MLB free agency: Ranking 10 most intriguing opt outs after 2023 season, including Manny Machado, Max Scherzer – CBS Sports

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The 2022-23 MLB offseason will be remembered as the winter free agency became exciting again. A record $3.8 billion has been committed to free agents thus far, among that two 11-year contracts (Xander Bogaerts and Trea Turner) and one nine-year contract (Aaron Judge). That doesn’t include the Carlos Correa’s 13-year contract with the Giants or his 12-year contract with the Mets, both of which fell apart over concerns about his leg before he settled for a six-year deal with the Twins.

This lavish offseason was made possible in part by opt out clauses. Opt outs have been around a long time, though only now have they become widespread. They started to become popular when CC Sabathia initially signed with the Yankees in December 2008. His seven-year contract included an opt out after the third year, which he later leveraged into an extension. Bogaerts, Correa, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodón, and Justin Verlander used opt out clauses to test the open market this offseason, among other, and they all ranked among our top available free agents

“With the year that I have had, my health and my being at the best moment of my career at 28, that is the right decision,” Correa told the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día about opting out in October. He walked away from two years and $70.2 million and instead signed a six-year deal worth $200 million guaranteed, with club/vesting options that could push it to $270 million. It’s not what he agreed to with the Giants and Mets, but Correa still came out well ahead after opting out. Opt outs aren’t going away anytime soon. 

With that in mind, here are the 10 most interesting and most important looming opt out decisions heading into 2023, ranked in order of just how interesting and important they are. It should be noted that while opt out clauses and player options are technically different things, they are functionally the same and will be treated as such here. If the player has the ability to exit his contract and become a free agent next winter, he’s included here.

2023 MLB opt out decisions

Other players with opt outs: C Tucker Barnhart, Cubs; RHP Seth Lugo, Padres; LHP Sean Manaea, Giants; LHP Drew Smyly, Cubs; OF Jorge Soler, Marlins; RHP Ross Stripling, Giants; IF Justin Turner, Red Sox