One of the most exciting times of the year for baseball fans is the free agent frenzy of the offseason. Will your team land the front-line starter in free agency or land the coveted bat? Or will they sit on their hands and watch as they are left to sort among the leftover scraps?
It can leave you eager to see your team on the field in spring, or make you dread the thought of it. Here’s a look at who your team may land this offseason.
Jake Arrieta – Texas Rangers – 6 years, $144 Million
- Jake has put together 4 strong consecutive seasons in Chicago. However, 2017 might scare off some suitors. He only threw 168.1 innings, and had a 4.16 FIP, along with his highest ERA, H/9, and HR/9 since 2013. Arrieta went to high school in Texas, and Texas needs to add an arm to pair with Hamels to be relevant.
Yu Darvish – Los Angeles Angels – 7 years – $175 Million
- If Los Angeles is serious about competing, they have to address the rotation. Ohtani surely helps, but there is nothing but question marks after him. If Richards is healthy, a top 3 of Darvish, Ohtani, and Richards is more than formidable.
Wade Davis – Texas Rangers – 4 years – $60 Million
- Texas had a nightmare season when it came to the bullpen. Davis adds a much needed dominant arm to the backend of the ‘pen for the Rangers. I could also see Washington making a move on Davis as well.
Greg Holland – Washington Nationals – 3 years – $45 Million
- Holland turned down the qualifying offer, which is $17 million for one season. So you can expect him to get his payday. The Nationals have Doolittle, who performed well for them at the end of last season. However, injuries have bothered him for the most part of his career, and Mike Rizzo seems to always spend heavy on the backend of the ‘pen. I can see Holland landing with the Rangers if Davis winds up elsewhere.
Lance Lynn – Seattle Mariners – 4 years – $68 Million
- Seattle missed out on Ohtani, and will probably stay away from Arrieta and Yu. Lynn fits them well. He proved he was healthy after missing the 2016 season, starting 33 games, and over 180 innings.
Alex Cobb – Baltimore Orioles – 3 years – $42 Million
- Cobb, like Lynn, also returned from injuries to re-establish his value on the market. The Orioles like his past experience pitching in the AL East, and they need pitching. They also haven’t shown a willingness to spend big, or dish out contracts longer than 4 years. This puts them right in Cobb’s ballpark.
Addison Reed – Colorado Rockies – 2 years – $26 Million
- Rockies need to replace the departed Holland, and Reed has previous experience closing. Since it is often difficult to convince pitchers to come to Coors, Colorado might have to overpay for his services.
Brandon Morrow – Chicago Cubs – 2 years – $18 Million
- Morrow was terrific for the Dodgers all season. The Cubs have already addressed the rotation with the addition of Chatwood, now they need to turn to the ‘pen. With Davis gone as the closer, this gives them an additional option with Strop and Edwards.
CC Sabathia – New York Yankees – 1 year – $10 Million
- It makes sense for the Yankees to bring back Sabathia. They are short on starters. He was arguably their best starter at times throughout the season. CC seems to have learned to pitch without his upper 90’s fastball, extending the life of his career. It would be weird not seeing Sabathia in pinstripes, as he’s been in the organization for close to a decade.
Bryan Shaw – Boston Red Sox – 3 years – $24 Million
- Shaw was an underrated part of the Indians bullpen, often overlooked due to the presence of Cody Allen and Andrew Miller. He can provide a bridge to Kimbrel to the 9th for the Sox.
Andrew Cashner – Detroit Tigers – 1 year – $10 Million
- This one could go a bunch of ways. Tampa, Minnesota, and Los Angeles (AL) are all possibilities. Cashner did it last year with smoke and mirrors. His peripherals were terrible, the worst of his career, which foreshadows a decline ahead. I’d find it tough for him to beat his 2017 contract with Texas. (1 year – $10M)
Jason Vargas – Baltimore Orioles – 2 years – $22 Million
- Baltimore needs consistency in the rotation. Vargas gives them a needed lefty, and dependable arm capable of filling innings.
Juan Nicasio – New York Mets – 2 years – $14 Million
- Nicasio was randomly released by the Pirates late in the season to save a couple thousand dollars. He had a terrific season in the pen, and could be a fallback option for someone who missed out on Reed/Davis/Holland.
Jake McGee – Chicago Cubs – 2 years – $12 Million
- McGee is coming off a solid season in Colorado, and Chicago will be looking for a lefty to replace Brian Duensing.
Jaime Garcia – Milwaukee Brewers – 1 year – $8 Million
- Jimmy Nelson will be sidelined to begin the season, and the rest of the rotation leaves a bit to be desired. Garcia can give them replacement-level innings at the #5 spot in the rotation.
Anthony Swarzak – Los Angeles Angels – 2 years – $12 Million
- Somebody has to pitch out of the ‘pen in LA. Swarzak had a career renaissance in 2017.
Pat Neshek – Minnesota Twins – 1 year, $7 Million
- All he does is get batters out. The Twins bullpen did the opposite in 2017. He will help.
Tony Watson – Boston Red Sox – 3 years – $18 Million
- Boston needs a legitimate lefty out of the ‘pen. Watson’s track record and experience on winning teams should be attractive to Boston. The Cubs are also a team to watch on Watson.
