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20 MLB Free Agent Signings That Will Happen Before The Start Of Spring Training

Don't look now but it is already 2019 and that can mean only one thing, Major League Baseball's Spring Training is about to begin. The winter meetings are over, the Rule 5 Draft has come and gone, now it is time to start to prepare for the start of another MLB season and that always begins with Spring Training.

But before all the players can report to their Spring Training homes, many of them still need to sign with a team including some of the biggest names still on the market.

When the 2018 season ended, there were many fans and analysts that expected Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to find themselves a home by now but that has simply not happened yet. There is just too many free agents available at the top of the list for teams to start signing the rest. Once those major names sign, the rest will trickle down and follow suit.

It just takes time and most of these guys are going to eventually sign with a team before the start of Spring Training, they just have to wait a little longer.

While they wait, we wanted to take a look at the top 20 remaining free agents and who we think they will sign with some time before Spring Training.

20  Freddy Galvis: Pittsburgh Pirates

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

After spending the first six years in Philadelphia, Freddy Galvis was sent to San Diego last year and became their immediate starting shortstop. He makes our list because most of the other free agents have already signed, especially all of the shortstops. That is not a knock on him but defensively, he lacks the skillset to become an elite shortstop.

That said, he is still a starter and could easily shore up the middle infield for any team looking for some help on that side of the field. There are some things we know he will do for a club. He is going to play almost every game, hit about 70 RBI, score 65 runs, land 30 doubles, and grab 15 stolen bases.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates in need of some depth, he could provide them with a good deal at the shortstop position.

19 Drew Pomeranz: Washington Nationals

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

After having one of the most surprising 2017 seasons in baseball, Drew Pomeranz rose up the charts and became one of the Red Sox most effective arms. However, he sustained a flexor strain in Spring Training last year which led to him battling injuries all season long. He did not even get to pitch in the World Series.

His production dropping off last season will make him a bargain for any team looking for a solid arm at the bottom of their rotation. The Washington Nationals are going to be looking for someone to fill their rotation up and Drew would be a gift if he can return to his 2017 form.

18 Wade Miley: New York Mets

Wayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Who is Wade Miley?

From 2015 to 2017, he went 28-39 with a 5.10 ERA in 94 starts for three teams. His value was in his ability to strike batters out and he had 426 of them in that same three year stretch. But then 2018 happened and things changed.

He went 5-2 in Milwaukee with a 2.57 ERA in 80.2 innings while striking out 50. He only managed to give up three home runs and was able to help the Brewers get to the postseason. So he is a prime candidate for the New York Mets, a team that always seems to find the guys that fool them into thinking they are better than they actually are.

17 Jose Iglesias: Pittsburgh Pirates

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The one thing that Jose Iglesias does not do, that the Detroit Tigers wish he could, is hit for power. Since 2015, he just 17 home runs, which is normally a reason for someone to be unemployed after four years but he contributes in other areas like getting on-base, hitting doubles, triples, and making sure to score runs.

Keep in mind, he is 29 years old and can play third base too. That only makes him an even bigger find for any team looking to fill a gap in their infield. He belongs with a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are in need of shoring up their infield.

16 Brian Dozier: Washington Nationals

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There is no other second baseman in Major League Baseball that has 576 runs, 478 RBI, and 166 home runs since 2013 besides one man, Brian Dozier, who was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers last year after spending his entire career in Minnesota.

He became an All-Star in 2015 and continued getting better in 2016 and 2017 before he began struggling at the plate to start last season. Even after going to the Dodgers, he continued to struggle and wound up with a .182 batting average in 47 games.

There is no chance he remains in LA so the next best thing is to travel to Washington and become the Nationals starting second baseman while regaining his form from 2017.

15 Martin Maldonado: Oakland Athletics

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After winning a Gold Glove in 2017 with the Los Angeles Angels, Martin Maldonado was traded to the Houston Astros halfway thru the 2018 season. He immediately became their starting catcher but his struggles at the plate continued to hurt his ability to become an elite catcher.

