One Free Agent Each 2017 Playoff Team Should Sign
With the Astros on top of the baseball world and the offseason underway, Max Rosenfeld breaks down what free agents each 2017 playoff team should target.
It’s officially hot stove season, which gives each team a chance to improve their rosters with free agent signings- including the clubs who qualified for last year’s postseason. Given the players set to enter the market this offseason, what is one piece that each of 2017 playoff teams could add to make a run at the World Series?
Colorado Rockies – RHP Jake Arrieta
The Rockies, who finished 17th in team ERA a year ago, could stand to make a splash for a veteran starting pitcher. And with a team equipped to compete offensively for years with players like Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, it makes sense for Colorado to go all in on a pitcher of Arrieta’s caliber. Arrieta would instantly become the ace of a young and postseason-inexperienced rotation. Arrieta owned a 3.53 ERA in 2017, good for his highest mark since 2013, but will likely benefit from a change of scenery. Colorado could give him a chance to thrive again and compete.
Arizona Diamondbacks – OF J.D. Martinez
Rumor has it Martinez, who is represented by Scott Boras, is seeking a seven-year contract upwards for $200 million. Martinez is coming off a career season in which he hit 45 home runs in just 119 games. Martinez guided the Diamondbacks down the stretch, leading to a berth in the competitive National League West. It will be tough for Arizona to cough up this kind of cash- but Martinez is the kind of player the Diamondbacks need if they want to keep pace with the Rockies and Dodgers.
New York Yankees – RHP/OF Shohei Ohtani
Of course the Yankees will be in on Ohtani, the once in a generation talent out of Japan. Ohtani is a gifted pitcher and hitter, drawing comparisons to Noah Syndergaard and Alex Rodriguez at each. Almost every team in Major League Baseball is expected to test the waters for Ohtani, and it would make perfect sense that the upstart Yankees would build upon a team that came one game short of a World Series appearance. Ohtani could ensure that the Evil Empire remains near the top of the American League landscape.
Minnesota Twins – RHP Yu Darvish
The Twins ranked 19th in team ERA last season but made it to the Wild Card Game on the back of a surprisingly potent offense. Darvish would help to heal Minnesota’s pitching woes as a legitimate number one starter. Despite Darvish’s disappointing World Series appearances, he was still a standout pitcher with a 3.86 ERA in the regular season.
Washington Nationals – RHP Wade Davis
Davis would be a fantastic signing for the Nationals, who are approaching the tail end of their stronghold on the National League East. Bryce Harper will enter free agency at season’s end and most do not expect him to re-sign in the nation’s capital. Davis could but utilized as the Nationals Weapon X reliever in the postseason.
Chicago Cubs – RHP Lance Lynn
Lynn would be a cheaper replacement than Arrieta, but would likely perform just as well if not better. Lynn was terrific with the rival Cardinals and owned a 3.43 ERA last season. The Cubs will once again enter the season as the NL Central favorites and would benefit from bolstering their rotation.
Los Angeles Dodgers – RHP Alex Cobb
The Dodgers have reportedly inquired about Cobb’s availability. Cobb is seeking a four-year deal, with some teams possibly prepared to offer him five. Los Angeles could offset this by offering a higher average annual value (AAV) than the rest of the pack. The Dodgers rotation showed it’s flaws in losing to the Houston Astros in 7 games.
Boston Red Sox – 1B Eric Hosmer
Hosmer would fill exactly the role the Red Sox need as an offensively gifted first baseman. Boston will likely be willing to fulfull Hosmer’s demands, as it’s been rumored for quite a while that Hosmer, who’s girlfriend works for NESN, would come to Beantown. The Red Sox need to make a splash in order to keep up with a Yankees team that will probably improve next season.
Cleveland Indians – OF Jay Bruce
The Indians will not be able to increase payroll in any significant way, but would certainly benefit from bringing back the power hitting Bruce. It’s possible he will land in either of the places he played in last season- New York or Cleveland- and could look to remain with the Indians on a competitive discount. Bruce hit 36 home runs and 101 RBIs in 2017.
Houston Astros – C Jonathan Lucroy
There aren’t many ways the Astros could improve offensively, but adding the veteran catcher Lucroy would make this an even more dangerous team both offensively and defensively. Lucroy is one of the most established catchers in Major League Baseball and would fit in seamlessly with the defending World Series champions. Lucroy is coming off a lackluster year in which he posted a 0.6 WAR and should come on the cheap for the Astros, who are not typically known as big time spenders.