How in the world is this still a discussion?
In years past, it would be absurd to be writing this article when pitchers and catchers report in one measly week, but that’s where the road has taken us as MLB has seen it’s slowest free agent market maybe ever. So where do the top remaining free agents wind up? Well, it’s still anyone’s guess, but here are our guesses… Because we’re sure to be right, amirite?
JD Martinez – Outfield/DH
Prediction: Boston Red Sox
Boston has always been the predicted destination for Martinez, and not a lot has happened to change that. Setting aside all of the collusion talk that has dominated the MLB offseason, it seems simply that Martinez’ agent Scott Boras is (surprise!) asking for too much for his free agent slugger. Martinez is just what Boston needs as he would add great power to their line up, but he’s extremely limited defensively and is seeking a deal that will take him into the twilight of his career. He still ends up in Boston, but for less than he expected.
Eric Hosmer – First Base
Prediction: Kansas City Royals
When the 2017 season ended, it looked like a foregone conclusion that the Royals wouldn’t be able to afford to keep Hosmer. But like with Martinez, the market just isn’t willing to give Hosmer (and again, Boras), what they want. It’s been rumored that Hosmer/Boras want eight (8!) years guaranteed for the first basement, which is just silly talk. The Padres are still an option here too, but the longer Hosmer goes unsigned, the more it looks like he may wind up back in KC.
Yu Darvish – Starting Pitcher
Prediction: Chicago Cubs
This one is tough because, unlike the first two guys on our list, Darvish seems to have plenty of willing suitors and everyone always needs starting pitching. Darvish’s most recent impression on the market, his terrible World Series performance for the Dodgers, isn’t the most flattering, but Darvish is still the #1 starting pitcher on the market. The Cubs, Twins, Brewers and others are all still in the hunt but we think the best fit may be with the Cubbies.
Jake Arrieta – Starting Pitcher
Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers
Arrieta has been down a little as of late from his previous NL Cy Young performance for the Cubs, but he’s still likely the second most desirable FA starter on the market after Darvish. The Brewers have made huge strides in improving their line up for this season, but still have an obvious need to upgrade their rotation. If the Brew Crew misses out on Darvish, snagging Arrieta seems like the logical place to go.
Lance Lynn – Starting Pitcher
Prediction: Texas Rangers
Again, these are tough because the market hasn’t been set, but Lynn has long been tied to the Rangers and they’re another club who has an obvious need to upgrade their starting rotation. Lynn missed 2016 with Tommy John surgery, but has otherwise been a steady worker, starting at least 29 games every other season since 2012. He’s not an ace, but he’s a solid and reliable middle of the rotation starter.
Alex Cobb – Starting Pitcher
Prediction: Minnesota Twins
The Twins will be in the running for Darvish and Arrieta, but after missing out on the top two names, they’ll settle for Cobb to add to their rotation. The Twins made a surprise playoff appearance last season a bit ahead of schedule, but unlike the Cubs and Brewers will exercise a little more patience in continuing on their current path and avoid overpaying the top two names on the market. Like Lynn, Cobb isn’t an ace but should be a steady contributor to an up and coming Twins roster.
Mike Moustakas – Third Baseman
Prediction: Kansas City Royals
The slow free agent market may not have effected any other player more than Moustakas. Coming off a season where he hit a career high 38 home runs, the Scott Boras client was expecting a big pay day. Problem is, while he hit all of those home runs, he posted the first negative dWAR of his career (-0.7) and posted just a 1.8 WAR overall. Not exactly the sort of return a club expects for the money his super agent was asking for. Add that to a limited market for a slugging third baseman and Moustakas is left without a home and seemingly not a high priority for anyone either. A short term deal reunion with the Royals makes the most sense, but some teams with an obvious need like Atlanta and the Yankees could also be in play if the money makes sense.
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