The 2017 season is over, capping off with an epic World Series and one of the closes MVP races ever in the National League. Now, free agency is set to begin as all 30 teams looks to improve their rosters. Here are the top 30 free agents and their potential landing spots.
1. Yu Darvish (RHP/Los Angeles Dodgers) – St. Louis Cardinals
Darvish performed poorly in the World Series and it will be interesting to see if the Dodgers show any interest in re-signing their rental acquisition. His former team, the Rangers, is also lukewarm on him, thinking he will be too pricey. Don’t be surprised if the Minnesota Twins make a run for him.
2. J.D. Martinez (OF/Arizona Diamondbacks) – Boston Red Sox
Martinez is a Scott Boras client and the effects of being a Boras client is already making waves. Boras is commanding a seven-year, $210 million deal. While he won’t receive an offer that rich, it’s sure to scare off a few teams, including the cash-strapped Diamondbacks. The Giants have been linked to him, but he wouldn’t improve their outfield with his -7.7 UZR, the fourth worst among outfielders in baseball.
3. Eric Hosmer (1B/Kansas City Royals) – Kansas City Royals
The Royals are going to be forced to go through a rebuild with many of their top players entering free agency, but reportedly they are making retaining Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas a priority. The Padres are heavily interested in Hosmer too.
4. Jake Arrieta (RHP/Chicago Cubs) – Minnesota Twins
The 2015 Cy Young Award winner, Arrieta is going to command a ton of interest on the market and while it is expected that he will leave Chicago, I wouldn’t rule it out. Minnesota and Milwaukee are making a big push to add one of the top arms, so I can see the two getting into a bidding war for Arrieta.
5. Mike Moustakas (3B/Kansas City Royals) – Kansas City Royals
Retaining both Hosmer and Moustakas will be difficult for the small-market Royals, but the organization seems committed to retaining their corner infielders.
6. Lorenzo Cain (CF/Kansas City Royals) – San Francisco Giants
The Giants are seeking to upgrade their outfield defense, especially in the center. Kansas City sounds all but certain that Cain will not return and the Mets are also in the running.
7. Wade Davis (RHP/Chicago Cubs) – Chicago Cubs
Unlike last year with Aroldis Chapman, the Cubs don’t view Wade Davis as a rental piece. The Cubs really like Davis and with many of the bigger teams already invested in a closer, they have a better chance to sign him.
8. Lance Lynn (RHP/St. Louis Cardinals) – Texas Rangers
There hasn’t been much reported on Lynn’s market, which could be due to the fact that Arrieta and Darvish are getting all of the attention. The Rangers have already checked in while the Brewers were tied to him as well.
9. Greg Holland (RHP/Colorado Rockies) – Colorado Rockies
Holland rejected his qualifying offer, but the Rockies are committed to bringing back Holland on a multi-year deal, due much in part to the leadership role he plays in the clubhouse.
10. Alex Cobb (RHP/Tampa Bay Rays) – Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay seems aware that they can’t afford Cobb. Baltimore has been tied to both Lynn and Cobb, but they prefer Cobb due to his experience in the AL East. The Cubs are interested in Cobb as well, and given several ties between the Cubs and Rays, I wouldn’t rule them out.
11. Carlos Santana (1B/Cleveland Indians) – New York Mets
Santana has one of the bigger free agency markets with reportedly 10 teams interested, including the Mets, Phillies and the Angels. The Mets interest in Santana correlates directly to prospect Dominic Smith, who struggled in a late season call up.
12. Zack Cozart (SS/Cincinnati Reds) – San Diego Padres
Cozart is one of the more difficult players to project. He broke out at age 32, which may lead to many teams being skeptical that this season was a fluke. Cincinnati didn’t extend a qualifying offer to him, which should help his market. Only the Angels have been even remotely tied to him so far, but he would have to move to second base if he signed with them. San Diego is in need for a new shortstop with Erick Aybar also a free agent.
13. Jay Bruce (OF/Cleveland Indians) – Toronto Blue Jays
Bruce offers a bit of versatility as he can play both the outfield and first base. He would ultimately serve as Jose Bautista’s replacement. A reunion with the Mets is on the table, but if Santana goes to Queens, it’s unlikely.
14. Logan Morrison (1B/Tampa Bay Rays) – Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are seeking some left-handed power in their lineup. Morrison didn’t receive a qualifying offer from Tampa Bay, which isn’t surprising since the cash-strapped Rays were probably worried that he would accept it.
