Lightning Hot Takes: Free Agent Landing Spots

HAPPY Monday Ball Boys and Ball Girls, I got some Lightening Hot Takes coming in ENERGIZED today by Raze Energy. I am feeling energized, and as I recently discussed on Baseball Together Podcast last week, I made my guess where some of these players will land come to the end of the lockout. There will be a spending frenzy, and these are a few guys that I can see landing a Lighting Hot deal!

Before jumping into the content, check out Raze Energy, which voted 2021 best energy drink brand and is my source of fuel for the blog.

Use my code "ballboy" at checkout to support the blog and save 30% by clicking here.


Starting Pitchers

  • Clayton Kershaw:

Kershaw is a top 3 player to me of the last decade; he is one of the top 3 best regular-season pitchers of his generation and of all time. We know from the Dodgers that Kers is recovering from an injury; they did NOT want to extend QO to him out of respect. Kershaw is only 33yo; he does have the stuff to get him another through 3-6 more high-quality seasons.

I think that Kershaw will go back to the Dodgers for at least $15 million a season for three more years.

  • Carlos Rodon

A top arm coming out of Chicago, the 29yo, is coming off of his first All-Star appearance and finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. Rodon is going to be a great addition to whichever team lands him. I see a 3-5 year deal for Rodon worth $35-$60mil. I can see Rodon landing an annual average of $20mil due to the MLB's love for recency bias. I see a fit within the NL and AL central. I can see Rodon signing with the Cardinals or the Tigers to help stabilize both of their rotations.

  • Tyler Anderson

TA, as I referred to him in conversation during his time with Seattle Mariners. TA showed how much of a competitor he is and how much a team player he is. TA is 31 years old and shows that he is a late bloomer with his progress across each category in Seattle. He also showed that he is much better at pitching in the AL than the NL. TA is not an Ace; he is a solid 3rd, 4th guy in your rotation who can eat innings for you and give you quality starts. TA is a guy that I can see landing a three-year deal TOPS! I do have a good AL and NL fit. I can see him landing back in Seattle, but I can also see a perfect fit with the Tampa Bay Rays, and I also see him fitting well with the Atlanta Braves rotation.

1B/3B:

  • Freddie Freeman

Freeman is a leader on the field, in the locker room; he is an emotional leader that can lead a team. The Braves love Freeman. He is a life-long Brave; he has done everything for them. The Braves don't win the World Series without Freeman; the Braves don't sniff the NLCS in 2020 without Freeman. Freeman is the most deserving player of $30mil yearly out of any free agent. The Braves will play their man for 5-7 years, and the contract looks like $150-$210mil.

  • Anthony Rizzo

Rizzo is not going back to NY; he is not going back to the Cubs. At 32yo, the slugging 1B is likely to land on a small market team, where he can be everything for the club. Rizzo is likely to land a 5-year deal with a team worth up to $150mil I think. I see two teams to have the PERFECT fit for Rizzo. The Brewers struggled with a combo of Dan Vogelbach, Rowdy Tellez at 1B in 2021, which ultimately was good enough; however, they have yet to provide Yelich ANYTHING in the lineup to help him and take pressure off of him. The following fit is an AL fit with the Kansas City Royals, with a young core and a blank at 1B where they overpaid for an OLD Carlos Santana; I do not see why they wouldn't pay for younger and much more capable Rizzo. However, the most logical place is with the Boston Redsox as Dalbec is NOT the answer at 1B for the Bo-Sox.

  • Kris Bryant

Oh, KB, the ultra-versatile Scott Boras client. Going into his age, 30 season KB can play anywhere on the field you line him up. He was the one player the Cubs traded that had a publically emotional reaction which was refreshing to see. KB is a 4x All-Star, MVP, and World Champ and comes with vet leadership. Two teams would love KB services and could pay for them over 5-10 years. I only say ten years is because the glove of KB is going to age well, his swing is beautiful and will age well, and just his natural ability will age well. Also, I doubt Boras will let him sign for less than eight and $25mil a year. We have heard Jerry Dipoto say he wants versatile players and veteran guys with two teams, Seattle Mariners. With a massive hole at 3B, money to spend, and a team on the cusp of winning. A guy like KB, who won a World Series at 24, would enormously benefit this team. The other team is in the NL, and it's back in Chicago with the Cubs. The Cubs have said they want to spend money; they want to land a FA; KB could come back and be the only guy and help rebuild this team around him again.

