Free Agent Fit For Every MLB Team

One free agent for every MLB team

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The hot stove in MLB will soon heat up. Teams will start making offers for the services of free agents to fill holes in their lineups and pitching staffs as they gear up to unseat the Houston Astros in 2018. This offseason’s free agent class is not great but it isn’t bad. There are bargains to be had as well as difference makers. Every MLB team will probably dip their toes in free agent waters. These are the one player that makes sense for each MLB team. These fits aren’t contingent upon anything other than that team’s need and financial status. These are the one free agent every MLB team should sign.

Arizona Diamondbacks – J.D. Martinez, OF
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Martinez was a Godsend for the Diamondbacks this season. He erupted for 29 home runs in 62 games after coming to the desert. Martinez, Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt give the Diamondbacks a solid middle of the order and keeps them in contention for the NL West. Martinez won’t come cheap, but the Diamondbacks should pay him and make a run at the World Series in 2018 and beyond.

Atlanta Braves –- Eduardo Nunez, INF/OF
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Nunez isn’t great with the glove, but he can still hit. He can play almost anywhere on the diamond, can hit for average and power and steal bases, and could get some pretty nice offers this offseason. He fits the Braves because of his ability to play anywhere, and that means the Braves can move him around and not block any of their prospects coming up. He can play second, shortstop, third base or the outfield and either fill in until a prospect is ready or guard against injury at certain positions. He won’t break the bank and would fit in nicely at the top or bottom of the lineup.

Baltimore Orioles – Alex Cobb, SP
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The Orioles need pitching. They actually need quite a few things, but starting pitching is at the top of the list. They aren’t far removed from being a playoff contender, and if they choose to hold on to Zach Britton and Manny Machado for one more run, they will need a starter. Enter Alex Cobb, who can survive the AL East and can — when healthy — lead a rotation. The big question mark is his health as he hasn’t made 30 starts in a season in his career yet. But, he looked strong last year after Tommy John surgery and could be in the Orioles’ price range, something that can’t be said for Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta.

Boston Red Sox – J.D. Martinez, OF
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The Red Sox were missing power in their lineup last year. Already this offseason, they have been linked to Martinez and a possible trade destination for Giancarlo Stanton. Martinez wouldn’t cost the Red Sox anything more than money, so he makes more sense for them at this point. He is the best bat on the market and is rumored to be seeking $200 million. He probably won’t get that, but will get paid handsomely. The Red Sox can afford it and desperately need him.

Chicago Cubs – Wade Davis, RP
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Davis was a good addition for the Cubs last offseason. He should be re-signed to a multi-year deal this offseason. The sticking point is there could be a ton of competition for him as closers have been in high demand the last couple of seasons. There are plenty of teams out there in need of relief help, and the Cubs are one. They do have a leg up in that they are World Series contenders and there is some comfort there between the two sides.

Chicago White Sox – Addison Reed, RP
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If the Astros and Yankees have shown anything, it’s that a team can rebuild quickly. The White Sox added a ton of young talent over the last two years, and that talent could be ready to compete this year. Reed would add a stable veteran presence at the back of the bullpen and can serve and number of roles there. If the chips fall into place like they did for the Astros and Yankees, the White Sox could be contenders as early as next year.

Cincinnati Reds – Zack Cozart, SS
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Why mess with a good thing? Cozart went to his first All-Star Game last season and had a career year with 24 home runs, 80 runs scored, 63 RBI and 24 doubles. Cozart would obviously fill a need. The Reds would be opening a fairly big hole in their defense and lineup if they let Cozart walk.

Cleveland Indians – Carlos Santana, 1B
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The Indians and Santana are an excellent fit. Yes, he is 32, but he can hit and gets on base. He also plays a very solid first base. The Indians are a much better team with him in their lineup, and while Santana would fit several teams, he fits best with the Indians. Re-signing him should be a top priority.

Colorado Rockies – Jonathan Lucroy, C
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The Rockies need a catcher. Lucroy is just a year removed from being one of the best offensive catchers in the game, and he had some success with the Rockies after coming over at the trade deadline. The two sides should come together and get a deal done, as long as Lucroy isn’t asking for the moon of course. Lucroy will be the best catcher on the market this offseason, and the Rockies are one of the few teams who are looking for help at the position.

Detroit Tigers – Jeremy Hellickson, SP
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The Tigers are in full rebuild mode now, but they will still need someone to go out and give them innings in the rotation. After posting a 6.97 ERA in his last 10 starts with the Orioles last season, he might be had on the cheap which would fit the Tigers’ plans right now. He will be 31 next April, so he is still young enough to turn it around and then possibly traded at the deadline to expedite the rebuild. The Tigers have to look to the future, and a project like Hellickson might be the way to go for them. Hellickson is just a year removed from being a quality starter with the Phillies.

