Updated: Dec 21, 2020
What is going on ball, boys, and girls? I hope you are all doing super well, staying warm, staying healthy, and as safe as your life allows. Today on the blog, we will talk about some of the players who went unsigned and make bold predictions on where they will sign. We will also talk about some of the trades that didn't happen and make more bold predictions if they could be traded. We all know about the revenue losses from 2020, and the COVID-19 impact on such is enormous. So huge that it's the single most reason we have so many free agents left on the board.
SP Trevor Bauer: Bauer has more swag than half of the MLB combined. Bauer has been one of the best pitchers in the MLB since 2012. Coming off his first Cy Young award and an incredible 2020. He holds a career 17.5WAR, 3.90ERA/3.85FIP with 1279K over 1190IP. Bauer is on track to have a great next 5-10 years of dominance in his 30s. The Angels will reap those benefits, and Bauer and Trout end up winnings 2-4 World Series.
C JT Realmuto- Realmuto, much like Bauer, is set up to continue his dominance at the C position and be in the ranks of Yadi himself as a generational talent at the position. He holds a career 19.8WAR .278/.328/.455 slash over 2699AB. Realmuto has earned 2 Silver Slugger awards and 1 GG, and 2 All-Star appearances. Defensively he is one of the best, holding a .993FLD% and has caught 36% of would-be base stealers. Dave Dombrowski will get himself a big fish now that he is in charge in Philadelphia and keep Realmuto in the city of brotherly love with the Phillies.
OF George Springer- Springer only has one thing against him. He is already 31. His career has been nothing short of fantastic as he owns 3 All-Star appearances, 2 Silver Sluggers, 1 World Series Ring*, with a WS MVP*. With a career 27.5WAR with a slash line of .270/.361/.491 over 3087AB. The 7year vet will love going to the overly competitive AL East and beating the Yankees himself with the Red Sox's young core. He will reunite with manager Alex Cora and guide Boston to their next championship.
INF DJ LeMahieu- The 32yo vet is looking to bank a contract with a team to end his career. LeMahieu has been nothing short of excellent in his career, earning both the AL and NL batting titles, 3 Gold Gloves, 3 All-Star games, and 2 Silver Sluggers. He owns a career 24.8WAR with a slash of .305/.357/.430 over 4242AB. The 10year vet will love hitting the ball over the short porch of Yankee Stadium for the rest of his career. The Yankees will keep their man.
OF/DH Marcell Ozuna- Here comes the BOOM! Well, give him seven years, and he will be in the talks for best DH since Nelson Cruz. Ozuna has been a great MLB player for years as he is a 2x All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger winner, and 1x Gold Glove winner. He owns a career 21.1WAR with a .276/.335/.446 slash over 3764AB. The 31yo will join the Polar Bear and Steve Cohen in NY as a member of the Mets.
SS Marcus Semien- Semien may not be a SS for the rest of his next team career. I see Semien as a 2B long-term. At the age of 30 and a 3rd place MVP finish in 2019, Semien's market is attractive. Semien owns a career 22.3WAR with a .254/.322/.425 slash over 3266AB. Semien will love to be hitting against his old team of the Oakland A's and throwing them out from 2B with the Seattle Mariners.
SS Didi Gregorius- Gregorius is one of the most consistent SS with the bat and glove. During his career, he owns an 18.7WAR with a .265/.315/.433 slash over 3311AB, with a career .978FLD%. Didi is so impressive that he would fit with many teams as they don't need him to hit a ton if he plays good defense; some teams will want him to hit more and play average defense. With a new president of baseball ops in Dave Dombrowski and with the talent that is already on the roster, Didi is staying with the Phillies.
OF/DH Michael Brantley- Brantley has been good for the past 12 years. Since 2017, he has been nothing short of incredible as he has earned 3 All-Star appearances in that time. He also earned 1 Silver Slugger. Over his career, he owns a 30.4WAR with a .297/.354/.440 slash line of 4800AB. Many teams will be lucky if they can land a player like Brantley. Brantley will be hitting against both his former AL teams(Houston, Cleveland) as a member of the Bombas Squad with the Minnesota Twins.
SP Masahiro Tanaka- Tanaka is set up to go down as one of the best SP to come from the NPB to the MLB. The 32yo is looking for the next contract that could be his last. He owns a 17.5WAR with a 3.74ERA/3.91ERA over 1054.1IP in his 7year career. Tanaka is on the cusp of 1000K as he sits with 991 thus far. Tanaka will get that 1000K with the Miami Marlins in 2021 on opening day.
RP Liam Hendricks- It's hard for me to believe that Hendricks is a ten-year vet. Over the last two seasons with the Oakland A's, he has been nothing short of the best RP in baseball. Earning 1 All-Star appearance in 2019 and 2020, finishing 9th in Cy Young Voting and 13th in the MVP vote. Hendricks is only 32 and has years left to give a team. These great years will belong to the San Diego Padres as Hendricks will close out and many a game for the Padres and look to help Tatis Jr. and Machado beat the Dodgers and move past the divisional round.
