MLB Offseason Special: Predicting the Top Free Agent Signings

Yoenis Cespedes

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2016 Stat Line: .280BA, .354OBP, .530SLG, 31HR, 72R, 86RBI (132 Games)

 Yoenis Cespedes just recently opted out of his two-year contract worth 47.5 Million to pursue free agency. He played a big role in the Mets pennant race last season and signed a 3 year, $75 million dollar contract with an opt-out after the 2016 season. Still known as one of the best power bats in the game, Cespedes can help many teams make a postseason push with his production at the heart of the batting lineup, including an impressive .341 batting average against left-handed pitching. With many big market spenders looking to make a splash in free agency, Cespedes will likely receive a great haul but don’t expect him to sign anytime soon.

Potential Suitors: Yankees, Mets, Giants, Dodgers and Nationals

Prediction: Mets


Aroldis Chapman

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2016 Stat Line: 4-1, 1.55ERA, 36SV, 90K (59 Games)

 Chapman was part of arguably the best bullpen in baseball until the Yankees decided the sell at the deadline moving him to the Cubs in exchange for a package including top infielder prospect Gleyber Torres. Chapman would go on to help the Cubs win the World Series, which included several multi-inning performances down the stretch. His velocity is more than enough to blow batters away and you can expect for him to get a 4 or 5-year deal with a big market team. While the Cubs would probably love to have him back, they aren’t likely to give him all that money.

Potential Suitors: Cubs, Giants, Yankees, Nationals and Dodgers

Prediction: Yankees


Kenley Jansen

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2016 Stat Line: 3-2, 1.83ERA, 47SV, 104K (72 Games)

 Jansen is another top notch closer in the game that is going to demand big money this offseason. He is coming off one of his best seasons in the majors striking out 104 batters and finishing with second most saves in baseball. He finished the season strong in the NLCS throwing 6 shutout innings against the World Series Champions Chicago Cubs. He has been a Dodger for his whole 7-year career and with the money to spend the Dodgers are going to be looking at bringing him back.

Potential Suitors: Marlins, Giants, Nationals, Dodgers and Mets

Prediction: Dodgers

Edwin Encarnacion

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2016 Stat Line: .263BA, .357OBP, .529SLG, 42HR, 99R, 127RBI (160 Games)

 Edwin Encarnacion had another remarkable season for the Blue Jays hitting 42 homeruns and driving in 127 runs hitting behind the 2015 MVP Josh Donaldson. He helped the Blue Jays reach the postseason for the second season in a row, which included a walk-off homerun against the Baltimore Orioles in the Wild Card game. While his age might be a concern, Edwin has showed no signs of slowing down playing 160 games at 1B/DH. The Blue Jays recently signed Kendrys Morales so a deal with Edwin is more than unlikely moving forward.

Potential Suitors: Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros

Prediction: Rangers


Dexter Fowler

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2016 Stat Line: .276BA, .393OBP, .447SLG, 13HR, 84R, 48RBI (125 Games)

 With some big power hitters on the market, someone like Dexter Fowler might go under the radar. Fowler is a solid leadoff hitter who swings from both sides of the plate and has good speed. He played mostly CF but can play all outfield positions so there are many teams that will be interested in him. He has expressed his desire to return the Cubs, but with a surplus of outfielders in the system it remains unclear if a reunion will take place even though he lead the Cubs with the highest OBP. A team like the Blue Jays are looking for a legitimate lead off hitter and a left handed batter so they are likely going to be more than interested in him especially with Bautista and Saunders likely leaving in free agency.

Potential Suitors: Cubs, Blue Jays, Giants, Rangers and Cardinals

Prediction: Giants


Mark Melancon

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2016 Stat Line: 2-2, 1.64ERA, 47SV, 65K (75 Games)

Melancon is another solid arm at the back of the bullpen that is probably a back up plan for teams looking to strike big with Chapman and Jansen. Like Jansen, he recorded 47 saves this season during his time in Pittsburgh and Washington. His arsenal of pitches features a devastating cutter, which is particularly good when thrown inside to a left-handed batter. A cheaper contract than Chapman and Jansen can leave teams room to improve in other aspects.

Potential Suitors: Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Nationals and Rockies

Prediction: Giants


Rich Hill

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2016 Stat Line: 12-5, 2.12ERA, 129K (20 Games)

 Rich Hill was on many teams radar’s at the trade deadline and ended up being moved to from Oakland to Los Angeles. Despite battling ongoing blister issues he finished the season with an impressive 2.12ERA. He is a solid-lefty who is going to hitting the free-agent market at the right time. His curveball is considered one of the best in the majors but his age might be a concern for teams looking to add a starting pitcher.

Potential Suitors: Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Rangers and Orioles

Prediction: Dodgers


Jose Bautista

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2016 Stat Line: .234BA, .366OBP, .452SLG, 22HR, 68R, 69RBI (116 Games)

 For many years Jose Bautista has been known as one of the best power hitters in the majors. In fact he is only one season removed from hitting 40 homeruns and batting in 114 runs. Despite a down season in average and power this year, he hit .984 with RISP. He recently rejected the Blue Jays qualifying offer and will look to sign a multi-year deal in free agency. His defense is certainly not as good as it used to be but a National League team could still very well be interested in him to eventually play first base. While he says he doesn’t believe in a hometown discount, a reunion with Toronto shouldn’t be ruled out. After all his bat-flip was one of the most memorable moments in Blue Jays history.

Potential Suitors: Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Baltimore and Mets

Prediction: Blue Jays


Mark Trumbo

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2016 Stat Line: .256BA, .316OBP, .533SLG, 47HR, 94R, 108RBI (159 Games)

 Trumbo is another huge power bat on the market that will help many teams looking to contend in the upcoming seasons. He doesn’t walk as much as someone like Jose Bautista but he is much younger. Anyone who leads the league in homeruns will demand a big contract despite being called a “one dimensional player” by many experts in the game. It is more likely than not that Trumbo will stay in the American League and a team that relies on the long ball like Baltimore will love to have him back. He has hit at least 29 homeruns in 4 of his 5 full Major League seasons but his second half of the 2016 season is a bit alarming.

Potential Suitors: Red Sox, Orioles, Rangers, Astros and Yankees

Prediction: Orioles

Published on Nov 22nd, 2017
ADAM VIRANI
(@adamv_23 on Twitter)

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