Houston Astros – Greg Holland, RP
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The defending World Series champions overcame their bullpen’s shortcomings to win it all. Those bullpen shortcomings, however, almost cost them that chance. Adding an arm like Holland would go a long way to solidifying the back end of the bullpen. Ken Giles and company were found wanting. Adding Holland, or Wade Davis or Addison Reed, would go a long way towards getting them in position to defend that championship.

Kansas City Royals – Eric Hosmer, 1B
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The Royals are facing almost their entire roster heading into free agency. It is very likely that they blow it all up and rebuild on the fly like the Yankees and Astros did. However, having someone like Hosmer around would help keep fans coming to the ballpark. They already stand to lose Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain, so losing Hosmer too would set them even further behind in the rebuild. The Royals could shock everyone and sign two of their three major free agents, but keeping one would be a win; Hosmer is the best of the bunch and the youngest. One thing the Royals have in their favor is the market for first basemen might be down to only a couple of teams.

Los Angeles Angels – Yu Darvish, SP
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The Angels are wasting Mike Trout’s prime years at this point. They need starting pitching, and Darvish is the best arm on the market this offseason. Darvish is already familiar with the AL West and could fit in well with the Angels and even help make them contenders in the AL West and Wild Card. They need to make a run while Trout is still in his prime and Albert Pujols is still somewhat serviceable.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Pat Neshek, RP
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If Branden Morrow leaves via free agency, the Dodgers will need to replace him at the back of the bullpen. Neshek has quietly been one of the most effective relief pitchers in baseball over the last few years. He is 37, but he posted a 1.59 ERA and 0.87 WHIP last season and doesn’t walk anyone. The former All-Star would be a great veteran addition as the Dodgers try to get back to, and win, the World Series in 2018. Morrow would also be a fit here.

Miami Marlins – Austin Jackson, OF
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Jackson put together a nice season with the Indians last year with a .318/387/.482 slash line, seven home runs, three triples, 19 doubles and 46 runs scored in 85 games. Jackson is now 31 and will most likely look for a place to start. The Marlins are looking to shed payroll and could trade Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton. If they do, adding Jackson, who won’t command a ton of money and can play all three outfield positions, might make sense. They can offer him a starting job and have him fill the gap until the prospects start to arrive.

Milwaukee Brewers – Neil Walker, 2B
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The name is far from being a sexy one, but the Brewers will need a second baseman since Walker is a free agent. Jonathan Villar is a nice utility type, but if the Brewers want to make another run at the playoffs they will need to fill some holes especially at second base. Walker hit .264/.409/.433 with four home runs and eight doubles in 38 games after coming over from the New York Mets. It is solid production, and he offers a solid veteran presence. He is also affordable. The Brewers should also add a veteran starter for the backend of their rotation.

Minnesota Twins – Tyler Chatwood, SP
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Chatwood is still just 28 and has seen some success away from Coors Field, posting a 2.57 ERA on the road. He might sign a short-term deal to boost his value away from Coors for a season if teams are unsure. Even if he requires a longer term commitment, the Twins should pounce. They could use a young veteran righty at the top of the rotation, and Chatwood might be the perfect fit for them as he won’t cost a ton.

New York Mets – Todd Frazier, 3B
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The Mets have Dominic Smith at first base and should give him every chance to be their first baseman moving forward. Third base is a little less settled. David Wright is a figure of the past no matter how much he wants to play. Asdrubal Cabrera is not the best option. Enter Frazier who showed he had something left with the Yankees last season. He can play third or first if Smith falters. He can be a leader in an mostly young clubhouse and would be a local favorite like he was with the Yankees.

New York Yankees – Shohei Ohtani, SP/OF
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There is no more intriguing free agent this offseason. All signs point to him coming over this year, and the Yankees can offer him the most money at just north of $3 million given the new international bonus rules. The Yankees are trying to get under the luxury tax and would control Ohtani for the next six years. Given their rebuild and its returns this past season, the Yankees could use a cheap, potentially generational player like the 23-year-old Ohtani. They can plug him in to the rotation or make him a hitter (or both). He would certainly add flexibility to any team and be a huge draw as well. This seems like a match made in heaven.

Oakland Athletics – Alex Avila, C
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Avila is looking to be a starting catcher. The A’s have an uncertain catching situation at the moment with Bruce Maxwell facing a gun charge this offseason. Avila won’t break the bank and showed he can still play last season. He hit .264/.387/.447 with 14 home runs and 41 runs scored last season with the Tigers and Cubs. The only question is whether the A’s will even spend on mid-range free agents this offseason. If so, Avila could be a nice addition behind the plate.

