MLB Free Agent Predictions

The MLB hot stove season is underway and it is a fairly impressive free agent class. Arguably the two best first basemen in Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, are free agents and possibly the best shortstop in the game, Jose Reyes, also is. No big time starting pitchers are free agents. We thought perhaps, that Yankees ace C.C Sabathia would hit free agency and opt out of the four remaining years on his contract but before the deadline to do so, he re-signed with the Yankees on a 5 year, $122 million deal. Here I will make my free agent landing spot predictions for the top 20 free agents on the market. I honestly think that with more teams willing to spend and more needs, it’s a lot harder to decide on landing spots for guys like Pujols, Fielder, Reyes, outfielder Carlos Beltran and pitchers C.J Wilson, Heath Bell, and Jonathan Paplebon. I’ll try to do my best and I’d like to see everyone make their own predictions in a comment and see who gets the most right. Feel free to also attack some of my predictions as I know I will definitely get criticism. Lets get it rolling with my first prediction…

1.Albert Pujols, 1B: St.Louis Cardinals, 9 years, $243 million – I don’t really think their will be too many teams who will be able to afford Pujols outside of the Cardinals and Cubs. I never really thought Pujols would leave St.Louis but after winning his second World Series with them this season, I think it almost guarantees that Albert will be back wearing Cardinal red for the rest of his career, as long as St.Louis doesn’t give a joke of an offer to the best baseball player on the planet. Previous Team: St.Louis Cardinals

2.Prince Fielder, 1B: Chicago Cubs, 8 years, $192 million – Most teams that will be in on Albert Pujols will without a doubt be in on Prince Fielder. The Nationals, Marlins, Cubs, Brewers, Dodgers, Orioles, Blue Jays, Rangers, and Mariners will all be in on Fielder once Pujols goes back to St.Louis. During the season i had Fielder going to Washington but now i have him going to the Cubs, simply because they have the most to offer, I believe. it’ll be quite enticing to go to Chicago too. Previous team: Milwaukee Brewers

3.Jose Reyes, SS: Washington Nationals, 6 years, $117 million – I think the Nationals are going to make another splash this winter with another big free agent signing, I thought maybe Fielder but they have more of a need for speed and defense up the middle because Ian Desmond just stinks. Jose Reyes gives them a perfect lead off hitter, great defense, and a spark plug. They can get by with power from Mike Morse, Ryan Zimmerman, and maybe Jayson Werth until Bryce Harper gets called up. Previous Team: New York Mets

4. C.J Wilson, SP: New York Yankees, 5 years, $70 million – Wilson didn’t exactly help his stock with his horrendous postseason performance, so he definitely cost himself a nice chunk of money. He is a nice regular season pitcher but just isn’t a #1 guy. The Yankees need a bona fide number two to slide in behind CC Sabathia and with no other good options available and Wilson not having much of a injury history, the Yankees will open the bank to get some pitching help. Previous Team: Texas Rangers

5.Yu Darvish, SP: Texas Rangers, 5 years, $63 million – Yu Darvish projects to be one of the best starting pitchers to come out of Japan. Over his six year career, which started at the age of 18, he has compiled a record of 75-32 with a 2.12 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 974 strikeouts. He’s only 25 years old and is in the middle of his prime already. He hasn’t officially declared to come to the MLB yet, but I decided to add him to this list as if he were to come over. The Rangers have deep pockets, as you saw last winter with the signing of big time third baseman Adrian Beltre, and the rumors of them possibly being in the race for Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, and Texas will need pitching with the departure of Wilson, if he does indeed leave. Previous Team: Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters

6.Jimmy Rollins, SS: Philadelphia Phillies, 4 years, $55 million – The Phillies like Rollins, and Rollins likes Philadelphia. I’m not sure that Rollins will get the five year deal he’s seeking but he could come close. Philadelphia would have no real replacement at shortstop if Rollins were to leave. Philadelphia sure could use Rollins production after the offense took a big hit after superstar first baseman Ryan Howard ruptured his achilles on the final play of game 5 of the NLDS vs St.Louis. Another team to watch, the San Francisco Giants, where Rollins hales from. Previous Team: Philadelphia Phillies

7.Aramis Ramirez, 3B: Los Angeles Angels, 2 years, $27 million – This was a tough decision, but I think the Angels try to make some type of splash and gets the quality bat of Aramis Ramirez to play third base for them. Didn’t see many other matches for Aramis Ramirez, outside of maybe the Orioles, Tigers, and Brewers. Previous Team: Chicago Cubs

8.Carlos Beltran, OF: San Francisco Giants, 3 years, $32 million – Beltran didn’t exactly help the Giants to the playoffs like they’d hope he would have but he did have a nice final two months in the Bay Area and the Giants enjoyed having him and are looking into bringing him back and Beltran has showed mutual interest. I don’t see San Fran getting any of the big boppers, so I don’t think they’ll let Beltran slip away, when they do have some money to spend. Previous Team: San Francisco Giants

9.Jonathan Paplebon, RP: Boston Redsox, 4 years, $49 million – Paplebon has been with Boston for awhile as their closer, and although he does cause a lot of headaches, I can’t see Boston not running out Paplebon to close out games for them for a few more years. I expect Boston to give him a big deal to remain their closer. Only other spots i can see Paplebon landing is Philadelphia, Texas, and Chicago (Cubs). Previous Team: Boston Redsox

10.Michael Cuddyer, OF/U: Minnesota Twins, 3 years, $39 million – The Yankees and/or Redsox and/or Phillies may be interested in Cuddyer but I don’t think Cuddyer would go to a big market team and is all about the money. He’s spent his whole career in Minnesota and the Twins like him, I don’t see him leaving. Previous Team: Minnesota Twins

