Earlier this week, we posted a roundup of the top 50 free agents on the market this winter. We’ve already seen a couple of the guys near the top of that list either rework their contract or choose not to opt out, but the rest of the list remains unsigned.
Today we’re taking a look at the plausible landing spots for the top free agents left. A top-six list is a little awkward and perhaps less SEO friendly than a top five, but our fifth- and sixth-place players were projected for the same salary, so we’ve included both here. This post isn’t necessarily a prediction of where certain guys will sign, but rather, it’s a look at which teams should be in the market for these top talents given what we know about their ambitions and financial priorities. Spoiler: You won’t see the Red Sox listed below.
1. Gerrit Cole
Kiley’s estimate: 7 Years, $242 million
Should be interested: Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, honestly the whole league
Perfect fit: Los Angeles Angels
Cole may not capture the Cy Young this year, but after a dominating October in which his very presence loomed as the most significant storyline in each series Houston played, the consensus is that he’s the best pitcher in baseball. We haven’t seen that kind of arm hit the free agent market since CC Sabathia after the 2008 season. There isn’t a club in baseball that wouldn’t benefit from Cole’s services, even at the imposing price he’ll command. At the very least, every nominal contender in baseball should be evaluating what they can do to bring the big right-hander to their city.
His list of serious suitors figures to be quite smaller than that, and most of them are out west. The Dodgers make plenty of sense. Despite seven straight NL West titles, the club hasn’t won a championship with this core, and subpar starting pitching in the playoffs has been a big reason why they’ve fallen short. Is there a player better positioned to fill that gap than Cole? Read the rest of this entry »