The 2017 MLB season was a great one, and featured one of the most exciting postseasons in quite some time, but now the dust has settled, we can look forward to the 2018 season. But before we get there, there are plenty of offseason deals to be taken care of. From moving veterans through trades to bringing in stars from overseas, this looks to be one of the most exciting winters in the past few seasons for baseball, and the moves that are made could change the landscape of the game for a number of years. So sit back and read as we predict what is going to happen with 15 of the games biggest free agents/trade targets this MLB offseason.
15 Mike Moustakas To The Giants
The San Francisco Giants struggled in 2017, and coming off the back of three World Series titles this decade, many see this upcoming season as a rebuild, but if they can pull off some moves and bring in key pieces to areas they struggled in, they could find themselves catapulted back into some even year success in 2018. One of the areas they struggled at most was 3B, so with Mike Moustakas, someone who is familiar with the Giants after they battled in the 2014 World Series, as he may present a very cheap option for them. They have some decent infielders coming up, but no one the level of Moose, so this signing would work out perfectly for both sides, as the Giants fan base would surely get behind Moose like they did the Kung Fu Panda so many years ago.
14 Todd Frazier To The Yankees
The Yankees succeeded beyond all expectations in 2017, as they turned what was meant to be a rebuilding year into a Game 7 of the ALCS, and it comes on the back of their young stars like Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorious and Aaron Judge, but veterans are an important part of any team, so bringing back Frazier would likely be a cheap way to retain the teams chemistry. In Yankee Stadium, he can show off the power that he still possesses, and while he doesn’t hit for the average he used too, or play defense, he was an important part of that team, and it just makes sense to bring him back. There will be interest from teams like San Francisco, Kansas City and others, but ultimately, Frazier is a great fit in New York, and there is no point to breaking up that partnership.
13 Zack Cozart To The Reds
Quietly, Zack Cozart of the Cincinnati Reds has become one of the games premiere shortstops, and it’s understandable why he never gets the recognition with guys like Brandon Crawford, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager and others at the position, but he will likely come at a bargain price for someone who is great on the defensive side of the ball and coming into his own as a hitter at the Major League level. Ultimately though, just like his former teammate Todd Frazier, it will serve him better for staying put alongside Joey Votto, as they are two of the biggest stars on the team, and need to be together to build something for the Reds. They won’t contend this year, but Cozart should and likely will be dedicated to the Reds for the near future of his career.
12 Neil Walker To The Brewers
Neil Walker has been one of the more consistent second basemen in all of baseball over the past decade, but has never been seen as a top star. Still, he has been a valuable contributor in Pittsburgh, New York and most recently Milwaukee, and if the team wants to build on the success of their 2017 campaign, a veteran presence like Walker would certainly help. With the Cardinals and Cubs both looking as favorites to make it back to the playoffs, the team will need to bring back Walker and play at their consistent best all season long, but it’s definitely possible. This isn’t going to be the biggest move of the off-season, but if the team can continue to improve, he will be at the forefront of that.
11 Greg Holland To The Rockies
The Rockies have had the potential to be a great team over the past few seasons, but have failed to put it together until 2017, where they reached the playoffs for the first time in a number of years. In part, it was due to the performance of their entire pitching staff, and if they can return Greg Holland and add some new pieces, they can certainly take it a step further. He will come back cheap, and is a veteran leader that all bullpens need. With the incredible offense, if their pitching can replicate the 2017 season, this will be a very dangerous team going forward. Lots of teams are looking for bullpen help every offseason, so the Rockies won’t get him without a fight, but after his career renaissance in 2017, Holland will likely stay put.
10 Wade Davis To The Giants
We’ve talked a fair bit about the Giants already, and their many, many problems, but the biggest of the lot for San Fran was the bullpen, and while no one was utterly poor all year, no one stood out, and the group as a whole struggled because of it. They’ve got Hunter Strickland, Mark Melancon and Will Smith, so there is potential there, but adding a former All-Star like Davis will give this bullpen the venom it once had during the day of their big four (Affeldt, Lopez, Romo & Casilla). In front of a great defense, you can’t deny that Davis would thrive in San Francisco, and he could be the final piece that helps the Giants get back to what they once were.
9 Alex Cobb To The Padres
Several years ago, Tampa Bay were in the elite of the entire MLB, and that came on the back of an incredible pitching staff. The only remaining member is Alex Cobb, but with no bright future in the coming years, he should leave for greener pastures; although San Diego may not be a contender, they have the pieces to build around unlike the Rays, and it’s about time the Padres make a big splash. They play in the very tough NL West, but the Padres are certainly on the rise, and Cobb can be a star on the mound, so he could be a key piece for the Padres' first playoff run in quite some time. This is one of the more uncertain moves in this upcoming offseason, but wherever Cobb does land, they will be getting one hell of a pitcher.
