This offseason promises to be a wild one in a lot of different ways, but in the world of free agency, the place is going to be packed. Future Hall of Famers, shortstops everywhere, all those former Cubs. … This one has a little bit of everything.

But these last few weeks of the season, and any postseason baseball, are going to make a big difference for certain free agents. They have a chance, down the stretch and in the playoffs, to make the best possible cases for themselves. You know how commentators say things like, “He’s got a chance to make himself some real money in the next month or so?” Here are the players who can make themselves some real money in the next month or so.

(Ages listed are 2021 seasonal ages.)

 

1) Javier Báez, SS/2B, Mets (age 28)
It is fair to say that Javier Báez has had a, well, tumultuous tenure with the Mets. But ever since the thumbs-down controversy, he has been downright fantastic. He’s hitting .422 in September and slugging .778. Sure, there are only two walks (and 11 strikeouts) in that grouping, but that’s just the whole Javier Báez experience. Mets fans were angry because they’d only seen the downside of having Báez on their team; over the last month, they have seen the upside. Even if the Mets don’t make the postseason, Báez, if he keeps this up, can scoot himself up those shortstop free agency rankings … and maybe even be a stealthily smart pickup.

 

2) Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, Giants (29)
Does anyone remember that Bryant had a pretty terrible 2020? (Hey, didn’t we all!) The irony of Bryant’s well-publicized battle over his free-agency status is that had he hit free agency when he wanted to, after his lousy 2020 season, instead of after this terrific 2021 one, he would probably have made less money than he will now. If the Giants can hang on to win the NL West and avoid that Wild Card Game, Bryant might be their best position player in the postseason and have plenty of opportunities to show suitors, once again, why he can be counted on in October. Waiting a year turned out to be the best possible situation for Bryant, amazingly.