Philadelphia Phillies – Shohei Ohtani, SP/OF
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Let’s face it, every team could use Ohtani. The Phillies are in the middle of a rebuild, but they think they will be contenders again very soon. There will be still competition for Ohtani and there will be teams like the Rangers and Yankees that can offer more. However, money isn’t an issue for Ohtani, who could have made tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions, had he waited a couple of more years to come to the United States. The Phillies could go a long way to turning their franchise around by adding Ohtani.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Luke Gregerson, RP
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The Pirates have had some success turning around wayward pitchers in recent years. Gregerson is coming off the worst season of his career, and at 33 might be looking at the end of the line. Or, he might still have something left in the tank. He did strike out over 10 batter per nine innings last season despite posting the worst ERA of his career at 4.57 and gave up a whopping 13 home runs in 61 innings. The Pirates could use some help in their bullpen, and Gregerson could be a nice addition.

San Diego Padres – Bud Norris, RP
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Norris, a former starter, moved to the bullpen last season and saved 13 games with a 2.23 ERA in the first half. Then the wheels came off. However, the Padres are in need of bullpen help, like most teams, and could take a flier on a one-year deal with Norris. He can rebuild his value and perhaps be flipped at the deadline for more prospects to help the Padres’ rebuilding effort. They will have to take the risk that they are getting the first-half Norris and not the second-half Norris, but on a one-year deal there isn’t much risk for the potential reward for the Padres.

San Francisco Giants – Lorenzo Cain, OF
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For some reason, this feels like a forgone conclusion. The Giants were awful last year, but they have some nice pieces in place. Cain is a former MVP candidate who will want to get his payday. The Giants have money to spend and could use a bat like Cain’s at the top of their order. They also need an outfielder. Cain has a good bat and good glove and would fit in perfectly with the Giants and help turn things around quickly in San Francisco.

Seattle Mariners – Alex Cobb, SP
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The Mariners have spent a lot of money in free agency over the years. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz are nearing the end of the line. There are a lot of holes to fill from the outfield to the rotation out in Seattle, but adding Cobb might make the most sense. Right now, the Mariners’ rotation is leaving a lot to be desired, and Cobb has youth and success on his side. His downside is his injury history. However, when healthy he is a top of the rotation arm. If they truly think they can contend this year, then adding an arm like Cobb’s would make sense.

St. Louis Cardinals – Zack Cozart, SS
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The Cardinals are in a sort of flux. They are caught between rebuilding and contending. As other teams have shown, they can do both. They do have Paul DeJong at shortstop, but DeJong also has experience at second and Kolten Wong isn’t exactly the best second baseman in the league. Adding Cozart gives them a bonafide shortstop, and DeJong can move to second or third if they trade Matt Carpenter for pitching.

Tampa Bay Rays – Logan Morrison, 1B/DH
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Bringing Morrison back might not be a priority. He will likely ask for more than the Rays are willing to pay. However, Morrison is hitting free agency at the wrong time. His 38 home runs from last year, a career-high, won’t get him paid that well since power is back in baseball. People aren’t paying for home runs anymore. Morrison and Tampa Bay know each other, and Morrison showed he could thrive there. Why not try for a second act?

Texas Rangers – Lance Lynn, SP
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The Rangers traded Yu Darvish at the deadline, but need pitching, especially with Andrew Cashner also a free agent. Adding Lynn gives them an arm that showed he was back from Tommy John surgery, and he can eat up some innings. There is upside to be a 200-inning guy there as a second or third arm in the rotation. The Rangers aren’t far from competing, the question is whether they want to start to rebuild or make another go.

Toronto Blue Jays – Tyler Chatwood, SP
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Chatwood was much better away from Coors Field, and the Blue Jays need pitching. Chatwood shouldn’t cost too much, but the reward could be worth it. He was good enough to be named in the Top 100 Prospects only a few years ago and has pitched to a 3.49 ERA away from Coors. He threw 147 inning last season, splitting time between the rotation and bullpen, but will look for a place to start. There is upside with Chatwood, and the Blue Jays should pounce if the price is right.

Washington Nationals – Greg Holland, RP
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Can we stop pretending that the Nationals are a contender with their current bullpen? They missed out last year on Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen, and the lack of an elite closer showed in the postseason. Sean Doolittle led the team in saves with 21 in 2017, but he is much better suited as a set-up man. Having Doolittle and Ryan Madson set-up for someone like Holland or Wade Davis makes the Nationals much deeper. Holland would be an excellent fit for a team whose window might be starting to close a little.