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Elephant Rumblings: MLB free agency begins; which A’s rank in the Top 50?

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Wild Card Round - Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics - Game Two Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The MLB offseason has begun. The market is now open, with free agents allowed to negotiate and sign with whomever they choose. Contract options have been exercised or declined, and qualifying offers have been issued to some of the top names, with six stars receiving the $18.9 million commitments if they choose to accept them.

As they do every year, MLB Trade Rumors released their Top 50 Free Agents list, complete with predictions of where they’ll all go and for how much. Click here to see the full post, including these Top 10 names in order of highest projected total contract:

  1. RHP Trevor Bauer
  2. C J.T. Realmuto
  3. OF George Springer
  4. OF Marcell Ozuna
  5. IF D.J. LeMahieu
  6. RHP Marcus Stroman
  7. SS Ha-Seong Kim
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. RHP Kevin Gausman
  10. RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Of that group, Bauer, Realmuto, Springer, LeMahieu, Stroman, and Gausman received qualifying offers from their old teams. They predict Bauer at 4yr/$128 (to the Dodgers), with Realmuto and Springer at 5yr/$125m (to the Mets and White Sox, respectively), and then Ozuna at 4yr/$72m (to the Nationals). The proposed destinations are mostly fun guesses, but the overall rankings and the dollar amounts give a decent idea of what to expect.

The Oakland A’s first show up on the list at No. 12, with closer Liam Hendriks. The A’s chose not to give Hendriks a QO, and MLBTR has good news and bad news — they agree he won’t get nearly that much money, but they also think he’ll leave. They have him pegged at 3yr/$30m, and they picked the Phillies from a long list of potential suitors.

Next up is shortstop Marcus Semien, at No. 15. MLBTR sees a one-year deal in his future, but for much less than than the QO would have been. They’ve got him at $14 million, which sounds about right. However, they picked the Angels as his destination, which would be interesting — a total bummer to see him go to a major division rival, of course, but also hilarious to see the Angels continue to spend money on anything other than pitching (though they do also have the Halos nabbing Marcus Stroman). For what it’s worth, their writeup at least mentions the possibility of Semien staying in Oakland.

MLBTR does have the A’s on the positive side of one transaction. At No. 30 is second baseman Tommy La Stella, and they’ve got the professional hitter staying put in his rental home on a 2yr/$14m deal. I think every part of this is realistic — that’s around what I thought he’d command, he’s still a great fit on this roster, and the team seems to like him. If they only re-sign one of their departing free agents, La Stella makes the most sense and at the best value.

Also making the Top 50 is lefty Mike Minor, at No. 40. They have him going to the Angels as well, at a reasonable 1yr/$6m. Outfielder Robbie Grossman and setup man Joakim Soria make the honorable mention category, though without predictions attached.

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How are they even considering bringing back Cora??

I said this was a bad contract when it was signed, though perhaps winning a ring in the first year was enough to make up for anything after. But remember, they recently dumped Mookie Betts for basically financial reasons, while Martinez had a 77 wRC+ in 2020.

Updated free agent list

Bummer news! John did a great job at SI and his posts were frequently included in these Rumblings.

Interesting point-counterpoint

Nailed it