8 Carlos Santana To The Indians
The Indians were just an inning away from ending their long World Series drought in 2016, and fell in the ALDS against the Yankees this past season, and if they are to improve on their playoff finishes, they need to retain the same team and chemistry they have, and Carlos Santana is a key part of that entire organization. Every team needs a consistent player who can hit for power, and Santana has provided that for the Indians over the past several years, and although he might want a bit more than the Indians want to pay, he needs to return, for the sake of both parties, so it’s likely a reunion is in the works. It’s definitely going to be tough for them to make it back to the World Series, as the depth in the AL is just improving, but expect to see Santana back with the Tribe.
7 Lorenzo Cain To The Giants
This is promising to be a very busy offseason for San Francisco, as they have quite a bit of money to spend and a lot of holes to fill, and with some talented outfielders waiting in the wings, a temporary solution would be best. Enter Lorenzo Cain. Like Mike Moustakas, he is familiar with the Giants because of that World Series, and his speed, defense and great hitting in CF is exactly what they hoped Denard Span would be when they signed him, and it would kick start this team back into contention in the NL West. A two-year deal would be perfect for bringing him in, and with the pitching staff and friendly confines of AT&T Park, Cain is a great solution for the Giants.
6 Eric Hosmer To The Royals
At the end of the 2017 season, the Royals' Big Four of Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer left the field together, which signals the end of their time together in Kansas City, but the team to have the money to bring one person back, and that will likely be incumbent first basemen Eric Hosmer. He’ll likely be seeking a max-deal, and you can’t say he doesn’t deserve it after the improvements he’s shown over the past few seasons. Although Cain may be the more exciting player, Hosmer being a one-club player proves just how loyal and great the Royals organization is. They don’t have much of a future, but if a few prospects and trades can pan out alongside Hosmer and Salvador Perez, this team might just contend again before his days are done.
5 Yu Darvish To The Dodgers
Yu Darvish was seen as one of the elite pitchers in the entire MLB just a few years ago, but his down season in 2017 may have changed that position in the eyes of many fans. That wasn’t helped by his poor performances in the World Series, but he’s talented enough for the Dodgers to bring back as a key part of their rotation in 2018. He won’t get the money that he would have a year or two ago, but the allure of Los Angeles and the stacked Dodgers team will likely tempt the Japanese star to return to the team that came within one game of their first World Series since 1988. The team continues to improve, so bringing back Darvish is a no-brainer, and if they have any hope of bringing home the trophy in 2018, they need him behind Clayton Kershaw.
4 J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox
J.D Martinez is underrated for his power, but in 2017 he solidified himself as one of the top power threats in all of baseball, and despite playing a key role in the Arizona Diamondbacks making the playoffs, he will be on the move this offseason, and after recent reports he's talking to the Red Sox, that just makes way too much sense. Whether he plays in Right Field or DH's to replace the great Big Papi, Martinez would be a great fit for the Red Sox, and would offer them the power bat they were missing in 2017. Their highest home run total in 2017 was 24, and Martinez hit 47 while bouncing around from Detroit to Arizona, so thrusting him into what will be an exciting race for the AL East crown will keep him motivated and likely to improve on a great past few seasons.
3 Christian Yelich to the Rockies
With Derek Jeter and his ownership group in charge, the Marlins are cleaning house from top to bottom, and we've already seen Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna get moved, so the young star Yelich logically is the next choice to be traded. He has a great ability on the defensive side, and he can hit for both power and average, and could help any contender improve, so with Carlos Gonzalez unlikely to return, Yelich would make a great replacement. The Rockies don't have the money of a big team, but they should be able to get him cheap, and playing at Coors Park could make him look like the superstar he could potentially become.
2 Jake Arrieta To The Yankees
Jake Arrieta was one of the key pieces for the Chicago Cubs finally ending their 108-year World Series drought, but the Cubs just don’t have the money to keep him, with Lester, Bryant, Rizzo and other young stars on the books, so he will likely be looking to sign his final MLB contract this offseason, and the Yankees are a great fit for him. Adding him to their already explosive offensive lineup would give the team that added bit of potential, and with new manager Aaron Boone on board, the team could catch lightning in a bottle and be well on their way to championship #28. Someone as talented and proven as Arrieta is certainly going to demand attention from all 32 MLB teams, but at the end of the day, we all know that no one outbids the Yankees.
1 Manny Machado to the Nationals
Manny Machado has been a big star for the Orioles since he came to the Major Leagues, but the team isn't going anywhere in the AL East, with Toronto, New York and Boston all looking much better. With Machado likely to leave when his contract is up, they should look to get something from him as soon as they can. There have also been reports that the former shortstop wants to return to his natural position, and that's what could happen as Washington would likely give up the young Trea Turner to make it happen. That's a risky move, as he is a budding young star, but Machado would give the team a huge bat to play alongside Bryce Harper, and would make them once again the favorites in the National League.