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2021-22 MLB free agency, offseason trade news and hot stove updates

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The 2021 World Series is in the books, with the Atlanta Braves triumphing over the Houston Astros in six games. Now, it’s 2021-22 MLB offseason time for all 30 teams, with trades to be made, extensions to consider, and free-agency decisions charting the courses of players and teams alike looming. Some of the biggest names in the sport will be wearing different jerseys once the end of March 2022 rolls around.

What does each team need to do to win a World Series? How do the available free agents stack up? Which teams are about to make blockbuster trades? We’ve got all the latest news, rumors and analysis right here.

Related links:

Passan’s offseason preview | Early free-agency tiers | Way-too-early 2022 Power Rankings


Key dates to know

Nov. 7: Deadline for teams to tender qualifying offers to eligible free agents.
Nov. 7: Free agency begins (first day that free agents can sign with any team).
Nov. 9: GM meetings in Carlsbad, California.
Nov. 17: Deadline for free agents to accept or reject qualifying offers.
Dec. 1: Non-tender deadline.
Dec 1: The collective bargaining agreement expires at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Dec 6-9: Winter meetings in Orlando, Florida.
Jan 14: Deadline for teams/arbitration-eligible players to exchange salary figures.
Jan 31: Arbitration hearings begin.

Offseason questions for playoff teams (ESPN+)

National League

Will the Braves re-sign Freddie Freeman?

How much of the star-studded Dodgers roster will return next season?

Is Kris Bryant going back to the Giants?

How can the Brewers make their offense worthy of October?

Does the Cardinals’ rotation stack up for 2022?

American League

What’s next for the Astros after their World Series loss?

Should the Red Sox go for a big free-agent signing?

Is Tony La Russa the right manager for the White Sox?

Do the Rays need another power bat to bring home a title?

Should the Yankees move on from Gary Sanchez?

Other teams

The No. 1 question for each team that didn’t make the playoffs


Notable free agents

Jose Alvarez, SP, Giants
Nolan Arenado, 3B, Cardinals
Jake Arrieta, SP, Padres
Javier Baez, SS, Mets
Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants
Charlie Blackmon, RF, Rockies
Archie Bradley, RP, Phillies
Kris Bryant, 3B, Giants
Asdrubal Cabrera, 3B, Reds
Nick Castellanos, RF, Reds
Michael Conforto, RF, Mets
Carlos Correa, SS, Astros
Ian Desmond, CF, Rockies
Danny Duffy, SP, Dodgers
Eduardo Escobar, 2B, Brewers
Wilmer Flores, 2B, Giants
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
Kevin Gausman, SP, Giants
Kendall Graveman, RP, Astros
Zack Greinke, SP, Astros
Yuli Gurriel, 1B, Astros
Daniel Hudson, RP, Padres
Joe Kelly, RP, Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
Craig Kimbrel, RP, White Sox
Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers
Aaron Loup, RP, Mets
Starling Marte, CF, Athletics
J.D. Martinez, OF, Red Sox
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Phillies
Mark Melancon, RP, Padres
Wade Miley, SP, Reds
Brad Miller, LF, Phillies
Joc Pederson, LF, Braves
Tommy Pham, LF, Padres
Kevin Pillar, CF, Mets
Manny Pina, C, Brewers
Albert Pujols, 1B, Dodgers
Jose Ramirez, 3B, Cleveland
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Yankees
Eddie Rosario, LF, Braves
Kyle Schwarber, OF/1B,, Red Sox
Max Scherzer, SP, Dodgers
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers
Kyle Seager, 3B, Mariners
Andrelton Simmons, SS, Twins
Drew Smyly, SP, Braves
Jorge Soler, RF, Braves
Trevor Story, SS, Rockies
Marcus Stroman, SP, Mets
Hunter Strickland, RP, Brewers
Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets
Chris Taylor, CF, Dodgers
Justin Verlander, SP, Astros
Jonathan Villar, 3B, Mets
Alex Wood, SP, Giants
Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Nationals

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Wander Franco finalizes $182 million, 11-year contract in ‘great day’ for Tampa Bay Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wander Franco and the Tampa Bay Rays have finalized a $182 million, 11-year contract that includes a club option for the 2033 season.

