Friday, November 7, 2014

2015 MLB Free Agent Predictions

1. Max Scherzer (RHP/Detroit Tigers) - Detroit Tigers

Scherzer is easily the most coveted free agent this year in baseball. The 2013 Cy Young winner is a strikeout machine and went 18-5 with a 3.19 ERA. Detroit brought in David Price in what they hopes would be the final piece of their championship puzzle. But with a strong team and solid rotation, Detroit will be in the championship mix, I can't see Scherzer walking away from that.

2. Jon Lester (LHP/Oakland As) - Chicago Cubs

Lester had a solid season, even after being traded to Oakland in the middle of the year. The Cubs have made it known that they look to be big spenders this year. The move could reunite Lester with GM Theo Epstein. Expect the Red Sox to be in the mix to retain their former ace as well.

Update: Lester signed with the Cubs on 12/9. The deal is worth $155 million over six years.

3. James Shields (RHP/Kansas City Royals) - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Despite having the moniker "Big Game James," Shields has been terrible in the postseason, owning a career ERA of 5.46 and a WHIP of 1.534. Regardless, he is still one of the top free agents available and a number of teams will be inquiring about his services. A native of California, the Angels could be interested.

4. Hanley Ramirez (SS/3B/Los Angeles Dodgers) - San Francisco Giants

With Pablo Sandoval likely leaving the Giants, San Francisco could turn to Ramirez to fill the void at third base. Ramirez will likely spend the majority of his next deal at third base given he decline in production at shortstop.

Update:  Red Sox make two big moves on Nov. 24, inking Ramirez to a four-year deal worth $88 million.

5. Pablo Sandoval (3B/San Francisco Giants) - New York Yankees

It looks like Sandoval will be chasing a paycheck this offseason. This move would allow the Yankees to shift Alex Rodriguez to their full-time DH and at age 28, Sandoval already has three World Series rings and has shown he can play well in the postseason.

Update: Red Sox solidify the left side of the diamond, inking Sandoval to a five year deal worth $98 million.

6. Victor Martinez (DH/Detroit Tigers) - Detroit Tigers

Victor Martinez made a strong case for MVP this season, but plays a position that alienates half the league from singing him. The White Sox are interested, but I think Martinez stays in Detroit.

Update: 11/12 - Martinez re-signs with Detroit, four years, $68 million

7. Melky Cabrera (OF/Toronto Blue Jays) - Chicago White Sox

Toronto is interested in keeping him, but Cabrera could draw a lot of interest after having back-to-back solid campaigns after his PED blemish. He comes with the forfeiture of a draft pick, but the White Sox are protected since they are seleecting in the top 10.

Update: Cabrera signed with the White Sox, agreeing to a three-year deal worth $42 million on Dec. 14.

8. Russell Martin (C/Pittsburgh Pirates) - Boston Red Sox

The Pirates have braced themselves for losing Russell Martin. The Cubs are an option, but I think the Red Sox in the end will obtain Martin's services.

Update: Martin went back to the AL East, but signed with the Blue Jays on Nov. 17 for five years, $82 million. The deal does not include a no trade clause.

9. Nelson Cruz (OF/Baltimore Orioles) - Baltimore Orioles

Nelson Cruz had a nice rebound season with the Orioles after ending his tenure with the Rangers with the black eye of the Biogenesis scandal. The Orioles and Cruz share mutual interest in a return.

Update: Cruz has signed with the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 1. His deal is worth $57 million over four years with an option for a fifth season.

10. Yasmany Tomas (OF/Cuba) - Philadelphia Phillies

Only 24, the Cuban defector will command a $100 million deal. Philadelphia has had an inside track to  the corner outfielder since day one.

Update: Tomas has agreed to a six-year $68.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks on Nov. 26.

11. Ervin Santana (RHP/Atlanta Braves) - Kansas City Royals

While the Royals will likely be unable to afford the big contract James Shields will be after, he could bring back a familiar face instead in Ervin Santana.

Update: Santana was able to land a four-year $55 million deal with the Twins on Dec. 11.