The one position in baseball where you can be a terrible hitter and still get big league contracts is at catcher and the Astros already signed someone else so he needs to move on and get himself back to California where the Oakland A's are in need of a defensive catcher.

14 Nick Markakis: Atlanta Braves

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

There is only one key free agent left that has not signed with a team and it is the guy who had one of the most surprisingly productive seasons of his entire career last year, at 34 years old. That guy is Nick Markakis, the Atlanta Braves outfielder who hit like it was 2009 again since that was the last time he put up the kind of numbers he did in 2018.

Since he is now 35 years old, and does not have a proven track record of maintaining the numbers he put up last year, he could end up staying with the Braves at a discounted price. There is not much possibility of him going anywhere else.

13 Asdrubal Cabrera: Arizona Diamondbacks

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Asdrubal Cabrera is one of those players that can fill an immediate need for any team looking to fill a hole in their infield. He is also a reliable hitter, which is part of what makes him so valuable. There are simply not very many utility players that can move around the infield and still hit 20 home runs and put up a .269 batting average.

But because he is not a superstar, and is more of a role player, Cabrera has moved around from multiple teams over the years, playing for his fifth team last season in Philadelphia. We fully expect him to land on his sixth team when he signs with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are losing stars left and right.

12 Adam Jones: Colorado Rockies

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The longer it takes to find a new landing spot, the better the odds are that Adam Jones returns to the Baltimore Orioles this year, right?

Unfortunately, the Orioles have already started rebuilding for the future and that simply means that Adam Jones is no longer a viable option. They will need a right fielder next season and bringing him back would make the fans happy. But he is going to be a bit too pricey and the Orioles are not likely to spend that kind of money for a player that is 33 years old.

Adam's best chances are going to be with the Colorado Rockies, where he would be an instant starter and a chance at turning in some impressive numbers in the high altitude.

11 Cody Allen: Arizona Diamondbacks

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

As the relievers continue to sign, the few remaining become even more of a hot commodity. So as long as it has taken so far, if Cody Allen can hang on a little longer, he could find himself getting a nice payday as a result of being one of the last remaining relievers with experience as a closer.

The Twins are the only team to be open about their pursuit of Cody but we still think he could go to the Diamondbacks, who have a weak bullpen. He would be an instant boost to a weak back-end of the bullpen in Arizona. Even coming off a bad season, Cody Allen is still a better arm than anyone else they already have.

10 Gio Gonzalez: Texas Rangers

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

When the Washington Nationals traded Gio Gonzalez to the Milwaukee Brewers last August, it was based out of a need to unload a struggling pitcher who had seemed to lost his way. But they did not realize he was still capable of throwing like he did until a high ankle sprain ended his season.

But the market is weak on starting pitching and there are multiple teams looking for a fixture in their rotation, including the Texas Rangers, who could use four starting pitchers if they want to get back to the top of the American League anytime soon.

9 Marwin Gonzalez: San Diego Padres

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

When the Houston Astros signed Michael Brantley last December, it all but ended the relationship they had with Marwin Gonzalez. Not that they were going to re-sign him for his asking price, but the longer it takes, the more likely a player is to return home at a discount.

Yet here we are and Marwin is still available, slowly climbing up the ranks of available free agents while the number of teams interested continues to grow. If we had to guess a landing spot, there is a great chance he makes his way to San Diego and the beautiful beaches of Southern California.

8 Adam Ottavino: Atlanta Braves

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Adam Ottavino helped turn the Colorado Rockies bullpen into one of the best in baseball with his 2.43 ERA. But it was his strikeouts that were most impressive. He struck out 112 batters in 77.2 innings  leading to strikeout per 9 innings pitched of 13.0.

Only two other relief pitchers in baseball had those kind of numbers, Edwin Diaz and Dellin Betances. But Adam was the only one that did it while playing half of his games in the light air of Denver, Colorado. So his numbers are even more impressive and difficult to achieve.

He is going to be signing with a team ready to make a run and the Atlanta Braves are right on the cusp of one.

7 Mike Moustakas: Chicago White Sox

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in his MLB career last season, Mike Moustakas wore a jersey that did not say Kansas City Royals after he was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in July. He was a key acquisition for the Brewers and their NL Championship run but they ultimately fell short after losing to the Dodgers in the NLCS.

