It was announced on Sunday afternoon that the Detroit Tigers had come to terms with free agent starting pitcher, Jordan Zimmermann, on a 5yr/$110 million dollar contract. With the signing of Zimmermann not only have the Tigers become more formidable, but they have also succeeded in landing one of the “bigger fish” in the free agent market.
Having already taken a look at the best free agent starting pitchers available, we will now take a look at the best available positional players.
Top 5 Positional Free Agents
1. Jason Heyward – RF
Teams Interested: StL, NYM, LAD, LAA, KC, BAL
Who Should Sign Him: Baltimore. The Orioles have been looking for an adequate replacement for Nick Markakis since they allowed him to depart via free agency last offseason. Unless they can take advantage of the apparent fire sale in Atlanta and trade for Markakis, you can bet that they will be actively seeking to fill that void via the free agency market. Sure, they could re-up with Geraldo Parra, whom they traded for at the deadline, but why not take a serious run at the player who may be the best defensive RF in the game today? Especially with the O’s being a team that values and already employs top defenders at a multitude of positions.
Who Will Sign Him: St. Louis. The Cardinals sent 4+ years of control in Shelby Miller to the Braves in order to get Heyward before the start of last season. It only makes sense that they would be the leading candidate to re-sign him. If they fail to do so, you can bet that they will immediately sign the next best option available, or perhaps even consider signing and moving Chris Davis to RF on a permanent basis.
2. Chris Davis – 1B/RF
Teams Interested: BAL, TOR, LAA. HOU, NYM, STL
Who Should Sign Him: Baltimore. The Orioles need Davis more than any other team on the market and will be the ones to suffer the most if they fail to sign him.
Who Will Sign Him: Baltimore. With rumours of owner Peter Angelos having already become involved in the negotiations with Crush, you can already see how important it is to the Orioles for them to re-sign the slugging 1B. Even with a history of being “cheap,” there is no reason to believe that Angelos will balk at opening up the wallet in order to lock up Davis, no matter what the cost.
3. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
Teams Interested: NYM, StL, BAL, LAA, KC, HOU, DET
Who Should Sign Him: Detroit. With the Tigers floundering at the deadline, then-GM Dave Dombrowski moved Cespedes to the Mets for a package of prospects. Despite a lackluster season in Motown, Cespedes’ play was hardly the reason why the Tigers missed the postseason. With the Tigers still looking to contend in 2016 and having a glaring hole in LF to replace, why not look into a reunion with the Cuban slugger?
Who Will Sign Him: Miami. What!? The Marlins?! But I haven’t even mentioned them as being an interested team… That’s the Marlins front office for you. With the Marlins apparently actively shopping current CF Marcell Ozuna (Seattle anyone?) because of owner Jeffrey Loria’s disdain for Ozuna, the Marlins will be looking for a replacement for Ozuna. Sure, Cespedes proved in the postseason that he is a below average defender in CF, but the Marlins could shift Christian Yelich from LF to CF in order to accommodate Cespedes, or they could just simply choose to play Cespedes in CF. Have I also mentioned Cespedes’ Cuban heritage and the Marlins pursuit of him before he signed with the A’s? Maybe that will be a factor here as well….
4. Justin Upton – LF
Teams Interested: LAA, DET, BAL, KC, NYY, HOU, TEX
Who Should Sign Him: Baltimore or Kansas City. I sit on the fence between both of these teams as both teams could greatly benefit from the addition of Upton. Both teams need to sign a LF and both teams need as much power and offense in their lineup as possible. I could see the Royals becoming the favourite out of these two if they fail to re-sign Alex Gordon.
Who Will Sign Him: New York Yankees. The Yankees?! Booo! The Yankees have always coveted the slugging LF and with him available on the market, it only makes sense that they take a serious run at him. It also helps that they have been actively shopping current LF, Brett Gardner, and could slide Upton in as a replacement if they do in fact move Gardner. With Upton’s main tool being power, the Yankees may be less worried about handing out a long term contract seeing as his tools won’t diminish as quickly as say a speedy, contact hitter (Jacoby).
5. Alex Gordon – LF
Teams Interested: LAA, BAL, KC, HOU, BOS
Who Should Sign Him: Baltimore. In a similar argument as to why they should sign Heyward, the Orioles are a team that covets defense and the addition of Gordon would give them the best defensive LF currently in the game today. It also helps that they have a glaring hole to fill in LF too.
Who Will Sign Him: Kansas City. Another “no brainer” in my opinion. The Royals need a LF and know exactly what they have in Gordon. It also feels odd for them to suddenly shy away from a guy that they were talking about making a “Royal for Life” as recent as the start of last season.
Best of the Rest
6. Daniel Murphy – 1B, 2B, 3B
7. Ian Desmond – SS
Where: New York Mets
8. Ben Zobrist – Everywhere
9. Dexter Fowler – CF
10. Geraldo Parra – OF
Where: Kansas City