12. Kenta Maeda (RHP/Hiroshima Toyo Carp) - Seattle Mariners

Maeda is the next big thing to come out of Japan. While he is no Masahiro Tanaka, he is only 26 and had a solid campaign for Hiroshima, going 11-9 with a 2.60 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 187 innings.

13. David Robertson (RHP/New York Yankees) -  New York Yankees

The popular opinion is that Robertson will walk, allowing Dellin Betances to take over the role as closer int he Bronx, but I can't see the Yankees allowing David Robertson to leave after the season he had. Not to mention, not as many teams will be seeking a closer compared to recent years.

Update: Robertson is headed to Chicago, agreeing to a 4-year, $46 million deal with the White Sox on 12/8.

14. Brandon McCarthy (RHP/New York Yankees) - New York Yankees

It was a tale of two seasons for McCarthy, who was abysmal in Arizona and suddenly transformed to a stud with the Yankees, registering a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts with the Bronx Bombers. McCarthy was able to reestablish his value  with his resurgence, but the Yankees have already stated that resigning him is a priority.

Update: Los Angeles Dodgers make a flurry of moves on Dec. 10, including inking McCarthy to a four-year $48 million deal.

15. Francisco Liriano (LHP/Pittsburgh Pirates) - Pittsburgh Pirates

Like Russell Martin, Liriano has received a qualifying offer from the Pirates, but I don't see as many teams who would be willing to part with a draft pick to sign Liriano as Martin.

Update: Liriano will return to Pittsburgh, agreeing to a 3-year, $39 million deal on 12/9.

16. Chase Headley (3B/New York Yankees) - Los Angeles Dodgers

Another struggling player who suddenly saw a resurgence in pinstripes, Headley was able to reestablish his value for free agency. The Dodgers, who stand to lose Hanley Ramirez, may opt for a cheaper option in Headley.

Update: Headley returns to New York, signing a four-year deal worth $52 million on Dec. 15.

17. Andrew Miller (RHP/Baltimore Orioles) - St. Louis Cardinals

Miller was solid for the Orioles after being acquired during the summer, posting a 1.35 ERA in 23 appearances. Miller's ERA has dropped each year since being converted to a reliever. A number of teams will be interested.

Update: The Yankees signed Miller on Dec. 5 to a four-year $36 million deal, a record for a non-closing reliever.

18. Justin Masterson (RHP/St. Louis Cardinals) - Arizona Diamondbacks

Masterson's biggest flaw is his inconsistency. He was able to keep his walk rate down in 2014, but also had a career-high 1.632 WHIP. Arizona needs pitching help, especially after their staffed was ravished by injuries a year ago.

Update: Masterson is headed back to Boston on a one-year deal signed on Dec. 11.

19. Aramis Ramirez (3B/Milwaukee Brewers) - Milwaukee Brewers

Even at 36, Ramirez is one of the league's bet hitters at third base. Milwaukee as already held up their end of the mutual option, it is only a matter of time until Ramirez does the same.

Ramirez exercised his mutual option on Nov. 3 and will enter free agency next offseason.

20. Colby Rasmus (OF/Toronto Blue Jays) - Minnesota Twins

Rasmus benefits from being in a weak center field market, but he will likely have to move to a corner to get the deal he wants. Despite losing his starting job in Toronto, several teams will be interested in his services.

21. Jed Lowrie (SS/Oakland As) - New York Mets

Lowrie is coming off of a career-low season offensively, but also spent much of the year playing with a broken finger. He could be a solid bounce-back candidate.

Update: Lowrie signed a three-year deal with the Astros worth $23 million on 

22. Jason Hammel (RHP/Oakland As) - Colorado Rockies

Hammel regressed after being traded to the As, which may scare off teams in the AL. Colorado, who likely won't be after one of the bigger names on this list, could be interested in a reunion.

Update: Hammel reunited with one of his old teams, just not the Rockies. Hammel returned to the Cubs on a two-year deal worth $18 million on Dec. 8.

23. Asdrubal Cabrera (SS/2B/Washington Nationals) - Atlanta Braves

Cabrera is a power hitting shortstop who switched over to second base after being traded to Washington. If he lands in Atlanta, he would be expected to man second again. The Braves DFAd Dan Uggla during the season and Tommy La Stella didn't exactly run away with the starting opportunity.