After being a rental for 54 games last year, Mike is now on the open market and is just 30 years old and is still a very valuable starting third baseman. If the White Sox cannot land Manny Machado, then they are going to go all out to get Moustakas, which is very likely what will happen once Manny signs with Philly.

6 D.J. LeMahieu: Milwaukee Brewers

Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

The need for a second baseman is not as high this year because many of the contenders are already set. That means that the best second baseman free agents will have to take a deal signing with a team that is either rebuilding or a few years away. That is not an easy choice to make and it leaves many to wait and see.

D.J. LeMahieu is the best second baseman on the open market today but he has also only played in Colorado his whole career so there is a chance his numbers can take a hit if he leaves town, which he will. We think he goes to the Brewers, who need a second baseman and nearly got to the World Series last year.

5 Dallas Keuchel: San Diego Padres

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Keuchel won the 2015 American League Cy Young after going 20-8 in 33 starts with a 2.48 ERA and 216 strikeouts. He helped lead the Astros to the postseason that season too. But then he fell off the charts in 2016 before bouncing back in 2017. Last year, he disappointed somewhat and struggled most of the year.

So that means that he is going to have a great year in 2019, according to his past five seasons, and that would equal a pretty nice contract. The Astros have not shown any interest in bringing him back so that leaves the next best choice, in his case, the San Diego Padres. They could use him to bolster their rotation immediately while also being able to sign him for the money he is asking for.

4 Craig Kimbrel: Boston Red Sox

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For a closer as dominant as Craig Kimbrel has been over the years, he only has one World Series ring, the one he won last year. But since 2011, he has been the most consistent closer in baseball and someone a team can truly depend on so now that he is a free agent, he can go anywhere he wanted to go.

Yet, even with the pick of the litter, there is no chance he leaves Boston. The Red Sox just won a World Series and have not lost anyone heading into the 2019 season. So they should be right back on top of the American League as far as World Series favorites go. Once they can move the money around, the Red Sox will end up keeping him right where he is.

3 A.J. Pollock: San Francisco Giants

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

If A.J. Pollock can stay healthy, he is one of the best outfielders in the National League. His best season was in 2015 when he hit 20 home runs, 76 RBI, 111 runs, 39 stolen bases, and had a .315 batting average. The next year he broke his elbow and missed most of the 2016 season.

Since then, he has battled getting himself back to that form and has struggled but has become one of those free agents that can turn things around with a new team. With the Dodgers looking to be signing some big names and being the World Series favorite again, the San Francisco Giants are going to have to bulk up and get some power and speed.

2 Manny Machado: Philadelphia Phillies

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Not far behind Bryce Harper's career stats is another free agent superstar, Manny Machado. He turned 26 last July but has been putting up monster numbers since he was 19 years old and got his first start with the Baltimore Orioles.

However, over the years, the Orioles were not able to put a World Series team together and he began getting upset and ready to move on. So before he was able to simply walk away and be a free agent, they traded him last year to the Dodgers.

When the offseason started, he was being projected to go to the New York Yankees but they seem to be backing out of the race because of that monster Giancarlo Stanton deal and multiple upcoming deals they will need to sign in the next couple seasons.

That means he will be heading to the second place team in the chase, the Philadelphia Phillies. He will turn them into an instant playoff team and will be able to sign for the money he is asking.

1 Bryce Harper: Los Angeles Dodgers

Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Can you guess how many players in Major League Baseball history have a career batting average of at least .279, hit at least 184 home runs, 610 runs, and 521 RBI before turning 26? If you guessed eight, you would be correct. Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, and, now, Bryce Harper.

So it is very odd to see how long it is taking Bryce Harper to sign with a team this winter but it will eventually happen and when it does, it will be for a pretty penny. It will also be with a team that is going to be a contender because he is tired of getting close but falling apart in the postseason.

Right now, it appears the best landing spot is going to be the Dodgers. They have the money and have been to the last two World Series before losing to the Astros and Red Sox.

 

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