2B/SS:

  • Carlos Correa

At 27yo, Correa is in line to have a bigger deal than Corey Seager got from the Rangers. Correa has been everything for the Astros, but I think as well as most that he is DONE with the Astros. I mean, he did say it. Correa has a big ego but the talent and track record to back it all up. Correa brings energy to the field, a clubhouse, and a team. I mentioned above how the Brewers have failed to give their super-star some protection in the lineup as the Phillies haven't been much better surrounding their MVP with the same. Correa-Harper would be a problem for teams, and Dombroski isn't far off from building a winner. Ownership isn't afraid to give out big money. Correa would be worth it.

I also think that NY will break the bank for Correa depending on if they can sign Judge to a deal.

  • Trevor Story

My boy Brad from baseball together had a theory that Story played below expectation on purpose, and it makes sense. The 28yo SS/OF had an 11th place MVP finish in 2020 before putting up career worsts in every category. Story needs a change of scenery and will deliver for his next team in his next deal. As much as I would love to see Story in St. Louis with the Cardinals, I can see him in the NL West and not with the Dodgers. I think there will be a revenge street narrative written in here, as Story could land with the Giants. Yes, they have a fantastic SS in Crawford, who they just extended. However, the bat of Posey is gone. The need for 2B is real, or LF is real. The Giants can pay a 5-10 year $150-$300 mil deal if they want to.

OF/DH:

  • Nick Castellanos

The enormous ego and personality on this list are right here in Castellanos. Castellanos is one guy that thinks he is way better than he is. I think that Castellanos is worth $12-$17 mil a year, and I think a 5-7 year deal is reasonable with the Universal DH on the horizon. Coming off his first All-star appearance, 12th place MVP finish, and a SS, the recency bias will be well and alive for Castellanos and his case for big money. Two teams would be well suited for Castellanos services, and the first is the NY Mets as they love to overpay, and why not have a big personality in the big apple. What could go wrong? The next is Boston; they need a corner OF help and a guy who can mash to fill in at DH and play the RF.

  • Michael Conforto

The 28yo OF did the same as Trevor Story and sucked on purpose as the Met's didn't even try to work out a new deal. LF is the spot for Conforto, and plenty of teams could use a slugging LF. Conforto won't get more than a five-year deal worth $10-$15mil a year. I also think that Conforto will also choose to walk down revenge street and stay in the NL East with the Marlins. The Marlins aren't done spending the if the Playoffs expand, the Marlins are in the hunt with Conforto; if there is a salary floor introduced, some teams will have to spend. One of those teams is the Oakland A's. Starling Marte cut it loose in Oakland, and I can confidently say that Conforto would as well.

  • Nelson Cruz

BIG Nellie, we all know him; we all LOVE him. We all love boomstick, the ageless wonder. The PED feels good story that is boomstick. The market for Cruz is limited to the AL, which is fine. He has always done well in the AL; however, when the NL had a universal DH in 2020, Cruz was in line for a much larger market. Cruz comes with a high boom or bust risk. However, the reward can be significant. I think that Cruz plays until he hits another 51HR and reaches the 500HR club, which will likely take two seasons, so two years and $20-$25mil for Cruz is reasonable. Seattle would love to have him back and fill the DH void as we KNOW that Torren's isn't it. However, it's not needed. I ended up agreeing with Brad on this one as Nellie should stay in Tampa Bay as it's a great place to win; he can cut it loose and not have to care if he meets expectations or not. The Rays are the place for boomstick to stay.

  • Seiya Suzuki

The Japanese import, MVP, and all-around super, mega-talent in Suzuki are excellent. We have seen Japanese players take to big markets: Boston, NY, and Seattle in recent memory. Keeping this in mind lends to the notion of the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Mariners. Which are my favorites; San Diego and the Angels are also great fits as well as they both have Japanese players on their rosters. The basic profile on Suzuki is to take Ichiro and give him power and play the IF as well. Simple right? Suzuki needs to focus and play multiple positions to find where he sticks and works. The Yankees don't have that. Boston doesn't have that too much either; the Met's are a dumpster fire. The Padres likely can't afford and don't need him, and the Angels could work him in. However, no team has more positional flexibility and a need for a big bat than the Seattle Mariners and is a Japanese player dream, from one Suzuki to the next Seattle, please don't miss on another one. Remember, Ohtani's second choice was Seattle.


Thanks for reading!

10 views0 comments