What a postseason we had this fall! It started out with 10 teams fighting for a chance to get to the Fall Classic and be crowned the best team in baseball for the 2018 season. In continuous battle, it all came down to the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox proved to be too much for the Dodgers when all was said and done. Part of why the Red Sox were too much was some recent free agent signings which proved to be pivotal, most notably David Price, who signed with Boston three winters ago to a seven-year, $217 million contract.
With the Red Sox parade well past us, all 30 clubs are preparing for their 2019 seasons. In particular, they are focusing on who they will be eyeing in free agency and how much they might be offering for a future contract.
As fans, we are always trying to predict who will sign in free agency with certain teams. Teams like the Yankees, Cubs, and other big market teams will be trying to make big splashes in order to get back to the World Series again in 2019 and beyond. Others like the Athletics or the Padres might be trying to make smaller budget signings because of their limited payrolls. Other teams like the Brewers or Phillies will be trying to slightly upgrade one position or maybe even just their pitching staff. But why only look at the 2018 off-season? Let's throw the 2020 offseason in there just for fun also! Let's look at the 12 biggest free agents this 2019 offseason and 12 in the 2020 off-season and where they might eventually sign.
24 2019: Daniel Murphy - Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot of catching up to do if they want to contend in the National League Central. One move that they can make in the 2019 off-season to help them is signing Daniel Murphy. The Pirates had one of the lowest production values from the second base position in 2018 with a -1.0 wins above replacement ranking. Daniel Murphy could come right in and change that. He is a career .299 hitter as well as a three time All-Star.
The Cubs will more than likely focus on bringing in Bryce Harper as well as a dependable closer, leaving the door open for the Pirates to bring Daniel Murphy to Pittsburgh.
23 2020: Rich Hill - Baltimore Orioles
Rich Hill seemed to be reborn in the 2015 season when he went 2-1 with the Boston Red Sox. He has since moved on to the Los Angeles Dodgers and finds himself one season away from becoming a free agent. One interesting spot to keep an eye on for Rich Hill is the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles were a laughingstock this past season, going 47-115. But, with one more season under their belt and making a few moves in the 2019 off-season to get them better, they could bring Hill into the mix for 2020.
He is a lefty, he has pitched in the AL East before, and the Orioles will not have to break the bank for him. Overall, it would be a good signing for both sides involved.
22 2019: Dallas Keuchel - Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers were one game away from the World Series. However, a lot of people were skeptical about how long they would have lasted in the World Series based on their starting pitching. One move they should try to make is signing Dallas Keuchel away from the Houston Astros. Keuchel is a control type of left-handed pitcher that only gets stronger as the game progresses on. He has one of the highest ground ball rates in the MLB and can give the Brewers an instant boost in the top of their rotation. If the Brewers are committed to taking the next step, they need an upgrade like Keuchel in their rotation.
21 2020: Mark Trumbo - Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins desperately need some power in the middle of their lineup. The production from their DH spot last season was very low, to say the least. One guy that could come in and help fix that problem in 2020 is Mark Trumbo. Trumbo has the ability to hit one out in every single at bat. Granted, he had a bit of a down year in 2018 with only 17 homeruns in 90 games. But when he is healthy, he is somebody that can hit 35 or more homeruns a year. If Mark Trumbo can sign in 2020 with the Twins and Miguel Sano returns to his old form, they can be a very scary team in the AL Central.
20 2019: Nelson Cruz - Houston Astros
The Houston Astros did not have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the Red Sox in the 2018 ALCS. Their DH numbers were in the lower tier for the league, with a -0.6 WAR. One replacement that could be very beneficial for them could be Nelson Cruz. Cruz has made a name for himself as a right handed power bat. He is a six time All-Star while hitting more than 35 home runs in each of the past five seasons. Cruz could add a big right-handed bat that could be very complementary to the likes of Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa. Plus, it could be a short term deal that works out well for both sides.
19 2020: Matt Kemp - Cincinnati Reds
Matt Kemp has made his presence known in the World Series with a game one home run off of Red Sox left-handed ace Chris Sale. Kemp will also be making his presence known in 2020 when he becomes a free agent. One team that should take a hard look into signing him is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds need another big power bat, this time from the right-side of the plate, to help out Joey Votto. Kemp will not be expensive for the Reds to afford and could sign on a short-term deal. It seems like it would be a good deal for both sides, especially for Kemp who will want to continue his career for as long as he possibly can.
18 2019: Hunter Pence - Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies could be in a very good position to contend with the Atlanta Braves next season, for the National League East crown. One piece that they should highly consider signing is Hunter Pence. Pence has been part of a winning organization before, considering he won two World Series rings with the Giants. He had a bit of a down year in 2018 with San Francisco, hitting .226 in 97 total games. The Giants will certainly move on from Pence and he has a little left in the tank. The Phillies had one of the lowest WAR's among right fielders in 2018 (-2.9). The Phillies know this is a smart move to do in order to make a jump in the N.L. next season.