Update: The Rays have signed Cabrera to a one-year contract on Dec. 30. 

24. Nick Markakis (OF/Baltimore Orioles) - Texas Rangers 

Markakis had a solid bounce-back year in Baltimore after a dismal 2013. He won't get the $17.5 million he was originally due for before Baltimore bought him out, but he would still command something in the ballpark of $12 million per year.

Update: Nick Markakis inked a four-year deal with the Braves on 12/3. Money is in the $45 million range.

25. Adam LaRoche (1B/Washington Nationals) - Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are early favorites to and LaRoche, who popped 26 homers last season. Teams may be scared off by his inability to hit against lefties.

Update: LaRoche goes to the American league, signing a two-year, $25 million deal with the White Sox.

26. Jake Peavy (RHP/San Francisco Giants) - Chicago Cubs

Peavy had a rough start with the Giants after the team acquired him at the deadline, but he settled in for a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts. Chicago may interest Peavy, who spent four-plus seasons with the White Sox.

Update: Peavy returns to the Giants, signing a two-year deal worth $24 million n Dec. 19.

27. Hiroki Kuroda (LHP/New York Yankees) - Pittsburgh Pirates

Kuroda will turn 40 in February and is more likely to retire, but if he decides to play one more season, Pittsburgh would be a candidate for his services.

Update: Kuroda has returned to Japan, agreeing to a deal with Hiroshima

28. Michael Morse (1B/OF/San Francisco Giants) - San Diego Padres

The Mets are reportedly interested in Morse, who has played first base and one of the corner outfield spots in his career. I feel like an AL team is the best option for him since it will allow him to DH, but in the end he may decide to stay on the West Coast.

Update: Morse returns to the NL East, signing a two-year, $12 million deal with Miami on Dec. 16.

29. Michael Cuddyer (OF/Colorado Rockies) - Colorado Rockies

Colorado shockingly gave him a qualifying offer and Cuddyer may be inclined to remain in Denver.

Update: Cuddyer signs with the Mets, two year, $21 million deal. Colorado will receive the 15th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.

30. Alex Rios (OF/Texas Rangers) - Cincinnati Reds

I'm not ruling out the Rangers resigning Rios, but he will be sought after by several teams. Cincinnati could fill their void in left field with Rios.

Update: Rios stays in the AL, signing a one-year $11 million deal with the Royals on Dec. 15.

31. Edinson Volquez (RHP/Pittsburgh Pirates) - Atlanta Braves

Another free agent pitcher for the Pirates, the Braves could be interested after losing Ervin Santana.

Update: The ROyals signed Volquez to a two-year deal worth $20 million on Dec. 29.

32. Luke Gregerson (RHP/Oakland As) - Houston Astros

The Astros are desperately going to seek bullpen help. Gregerson had a career-low 2.12 ERA last season.

Update: The Astros sign Gregorson on 12/10 to a three-year deal worth $18.5 million

33. Torii Hunter (OF/Detroit Tigers) - Baltimore Orioles

At age 39, retirement is always an option,but there are a number of teams interested in Hunter. He showed last season that he still has some pop in his bat, but poor defensive metrics will limit him to an AL team, likely as a DH.

Update: Torii Hunter has returned to his original team, signing with the Minnesota Twins on Dec. 2 for a one-year deal worth $10.5 million.

34. A.J. Burnett (RHP/Philadelphia Phillies) - Kansas City Royals

Burnett surprisingly opted out of his deal with the Phillies, indicating that he may be willing to take a pay cut in order to play for a contender. The Royals may be an ideal candidate since they play in a small market, taking pressure off of Burnett.

Update: Burnett returns to the Pirates after a one-year hiatus, signing a one-year deal on 11/14 worth $8.5 million.

35. Sergio Romo (RHP/San Francisco Giants) - Boston Red Sox

Romo lost his job as the closer in San Francisco but was still reliable as a closer. Boston could be in the market for a set up man after locking down Koji Uehara.

Update: The Giants retain Romo, signing the righty to a two-year deal worth $15 million on Dec. 22.