JD Martinez – San Francisco Giants – 7 years – $168 Million
- Martinez is entering his age 30 season for 2018 and is coming off the best year of his career. The Giants will be looking for a bat to make up for missing out on the Stanton sweepstakes. The Cardinals could also be a fit here. One thing is for sure, Boras will make sure JD gets paid.
Eric Hosmer – Los Angeles Angels – 7 years – $147 Million
- This seems like the perfect fit for Hosmer. The Angels have had lackluster play at 1B from Cron, and Pujols is on his way to calling it a career. They landed a potential superstar in Ohtani for pennies. How many more years are they going to waste of Mike Trout? They need to go all in NOW. The Red Sox would be another logical landing spot.
Mike Moustakas – San Francisco Giants – 6 years – $114 Million
- The Giants have never shied away from spending. The only thing you need to know here is that Pablo Sandoval is projected as their 3rd baseman. The Giants have a core group that is getting up there in age. Posey, Cueto, Samardzija, Crawford, Pence, and Belt will all be 30+ during the 2018 season. They are running out of time.
Lorenzo Cain – Texas Rangers – 4 years – $75 Million
- Cain will be 32 in April. Not an asset for a center fielder. However, the Rangers lost Carlos Gomez to free agency, and will be looking to replace him. Texas will need to improve somehow to maintain pace with Dipoto’s Mariners and Lunhow’s Astros.
Logan Morrison – Cleveland Indians – 3 years – $39 Million
- Morrison had a power surge in his final season in Tampa, hitting a whopping 38 homers. He has an injury history over his career, and is limited to 1B/DH. I think the AL is the best fit for him. Indians need a 1B with Santana out of the picture, and I don’t think they want to rely on Edwin everyday.
Zach Cozart – Cincinnati Reds – 3 years – $36 Million
- I don’t see Cozart generating a ton of interest on the market. He’s 32, has only had one season with an OBP% above .310, which was his walk year. Most contending teams are already set at short, or have a young prospect waiting in the wings. I can see the Mets signing him to a short term, high AAV deal, if they decide to let Rosario start the season in triple-A. The Reds have already said they have interest in bringing Cozart back on a team-friendly deal.
Jay Bruce – Toronto Blue Jays – 3 years – $45 Million
- The Jays need help in the outfield after losing Bautista. Bruce can slot in at right field, and would be a good fit for the hitter-friendly dimensions of the Rogers Center.
Carlos Santana – Minnesota Twins – 4 years – $72 Million
- The Twins aren’t known for handing out big free agent contracts. However, adding Santana gives them another option at 1B, allowing them to DH Mauer when he needs a break from the field. It also adds another veteran to a young lineup.
Todd Frazier – New York Mets – 1 year – $12 Million
- Frazier can still play a solid third base, but he has hit under .225 in two consecutive seasons. He could take a one-year pillow deal with the Mets and re-enter the market in 2019.
Yonder Alonso – Boston Red Sox – 2 years – $24 Million
- Alonso altered his swing in 2017, and it paid off big. He even managed to keep his production afloat when he was traded to Seattle mid-season. Alonso is a good fit if the Sox miss out on Hosmer.
Jonathan Lucroy – Arizona D’Backs – 2 years – $16 Million
- We’ve already seen Welington Castillo go off the board with a similar deal. I think Arizona makes perfect sense. Iannetta just left to return to Colorado, and the rest of the catching market is bare.
Neil Walker – Los Angeles Angels – 2 years – $22 Million
- Walker won’t wow anybody, but the Angels have been absolutely dreadful at second base over the past few season. Walker provides a huge offensive upgrade to any alternatives Los Angeles has.
Eduardo Nunez – Los Angeles Dodgers – 2 Years – $16 Million
- Nunez can play all around the diamond, and outfield as necessary. I believe an NL team will value the positional maneuverability that Nunez adds. Forsythe is coming off a down year, and Utley is a free agent. Eduardo provides an upgrade over Kike Hernandez, and adds depth to the outfield in case Puig/Taylor/Pederson falter.
Carlos Gonzalez – Houston Astros – 1 year – $10 Million
- After winning the World Series, Houston will look to remain on top. Beltran previously filled the DH role for the Astros, but retired following the season. Gonzalez gives them a replacement with huge upside, and the ability to the play the field if needed.
Alex Avila – Chicago Cubs – 2 Years – $10 Million
- Avila has already stated he plans to prioritize winning over playing time this offseason. He will provide familiarity in the backstop position returning to back up Contreras.
Jon Jay – Baltimore Orioles – 2 Years – $16 Million
- Jay is one of the underrated players in all of baseball. All he does is perform year after year. He gives Baltimore an option to backup Jones in center, as well as slot in at either corner spot.
Jose Bautista – Tampa Bay Rays – 1 year – $9 Million
- He will look to revitalize his career after struggling with Toronto in 2017. Tampa can offer full time at-bats. If he would accept a bench role, I’m sure many contenders would have interest.
Carlos Gomez – Oakland Athletics – 2 Years – $24 Million
- Oakland needs a man in center. Gomez has re-established himself in Texas after a rough 2015 and ’16.
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