MLB free agency is one of the best times of the year. Some big time players finally hit the free agency market to see what teams want to come and persuade them to join on. Even some lesser talented players can make a difference with the right deal and the right situation. The thing about this upcoming draft class is that it is filled with star-studded talent. A few of the names to really pay attention to this postseason include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, and Josh Donaldson. Teams are going to be busier than usual with this star heavy class to try to recruit them and outbid other teams for their services. But do we really know who is going to end up with what team as much as we think we do?
We have some guys that should obviously sign with one team while others could come as a surprise with what team they do end up signing with. There are usually a few signings every year that make our heads spin and scratch our heads with questions. Will a team like the Seattle Mariners come in and steal the show with a signing similar to when they signed Robinson Cano? Will a team like the Yankees or the Red Sox use their money to make their teams even stronger? These are the questions we will wonder going into the 2018-19 offseason. Well, let's make some predictions. Here are 10 MLB free agency signings that will surprise us and 10 that are obvious.
20 Surprise: Josh Donaldson - St. Louis Cardinals
One of the big named free agents to be is Josh Donaldson. Donaldson has been a part of MVP conversations in the past and was a cornerstone guy for the Blue Jays before being traded to Cleveland this summer. So where could Donaldson end up? Perhaps, he could see himself being a St. Louis Cardinal.
The Cardinals are a team that desperately needs a power bat in the lineup.
They also typically like veterans in their lineup. Donaldson fits that description and could be great on a two or three year deal. The Cards surprised many this year and could improve with a healthy Donaldson next year.
19 Obvious: Lonnie Chisenhall - Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians will be looking to do whatever it takes to continue their run of dominance in the AL Central. The Indians have it all with good starting pitching, a solid bullpen, and good bats in the lineup. One of the bats in that lineup they will want to resign is Lonnie Chisenhall.
Chisenhall is a guy that can take care of the outfield and get on base. He was hitting over .300 this season before his injury along with having averages close to .290 the past few seasons as well. He can be a guy that the Indians give five or six million to and it would be a good fit.
18 Surprise: Patrick Corbin - San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are probably wondering what they have to do at this point to get back to their World Series winning ways. They've already fired general manager Bobby Evans, citing poor roster construction. But they still have some good pieces.
They have an ace in Madison Bumgarner, but the problem is that they do not have much else in the rotation. One guy that could help a lot is Patrick Corbin.
Corbin was the number two in Arizona, and this season he looked really good.
He was an All-Star this season and is looking for a good deal in free agency. The Giants could be a nice fit for Corbin and this signing could get the Giants back on track.
17 Obvious: Clayton Kershaw - Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers need to keep as many of their stars as they can together in order to make another run at the World Series. They are more than likely going to lose Manny Machado this offseason, meaning they need to keep Clayton Kershaw healthy. There is no secret with Kershaw, he is always a threat at winning the National League CY Young award year in and year out. The Dodgers have the highest payroll in the MLB, so there is no reason to get this deal done. Kershaw is too good for the Dodgers to let slip through their fingertips and go elsewhere.
16 Surprise: Brad Brach - Boston Red Sox
For as good as the Boston Red Sox are, the one area that is a big weakness for them is the bullpen. They have Craig Kimbrel to shut down games in the closer's role. Otherwise, they need some bullpen help. One guy that the Red Sox should look at to sign is Brad Brach. Brach proved to be a solid pickup for the Braves, who traded for him with Baltimore. The Red Sox' only weakness is their bullpen and signing Brach could help ensure Boston remains World Series favorites in 2019. The Sox were able to see Brach first hand from his time in Baltimore.
15 Obvious: Bryce Harper - Chicago Cubs
Bryce Harper has been one of the prime faces of the MLB since he arrived in 2012. He has been an All-Star six out of seven seasons. His batting average has slowed down this season, but his home run and RBI totals are still there. It was a bit of a surprise that the Nationals didn't trade him even when their season was going nowhere. This winter, the Chicago Cubs will be the winners in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.
