard
  • RHP Jeurys Familia
  • LHP Aaron Loup
  • INF Jonathan Villar

Conforto did not have the walk year he wanted, hitting .232 with a .729 OPS, both numbers just barely above his career-lows from 2016.

Conforto is 28 years old and has shown he can be a valuable middle-of-the-order lefty bat, but his stock has dipped. Teams in need of an outfielder might prefer to go the cheaper veteran route since there's no guarantee Conforto would outperform someone like Duvall or Soler in 2022. Might Conforto have to sign a one-year, prove-it deal? 

Baez started slowly in New York after the trade deadline, got himself in trouble for his gesture toward the fans, then immediately picked it up on the field and had a terrific final month. He ended up hitting .299/.371/.515 in 186 plate appearances with the Mets. 

Baez, like Trevor Story, Carlos Correa and Corey Seager, is looking for a huge payday this winter. The Mets liked the pairing of Baez and Francisco Lindor. Will they be the team that splurges?

Stroman took the one-year qualifying offer of $18.9 million last offseason and increased his value by posting a 3.02 ERA in 33 starts with a career-low 1.15 WHIP. It's not a bad year for starting pitching with Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, Carlos Rodon, Zack Greinke, Anthony DeSclafani, Stroman and Syndergaard all set for free agency.

Loup, by the way, has been one of baseball's best left-handed relievers in the three seasons since leaving the Phillies. He has a 1.38 ERA in 93 appearances with the Padres, Rays and Mets.

Nationals & Marlins

These two teams dealt away most of their impending free agents like Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber, Starling Marte and Duvall.

The only real name of note remaining for either team is Ryan Zimmerman, the 16-year National who has watched the franchise evolve from doormat to World Series champion and into a rebuild. The Nats sold heavy at the trade deadline and Zimmerman ended up playing his most games since 2017. He has not yet decided on retirement.

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