SS Ha-Seong Kim- Kim is 25yo and the best KBO product on the free-agent market. Kim is listed as a SS but can play 2B and 3B. Kim will be a significant building block for whichever team signs him. In his 7 season career in the KBO, he owns a .294/.373/.493 slash over 3664PA and is a threat on the bases as he has 134SB and only been caught stealing 38 times. The bat, the glove, the speed is there for Kim, and the Toronto Blue Jays will have Kim on their side as they look to take over the AL East over the next 5-10 years. The recruiting by the Hyun-Jin Ryu will pay off for the Jays.
C James McCann- McCann is not a sexy name like JT Realmuto. But he is one of those guys on the market that has always been good, not great. He provides a durable and reliable backstop for whoever he plays for. He is one heck of a fielder behind the plate as he owns a .995FLD% over 4785.2INN behind the dish. He has caught 36% of base stealers and has given up 27 passed balls and only 22 errors in his career. Add in a .249/.300/.394 slash over 2072AB. The 30yo vet will love making his name known among the MLB's best catchers with the NY Mets.
3B Justin Turner- It feels like Turner has been a Dodger for his whole career; he has, as the 36yo have spent the last seven seasons in Dodger blue. Turner has also been one of those players who has always been great, but not exceptional. He owns 1 All-Star appearance, 1 World Series ring, and 1 NLCS MVP. Turner has been a vital member of each of the Dodgers playoff/world series teams. He owns a career 29.5WAR with a .292/.369/.469 slash over 3521AB. He also holds a career .295/.392/.507 slash over 314PA over 15 playoff series. The LA Dodgers will not let their man go and not let him end his career in the Dodger blue.
OF/DH Nelson Cruz- Commonly referred to as Boomstick. The 40 Cruz finds himself waiting out a long winter before signing a deal to see if the NL will have a DH role or not in 2021. Cruz has been nothing short of the best DH since Edgar Martinez himself. With a career 39.7WAR with a .27/.347/.529 slash over 6397AB with 417HR. Nellie has 6 All-Star game nods, 4 Silver Slugger awards, and one ALCS MVP. He has also finished 10th or better in the MVP vote five times. Cruz will most likely find himself back in the AL with what would be his final 2yr contract with the Seattle Mariners.
C Yadier Molina/SP Adam Wainwright- If you don't know who either of these players is, click their names and go and look at their career numbers on baseball-reference. Both Molina and Wainwright have not only been great for the STL Cardinals for nearly two decades; both are 1st ballot Hall of Famers. To me, both players come as a package deal to any team who looks to sign them. Both will finish their HoF worthy careers where it all started with the Cardinals.
Guys, I am having a blast putting this piece together. This piece is a real first for me in terms of predictions and analyzing rumors, coach speak, and much more to make these decisions. I want to take a moment to say thank you for reading, and I genuinely hope you enjoy it.
3B/OF Kris Bryant- One-half of the famous Brizzo combo in Chicago finds himself looking towards the future with a new club. With the Cubs looking to cut payroll in 2020 because they can't keep everyone come 2021. The former MVP, Rookie of the Year, 3x All-Star, and World Series champ 3B should have a great value as he is only 28yo. Holding a career 24.3WAR, .280/.380/.508 slash over 2774AB. Coming off the worst statistical season of his career, Bryant's return has never looked so dim. The Cubs will get value for Bryant, and they will get it from the Washington Nationals. The Nat's will need to give up at least RHP Will Crowe, LHP Seth Romero, and INF Yasel Antuna or C Israel Pineda. The Cubs will need to eat whatever part of the 2020 contract they need to give up RHP Adbert Alzolay and 3B Christopher More. The Nationals may also need to throw in Starlin Castro as well.
3B Nolan Arenado- I want to say that Arenado is arguably the best 3B we have ever seen, but I don't think there is an argument. With 5 All-Star appearances to go along with 8 Gold Gloves, 4 Platinum Gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers. All have been accomplished over 8 MLB seasons. He is holding a career 39.1WAR with a .293/.349/.541 slash. If Arenado retired today at the age of 29, he is a first-ballot HoF. The 3B market is tricky as he holds the leverage with his future and stays or leaves after the 2021 seasons or stays to fulfill the contract through 2026. Arenado will bring the most significant return of any of the possible targets, and the Dodgers will look to pay the price. The Dodgers will quickly give up top prospects RHP Josiah Gray, C Keibert Ruiz, and 3B Kody Hosse. Throw in CF DJ Peters or SP Julio Urias/Dustin May and take the full contract on. The deal is done. I would expect the Dodgers to get SP Kyle Freeland, and either OF Ian Desmond/Charlie Blackmon also ended up with the Dodgers.