15. Addison Reed (RHP/Boston Red Sox) – Los Angeles Angels
The only team tied to Reed so far has been the Cubs, but since I have predicted that they will sign Wade Davis, it’s hard to imagine Reed goes there over a place where he will have the opportunity to close games. The Angels declined their option on Huston Street and both Bud Norris and Andrew Bailey are free agents.
16. Todd Frazier (3B/New York Yankees) – San Francisco Giants
Frazier, a New Jersey native who grew up a Yankees fan, has expressed desire to remain in pinstripes, but he also wants a multi-year deal, which will likely be a deal breaker for New York, who has prospects in the pipeline at third base.
17. Mike Minor (LHP/Kansas City Royals) – Houston Astros
The top lefty in the market who has functioned both as a starter and reliever, Minor will have a good market available. Houston needs a southpaw in their bullpen and have shown interest in Minor.
18. Brandon Morrow (RHP/Los Angeles Dodgers) – Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers relied heavily on Morrow in the postseason, who appears in 14 of their 15 postseason games including all seven World Series games. Morrow has stated he wants to play for a contender and doesn’t care if he does so as a set up man or closer. He is interested in a Dodgers reunion and it’s hard to imagine the feelings aren’t mutual, but the Cardinals and Cubs have been linked to him too.
19. Jonathan Lucroy (C/Colorado Rockies) – Colorado Rockies
Lucroy struggled during the first half of the year while with Texas before flipped to the Rockies, where his offensive numbers inflated. He won’t command Russell Martin money, but should still see a fair share of interest. The Astros have shown interested as well.
20. C.C. Sabathia (LHP/New York Yankees) – Milwaukee Brewers
Sabathia has expressed in returning to the Bronx, but there may not be room for him in the rotation – especially if the Yankees land Shohei Ohtani. Milwaukee is looking to upgrade their rotation and Sabathia has pitched there before.
21. Yonder Alonso (1B/Seattle Mariners) – Tampa Bay Rays
Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto has expressed interest in bringing back Alonso, but in the same breath has said that this is a pretty “flush” class of first basemen, signaling that they aren’t exactly committed to bringing him back. Tampa Bay could be in the mix of they lose Morrison.
22. Carlos Gomez (OF/Texas Rangers) – Cleveland Indians
There hasn’t been much of a reported market for far for Gomez, but Cleveland will be in need of a corner outfielder should they lose Jay Bruce.
23. Juan Nicasio (RHP/St. Louis Cardinals) – St. Louis Cardinals
Acquired late in the season in a trade with the Phillies, Nicasio wound up becoming the Cardinals closer down the stretch. Nicasio has already stated that he wants to return to St. Louis and the Cardinals seem to want the same.
24. Bryan Shaw (RHP/Cleveland Indians) – Boston Red Sox
The Indians seem all but certain that they will lose Shaw this offseason. Boston will be in need of a new set up man if Addison Reed bolts.
25. Andrew Cashner (RHP/Texas Rangers) – Philadelphia Phillies
Cashner had a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers last season, but he also came with and underwhelming 4.6 strikesouts per nine innings. Cashner won’t get more than 1-2 years, but he can serve as a stop-gap for the Phillies at the back end of their rotation.
26. Neil Walker (2B/Milwaukee Brewers) – Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are looking to upgrade at second base with Walker, Cozart and Ian Kinsler (via trade) specifically being named. With Cozart signing elsewhere, they land the top true second baseman on the market instead.
27. Tyler Chatwood (RHP/Colorado Rockies) – Texas Rangers
Another arm tied to Baltimore, I think Chatwood opts to instead fill the void left by Cashner. The Phillies are also connected.
28. Jake McGee (LHP/Colorado Rockies) – Philadelphia Phillies
McGee is a former teammate of Gabe Kapler, the Phillies new skipper and the team has shown interest. Lefty relief is a need in Philadelphia as opposing batters feasted on the southpaw relievers in 2017.
29. Jaime Garcia (LHP/New York Yankees) – Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are in a rebuild, but still need a replacement for impending free agent Anibal Sanchez. Garcia could eat innings in the back end of their rotation on a short deal.
30. Alex Avila (C/Chicago Cubs) – San Diego Padres
After backing up Wilson Contreras in Chicago last year, expect Avila to seek a full-time gig on a multi-year deal. San Diego is in need of a backstop after Luis Torrens spent last year as the worst catcher in baseball.