The Cubs can afford him and even get rid of a guy like Jason Heyward, who makes $23 million a year.
Harper and Kris Bryant have played together on travel teams and are very close, which could play more of a factor than we think. This deal looks too good to be true for Harper and Chicago.
14 Surprise: Adrian Beltre - Oakland Athletics
This signing might scratch some heads, but still could be very beneficial in the short term. Adrian Beltre has been one of the more underrated players in the MLB. He has over 3,000 hits and had yet another good season for the Rangers. The Athletics could be calling for Beltre's services this offseason. Sure, the A's have guys like Matt Chapman and Matt Olson at the corners, but Beltre could provide some veteran presence and more power for the "swinging A's".
This would definitely come as a surprise to a lot of people. But the right deal and right amount could see Beltre considering the Athletics very strongly come offseason time.
13 Obvious: Manny Machado - New York Yankees
This could be the most obvious of deals that will happen this offseason. Manny Machado was traded from the Orioles to the Dodgers and probably will not be returning to L.A. after the season concludes. Machado will definitely be getting a huge payday...from the Yankees. The Yankees have been very interested in Machado and Machado has admitted in the past he likes the idea of putting on the pinstripes.
The Yankees have one of the highest payrolls in the MLB and he can get the money he wants. The Yankees would love to have Machado on the left side of the infield and he would love having a legitimate chance at a World Series title. Your move, Brian Cashman!
12 Surprise: Matt Harvey - Atlanta Braves
The New York Mets once had a three headed monster of Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndeegard, and Matt Harvey. Well, those times have passed and Matt Harvey is now pitching for the Cincinnati Reds. The right-handed pitcher is going to be a free agent and he could very well find himself with the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are one of the best young teams in baseball. With guys like Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies leading the way, the Braves seem to have turned a corner. Having a guy like Harvey can deepen the rotation and have a veteran pitcher always present.
11 Obvious: A.J. Pollock - Arizona Diamondbacks
This next free agent is in a situation where it would be preposterous if he didn't re-sign with his team. The Arizona Diamondbacks already lost one outfielder last offseason with J.D. Martinez leaving and shipping up to Boston.
The Diamondbacks have A.J. Pollock up for free agency and he should definitely re-sign with Arizona.
He was an All-Star with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and had another good season in 2018. Pollock is a guy that can make a difference at the plate and in center field. While his production dipped a little down the stretch, the D-Backs should be looking to bring him back.
10 Surprise: Daniel Murphy - Washington Nationals
This next signing would be a surprise not necessarily because of the player, but because of the situation the team will be in. Daniel Murphy was a huge pickup for the Nationals in 2016 after being a postseason success with the Mets before. Murphy was a two time All-Star with the Nationals, who traded him to Chicago. But we could very well see a DC reunion between the two sides.
The Nationals will take a huge step back as Bryce Harper is almost definitely going to be playing elsewhere next season. Gio Gonzalez is a free agent and could be gone as well. They also have to deal with Stephen Strasburg being hurt almost every season. This is one signing that would be extremely surprising to see.
9 Obvious: Nelson Cruz - Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners are trying to find out what the missing piece is to become serious contenders in the AL West next season. They have some good pieces in place like Robinson Cano and James Paxton. One signing they need to do that is so obvious is re-signing Nelson Cruz. Cruz has been as advertised since he arrived in Seattle in 2015. He has been a three time All-Star along with having multiple 40 home run seasons.
The Mariners need Cruz if they want to continue their slow climb upward toward postseason contention.
They can sign him to a one or two year deal. Nelson Cruz can end his career in Seattle and the Mariners keep him hitting fourth.
8 Surprise: Drew Pomeranz - San Diego Padres
This surprise signing would be even more of a surprise considering the fact that this guy has played for this team before. Drew Pomeranz was once a member of the San Diego Padres in 2016 and was actually an All-Star. He is now with the Red Sox and he will be a free agent at the end of the season. The Red Sox will more than likely let him go considering he doesn't pitch deep into ballgames. Pomeranz has showed he can pitch well in the AL, considering he went 17-6 with the Red Sox in 2017, and the Padres need pitching. It could come as a surprise, but you never know.
