With pitchers and catchers reporting in little over a week, many are surprised at the plethora of high end free agents still available on the market. Former Cy Young winners and World Series champions are currently sitting at home watching TV waiting for the call.
While we all wait on the ice cold stove to heat up, here are some potential landing spots for the remaining free agents that make sense for both the players and the teams.
Realistic landing spot: Chicago Cubs
Dark horse landing spot: San Fransisco Giants
Ever since Jake Arrieta dominantly won the Cy Young in 2015, things have gone downhill. His ERA rose from 1.77 to 3.10 to 3.53, and his wins have gone down from 22 to 18 to 14.
Last season was his worst since he first joined the Chicago Cubs in 2013. His innings have gone down, and his H/9, HR/9, BB/9 and SO/9 have all gotten worse. This isn’t good.
If I was trying to sell Arrieta, I would have done an awful job so far. Lucky for me, you’re probably not an MLB general manager.
Regardless of his recent struggles, Arrieta is still a second or third man in a rotation and still has miles left on his arm.
Arrieta returning to the Cubs makes the most sense. He can slot in right behind Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks and return to a ballpark he’s familiar with. If Arrieta is willing to take less years, he could get a reasonable amount of money from the Cubs.
After an extremely disappointing 2017 season, the Giants reloaded with the additions of Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. San Fransisco has a strong rotation at the top with Madison Bumgarner (When not riding dirt bikes), Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.
After that, its pretty bad.
Signing Arrieta would give the Giants a great rotation for the playoff push they are making in 2018.
Realistic landing spot: Los Angeles Dodgers
Dark horse landing spot: Milwaukee Brewers
Yu Darvish had a rough end to 2017. In the biggest game of his life, Game 7 of the World Series, Darvish gave up four earned runs, including a homer in just one and two-thirds innings. That is about as rough as it gets.
Darvish’s numbers last season were still fairly good. In nine games with the Dodgers, Darvish had a 3.44 ERA, which led to a 122 ERA+ and averaged approximately seven strikeouts per game.
Darvish has the same issue as Arrieta. While both are good right now, teams have to wonder how good they’ll be in three years. Or four or five years.
Regardless of how last season ended for Darvish and the Dodgers, they’re still a perfect match for each other. Darvish gives the Dodgers a great right-handed pitcher to go along with Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, while the Dodgers give Darvish a chance at a ring and retribution for last season.
Milwaukee might not be as talented as LA, or as lofty, but they still have a great team. The additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich give the Brewers an elite outfield. The one area they could improve is their starting rotation.
Enter Yu Darvish.
The addition of Darvish would make the Brewers legit playoff contenders.
Realistic landing spot: Boston Red Sox
Dark horse landing spot: No where really
There isn’t a more perfect fit in this offseason than J.D. Martinez and the Boston Red Sox. Martinez is coming off of a career year where he hit a career-high 45 homers, slugged .690 and put up a 4.1 WAR.
The Red Sox are coming off of another first-round playoff bounce and could desperately use power hitting. The Red Sox also give Martinez an opportunity to DH, keeping him out of the outfield where he struggles.
This is a no-brainer. Martinez, Red Sox, I now pronounce you together. Good luck.
Realistic landing spot: Kansas City Royals
Other realistic landing spot: San Diego Padres
Eric Hosmer has all the traits of a face of a franchise: Hits well, won a World Series and has great hair. He’s perfect. Hosmer has been attached to the Kansas City Royals and the San Diego Padres this offseason.
For the Royals, they are likely about to embark on a franchise rebuild just two years removed from their World Series championship. Lorenzo Cain and Wade Davis are gone, Mike Moustakas has his foot out of the door and Salvador Perez is on his last leg.
This leaves Hosmer as the face of that World Series team. While fans may want him, there is no reason to give Hosmer a $210 million contract over seven years, which is the contract that has been leaked to the public. The first rule of rebuilding is to get rid of all the big unnecessary contracts.
For the Padres, they are already knee deep in a rebuild. Last season, 71 wins was a pleasant surprise.
That should tell you about the state of the franchise.
Hosmer would give the Padres a face and a piece to build around in the potential future. The Padres would give Hosmer the ridiculous contract he wants due to their open cap situation. It’s really a win-win.
Featured image by Rich Graessle, Icon Sportswire
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