The Opener: Free Agency, MLBTR’s Top 50, Rangers

As the baseball world prepares for the offseason to kick into a higher gear this evening, here are three things to keep an eye on throughout the day:

1. The Next Stage Of The Offseason Begins

At 4 PM CDT today, free agency will begin in earnest. Most importantly, that time is when free agents will be free to negotiate and sign new contracts with other clubs. It also serves as the deadline for teams to extend their outgoing players a Qualifying Offer, and for teams and players alike to make the few options decisions that remain undecided, such as those of Nick Martinez, who Dennis Lin of The Athletic notes may renegotiate his contract with San Diego, and Justin Turner. News should be expected to trickle in throughout the day leading up to 4 PM CDT, as players and teams make their final decisions and plans before the next stage of the offseason begins.

2. MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents

Once that QO/option deadline passes, we at MLB Trade Rumors will put the finishes touches on our annual Top 50 Free Agents And Predictions post. Some outlets have already published theirs, but we like to wait until the QO decisions have been revealed because they can have such a significant impact on a free agent’s market. This makes us a little bit late to the party but allows us to provide a bit more analysis and (hopefully) more accuracy. For instance, one year ago, we predicted that Brandon Belt would accept the QO and returns to the Giants, which eventually came to pass. For most borderline QO candidates, we have seperate predictions based on whether they get the offer or not. It’s our biggest post of the year and you should keep an eye out for it later today! Shortly after that comes out, we will also launch our annual prediction contest, where you can do your best to try and predict the unpredictable offseason.

3. Rangers Look To Fortify Rotation

The Rangers are looking to improve after a big offseason last year resulted in a record of 68-94 and a fourth place finish in the AL West in 2022, and they have no bigger need than the rotation, where they face plenty of questions as to who will slot in both in front of and behind Jon Gray. Texas shored up the back of their rotation yesterday evening in a trade with the Braves for Jake Odorizzi, but GM Chris Young will need to add more to his rotation in order to compete in 2023. The Rangers have been previously connected to lefty ace Carlos Rodon, and reports last night indicated that the club not only plans on extending Martin Perez a Qualifying Offer by today’s deadline, but is in negotiations with his camp on a multiyear deal as well. Should the Rangers be successful in their pursuits, a rotation of Rodon, Perez, Gray, Odorizzi, and a youngster such as Dane Dunning or Spencer Howard would be a significant improvement over 2022, though they’d still need to address their outfield situation to truly position themselves as contenders for 2023.

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