MLB Free Agency Predictions - I did this prediction thing a couple of times over the last few years and was really great at it — I think I predicted three total correctly over like 100 predictions.
So, I’m taking another crack at predicting where the top 30 free agents will land. The slotting of the rankings have been borrowed from MLB Trade Rumors but the bad predictions are all mine own.
Let’s get to it:
1. Yu Darvish – Mariners
You can never go home again. Even though the perfect match for Yu Darvish is the Rangers considering what each the player and team needs, that ship seems to have sailed, which will lead Yu to the Japanese safe haven in the Pacific Northwest as Jerry Dipoto tries to save his job by throwing money at the second Wild Card in the American League.
2. J.D. Martinez – Cardinals
I can’t really figure out the market for J.D. Martinez. He hits. Lord does he hit (3rd best wRC+ in baseball among players with at least 400 PAs). He doesn’t do much of anything else, though. He’s also almost 31 and could fall off a cliff without a moment’s notice. It all screams American League and eventual DH but all the teams that appear like they’ll be really interested in him, like the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Giants, are in the NL. Whatever. Let’s go Cardinals and hope he ages before they win.
3. Eric Hosmer – Royals
Eric Hosmer is about as good of a home grown face-of-the-franchise type that you see reach free agency anymore and he’s so boring that no one cares. He’s probably going to end up back with the Royals because everyone will forget he’s a free agent by the end of the week.
4. Jake Arrieta – Dodgers
I just feel like Yu Darvish is going to end up somewhere new and if Yu Darvish doesn’t return to Los Angeles, the Dodgers will be looking for a replacement at the top of their rotation. There are a ton of red flags when it comes to Arrieta but he’s still a very good pitcher, LA is a very good environment for pitchers, and the Dodgers are positioned to absorb contracts when they turn sour.
5. Mike Moustakas – Angels
The Angels have been haunted by their decision to let Adrian Beltre sign with the Rangers for this entire decade now. So, in attempt to rectify this mistake, they will sign Mike Moustakas and be haunted for another decade.
6. Lorenzo Cain – Giants
This honestly makes too much sense to actually happen.
7. Wade Davis – Cardinals
The Cardinals recently released their longtime closer Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal ceded the closer role to Seung Hwan Oh back in 2016 but he arguably had a better season than Oh in 2017. With that in mind, and considering they have designs on contending in 2018 and like to take things from the Cubs, the Cardinals bump Oh back to a setup role and sign Davis away from Chicago.
8. Lance Lynn – Phillies
Lance Lynn is going to sign with the Rangers, I’m afraid to say. How can I predict Lance Lynn is going to sign with the Phillies but then predict he’s going to sign with the Rangers in the paragraph about him signing with the Phillies? Well, not signing with the Rangers is what I want to happen, so he signs with the Phillies to lead their staff through their rebuild, but in non-fantasy land, after the Rangers fail to land their other targets, Lance Lynn signs with the Rangers and he strikes out 6 per 9 for four seasons in Arlington.
9. Greg Holland – Cubs
This list is like half relievers. I wouldn’t sign any of them. Teams like the Cubs don’t really have that luxury if they want to win the World Series, and, if these predictions happen, they’d have recently lost their closer to a division rival. So Wade Davis’ old mentor lands in Chicago to take his old job as closer for the Cubs.
10. Alex Cobb – Cubs
Of all the free agents (not counting Yu Darvish or Shohei Otani), Cobb is the one I wish the Rangers would sign the most. When he’s healthy, he’s really good. He was healthy last season and put up a 2.4 fWAR season which would have tied him with Darvish for best on the team last season. Better yet, Cobb’s second half numbers improved nearly across the board showing he was getting stronger as the year went on. I really dig his changeup but I figure the Cubs and old manager Joe Maddon do, too.
11. Carlos Santana – Red Sox
A season of Mitch Moreland manning first base will make a team go out and spend on a first baseman. Like Moreland, Santana has been remarkably consistent. Unlike Moreland, Santana has been consistently good. Since 2011, Santana’s first full season, he’s averaged exactly 3 fWAR per season with no season higher than 3.7 and no season lower than 2.1.
12. Zack Cozart – Mets
Zack Cozart came out of nowhere to become good so it’s a perfect time for the Mets to spend a ton of money on him right before he turns back into a pumpkin. (A note: This is similar to the thing I wrote when predicting Shin-Soo Choo would sign with the Mets when he hit the free agent market but it was the Rangers who Mets things up instead.)
13. Jay Bruce – Rockies
With Carlos Gonzalez on the market, and Colorado looking to build on their first playoff appearance in years, the Rockies will be after an outfielder with pop who can replace their longtime right fielder. Jay Bruce had a solid season for the Mets and Indians last season and should fit the bill.
14. Logan Morrison – Angels
Logan Morrison seems annoying. The Angels are annoying. The Angels need a first baseman since Albert Pujols is basically a grandpa who runs like Donald Duck and probably can’t stand for the required time it takes to man a base. It’s kind of match made in hell.
15. Addison Reed – Cubs
The bullpen ended up being a weakness for the Cubs in October so they’ll look for some more help on the back end. Reed isn’t really a closer but he has closer experience and should help in a setup role. Really, with teams like the Dodgers, Astros, and Cubs, signing a bullpen arm is more about October than anything else.
16. Todd Frazier – Royals
Frazier will miss getting popups to second base home runs at Yankee Stadium but he seems like a perfect bland person to help Kansas City forget also bland person Mike Moustakas.
17. Mike Minor – Dodgers
Until they ran out of steam after extreme usage, the Dodgers’ bullpen was a big advantage for LA in October. With Brandow Morrow on the market, the Dodgers will be looking for someone to come in and help them maintain their competitive edge out of the ‘pen as they will have their eyes on a return trip to the World Series. Minor, fresh off a 2 fWAR season, fits the bill.
18. Brandon Morrow – Astros
If Houston had one weakness in the playoffs, it was their bullpen. Since bullpens are “in” these days, they’ll look to rectify this by signing one of the best pitchers in October before the Dodgers tried to get away with pitching him every single game.
19. Jonathan Lucroy – Rockies
Ugh. Just banish him to the A’s or something already. After nearly single-handedly sinking the Rangers in 2017, Lucroy went to Colorado after the trade deadline and put up an OPS in the .800s because he’s a terrible person. If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll cozy up to Coors again for a couple of seasons and try to pretend he has value.
20. CC Sabathia – Yankees
21. Yonder Alonso – Indians
22. Carlos Gomez – Mariners
23. Juan Nicasio – Angels
24. Bryan Shaw – Rockies
25. Michael Brantley – Twins
26. Andrew Cashner – Orioles
27. Neil Walker – Brewers
28. Tyler Chatwood – Twins
29. Jake McGee – Nationals
30. Jaime Garcia – Royals
Real No. 1 Shohei Otani - Rangers
He’s coming to America. And, really, he’s the top guy available, but he’s not really a free agent nor is he going to sign a conventional deal. I’m mostly predicting he signs with the Rangers for three reasons. 1) The Rangers are kind of pinning the hopes of the franchise on getting this done. 2) They apparently have built a relationship with Otani which should give them at least a puncher’s chance. 3) What am I supposed to do? Predict he signs with the Yankees? Of course he’s going to sign with the Yankees but what’s the fun in that?
Bonus round: The Rangers sign John Lackey, Chris Martin, Miles Mikolas, and Cameron Maybin. Also, Jonathan Lucroy is out of baseball by the end of the 2019 season.