Major League Baseball is still in the midst of its postseason, but several teams and players have to make their offseason plans. I will look at the top 2022 free agents at first base.
Teams that will be looking for a first baseman of the future this off-season will be majorly disappointed. While it is possible that 16 players that play first will be on the open market when free agency begins, all of the players are 30 years or older.
There are also a few players who may not end up going to free agency due to options in their contracts. Anthony Rizzo (player option), Eric Hosmer (player), Will Myers (team), and Miguel Sano (team) are those players. Sano and Myers are expected to have their options declined by the Twins and Padres, respectively.
Meanwhile, Hosmer is expected to opt-in with the Red Sox as he has three years and $39 million left on his deal. That leaves Rizzo with a big decision to make. Additionally, Albert Pujols has decided to retire.
The Astros, Royals, Twins, and Padres are likely to be in search of a first baseman. While the Nationals, Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles are could also be in the market.
1. Anthony Rizzo, 33
Rizzo has a $16 million decision to make. The big left-handed hitter has said he has enjoyed his time with the Yankees. But if he does opt out, Rizzo will be the most sought at first baseman. The Yankees do have the option of making him a qualifying offer if he does indeed decide to go the free-agency route.
Rizzo is not the hitter that he was in his prime, but he did have a good 2021-22 season, hitting a career-high tying 32 homers in 130 games. However, his batting average of .224 was amongst the lowest of his career.
2. Jose Abreau, 36
Abreau is one of the best-hitting first basemen in baseball. The 2020 MVP finished fifth in the AL in batting average (.304) and on-base percentage (.378) last year.
The ninth-year vet could re-up with the White Sox. However, there also should be a market for his services; it may not be overwhelming considering his age and the fact that it is unknown how long he will play.
3 . Josh Bell, 30
Bell was having a strong season with Washington, but he struggled mightily after getting traded to San Diego. He batted just .196 with three home runs in 53 games with the Padres. Still, Bell hit .265 – the second-highest total of his career – to go along with 17 homers and 81 MLB RBI for the MLB season.
Bell, who had a nice MLB NLCS series against Philadelphia, will be highly sought after due to his MLB ability and age. The switch-hitter draws a lot of walks and ranks near the top of the league in exit velocity and hard contact percentage. Bell is not eligible to receive a qualifying offer from the Padres due to the midseason trade.
4. Yuli Gurriel, 38
Gurriel has been one of the least productive MLB players in the majors in two of the last three years though he did win the AL batting title in 2021. He has also had a nice MLB postseason this year, heading into the World Series, with 11 hits in 30 at-bats to go along with two home runs and three RBI.
5. Brandon Belt, 35
Belt, like Gurriel and the players below him, is coming off a poor season, hitting a career-low .213 while seeing his season end late August due to injury. He did produce an MLB career season in 2021 and had a nice 2020 campaign.
6th tie. Carlos Santana, 37
Santana has struggled at the plate recently, not hitting higher than. 216 in any of the last three years. He has hit 19 MLB homers in two of these seasons, however. . Santana split this past campaign with the Royals and Mariners.
6th tie. Trey Mancini
Mancini also has not been his usual self the past couple seasons, putting up slash lines below his career average in both seasons. However, he has slammed a combined 38 homers over these two seasons.
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