HOUSTON – Aaron Judge, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson and Xander Bogaerts were among 131 players who became free agents on Sunday as baseball’s business season began just hours after the final out of the World Series.
Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodón are set to join them in the next few days, among 56 players whose contracts have options that must be decided within five days of the World Series’ end. All three pitchers are expected to decline player options, as is shortstop Carlos Correa and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Clayton Kershaw, Willson Contreras, Brandon Nimmo, Kenley Janson, Nathan Eovaldi and Josh Bell and Andrew Benintendi also went free Sunday.
Meanwhile, All-Star closer Edwin Diaz on Sunday reached an agreement to re-sign with the New York Mets on a record-breaking five-year, $102 million contract, the most lucrative ever given to a relief pitcher in baseball history.
Some players, such as Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt, have contracts with mutual options that must be decided. About 55 additional players are potentially eligible for free agency depending on option decisions.
Players can start negotiating economic terms on Friday. Judge rejected a contract offer from the New York Yankees in April that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29. He set an AL record with 62 homers, finished tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and was second in the AL with a .311 batting average.
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Teams have until Thursday to make $19.65 million qualifying offers to their former players who became free agents. A free agent can be made a qualifying offer only if he has been with the same team continuously since opening day and has never received a qualifying offer before. A player has until Nov. 20 to accept.
If a team makes a qualifying offer to a player who signs a major league contract with another club before next year’s amateur draft, his former club would receive a draft pick as compensation at the end of the first round or at the end of competitive balance round B. The placement depends on the amount of the new contract and the revenue-sharing and luxury tax status of the team losing the player.
Qualifying offers began after the 2012 season, and only eight of 110 offers have been accepted. Among the 14 players given offers last year, only San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt said yes.
Major League Baseball offered last winter to drop qualifying offers and direct draft-pick compensation, and the March lockout settlement tied the proposal to the players’ association agreeing to an international amateur draft. The union rejected the draft in July.
Rather than become free agents, St. Louis Cardinals stars Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina went on the voluntarily retired list.
Washington left-hander Sean Doolittle became the first free agent to reach an agreement, staying with the Nationals on a minor league contract. Doolittle made the last of his six appearances this year on April 19 and had surgery in July to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, an internal brace procedure less severe than Tommy John surgery.
The 131 players who became free agents Sunday:
BOSTON (5) – Nathan Eovaldi, rhp; Rich Hill, lhp; JD Martinez, dh; Matt Strahm, lhp; Michael Wacha, rhp.
CHICAGO (4) – José Abreu, 1b; Elvis Andrus, ss; Johnny Cueto, rhp; Vince Velazquez, rhp.
CLEVELAND (1) – Austin Hedges, c.
DETROIT (2) – Tucker Barnhart, c; Daniel Norris, lhp.
HOUSTON (6) – Michael Brantley, of; Jason Castro, c; Aledmys Díaz, inf-of; Yuli Gurriel, 1b; Rafael Montero, rhp; Christian Vázquez, c.
KANSAS CITY (1) – Zack Greinke, rhp.
LOS ANGELES (4) – Archie Bradley, rhp; Matt Duffy, 3b; Michael Lorenzen, rhp; Kurt Suzuki, c.
MINNESOTA (5) – Michael Fulmer, rhp; Billy Hamilton, of; Sandy León, c; Aaron Sanchez, rhp; Gary Sánchez, c.
NEW YORK (9) – Andrew Benintendi, of; Zack Britton, lhp; Matt Carpenter, inf-of; Miguel Castro, rhp; Aroldis Chapman, lhp; Marwin Gonzalez, inf-of; Chad Green, rhp; Aaron Judge, of; Jameson Taillon, rhp.
OAKLAND (2) – Chad Pinder, of; Stephen Vogt, c.
SEATTLE (5) – Matt Boyd, lhp; Curt Casali, c; Adam Frazier, 2b; Mitch Haniger, of; Carlos Santana, 1b.
TAMPA BAY (3) – Corey Kluber, rhp; David Peralta, of; Mike Zunino, c.
TEXAS (5) – Kohei Arihara, rhp; Charlie Culberson, inf-of; Matt Moore, lhp; Martín Pérez, lhp; Kevin Plawecki, c.
TORONTO (3) – Jackie Bradley Jr., of; David Phelps, rhp; Ross Stripling, rhp.
ATLANTA (9) – Ehire Adrianza, inf; Jesse Chavez, rhp; Adam Duvall, of; Robbie Grossman, of; Jay Jackson, rhp; Luke Jackson, rhp; Kenley Jansen, rhp; Darren O’Day, rhp; Dansby Swanson, ss.
CHICAGO (2) – Willson Contreras, c; Wade Miley, lhp.
CINCINNATI (5) – Chase Anderson, rhp; Austin Romine, c; Donovan Solano, 2b; Hunter Strickland, rhp; Justin Wilson, lhp.
COLORADO (5) – Alex Colomé, rhp; Carlos Estévez, rhp; José Iglesias, ss; Chad Kuhl, rhp; José Ureña, rhp.
LOS ANGELES (10) – Tyler Anderson, lhp; Joey Gallo, of; Andrew Heaney, lhp; Tommy Kahnle, rhp; Clayton Kershaw, lhp; Craig Kimbrel, rhp; Chris Martin, rhp; Kevin Pillar, of; David Price, lhp; Trea Turner, ss.
MILWAUKEE (6) – Josh Lindblom, rhp; Andrew McCutchen, of; Omar Narváez, c; Jace Peterson, inf-of; Taylor Rogers, lhp; Trevor Rosenthal, rhp.
NEW YORK (9) – Edwin Díaz, rhp; Tommy Hunter, rhp; Seth Lugo, rhp; Trevor May, rhp; Tyler Naquin, of; Brandon Nimmo, of; Adam Ottavino, rhp; Joely Rodríguez, lhp; Trevor Williams, rhp.
PHILADELPHIA (6) – Chris Devenski, rhp; Kyle Gibson, rhp; Brad Hand, lhp; Corey Knebel, rhp; David Robertson, rhp; Noah Syndergaard, rhp.
PITTSBURGH (2) – Ben Gamel, of; Roberto Pérez, c.
ST. LOUIS (2) – Corey Dickerson, of; José Quintana, lhp.
SAN DIEGO (6) – Josh Bell, 1b; Mike Clevinger, rhp; Brandon Drury, inf-of; Pierce Johnson, rhp; Sean Manaea, lhp; Craig Stammen, rhp.
SAN FRANCISCO (4) – José Álvarez, lhp; Brandon Belt, 1b; Shelby Miller, rhp; Joc Pederson, of.
WASHINGTON (7) – Steve Cishek, rhp; Sean Doolittle, lhp; Will Harris, rhp; César Hernández, 2b; Erasmo Ramirez, rhp; Joe Ross, rhp; Anibal Sánchez, rhp.