17 2020: Felix Hernandez - Miami Marlins
Felix Hernandez at one point was one of the most dominant pitchers in the majors. He is a six time All-Star and won the AL Cy Young award in 2010. He has had a few rough seasons, particularly 2018 when he went 8-14 with an alarmingly high 5.55 ERA. He is a free agent in 2020 and one team that should consider signing him is the Miami Marlins.
The Marlins are in a complete overhaul and Hernandez's value will certainly not be as high. He could benefit from a fresh start and a lower market market to pitch in, which makes Miami an ideal signing place for him.
16 2019: Adam Jones - Los Angeles Angels
Adam Jones has spent pretty much his entire career as a Baltimore Oriole. However, the writing is on the wall and it looks like he is not a part of their future plans. One team that Jones should consider signing with in the off-season is the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have a few good outfield pieces in place with Mike Trout and Justin Upton. Shohei Otani is also an outfield option.
However, if they sign Jones, it gives them the option to only have Otani DH and make his road to recovery with his arm that much easier. Plus, Adam Jones can still play a very good outfield, especially in Los Angeles.
15 2020: Alex Gordon - Cleveland Indians
Alex Gordon looks like he is near the end of his career, as far as the Royals are concerned. However, when he is a free agent in 2020, one team that could be knocking on his door is the Cleveland Indians. The Indians can always use a veteran with postseason experience. Alex Gordon definitely has that, coming from a former Kansas City bright spot where they made the World Series in 2014 and then won it in 2015. Gordon is a three time All-Star and a five time Gold Glove winner as well. He could bring his good glove and left handed bat to Cleveland to try to keep the Indians on top of the AL Central.
14 2019: Joe Mauer - San Francisco Giants
Joe Mauer has had quite the career for himself for being the kid that was playing for his childhood team. He is a six time All-Star and was the 2009 AL MVP. Now the real question is, if he chooses to continue to play and the Twins don't sign him, where should he go next? The answer is to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants have a lot going for them, even with their back to back sub.500 finishes in the National League West.
They have their ace in Madison Bumgarner as well as a lot of young talent dwindling around in the Minor Leagues. Mauer can be a veteran in the clubhouse and maybe hit a few balls into McCovey Cove as well.
13 2020: Rick Porcello - Seattle Mariners
Rick Porcello has had a roller coaster ride since he arrived to the Boston Red Sox. He was woeful in 2015, won the Cy Young award in 2016, took a step back in 2017, and seemed to right the ship again in 2018. He just helped the Red Sox win their fourth World Series since the 2000s began.
In 2020, he is a free agent and one interesting place for him could be with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners need a good right handed starter and Porcello would love pitching in a big, AL West ballpark. Especially for Porcello whose mantra is keeping the ball down and changing speeds, Seattle would be an ideal landing spot for him.
12 2019: Patrick Corbin - New York Yankees
The New York Yankees need to upgrade their starting pitching, there is no other way to put it. C.C. Sabathia is more than likely going to be gone, which means they will need another left handed starter to replace him. One ideal candidate for the Yankees to sign in 2019 is Patrick Corbin. Corbin was an All-Star in 2018 with the Diamondbacks as he went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA. He is coming off a contract season and he has expressed interest in the thought of becoming a Yankee.
The New York Yankees need all the pitching they can get to stop the Boston Red Sox potent lineup next season, and Patrick Corbin would be a great starting point.
11 2020: Nolan Arenado - Colorado Rockies
Nolan Arenado has been one of the catalysts for this Colorado Rockies team. In recent years, they seem to have kept making progress and could very well be World Series contenders in the near future. Arenado is a guy that the Rockies need to lock up long-term when he becomes a free agent in 2020. Arenado should love the idea of staying in Colorado where the ball travels further than most parks. He has hit 37 or more home runs in four of his six MLB seasons. He has a very good defensive glove at third base that the Rockies would miss if he were to go elsewhere. This move seems to make the most logical sense for both Arenado and the Rockies.
10 2019: Josh Donaldson- St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals need a big power bat in their lineup. They also have a history of liking veteran signings. One name that could very much intrigue them in the 2019 off-season is Josh Donaldson. Donaldson has had some unforgettable seasons. He was the AL MVP in 2015 and is a three time All-Star as well. The match would fit perfectly. Donaldson would provide the Cardinals with the power they need at a corner infield position and the Cardinals can afford him without breaking the bank for him as opposed to maybe a few seasons ago. If Donaldson can bring his Toronto numbers to St. Louis, this will be a huge win for St. Louis.
