Tyler Kelaher

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            It’s been eight days since we rang in the New Year’s celebrations. Spring Training is six-weeks away and there are plenty of blue-chip free agents available. Here’s a look at the top free agents on the market:

 

J.D. Martinez - OF

J.D. Martinez played 57-games with the Detroit Tigers last season before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had a .741 slugging percentage in his 62-games with Arizona, a big jump from the .630 be hit with Detroit. The outfielder finished the season hitting .303 with 45 homeruns, 104 RBI and the highest OPS of his career at 1.066 (.017 higher than Aaron Judge).

Possible Destinations

Red Sox: Boston scored 878 runs in David Ortiz’s final season with the team. That number dropped to 785 in 2017. The Red Sox have plenty of cornerstone talent, but lack a solid power hitter. With a full outfield made up of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts; Martinez could fill the DH spot and play a great role in the heart of the lineup. Whether or not Martinez wants to play the outfield regularly could affect where he signs.

Giants: After falling short in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes, the Giants would call Martinez more than a conciliation prize. He’d be the power bat the team wanted, along with a presence in the outfield that can fill the void of the injury-ridden Hunter Pence.

 

Yu Darvish – SP

It was a wild 2017 for Yu Darvish. 31 starts between the Rangers and Dodgers saw him finish the season with a 10-12 record and 3.86 ERA. Darvish played an integral role in LA’s playoff run only to give up four earned runs in less than two innings of work in Game 7 of the World Series, ending his season on a sour note.

Possible Destinations

Cubs: Chicago’s starting rotation has thinned out since the departures of John Lackey and Jake Arrieta.

Angels: If there’s one thing the Angels did this offseason, its spend money. With that said, their starting rotation is well below satisfactory and Shohei Ohtani’s health is in question because of his UCL strain. If they manage to pay Darvish, he would be handed the ace role right away.

 

Jake Arrieta – SP

The 2015 Cy Young winner’s play noticeably declined in 2017. The 31-year-old gave up 10 more runs than he did in 2016 along with finishing with his highest ERA in four seasons. The most glaring drop off is his lack of innings pitched.  Arrieta threw 29 less innings than 2016 with just one-less start. Despite the right-hander’s underwhelming 2017, he’s a top option for any team’s starting rotation.

Possible Destinations

Cubs: Chicago signed Tyler Chatwood to a three-year, $38 million deal, but isn’t nearly satisfied with the vacancy Arrieta left after hitting free agency. Who would be a better replacement for Jake Arrieta than Jake Arrieta? They gotta pay the guy though. Arrieta’s looking for his payout and will get what he’s worth.

Cardinals: Along with the Cubs, the Cardinals are rumored to be showing the most interest in Arrieta. The team has a full starting rotation that is more than capable to lead its team to contention, but anything can happen from now to Spring Training.  

 

Eric Hosmer – 1B

Hosmer played his entire seven-year career in Kansas City, hitting 127 homeruns and 566 RBI in 1048 games, along with a World Series Championship in 2015. The four-time Gold Glover played all 162 games in 2017 and averages 149 games per season, making him a safe bet in the health department.

Possible Destinations

Royals: Kansas City offered Hosmer a seven-year, $147 million deal, their largest contract offer in franchise history. Safe to say they want nothing more than to lock-down the player they drafted and developed into the franchise piece he is now.

Red Sox: Boston wants to fill their DH spot, as well as add production from the left side of the plate. Hosmer would be a big upgrade to Mitch Moreland at first base and shift Hanley Ramirez to DH.

 

Notables

Lorenzo Cain – OF

Mike Moustakas – 3B

Jay Bruce - OF