Hurricane of Activity – 8 Things That Will Happen Once MLB Lockdown Ends

When (and if) baseball resumes in 2022, GMs will work much like NFL coaches at the start of games, writing down their first moves. As the deal kicks in, you can almost imagine Red Sox honcho Chaim Bloom, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and their peers staring at laden cards, playing in headphones.

Baseball managers had nothing to do but plan for more than two months. Likewise, agents spent days planning their first phone calls after work resumed — and when (and if) it did, there would be a hurricane of activity.

Here are some of what many in the industry are expecting:

1. Freddy Freeman signs fast.

The assumption among a lot of rival CEOs last year was that Freeman and the Brave would eventually work out a deal. But Freeman wasn’t among the stars to sign a pre-lockdown contract — even after the Braves won the World Championship and the franchise ran with the championship glow (and cash pumped). So the industry view has shifted. There is a growing belief that Freeman will land somewhere outside of Atlanta due to the confrontation in his negotiations. The Braves are offered $135 million over five years, and Freeman is looking for a six-year deal, sources said.

“I suspect [the Braves] He will move quickly to come up with an alternative and move forward to move beyond the conversation.”

Maybe this is a deal for Matt Olson from Auckland. Perhaps they will sign with Anthony Rizzo. But Freeman’s negotiation has become a competition, and as one agent said, you never want to do that.

Freeman would be a perfect fit for just about any lineup, especially with a world designated hitter likely to be used in the National League in 2022. Even a team with first base base can imagine Freeman splitting time between DH and first base.

But as much as Freeman enjoys being a hitter and having a club presence, it’s possible that not many teams are in a position to spend big on a 32-year-old first baseman. Freeman’s left hit would help balance the Yankees’ very right-handed lineup, and he’ll likely enjoy swinging in the warm confines of Yankees’ right-hand field dimensions. If Hal Steinbrenner chooses to operate within the limits of the competitive balance tax threshold, as he did last year, Cashman may not have room for another big-money deal. The Yankees already have significant investments in Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton, and the club is aiming to work on retaining Aaron Judge, with his foray into free agency looming next fall.

For Freeman, the Dodgers may be the more likely alternative to the Braves. Some agents believe Andrew Friedman, head of baseball operations in Los Angeles, would never allocate a six-year deal to a first baseman entering the back half of his career. One agent said, assuming a four-year, $140 million contract is more viable in Los Angeles.

Wherever the future Hall of Fame recruit has landed, people in the industry believe it will happen quickly.

2. Auckland Athletics will implement a major rollout.

The industry imagined that Oakland had offers for the likes of Olson and Matt Chapman before the shutdown, and that athletics would be ready to close a series of deals quickly once teams are given the green light to carry out transactions. There appears to be a strong interest in Olson among the Braves, Yankees, Rangers, and others.

3. The world of baseball will learn what Clayton Kershaw wants.

Here’s what we often know: One day, Kershaw will be voted into the Hall of Fame at least almost unanimously. But it’s not entirely clear what Kershaw wants for 2022. Does he want to bid for the Dodgers? Could he be thinking of Rangers or another team? How does he feel after the collapse at the end of the 2021 season?

All of the mystery about Kershaw will likely be cleared within the first couple of days after the collective bargaining agreement decision (or perhaps before).

4. Teams needing a short program will immediately dive into the latest medical information about Carlos Correa and Trevor Storey.

Correa is 27 years old and is seen as one of the best in his position and has recently been linked to Scott Porras hoping to land a mega deal in the same neighborhood as Francisco Lindor ($341M) and Cory Seeger ($325M). Everyone who signs Correa will want to feel comfortable with whatever information they can get about their lower back problems. Any team interested in Story will want to focus on him to see if the throwing problems that emerged last year have improved and to assess whether they think he might have a residual arm problem.

5. The best diluents available are likely to sign very quickly.

Some of the best bull arms have already been locked out, such as right-handed Raisel Iglesias and Aaron Loup (who both signed with the Angels), and Corey Knebel (probably the 9th man for the Phillies). But there are still some big names available, like Kenley Janssen (free agent), Josh Hader and Craig Kimbrill (in the trade).

6. The Mets will spend more money.

Breaking news (okay, not really): Whatever CBT thresholds were negotiated in the next CBA, Mets owner Steve Cohen actually zoomed in the way, road In the past, most likely at the expense of welfare taxes and conscription derivatives. Given that he’s already gone so far, the industry’s expectation is that he’ll continue his spending spree to complete the roster. Buck Showalter inadvertently pointed out the other day that the door wasn’t completely shut for the return of free-defense player Michael Conforto.

7. Teams will come back to ask the guardians how much all-star Jose Ramirez will cost.

His contract is so favorable to Cleveland that getting an acceptable offer for the prospects may be nearly impossible – and the company, mired in promotion, may choose to open its next season under its new name Guardians with Ramirez installed in their turf. But as clubs looking for players (such as the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Astros) weigh their options, they will at least ask the right questions about Ramirez.

8. Nick Castellanos will find his next home.

Perhaps two major developments improve Castellanos’ context in free agency: first, a global DH finish, which makes NL teams more comfortable pursuing Castellanos, who many raters consider to be JD Martinez-type hitter and defender; And second, if the draft pick offset is removed, it could force some teams to consider Castellanos more aggressively.

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