9 2020: Paul Goldschmidt - New York Yankees
For six straight seasons now, Paul Goldschmidt has been one of the best players in baseball. He has made the National League All-Star team six years in a row and is due for a big contract when he hits free agency in 2020. One team that can give Goldschmidt that big contract is the New York Yankees. The Yankees make a big splash in the offseason every year and it wouldn't be a surprise for the Yankees to obtain him. He could take care of their long-term issues at first base and be another hitter to contend with the Red Sox.
8 2019: Bryce Harper - Chicago Cubs
Bryce Harper is going to be one of the big names that everybody will be following this offseason. After recently rejecting a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Nationals, he certainly isn't going to be returning to Washington. Some recent reports have linked Harper to perhaps the Chicago White Sox, but Harper will more than likely end up signing with the north side Cubs. The Cubs could use a big left handed bat and Harper fits that description perfectly. He is a former MVP (2015) and he has been an All-Star in six of his first seven seasons in the MLB. Harper also has the friendship with Kris Bryant that could be a factor into his decision as well. Seeing Harper playing right field in Wrigley Field next season would surely not be a surprise.
7 2020: Cole Hamels - Los Angeles Dodgers
Cole Hamels did his job of trying to get the Cubs to the World Series with a 4-3 record with a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts. He has one more season to help the Cubs and then hits free agency in 2020. One team that could inquire about him is the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers can always use another left handed pitcher to go along with Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Hamels has proven in the past he can pitch well in the National League, notably with the Philadelphia Phillies. Hamels to the Dodgers could assure them more World Series appearance, assuming they try to keep most of their core together for years.
6 2019: Manny Machado - Chicago White Sox
Manny Machado will be the other big name that gets talked about during the 2019 free agency period. At one point, it seemed inevitable that the Yankees would be the ones targeting Machado, but Machado's questionable hustle has seen some teams sour on him, at least to the point where they feel it'd be risky to pay him north of the $300 million he wants. The Chicago White Sox have recently emerged as a team that wants Machado (and Harper). While they're unlikely to land both Machado and Harper, the Sox will get one of their men, if they offer him the most. Machado would bring some star power to the White Sox lineup and Rick Renteria seems to have established a culture strong enough for Machado to adapt to.
5 2020: Justin Verlander - Oakland Athletics
Justin Verlander has done just about anything. Winning a Cy Young award in 2011 as well as the MVP award, being a seven time All-Star, and being the Rookie of the Year in 2006 are only a few to name. Verlander will be 37 when he is a free agent in 2020, and one team that should make a hard push for Verlander is the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics look like they can be in very good shape for the future and Verlander could be added on to help them make a deep postseason run. Justin Verlander could be the missing piece the Athletics need to pitch big games in the postseason, as opposed to the reliever method they've tried.
4 2019: Craig Kimbrel - Boston Red Sox
Craig Kimbrel certainly gave Red Sox fans heart attacks in the postseason, as he often looked a little shaky. However, he is still one of the more dominant closers in the MLB and the Red Sox should do everything in their power to keep him. Kimbrel has been an All-Star all three seasons in Boston and seven times out of nine total MLB seasons. It is hard to find a closer who can throw 98 and harder along with a wipeout slider like Kimbrel can do. The Red Sox would not be smart to let Kimbrel walk away and free agency and then have to go find another closer, who probably wouldn't be as good.
3 2020: Madison Bumgarner - San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner is easily regarded as one of the best postseason pitchers in MLB history. He did not have a good 2018 regular season as he was injured for the first few months of the season and then finished with a 6-7 record with a 3.26 ERA. Bumgarner has done a lot for the Giants however, including three World Series titles, which is why he should lock up a deal long-term in San Francisco. The team will go back to being good in a few seasons and Bumgarner can be right back at the front of those runs. The Giants locking up Bumgarner long-term in 2020 will make them very hard to deal with.
2 2019: Zach Britton - Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs seem to be going backwards and need to have a big off-season in 2019 to get themselves back in World Series talks. One guy spot they need to lock up is a dependable closer. One name that pops into mind is Zach Britton. Britton has proven he can pitch in a big market such as New York, so Chicago would be a great fit. He can solidify the back end of that bullpen like Aroldis Chapman did during the Cubs 2016 World Series title run. The Cubs would not be very wise if they let Zach Britton go elsewhere.
1 2020: Jose Abreu - Washington Nationals
Jose Abreu has brought a little bit of excitement to a White Sox team that continues to be preparing for a lot of good seasons in the future. The problem is that Abreu is a free agent after the 2019 season. One team that will be paying close attention to him next season is the Washington Nationals. The Nationals are more than likely losing Bryce Harper this off-season. Therefore, they need a big bat in the middle of their lineup. Abreu has shown his raw power, and is a two time All-Star with the White Sox. He could easily put up 35 home runs a season and also have the loss of Bryce Harper be a bit easier to cope with going forward.