Contract and landing spot predictions for MLB’s Top 50 free agents

Baseball News
1 week ago

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees will ink four stars while the Orioles shall stay silent

The offseason is officially underway and with it comes an exciting five months of speculation, rumors, and lots of money. Here are predictions for the top 50 free agents, complete with landing spots, contracts, and everything else that you need to know.

The Top 50 rankings are from MLB Trade Rumors and can be found here.

1. Gerrit Cole, SP

Los Angeles Angels | Seven years, $228 million

Cole’s dominant postseason capped off a tremendous season with Houston. He’s due to get a lot of money this offseason.

2. Anthony Rendon, 3B

New York Mets | Six years, $185 million

There’s a lot of speculation that Rendon will stay with the reigning champs, but it seems far more likely he packs his bags and heads to the Big Apple.

3. Stephen Strasburg, SP

Washington Nationals | Five years, $140 million

Rest assured, Nationals fans. Stephen Strasburg opted out of his contract, but he’ll get a new one from the Nats soon that will pay him nicely.

4. Zack Wheeler, SP

Boston Red Sox | Four years, $81 million

Zack Wheeler has been linked to the Red Sox for many months now. With the starter finally a free agent, this marriage seems likely.

5. Josh Donaldson, 3B

Texas Rangers | Two years, $55 million

I struggled to separate the Braves and Donaldson, but in the end, I think the Rangers commit a lot of money to the power-hitting third baseman.

6. Madison Bumgarner, SP

New York Yankees | Five years, $88 million

The Yankees will find they don’t have the upper-hand in pitching negotiations this offseason, yet they will be able to land MadBum by offering a fifth year.

7. Yasmani Grandal, C

Milwaukee Brewers | Three years, $50 million

There are many teams that will be vying to add free agency’s top catcher, but I would be shocked if he doesn’t return to Milwaukee.

8. Nicholas Castellanos, OF

Chicago Cubs | Five years, $72 million

Cubs fans have been calling for the team to bring back Castellanos ever since they traded for him. I think the front office gets it done this offseason.

9. Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP

Los Angeles Dodgers | Three years, $57 million

There are many teams who would love to have Ryu on their team, but he’ll end up back in Los Angeles with the Dodgers for at least another three years.

10. Jake Odorizzi, SP

Atlanta Braves | Four years, $62 million

Odorizzi should see at least half of the teams showing serious interest in him, and I believe the Braves will emerge as the leaders of the pack in negotiations.

11. Marcell Ozuna, OF

Cleveland Indians | Four years, $70 million

The Indians will ink a pair of top outfielder this offseason, with the first being Ozuna.

12. Didi Gregorius, SS

New York Yankees | Four years, $65 million

The Yankees refused to extend a qualifying offer to Gregorius, but I am confident that they will find a way to bring him back on a multi-year pact.

13. Will Smith, RP

San Francisco Giants | One year, $17.8 million

The offseason’s top free agent reliever will return to the club he played for last season by accept the qualifying offer.

14. Dallas Keuchel, SP

San Diego Padres | Three years, $47 million

This seems like a too-perfect fit, in my opinion. I expect the Padres and Keuchel to hammer out a deal very quickly.

15. Cole Hamels, SP

San Francisco Giants | Two years, $28 million

It will be interesting to see how much attention Hamels garners this offseason. I expect him to find his way to San Francisco when all is said and done.

16. Jose Abreu, 1B

Chicago White Sox | One year, $17.8 million

Abreu would have had various options if he tested free agency, but the $17.8 million qualifying offer is something he simply won’t be able to refuse.

17. Michael Pineda, SP

Houston Astros | Two years, $25 million

The Astros’ budgetary constraints could eliminate the fantasies of their fans, but they should be able to bring in a pitcher of Pineda’s caliber.

18. Mike Moustakas

Philadelphia Phillies | Three years, $38 million

The Phillies were linked to Anthony Rendon but they’ll have to settle for three years of Moose.

19. Kyle Gibson, SP

Pittsburgh Pirates | Three years, $40 million

My second draft of this article had the Pirates inking four of the Top 50 free agents, but many drafts later, I have trimmed that down to two, starting with Kyle Gibson.

20. Tanner Roark, SP

Oakland Athletics | Two years, $19 million

Roark was acquired by the Athletics at the trade deadline and his impact with Oakland will last more than just half a season as he re-signs for 2020 and 2021.

21. Julio Teheran, SP

Chicago Cubs | Two years, $19 million

Giving Julio Teheran a two-year deal is risky, but that will be exactly what prompts the starter to pick Chicago over other interested teams.

22. Will Harris, RP

Cincinnati Reds | One year, $9 million

This is a shot in the dark because virtually every team will be in on relievers this offseason.

23. Drew Pomeranz, SP

Toronto Blue Jays | Two years, $16 million

We’re beginning to get to the part of the list where players are being signed by non-contenders just so they can fill out a 25-man roster and have a veteran presence.

24. Wade Miley, SP

Colorado Rockies | Two years, $15 million

There are a number of places Miley could go, but again, he’ll pick the team that is the first to offer him a multi-year pact.

25. Corey Dickerson, OF

San Diego Padres | Two years, $24 million

Dickerson could be an under-the-radar candidate to garner lots of interest, thus increasing his asking price. The Padres will win the bidding war this winter.

26. Travis d’Arnaud, C

Tampa Bay Rays | Three years, $20 million

The first and only Rays signing on this list, Tampa Bay’s talented backstop will re-up for three years.

