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With baseball free agency in full effect, the world waits for some of the big shoes to drop. This year there are some notable names eligible to make some real money, including former all stars that will command major money. This is the opportunity for some teams to get that essential piece they need, others the chance to reestablish themselves as the powerhouse of a division and still others the chance to continue their rebuilding process. With all of that said, here are predictions for some of baseball’s biggest names this offseason:
Patrick Corbin, Starting Pitcher: New York Yankees
At the beginning of this offseason, the Yankees top four starting pitchers are all right handed, with the only leftie being rookie Justus Sheffield. With starting pitching being New York’s biggest problem, it will be essential for the Yankees to scoop up Corbin or Dallas Keuchel. Given that Corbin is a year younger than the former Cy Young Award winner and that he’s from New York, it seems like a fit for both sides
Dallas Keuchel, Starting Pitcher: Philadelphia Phillies
Like the Yankees, the Phillies need a left handed pitcher. Philadelphia has a good one-two combination at the top of the rotation but a weaker bottom three. Having a second strong veteran pitcher to pair with Jake Arrieta would be a good move to have a solid middle of the rotation kind of guy. Philly showed that they can make the jump, they just need to keep up with Atlanta.
Craig Kimbrel, Closer: Chicago Cubs
Brandon Morrow has not been a bad closer for the Cubbies. Howeve the Cubs bullpen could use his arm more there than they do in the closer role. While Boston could use him a bit, they have other options internally, as well as another option(will get to that later). The Cubs and New York Mets are often the teams that pick up Boston’s scraps. Considering that the Cubs are still contenders, watch for them to go after Kimbrel.
A.J. Pollock, Center Fielder: St. Louis Cardinals
Harrison Bader is not a bad player. However, with the talent this team has, and the fact they competed for the second wild card spot, they should be looking to improve this team in any ways they can. Pollock would provide more of an offensive threat.
Nathan Eovaldi, Starting Pitcher: Boston Red Sox
One of the heroes for Boston through out the playoffs, Eovaldi is sure to be showered with offers to pitch just about anywhere in baseball. So why back to Boston? One is money. Two is loyalty. Given how teammates like David Price and Rick Porcello had his back no matter what, it may have shown a support that could lead him to stay.
Manny Machado, Shortstop/Third Baseman: Philadelphia Phillies
The last great Philadelphia shortstop was a future hall of famer by the name of Jimmy Rollins. While Scott Kingery could be a part of the puzzle of the Phillies, there’s no doubt having Machado’s bat and glove can do wonders for Philly. This may be the year that Philadelphia opens up their check book big time.
Andrew Miller, Reliever/Closer: Boston Red Sox
Not much really to say here. Boston will need a closer if Kimbrel leaves. Given that Miller is coming off a year that was nearly lost to a hamstring, Boston may take a risk and sign him up for a return.
Josh Donaldson, Third Baseman: New York Mets
The New York Mets have a new general manager, a second year manager and a young team with a lot potential. Given that Todd Frazier’s value can extend to that of a corner infielder, this would be a good opportunity for the Mets to try and bring in a once great bat. They’ve had successes like Jose Bautista come in and make differences, so grabbing a former MVP could be even better for this team.
Wilson Ramos, Catcher: Boston Red Sox
Boston’s catchers were effective. Nothing flashy but effective. Offensively they were the weakest link on the team. Ramos did more for both the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies combined than either of Boston’s catchers. If they can sure up the position while getting more production from their bats, then Boston is in a win-win situation.
Yusei Kikuchi, Starting Pitcher: Arizona Diamondbacks
Japan is sending over another pitcher, and this one is doozie. While the Yankees could use Kikuchi, general manager Brian Cashman could ultimately choose to stick with Sheffield instead of go long term on another Japanese star. When players are exported from Japan, it’s hard to tell where their going to land and what their market will be. That said, Arizona has a good, young core that just needs some help in the rotation. While it could be a risk, the gamble could be too good to pass up in this situation
Daniel Murphy, Infielder: New York Yankees
Murphy was electric in Queens and while he’s been good, he hasn’t reached exactly the same heights as he did in New York. It’s unlikely with another rebuild the Mets will bring him back. Given that the Yankees could use him as a major depth piece who can hit well, it should be worth looking into.
Bryce Harper, Outfielder: Los Angeles Dodgers
In one of the toss ups of any prediction, the Dodgers may go out and complete their ultimate outfielder, acquiring the services of one of baseball’s best. The other team in this competition: the Philadelphia Phillies. Both have a lot to offer: major sports cities, young talent to mesh with and protection in the line up. So why Los Angeles over Philly? Los Angeles has more money and to be a star in Los Angeles is up there with being a star in Boston, Chicago and New York. With Philly being predicted to open up their wallets for Machado and Keuchel, it leaves a question of how much money they’d have left. The Dodgers are in desperation mode given that they’ve lost back to back World Series: they don’t want to become the next Texas Rangers. An outfield with Bryce Harper, Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig would be a force to be reckoned with, and that’s ultimately what could lead to the creating of another Los Angeles super team.