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The Bargain Free Agent Is Here

Image Credit: Daniel Budasoff/Latino Sports

New York – Now the buzz begins as the brief Major League Baseball offseason has commenced after the Houston Astros World Series championship. Thursday the GM’s and front office executives become bargain hunters.

Welcome to the green light of the free agent signing period. And this period is expected to be busy, lucrative, and of course one or two player acquisitions on the market is a hit or a miss between now and the start of the new season in late March.

Regardless, one or two major players gained can rapidly change the complexion of a roster. So here we go and you be the general manager. Owners will open their wallet and review salary structures, some, though going beyond the threshold and willing to pay that luxury tax.

The cost of paying a hefty contract? Of course, we are willing to spend because the commitment is to win now and not later. This will be an interesting signing period with a brief offseason, perhaps a few of those high profile players will remain in the balance days before spring training camps begin.

I have compiled a top-5 free agent player list, some previous recipients of the prestigious Latino Sports MVP Award. What follows is a top-5 that will secure contracts but not in that high profile or lucrative category, also previous recipients of the award.

There are 50 high profiled players that opted for free agency. Names that follow with Latino heritage.

Another significant period for free agency and trades will begin the week of December 4-8 at the annual Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, Ca.

Play ball, Here we go:
Top 5:
Carlos Correa, SS- (Ponce, Puerto Rico) After a year with the Twins. Though providing consistency on the field and a productive bat in the lineup has been hindered with injuries, 148 games this season and 136 two previous. The 28-year old shortstop is considered the top free agent and is still considered one of the talented ballplayers at the position. Could command a $30 million contract and shore up the infield and lineup for a team.

He could put a team in that winning position and hit the long ball. Correa offered a comment to me in September “I love Minnesota, we will play this out.” Which leads to, perhaps, the Twins making an offer as they are still players in the AL Central.

Wilson Contreras, C, 31, (Puerto Cabello, Venezuela) Next to J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies, considered as the durable and everyday catcher with a strong arm and aggressive swing at the plate. He was the subject of trade rumors and teams look at him as a difference maker and the best in this free agent category.

Carlos Rodón receives his 2021 AL LatinoMVP pitcher award for 2021 from Latino Sports President, Julio Pabón. (Photo courtesy SF Giants)

Carlos Rodón, LHP, 30, (Miami, Fl.) Latino Sports 2021 AL Pitcher MVP coming off a one-year deal with the Giants. Provided that hole in a rotation and finished the season second in strikeouts, sixth in ERA. Four-seamer and slider have become his repertoire and for the first time made 30 starts after recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2019-20.

Martin Pérez, LHP, 32, (Guanare, Venezuela) All-Star with Texas Rangers and developed a cutter with a changeup that gets swing and misses as his out pitch. Good ground-out pitcher and could be a good fit for a rotation after finishing the season with a 2.89 ERA. Rangers spent last offseason and have the ability to retain Perez as they are making it known they are all in to win in 2023. Perez also commented to me about being comfortable in Arlington and expressed an interest in being a part of the Rangers making those moves to win.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 02: Rafael Montero #47 of the Houston Astros pitches during Game 4 of the 2022 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, November 2, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Rafael Montero, RHP, 32, (Banica, Dominican Republic) Homegrown New York Met and after numerous stints on the diabled list developed into one of those elite pitchers out of the bullpen for the Astros. He is the sleeper in this free agent bullpen class and can change the complexion of a bullpen that provides a late inning bridge to the closer. A good fit for a Mets return and their bullpen makeup and owner Steve Cohen can get him at a reasonable price (2 years, $7 million). Montero has a changeup that left handed hitters have commented as being nasty. Finished with 68.1 innings, 73 strikeouts, 3 home runs. Keeps the ball in the park.

The Other 5:
José Quintana, LHP, 34 (Arjona, Colombia)
Gary Sánchez, C, 30 (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
Christian Vázquez, C, 32 (Bayamon, Puerto Rico)
José Abreu, 1B/DH, 36 (Cruces, Cuba)
Jean Segura, 2B, 33 (Juan Province, Dominican Republic)

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer Twitter@Ring786 Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Julio Pabón

    November 10, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    Excellent update on the free agent market for these Latino players.

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