Now that pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training is days away, and now that Yu Darvish has hopefully started the free agent pitching domino effect, what is next for the high profile free agents left?
It seems likely that the Dodgers will sign Jake Arrieta now after not getting Darvish back(though would their fans have been excited or accepted that signing after he couldn’t get out of the 2nd inning in two World Series starts?) though Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb would be other right-handed starter options to complement their left-handed starters of Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Hyun Jin-Ryu, and of course the greatest of them all Clayton Kershaw.
JD Martinez who was supposed to sign with Boston months ago is still unsigned, and there are reports that Arizona has snuck back into the mix for him. The NL West should be an absolute dogfight this season with the defending NL Champion Dodgers, the revamped Giants, the thirsty Diamondbacks and even the upstart Rockies and their bullpen again trying to prove that last year’s playoff run wasn’t a fluke.
Royals World Championship veterans Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are still unsigned, as well as Logan Morrison and Jonathan Lucroy. Throw in Eduardo Nunez at SS and 2B Neil Walker at second and you have yourself a pretty good infield. Jaime Garcia who everyone wanted last season is unsigned, as well as Tony Watson who 2 years ago was one of the best closers in the league.
Something has to give.
While collusion might certainly be too strong a word given the overall lack of big talent names while Darvish gets a 6 year $126M deal (the term seems absurd to me for a 30+ pitcher who has already had Tommy John surgery) so some teams just don’t want to pay the average 30 home run guy like Logan Morrison the money the market still demands when more home runs were hit than ever before last season.
The home run has become a commodity teams can afford to not pay for with big free agent deals.
Darvish joins the Cubs rotation now likely as the #4 behind Jon Lester / Kyle Hendricks / Jose Quintana and likely ahead of fellow free agent addition Tyler Chatwood. A much-improved rotation in my estimation, with prospects Eddie Butler (4-3, 3.95 ERA last year in 11 starts) ready to fill in any gaps as well as Drew Smyly.
I do think JD Martinez will sign next – with the Red Sox still after all the drama – and where he lands will likely help the Carlos Gonzalez’ of the world. At some point either the Padres or Royals seems likely to land Eric Hosmer and surely someone will want Mike Moustakas right? For what amount and how many years is the next question. The good news – baseball season is nearly here and these questions have a way of sorting themselves out before the 2018 MLB season kicks off.