36. Francisco Rodriguez (RHP/Milwaukee Brewers) - Milwaukee Brewers

Rodriguez seems to have found a home in Milwaukee and racked up 44 saves this season with the Brewers. Milwaukee can probably commit just two years to him.

37. Rafael Soriano (RHP/Washington Nationals) - San Francisco Giants

Soriano lost his job as a closer in Washington, but could find a home in San Francisco, who's park will be able to mask his flyball tendencies.

38. Ryan Vogelsong (RHP/San Francisco Giants) - Oakland As

A cheaper option than Jason Hammel, Oakland could round out their rotation with Vogelsong, but the Giants may be aggressive in their attempts to keep him.

39. Aaron Harang (RHP/Atlanta Braves) - San Diego Padres

Harang had a solid season in Atlanta, pitching to a career-low 3.57 ERA. San Diego would be interested after releasing Josh Johnson.

Update: The Phillies sign Harang to a one-year deal worth $5 million on Jan. 5.

40. Nori Aoki (OF/Kansas City Royals) - New York Mets

Aoki is a lefty who hits lefties better than he does against righties. Kansas City is interested in retaining him, but he may seek a multi-year deal elsewhere.

41. Billy Butler (DH/Kansas City Royals) - Seattle Mariners

Butler's option was declined by the Royals, but they still hope to resign him. Seattle has been interested in Butler since the trade deadline.

Update: Oakland signs Butler to a three-year, $30 million deal on Nov. 18.

42. Stephen Drew (SS/Boston Red Sox) - Oakland As

Drew was coveted by several teams last offseason, but were scared off by the fact that they would have had to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. After a dismal 2014, Drew is back on the market and will be a much cheaper option.

43. Emilio Bonifacio (2B/OF/Atlanta Braves) - Kansas City Royals

A utility player, Bonifacio could fill the need at several positions. He may be interested in playing for Kansas City, where his brother is a minor league prospect.

Update: On Jan. 5, the White Sox signed Bonifacio to a one-year $4 million deal.

44. Casey Janssen (RHP/Toronto Blue Jays) - Los Angeles Dodgers

Janssen struggled in the second half after battling food poisoning at the All-Star Break. He could be had for cheaper than the other options in the relief market.

45. Pat Neshek (RHP/St. Louis Cardinals) - St. Louis Cardinals

Neshek revitalized his career in St. Louis, making the All-Star team for the first time in his career. The Cardinals will likely offer him a two-year pact as a reward.

Update: Neshek got a two-year deal, just not with the Cardinals. The righty agreed to a $12.5 million deal with Houston on Dec. 10 that includes an option for a third season.

46. Brandon Morrow (RHP/Toronto Blue Jays) - Minnesota Twins

After spending a big chunk of 2014 on the 60-day DL, Morrow may be a cheap option for a small market club. A high-risk, high-reward candidate, teams interested in Brett Anderson could targest Morrow as well.

Update: The Padres take on another injured Blue Jay, singing Morrow to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. Incentives could escalate the deal to $5 million.

47. Jason Grilli (RHP/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) - Philadelphia Phillies

Grilli struggled in Pittsburgh and a change of scenery did not hep him in Anaheim. Whatever team signs him will need to have a closer and set up man already in place.

Update: ON Dec. 23, Atlanta inked Grilli to a two-year contract.

48. Brett Anderson (LHP/Colorado Rockies) - Chicago White Sox

Another high-risk, high-reward pitcher, Anderson could be coveted by several small market clubs or rebuilding teams. Chicago could use him in the back of their rotation.

49. Josh Johnson (RHP/San Diego Padres) - Cleveland Indians

After missing almost the entire year due to Tommy John surgery, Johnson's option was declined by San Diego. A return to the Padres is preferred by Johnson, but if the interest isn't mutual, Cleveland may be interested in a buy-low candidate.

50. Jung-ho Kang (SS/Nexen Heroes) - Detroit Tigers

The 2014 slugging percentage leader in the KBO, Jung-ho Kang may become the first position player from the KBO to play in the MLB. Defensive metrics show he may be better suited at second or third base in America, but a number of teams will be interested in a middle infielder who hit 38 bombs last season.

Update: The Pirates won negotiating rights for Kang and will have 30 days to negotiate a contract.

No comments:

Post a Comment