Another MLB season has come and gone, and for the first time in 108 years the Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions, which is something that still hasn’t really processed for me quite yet. Anyways, with the season just ending, that means the Winter Meetings are rapidly approaching, which is essentially the start of free agency.
This year’s free agency class is pretty weak when it comes to which starting pitchers are available, but there are a few big name hitters as well as relief pitchers who will be looking for new homes this offseason. Now by no means am I any type of baseball insider or expert, but I am a fan of the game and like to keep up with where the big names on the market are headed to. Again, I’m no baseball expert, can’t reiterate that enough, but here is where I think some of the big named free agents will be headed this offseason.
Yoenis Cespedes – Outfielder
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who many feel is the marquee name in this year’s free agency class, will probably be the most coveted free agent this offseason. Coming off of a year during which he batted .280 with 31 home runs and 86 RBIs, the 31-year-old slugger recently opted out of his three-year deal with the Mets and is looking to get paid. If the Mets were smart they’d give him whatever he wanted because he’s clearly the best bat they have in their lineup, and since they acquired him during the middle of last season, it resulted in two consecutive postseason appearances, including a trip to the World Series. My guess is that he stays with the Mets, but because they have an incompetent front office, it wouldn’t shock me if he left to join another ball club that is a championship contender with money to spend, like the San Francisco Giants or Washington Nationals.
Aroldis Chapman – Relief Pitcher
It was a pretty wild year for the Cuban pitcher. It started off with a trade to the Dodgers that was blocked due to a domestic violence charge but was then eventually traded to the Yankees later that offseason. He missed the first 30 games from suspension due to the domestic violence incident under the new MLB policy and was later traded to the Cubs where he helped them win their first World Series since the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, so yeah he was kind of busy. Chapman is far and away the best Closer of the free agent class, so many teams will be after his services. I think he’s probably going to end up leaving the Cubs and go back to the Yankees, which would be awesome because I’m a big Yankees fan and I’d love to see him back in pinstripes. Don’t rule out the Giants making a play at him because their bullpen was absolutely atrocious last season.
Edwin Encarnacion – Designated Hitter
While I think Cespedes is the best available player of this year’s free agency class, I think that Encarnacion is the best hitter. Last year, the slugger hit .263 with 42 home runs and 127 RBIs, so yeah he’s pretty damn good at the plate. While he tried to get a deal done with the Blue Jays last offseason, I think that there is little to no chance he re-signs with Toronto, and he’ll end up signing with division rival Boston to replace that fat asshole David Ortiz. I would be stunned if he wasn’t in a Red Sox uniform on Opening Day.
Kenley Jansen – Relief Pitcher
If Chapman is the best available closer this offseason, Kenley Jansen is without a doubt the next man behind him. The 29-year-old right-hander recorded a career-best 47 saves during the regular season last year, including three during the postseason to go along with 19 strikeouts. Jansen was huge for the Dodgers during the playoffs, and being the big market team that they are, I can’t really imagine a scenario where they let him walk. I expect him to be back in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.
Justin Turner – Third Baseman
Another free agent who the Dodgers are going to have to open up their checkbooks for, Justin Turner rounds out our top five as the best available infielder this offseason. After bouncing from the Orioles and Mets, Turner finally landed on his feet with the Dodgers and had a career year last season in which he hit .275 with 27 home runs and 90 RBIs. Much like Jansen, I also don’t see the Dodgers letting Turner sign elsewhere.