The shortstop’s deal, which could be worth up to $223 million if the club option is exercised and incentives are reached, was announced Saturday.

“This is a great day for Wander and for the Rays, and is evidence of the mutual trust between Wander and our organization,” Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement. “We are committed to fielding competitive teams year in and year out, and we all expect that Wander’s presence and contributions will play a large part in maintaining our standard of excellence.”

Tampa Bay won the AL East in 2021, but was eliminated by Boston in the ALDS.

The contract is the largest financial commitment to a player in the Rays’ 24-year history. It’s also the biggest deal in major league history for a player with less than a year of major league service time.

Franco is the fifth player with less than a year of big league experience to sign a long-term extension with the team. The others are third baseman Evan Longoria (2008), left-hander Matt Moore (2011), right-hander Chris Archer (2014) and second baseman Brandon Lowe (2019).

“The pace at which Wander has developed speaks to his potential,” Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said in a statement. “We have seen him do special things on the field, particularly for a player that is only 20 years old. He’s an exceptionally driven, budding superstar who can contribute to our success for a long time.”

Franco made his major league debut June 22 and hit a three-run homer. He batted .288 with 18 doubles, five triples, seven homers and 39 RBI in 70 games. He finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Franco put together a 43-game on-base streak to tie Cincinnati’s Frank Robinson (1956) for the longest in major league history among players under 21. He went 7 for 19 (.368) with two homers and four RBI in four postseason games.

Franco would have been eligible for free agency after the 2027 season. He gets a $5 million signing bonus, with $2.5 million payments on Dec. 1 and June 1, 2022.

The yearly salary breakdown is: $1 million in 2022, $2 million in 2023 and 2024, $8 million in 2025, $15 million in 2026, $22 million in 2027 and $25 million in each of the last five seasons. The 2033 club option is $25 million, with a $2 million buyout.

Franco’s deal also includes salary escalators if he finishes in the top five in voting for AL MVP. If he is traded before April 2, 2029, Franco receives a $3 million assignment bonus. It drops to $2 million if he is dealt on or after that date.

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Hector Neris agrees to 2-year, $17M deal with Houston Astros

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The Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal with right-handed reliever Hector Neris, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Neris, 32, started the 2021 season as the closer for the Phillies but lost the job in June. He finished the season with a 4-7 record with 12 saves and a 3.63 ERA in 74 games.

In parts of eight seasons with the Phillies, Neris was 21-29 with a 3.42 ERA and 84 saves.

NBC Sports Philadelphia first reported the deal.

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New York Mets add talent, depth with Starling Marte and more

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Black Friday, a great American tradition, is supposed to be about a frenzied, wild-eyed scramble for bargains. And on this particular Black Friday, the Mets were certainly frenzied — we can only imagine what the eyes of Steve Cohen looked like as his club signed three free-agent hitters over the span of a few hours. Whether any of the deals for this trio qualifies as a bargain, though, we’ll have to wait and see.

It’s been an eventful offseason so far for the Mets, whose initial task after they wrapped up a 77-85 season was to find an executive to oversee all of this. It took them awhile, as they were linked in the rumor mill to everybody from Theo Epstein to Branch Rickey, but they landed on former Angels general manager Billy Eppler.

Meanwhile, as the early free-agent market heated up for starting pitchers, New York saw former rotation members Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz sign elsewhere and watched from afar as Justin Verlander, Eduardo Rodriguez, Anthony DeSclafani and others came off the market. Then Cohen sounded off about Matz’s agent on his always-entertaining Twitter feed.

It has all been, well, kind of frenzied and a little wild-eyed. In other words, the Mets have been in Black Friday mode all along — it just wasn’t until the day after Thanksgiving that they finally got some players to show for it.

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