7 Obvious: Andrew Miller - Cleveland Indians
Like we mentioned before, the Indians are a team that want to keep as much of their core together as they can to continue to make postseason runs. One of those pieces that has to stay put in Cleveland is Andrew Miller. When he was acquired by the Indians in the middle of the 2016, people probably thought he would be a rental. Now, it looks like he will be hitting the free agency market two years later, still with the Indians. He was an All-Star in 2017 with Cleveland and has one of the best combinations in an upper 90s fastball and devastating slider. Miller is an obvious re-sign for Cleveland.
6 Surprise: Marwin Gonzalez - Washington Nationals
The Houston Astros are hoping to keep their World Series title runs going for the next few years at least. Now, it looks like one guy that could be leaving after this season is Marwin Gonzalez. But, where could Gonzalez end up? The Nationals could be a surprising contender for Gonzalez's service.
He is a utility man and the Nationals will need somebody to fill at least one of those holes.
His numbers were a little low this year, hitting around .250 with 16 home runs and 67 RBIs. But, the Nationals will probably be desperate to fill multiples voids that will become apparent at season's end. Pay attention to the Nationals as the upcoming off-season will be interesting.
5 Obvious: David Price - Boston Red Sox
This next signing is obvious for both sides, it's almost unfair. David Price can opt out of his seven year deal with the Red Sox that started in 2016. He is making 31 million dollars a season and he would be very dumb to try to go elsewhere. Price has proven that he is not the same power pitcher he once was. The Red Sox can keep their core staff of Chris Sale, Price, and Rick Porcello together with a young core of position players that are taking the league by storm. Price back to the Red Sox is about as obvious as a signing can be.
4 Surprise: Gio Gonzalez - Tampa Bay Rays
Unlike the Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays need a ton of help, especially with their rotation. Nathan Eovaldi is now gone...to the Red Sox. They also cannot just rely on Blake Snell. They already traded Chris Archer away this summer. This is where a guy like Gio Gonzalez could come into play. In 2012, Gio Gonzalez was 21-8 and third in CY Young voting in the National League. Gonzalez has not done well since and was shipped to Milwaukee this season.
This could be a low risk, high reward signing if the Rays can afford a two or three year deal for him. Look for the Rays to be in the hunt for Gio Gonzalez's services.
3 Obvious: Jonathan Lucroy - Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers are in a position where they can actually compete with the Cubs in the National League Central. They just need another piece or two to completely overtake them. They could use a good veteran hitting catcher. That is where Jonathan Lucroy can be an interesting option.
He started his career in Milwaukee and was a two time All-Star for the Brewers.
The Brewers could also give him a short term deal to bring him back and be content with the overall team. With him in the fold with guys like Jesus Aguilar and Christian Yelich to help, it could be even more fun to be a part of an NL Central race.
2 Surprise: Brian Dozier - Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves will probably be huge players in the 2018-19 offseason, looking to expand upon a roster that looks to be really good for years to come. There have been a few rumblings that the Braves would be interested in Brian Dozier. But the main question with that is, why? He isn't hitting as well as he has in the past, which could bring his price down. The Braves also have Ozzie Albies who has been very good at second base. The only possible logic is that Albies would move to short and Dozier would take over primarily at second base. Otherwise, this signing would surprise a lot of MLB fans.
1 Obvious: Evan Gattis - Houston Astros
One of the bigger hitters on the Astros is no question Evan Gattis. Gattis is a home run threat and very intimidating with no batting gloves. Gattis has been good for the Astros since he arrived in 2015 and there doesn't seem to be any reason why they would want to get rid of him now. The Astros could get Gattis on a one or two year deal that could help bring a guy with power back into the fold. Gattis has hit nearly 100 home runs so far in four seasons with the Astros and he hit .400 in the ALDS last season versus the Red Sox. Gattis back to the Astros should be a done deal right away.