11.Mark Buehrle, SP: Chicago Whitesox, 4 years, $54 million – Can’t see Buehrle leaving the south side of Chicago, except for maybe Miami, to reunite with Ozzie Guillen, but i expect the Whitesox to go hard after re-signing him because without Mark, they have nothing to throw out to the mound. Previous Team: Chicago Whitesox

12.David Ortiz, DH/1B: Boston Redsox, 2 years, $21 million – Another player i just can’t see leaving his team, Big Papi. Ortiz has been bickering about the Redsox not offering a new deal, which makes me think he will eventually get what he wants and i can’t see anybody else DH’ing every night for the Redsox. Previous Team: Boston Redsox

13.Ryan Madson, RP: Philadelphia Phillies, 2 years, $14 million – Madson has been a solid arm out of the pen and i can’t see Philadelphia letting him slip away. There is mutual interest and i can see Philadelphia giving him a nice deal to come back as closer. Previous Team: Philadelphia Phillies

14.Hiroki Kuroda, SP: Los Angeles Dodgers, 3 years, $34 million – Apparently, Kuroda only wants to play for the Dodgers and the Dodgers like him, so he’ll stay put. Previous Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

15.Carlos Pena, 1B: Toronto Blue Jays, 2 years, $21 million – With Fielder taking Pena’s place in Chicago, Carlos needs a new home and I don’t think many teams will go hard for Pena. I think Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh will be the main teams rumored around Pena. Toronto was linked heavily to Pena last off season and with a need for power and protection of superstar slugger Jose Bautista, I think Toronto gets their guy this time around. Previous Team: Chicago Cubs

16.Francisco “K-ROD” Rodriguez, RP: Miami Marlins, 3 years, $30 million – The Marlins could use bullpen help and a legitimate closer and make “Leo Nunez”, the setup man. The Marlins will be spending to get some big names on the team and fill up their new ballpark and I think they get K-Rod, and I’m sure Frankie would like to be closer to his home in Venezuela. I can see Miami overpaying for K-Rod anyway and Francisco jumping to the biggest offer. Previous Team: Milwaukee Brewers

17.Roy Oswalt, SP: Texas Rangers, 3 years, $33 million – The Rangers will need a new ace to replace C.J. Wilson. Oswalt likes the state of Texas, after spending most of his career in Houston. I see the Rangers giving Oswalt a lucrative deal with incentives for if he can stay healthy to have a 1-2-3-4 of Oswalt, Darvish, Lewis, and Holland going forward. Previous Team: Philadelphia Phillies

18.Javier Vasquez, SP: Miami Marlins, 2 years, $25 million – Javier pitched lights out from the month of June until the end of the season, showing signs of his brilliance he had when he was with Atlanta in 2009. Miami has said they would like to bring him back and I see them giving him a raise on his $9 million deal he signed on for in 2011, to come back for 2012. Miami needs a solid number two to go behind ace Josh Johnson in the new stadium. Previous Team: Florida Marlins

19.Heath Bell, RP: Philadelphia Phillies, 4 years, $44 million – This was a tough decision. San Diego and Bell love each other, but I’d think a good amount of teams will be high on Bell. I started off with San Diego, Philadelphia, Texas, St.Louis, Toronto, and Chicago (Cubs). I crossed off the Cubs and Rangers right away, as I have both teams already making a big signing/signings, and not affording Bell. Then went St.Louis as I doubt they’ll afford Bell AND Pujols. I can’t see Bell going north of the border to close for Toronto as enticing as it may be. Philadelphia has a good amount of money coming off and will be retooling their bullpen, and i see them landing the biggest closer on the market on a big deal, something San Diego can’t throw out. Previous Team: San Diego Padres

20.Edwin Jackson, SP: Washington Nationals, 4 years, $36 million – The Nats are looking for a solid veteran arm and are rumored to be in on C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt, but I have Wilson going to the Yankees and Roy headed to Texas. Washington may overpay for Jackson, like they might with Reyes, but they could use pitching and some veteran leadership for the staff. Previous Team: St.Louis Cardinals

2 responses

  1. Nice to dream re Fielder, but how does your prediction jibe with the statements of Epstein et. al. who have said they are not going after big name free agents and their focus will be on pitching and defense? Not trolling here, just curious…

    November 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm

  2. Well, with Aramis and Pena gone, Soriano not coming close to living up to his contract, the Cubs are in dyer need for offense too and a big time masher, which is where Fielder comes in. The Cubs have been waiting for this free agent class in hopes of getting one of Pujols or Fielder, which is why I have Fielder going to the north side of Chicago. The FO can say something, doesn't mean they will stick with it or are telling the truth. They need pitching as well, I agree, but they are a big market team with new owners with deep pockets, they have been talking to Buehrle, and I'm sure Buehrle would like to stay in Chicago as it looks as if the Whitesox won't re-sign him although I thought they would. If the Marlins can afford Pujols and Buehrle or Reyes and Buehrle, I'm sure the Cubs can afford Fielder and someone like Buehrle, Oswalt, Jackson, Vasquez, or Capuano. They need a big bat, can't rely on Starlin Castro to lead your offense. Epstein knows what he's doing. I can see him spending on a big offensive piece this winter, and getting pitching next offseason with a better pitching class with guys like Hamels, Greinke, Cain, Haren, Shields, Liriano, E.Santana, A.Sanchez, J.Sanchez, Marcum eligible for free agency.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:52 am

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