With the 2018 MLB free agent class approaching, there’s plenty of questions surround the potential destinations of some big time superstars. Let’s get a rundown of the best 2 players at each position and where they should land.
Catchers: Right off the bat all the free agent catchers are over 30 years of age. With that said, maybe less years and a tad bit more money? I think it’s appropriate.
Yasmani Grandal, Los Angeles Dodgers, age 30: Grandal has been the glue of this pitching staff for over 3 years now. His unselfish play behind the dish hasn’t gone unnoticed. 2013, he guided the 1-2 punch of Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw and 15 game winner Zack Greinke. The switch hitting catcher has proved to be one of the best in the game. Destination: Dodgers.
Devin Mesoraco, New York Mets, age 31: Mesoraco has been quite a surprise behind the plate. A quiet but steady bat and an above average arm says a few teams will take a chance on him. Only issue has been injuries. Nagging injuries. If he can clear that hurdle in 2018 then he should have no problem getting a 3 year deal somewhere. Destination: Mets
First Basemen: A class with experience. Some may be past their prime but still serviceable to teams.
Logan Morrison, Minnesota Twins, age 31: Morrison has a $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout. One of the most underrated hitters in the game today. A power hitter that can use all the diamond to do so. This prize of a player will want a 3-4 year deal. Pending on what he does in 2018, will have a lot to do with who signs him. Destination: Red Sox
Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue jays, age 32: I’m gonna go and say Smoak is the second best out there. A lot of experts will say Hanley Ramirez.
This player can hit for power, as well as average. He also has gold glove capability at first base. If he can cut down on a few strikeouts, he’ll be a hot commodity come winter. Destination: Cardinals
Second Basemen: A class by itself. This position is by far the most complete with depth. Some All-Star caliber players will be available this winter. If you need a two bagger you should have plenty to choose from.
Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins, age 32: This player can flat out hit. He hits like a corner infielder with power, average, and can drive in runs. The Twins have him leading off and simply put, he delivers. A fearless base runner as well as an all around defender, Dozier will command at least a three-year deal with some big cash involved. Destination: Dodgers, Angels
DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies, age 30: A 6’4” second baseman is rare. Real rare. A change in his swing, now producing a better launch angle, this player is looking for a big payday. He’s shown to be durable and Bud Black can pretty much pencil him in everyday at second base. If the Rockies decide to part ways, that’s a huge hole to fill. He’s only 30, so 4 years is appropriate. Destination: Rockies, Cubs.
Shortstop: With this group, besides Machado and maybe Andrus, these shortstops are in the twilight of their everyday starter careers.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles, age 26: The prize of the infield this winter. He has transitioned from third base to short just fine. He’ll command at least a 4-5 year deal with a big price. He can be a game changer no doubt. The big market clubs will salivate for his services. Destination: Cubs, Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox
Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers, age 30: Andrus is still owed four more years from Texas’ $58 million. He has the option to leave, but the way his production has slipped, he’d be foolish to test free agency. Last pay day for Andrus is for him to stick around Texas for more rebuilding. Destination: Rangers.
Third Basemen: A serviceable group it is. Professionalism is what this group has to offer as well. Landing spots will be open for all these players in my eyes.
Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays, age 33: Donaldson has slipped a bit, but he still has the intangibles to get it done at third base. A above average defender with a high baseball IQ, he has the ability to continue to play with the best of them. A close trade to the Cardinals fell through last winter. Destination: Cardinals, Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals, age 30: The “Moose” lost out on years this past free agency. He has a $15 million mutual option, with a $1 million buyout with the Royals. This year should be different, especially with the Royals being irrelevant. Destination: Mets, Blue Jays, Yankees, Cardinals.
Left Field: A thin group with all these players being able to play all three positions in the outfield. It’ll be a mystery where most of these players land.
Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians, age 32: He’s finally healthy. When healthy Brantley has been a big part of the Indian machine. The problem was keeping him on the field. With a solid start to 2018, Brantley has solidified himself as a top free agent left fielder. Destination: Yankees, Mets, Giants, Indians
Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros, age 30: A big piece to what the Astros continue to do. He’s had some big hits for Houston throughout their run. Keeping Marwin would be smart. He’s probably cheaper than they think. 3-4 years is probably in the range he’ll command. Destination: Astros, Giants, Mets, Indians
Centerfield: A veteran group that can offer quite a bit to teams. Only red flag is that they’re on the other side of 30.
A.J. Pollock, Arizona Diamondbacks, age 31: A professional hitter that can do a lot at the plate as well as in center. He’s proven to be that big bat that can protect number 4 hitters in any lineup. Arizona lost JD Martinez to free agency, losing Pollock would be lethal. Destination: D-Backs, Cubs, Giants, Indians, Mets
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles, age 33: His days in Baltimore may soon be over. He’s been through it all in Baltimore. The winning, the losing, the heartache. His last free agency pay day will be this winter. A three year deal with s possible position change, in the future works. Destination: Padres, Cubs, Giants, Indians, Mets
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals, age 26: The prize of all prizes. He’ll command a possible 400 million this winter. To be honest, if your not New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Boston, don’t even bother. Maybe the Nationals have an outside chance. Just maybe. The top player in the National League will look for a possible 7-10 year deal. Destination: Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees , Mets, Red Sox
Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs, age 29: Simply put. He’ll exercise his remaining 5 years 106 million with the Cubs. Highway Robbery and the Cubs are stuck with it.
Starting Pitching: WHOA! This group is destined to destroy the market. Too many great names will command big money
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, age 31: The three time Cy Young award winner can opt out of the remaining 2 years $65 million contract with the Dodgers. He’s the heart and soul of the franchise bar none. He’s delivered year in year out. The future Hall of Famer, will have leverage on the Dodgers on the topic of extension. Destination: Dodgers, Yankees , Rangers , Astros, Cubs, Red Sox, Indians. Blue Jays, Phillies
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants, age 29: The three-time World Champion has a $12 million club option in effect. The Giants will definitely try and talk extension. He has to stay healthy to create leverage with the Giants. If not, other teams will line up, but won’t throw the boat of cash at him. Destination: Giants, Yankees, Braves, Mets, Red Sox
Relievers: Deep, talented, serviceable. The key to a great team is a solid bullpen. Championships are won in October with solid “pens”.
Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox, age 31: A top notch closer in years past, Kimbrel is still top dog in Boston. His 95-100 MPH and wipeout slider is still one of the best in the game. Boston just can’t let the guys of this magnitude walk. If the Red Sox pen are to compete with the Yanks, they had better re sign Kimbrel. A four-year deal should keep Kimbrel in Boston for good. Destination: Red Sox, Phillies, Angels, Indians.
Andrew Miller, Cleveland Indians, age 34: The power lefty will command around a 3-4 year deal. He’s too valuable still for the Indians to let go. They had better show him the money or he’ll definitely showcase his service elsewhere. Cleveland has a Young but talented team. It’s a must he stays an Indian. Destination: Indians, Red Sox, Cubs, Nationals, Dodgers, Angels, Mets.
2018 will be the year of the free agent. The teams that are fortunate enough to stay under the luxury tax threshold, should be in the mix for these superstars come winter