With a handful of players having (finally) accepted a qualifying offer and another few having already signed contracts, it’s easy to say that the Hot Stove season is finally upon us.
In the next couple of days we will take a look at the top free agent pitchers and positional players available, as well as some bold predictions and hypothetical trade offers.
Even though a few names have already signed, you can bet that the hot stove will sure be heating up with the Winter GM meetings just over two weeks away.
Top 5 Available Free Agent Starting Pitchers
1. David Price – LHP
Teams Interested: LAD, SFG, CHC, STL, BOS, TOR, HOU.
Who Should Sign Him: Toronto. This is only about a 20% home fan prediction, but the Blue Jays gave up three prospects in order to get him, and will receive no draft pick compensation if/when he signs elsewhere. Toronto NEEDS a front of the rotation stud to go along with young ace in making, Marcus Stroman, and know all about the type of impact Price can have. Imagine Price in a Blue Jays lineup for an entire season?
Who Will Sign Him: Despite rumours stating otherwise, it makes little to no sense that the Cubs would not still be considered a “front runner” to sign the highly sought after southpaw. Even with a rotation featuring a solid 1-2 punch of 2015 Cy winner, Jake Arrieta, and Jon Lester, the Cubs still need to add at least one starter to their rotation. The addition of Price would make the Cubs an even bigger threat in 2016, not to mention that it would reunite Price with his former Tampa manager, Joe Maddon.
2. Zack Greinke – RHP
Teams Interested: LAD, SFG, CHC, STL, BOS, TOR, HOU, BAL
Who Should Sign Him: San Francisco. Tim Hudson has retired and both Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong are off the books. Imagine the impact of a potential 1-2 punch of Maddy Bumgarner and Greinke? Plus they end up stealing a big piece away from the rival Dodgers. It’s also worth mentioning that it is an even numbered season approaching.
Who Will Sign Him: Dodgers. In what should be considered a “no brainer,” the Dodgers need/want a front of the rotation arm and they know EXACTLY what they are getting in Greinke. Besides, it’s not like the Dodgers are just going to suddenly shy away from opening up the cheque book.
3. Jordan Zimmermann – RHP
Teams Interested: LAD, SFG, WSH, CHC, ARI, BOS, BAL, KC, HOU
Who Should Sign Him: Arizona. D-Backs have the makings of a dynamic offensive lineup but still lack the impact front of the rotation arm to help them compete with the Dodgers and the Giants for the NL West crown.
Who Will Sign Him: Boston. The Red Sox still need a “ace” and struck out in their free agent attempts to sign one last offseason. Sure, they have more than enough prospects on the farm to go out and acquire their arm through the trade route (Shelby Miller or Julio Teheran anyone?), but why opt to sell off some prospects when there are so many tier one and tier two starters available this off season?
4. Johnny Cueto – RHP
Teams Interested: LAD, SFG, ARI, MIL, CHC, KC, BOS, BAL, CWS
Who Should Sign Him: Kansas City. Same argument as with the Blue Jays and Price. The Royals need an ace. They went out and traded three prospects for Cueto at the deadline last season to acquire him and are set to get no compensation back if he does leave. Am I wrong in thinking that this makes too much sense?
Who Will Sign Him: Personally, I feel that Cueto will be the guy who gets immediately signed by the team who misses out on their first option. I can definitely see Cueto winding up with one of either the Red Sox, Cubs or Dodgers.
5. Scott Kazmir – LHP
Teams Interested: StL, MIL, PIT, SFG, LAD, ARI, CHC, HOU, BAL, DET, TOR, NYY
Who Should Sign Him: Baltimore. With the Orioles set to lose Wei-Yin Chen to the highest bidder, it makes sense that the Orioles target a player like Kazmir. Not only would he fill the vacant spot atop the O’s rotation, but it also wouldn’t cost them a draft pick in compensation.
Who Will Sign Him: Pittsburgh. The Pirates are looking at (potentially) needing to fill two spots in their rotation with JA Happ testing the FA market, and AJ Burnett contemplating retirement. Sure, signing Kazmir would be a bit of a stretch for the notoriously cash conscious Pirates, but the addition of Kazmir would give the Pirates a legit #2 to slot behind the Cole Train, and it wouldn’t cost them a draft pick in compensation.
Best of the Rest
6. Jeff Samardzjia – RHP
7. Wei-Yin Chen – LHP
8. Mike Leake – RHP
9. Yovanni Gallardo – RHP
10. John Lackey – RHP
Next Up: Top Free Agent Positional Players