The wheels are already turning in Major League Baseball. A week ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros were blanket favorites to win the 2022 World Series. That’s already changed.

Checking in on MLB expert picks, even the dead period between the end of the 2021 World Series seems to have altered the way bettors see the teams near the top of the odds.

The Dodgers remain the favorites at +500, but the Astros, who many project to lose free agent shortstop Carlos Correa, have fallen to +800-+1200, depending on the book.

The defending champs from Atlanta hold steady at +1000, followed by the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Yankees at +1200.

The San Francisco Giants, who had the most regular-season wins in 2021, are +2000 in most spots, representing one of the biggest drops over the past several days. Buster Posey‘s retirement and the free agency of Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, Kris Bryant, Brandon Crawford, and Alex Wood certainly weighs into the equation.

Here are a handful of other clubs which could lose key players to free agency, and see their World Series odds impacted as a result:

Los Angeles Dodgers

Corey Seager, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, and Chris Taylor all are free agents, and while the consensus around the industry is that the two arms will re-sign with the Dodgers, the status of the two bats are unclear. Seager is likely to command at least eight years and $30 million per season, and the Dodgers have a backup plan at shortstop by the name of Trea Turner.

Taylor’s market will be deep, considering he’s capable at five positions, but the early buzz suggests the Dodgers are the frontrunners to retain his services.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays just missed on the playoffs this season, and have a pair of rather enormous free agents to either bring back or replace.

Marcus Semien had a career year, as did lefty Robbie Ray. Ray is the best free agent starter on the market not named Max Scherzer, and the Jays really can’t afford to let him walk.

Semien would like to play shortstop, but that isn’t happening in Toronto. Problem is, it’s probably not happening in two other top potential landing spots for the infielder, either. The Giants are probably going to bring back Crawford for another year, and Seattle has one of the better gloves at the position in J.P. Crawford and probably will be all-in on Semien to play second base, instead.

Steven Matz is another free agent the Jays have to retain or replace.

Top 10 MLB Free Agents

RANKPLAYERPOS2021 TEAM
1Carlos CorreaSSHouston Astros
2Corey SeagerSSLos Angeles Dodgers
3Marcus Semien2B/SSToronto Blue Jays
4Kris Bryant3BSan Francisco Giants
5Freddie Freeman1BAtlanta Braves
6Robbie RayLHSToronto Blue Jays
7Max ScherzerRHSLos Angeles Dodgers
8Kevin GausmanRHSSan Francisco Giants
9Javier BaezSSChicago Cubs
10Trevor StorySSColorado Rockies

New York Mets

This foursome is underrated. Right-hander Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard, outfielder Michael Conforto, and middle infielder Javier Baez all will garner tons of interest, and three of the four have turned down the club’s qualifying offer, including Conforto, who had a down 2021 at the plate. Syndergaard who has yet to reestablish himself after Tommy John surgery, could accept and get a year back with the Mets to put up some numbers before hitting the market again next winter.

Baez is going to seek out shortstop money even if his new team sees him more as a second-base option, but most analysts see Baez leaving the Mets, perhaps fitting in with the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Rangers, Nationals, or Astros.

The Mets also may lose utility player Jonathan Villar, who, at times in 2021, was their best hitter as Conforto, Francisco Lindor, and others, struggled.

Boston Red Sox

Kyle Schwarber is one of the more intriguing free agents this winter. He can hit, but hasn’t exactly been the most consistent bat over the past few years. He’s been a below-average outfielder after converting from his natural spot behind the dish, and until 2021 was not pushed into first-base duty, so it’s a position he’s still learning.

But the big one for Boston is left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, a very good No. 3 starter that could serve as No. 2 in a solid rotation. The Red Sox aren’t exactly flush with rotation depth, so their level of interest in keeping Rodriguez will be something to watch this winter.

Atlanta Braves

The champs made several additions at the deadline that proved enormous for their playoff run, and all of them are free agents this winter. But the big one is Freddie Freeman, the former MVP and stalwart for the club during their rebuild and ascent to multiple division titles under GM Alex Anthopoulos.

If Freeman isn’t returning, the chance Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, or Joc Pederson does may increase, but there are a lot of questions otherwise.

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Image courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 and spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio. He now serves as the Executive Copy Editor at Data Skrive, a tech company that manipulates data to provide automated content to clients including the AP, BetMGM, USA Today, and ESPN. Find Jason's baseball podcast, Baseball Things, right here.