SS Francisco Lindor- The Indians trading Lindor is inevitable, and the Indians will be aggressive in trading Lindor before 2021. Lindor is of the best SS we have in the game. At 27yo, he has 4 All-Star appearances, 2 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Slugger, and 1 Platinum Glove awards. In 6 seasons in the MLB, he also has 3 top 10 MVP finishes. Lindor is a wizard with the glove as he owns a .981FLD% while committing only 57 errors and accumulating 46 defensive runs saved in his career. The big seven or 10-year deal is looming for Lindor, and the Indians want to get the most out of him they can because they know they won't be able to resign Lindor to as nearly as much as other clubs. Insert the Milwaulkee Brewers; the Brewers desperately need another star next to Cristian Yelich. The Brewers will need to give up at least one member of their young INF: Orlando Arcia, Keston Hirua, or Luis Urias. Then add in C Mario Feliciano and RHP Zack Brown, and the deal is done. The Indians will also need to eat a portion of the 2020 salary of Lindros + RHP Daniel Espino, RF Jordan Luplow, and we have a deal.
SS Trevor Story- Story I feel is more likely to be traded than teammate Nolan Arenado. However, once one is gone, the other will shortly be dealt with a new club as well. For Story, he is part of the mega SS class of 2021, which includes SS on this list and SS Corey Seager, but the Dodgers won't let him go anywhere, especially if we have a full season in 2021 and the money is there. Story has been a great compliment to Arenado. Thus far in the 28yo career, he owns a 21.0WAR with a .277/.343/.535 over 3296AB during his short five seasons. Story is a 2x All-Star and Silver Slugger win as well as 3 top 12 MVP finishes. It's not a surprise that the Cincinnati Reds will trade for the now star SS and make him a Superstar. Story, much like Lindor, does not come cheap as the Reds will need to give up SS Jose Garcia, OF Austin Hendrick, and SP Sonny Gray. To balance, the Rockies will need to include SP Jon Gray and LHP Ben Bowden.
SS Carlos Correa- The former #1 overall pick has lived up to every bit of hype and expectation for him thus far in his MLB career. At 26yo, the SS is due for his big payday. With the Astros losing their OF core of George Springer, Michael Brantley, and Josh Reddick in free agency this winter. He has earned ROY, 1 All-Star appearance, and 1 World Series Ring*. The Astros are at a crossroads with Justin Verlander and Zack Grienke at the end of their careers and not having the ability to pay everyone and Correa set to earn the same if not more than Story and Javier Baez on the open market come the end of the 2021 season the Astros won't pay. Thus enter the STL Cardinals. We have seen them trade for a great player in Paul Goldschmidt and then give him a long term deal; it makes sense for the club to do the same with Correa. The trade is pretty simple for Dexter Fowler, SS Edmundo Sosa, and either LHP Matthew Liberatore or LHP Zack Thompson to the Astros and SS Carlos Correa, C Korey Lee, SP Lance McCullers Jr. to the Cardinals.
SP Sonny Gray- See the trade for Trevor Story as Gray will end up a member of the Colorado Rockies.
SP Blake Snell- The 2018 Cy Young winner has been nothing short of incredible over his 5 MLB seasons. However, with his price rising and the Tampa Bay Rays needing money to invest in other places, possibly future travel expenses come 2028, getting Snell off the books now seems smart. Also, Ray's may see something now that is an indicator of Snell's future and performance. When Snell is traded, his new team has him locked up through 2023. Snell holds a career 11.4WAR, 42-30 record with a 3.24ERA/3.50FIP in 556IP in 5 seasons. Snell looked to be returning to form in 2020, and I can only imagine what he would have done with a full season in 2020. We must now look to 2021 and beyond with Snell as he seems to come back to his home town Seattle Mariners. The Mariners need an Ace of Blake Snell caliber to go with Marco Gonzalez and help the young pitchers come up. The Mariners have a vast well of young talent at every position and should have no problem trading 2B Shed Long, SP Justin Dunn, and OF Jake Fraley to Tampa for SP Blake Snell, 1B Yandy Diaz or 1B Ji-Man Choi, and RHP Joe Ryan.
SS Javier Baez- Baez, much like Trevor Story, won't be traded until the star 3B is traded. We can only believe that the Cubs will look much different come opening day 2021, and come opening day 2022 will be a rebuilding franchise. Baez is part of the mega class of SS come 2021. The 28yo SS owns a 17.7WAR, .264/.304/.473 slash line over 2538AB in the MLB. The seven-year vet SS has appeared in 2 All-Star games, earned 1 Gold Glove, 1 Silver slugger, and finished 2nd in the NL MVP vote in 2018. He also has 1 NLCS MVP award and 1 World Series ring. Baez targets several teams as he can player SS, 2B, 3B, 1B, and a bit of OF mixed in. Baez will command at least $20-$25mil a year on his next significant contact. The Minnesota Twins will need to add to their roster to compete with White Sox for the NL Central and trade for Baez, and the option to move Polanco to a utility role would benefit the team for years to come. The transaction would look a little something like this SS Javier Baez, SP Alec Mills, and LHP Burl Carraway to the Twins and OF Gilberto Celestino, UTL Travis Blankenhorn, and RHP Edwar Colina to the Cubs.
Thank you so much for being with me today and making it to the end. I hope you have enjoyed my predictions, come on over to the forums and let me know some of your bold predictions.
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