27. Chris Martin, RP

New York Yankees | Two years, $12 million

Again, the market for relievers is unpredictable, but the Yankees need to make a move for a bullpen arm, and I expect them to pursue Martin.

28. Daniel Hudson, RP

Washington Nationals | Two years, $12 million

This year’s World Series star, Hudson went from being a Spring Training roster cut to World Series Champion. He’ll return to Washington after a fun 2019 season.

29. Avisail Garcia, OF

Seattle Mariners | Three years, $25 million

Believe it or not, Garcia is only 28. He’ll be able to secure a three-year pact, and I could see the Mariners making him one of their top realistic targets.

30. Howie Kendrick, INF

Boston Red Sox | One year, $8 million

The Red Sox will lose Brock Holt this offseason (keep reading), and they’ll replace him with the ageless Kendrick who dazzled in this year’s Fall Classic.

31. Rick Porcello, SP

Minnesota Twins | Two years, $22 million

The Twins are losing three-fifths of their starting rotation this offseason, so inking an above-average veteran like Porcello will be important.

32. Brett Gardner, OF

New York Yankees | One year, $7 million

There’s no other team that would realistically sign Gardner, making his price tag lower than it should be. The Yankees will retain him for another season.

33. Robinson Chirinos, C

Los Angeles Angels | One year, $6 million

Losing Chirinos will hurt the Astros, but seeing him stay in the division will hurt even more.

34. Jason Castro, C

New York Mets | Two years, $13 million

In other backstop news, Castro’s above-average skill should fetch him a two-year deal. The Mets seem like a reasonable team for him to latch on with.

35. Craig Stammen, RP

Arizona Diamondbacks | Two years, $12 million

By now, I don’t even need to remind you that the bullpen market is unpredictable. The D-backs are fringe contenders and this could be a solid add for them.

36. Steve Cishek, SP

Los Angeles Dodgers | Two years, $15 million

Cishek could sign with anyone, from the best of the best to the worst of the worst. The Dodgers seem like a good fit, but so do 29 other teams.

37. Yasiel Puig, OF

Cleveland Indians | Four years, $48 million

Here’s the second Indians outfield signing that I referenced earlier. Puig will get a huge deal that cements him in Cleveland’s outfield for nearly half a decade.

38. Edwin Encarnacion, DH

Texas Rangers | One year, $14 million

I mentioned earlier the Rangers will be looking to add a power bat, and I think they slightly overpay for Encarnacion. (I had them landing Donaldson, Encarnacion, and J.D. Martinez before Martinez decided to stay in Boston.)

39. Alex Wood, SP

Pittsburgh Pirates | Two years, $15 million

The Pirates will be a mediocre team next season, and Alex Wood will be a slightly-better-than-mediocre pitcher in their rotation.

40. Adam Wainwright, SP

St. Louis Cardinals | One year, $10 million

The only concern I have here is the contract length. Wainwright will definitely return to the Cardinals. But will it be for one year, or two?

41. Brock Holt, UTL

Philadelphia Phillies | Three years, $21 million

Losing Brock Holt is an extremely underrated loss for the Red Sox. He’ll bring a lot to Philadelphia in what could be one of this offseason’s most clever signings.

42. Josh Lindblom, SP

Arizona Diamondbacks | One year, $6 million

This former MLB’er has been playing overseas and is ready to return to the States.

43. Dellin Betances, RP

Atlanta Braves | Two years, $20 million

Betances’ injuries this past season will force him to settle for a low-priced, two-year deal as Father Time approaches and the clock ticks for him to prove himself again.

44. Kole Calhoun, OF

Arizona Diamondbacks | Two years, $18 million

Many Angels fans wanted Calhoun back in 2020, but the team declined his option and he’ll make his way to Arizona.

45. Shogo Akiyama, OF

Texas Rangers | Two years, $8 million

Here’s one more signing for the Rangers. Akiyama comes over from Japan and is sure to garner lots of interest as a low-priced option for many teams.

46. Rich Hill, SP

Los Angeles Dodgers | Two years, $14 million

Three starting pitching signings for the Dodgers is a bold choice, but remember that two of them are re-signings as the team retains a pair of arms and adds an additional one.

47. Michael Wacha, SP

Miami Marlins | One year, $5 million

Wacha is likely a veteran presence for a team not contending this season. The Marlins and Mariners are two teams that come to mind.

48. Ivan Nova, SP

New York Mets | One year, $5 million

Nova to a potential contender is an interesting call, but I think this actually makes a lot of sense for the Mets. I will truly be surprised if he doesn’t end up in the Big Apple.

49. Pedro Strop, RP

Kansas City Royals | One year, $5 million

The Royals’ 2020 season is probably a lost cause. They’ll ink Strop in a “whatever” type of deal just so they can say they did something this winter.

50. Drew Smyly, SP

Detroit Tigers | One year, $4 million

Drew Smyly will be back where it all started as his big-league career approaches its final days.


Teams predicted to sign four Top 50 free agents: New York Yankees

Teams predicted to sign three Top 50 free agents: Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks

Teams predicted to sign two Top 50 free agents: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants

Teams predicted to sign one Top 50 free agent: Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies

Teams predicted to sign zero Top 50 free agents: Baltimore Orioles


You’re going to agree with a few of these picks and disagree with most of them. After all, there’s no way these will all come true. I’ll be lucky if I am correct on 10 of them. Nevertheless, I want to hear what you agree and disagree with. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

And, of course, let free agency begin.


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