Potential Landing Spots for Remaining MLB Free Agents

Justin Valentovic , Staff Writer

As we turn the calendar to March, Major League Baseball’s annual Spring Training is well underway, and yet some of the top free agents still looking for a new home. While some big name free agents like Yu Darvish and Eric Hosmer have landed multi-year deals with new clubs, there is a plethora of talent that still remains on the free agent market.

Jake Arrieta

Via: si.com
  • Previous team: Chicago Cubs
  • Position: Starting Pitcher
  • Age: 31
  • Best Fit: Milwaukee Brewers

Arrieta finished his 2017 season with numbers that were significantly worse then his 2015 Cy Young Award winning campaign, in which he posted a 22-6 mark with a 1.77 ERA with 236 strikeouts.  His 2017 mark of 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA while striking out just 163, can potentially be attributed to the Cubs World Series “hangover” that carried on over majority of the first half of the season.

Although his 2017 numbers are a far cry from his Cy Young season, he still has the ability to be the ace of any staff in the MLB. With that being said, of the teams that are looking to be contenders in the 2018 season, the Milwaukee Brewers are in need of a top of the rotation starter, and Arrieta’s familiarity pitching in the National League Central could work in their favor.

With the off-season additions of  Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich rise of power hitter Eric Thames to go along with the steady, veteran presence, Ryan Braun, Arrieta signing with the Brew Crew makes a lot of sense.

Last season the Brewers finished the year 86-76, missing out on the second wildcard spot by just one game. For the year, the club finished the year with a staff ERA sub 4.00, which ranked them ninth overall, and two spots behind their division rivals in Chicago. The additional arm and postseason experience of Arrieta would give the Brewers the pitcher they need to get over the playoff hump and possibly contend for the NL Central crown.

Mike Moustakas

Via: abcnews.com
  • Previous Team: Kansas City Royals
  • Position: Third Baseman
  • Age: 29
  • Best Fit:  Kansas City Royals

Mike Moustakas has spent his entire seven year career with the Royals and was able to help the team win the World Series in 2015. In his seven years with the Royals he has a career batting average of .251 on 764 hits, 119 home runs and 379 RBI.  Moustakas also has a pair of all-star appearances, in addition to winning the American League Comeback Player of the Year award in 2017. In 2017 Moustakas hit a career high of 38 home runs, 85 RBIs, and played 148 games.

Its clear that the Royals as whole are in the stages of rebuilding their franchise, with the departures of Hosmer, Cain and Jason Varags via free agency, the only household names that remain in Kansas City are veteran outfielder, Alex Gordon and all-star catcher, Salvador Perez.

Even though the core group of players from the World Series team are gone, there is a group of new players that can be the building block to a future postseason run.

Along with impending free agents Manny Macahdo and Josh Donladson at the end of the 2018 season, the best choice for Moustakas is to stay in Kansas City and help ease the pain of the Royals rebuilding process over the next few seasons.

Greg Holland

Via: Getty Images/denverpost.com
  • Previous Team: Colorado Rockies
  • Position: Closer
  • Age: 32
  • Best Fit: Houston Astros

Coming off of a World Series win, with majority of the roster returning, the Houston Astros might seem to have the perfect team.  However, after taking a closer look at the overall construction of their roster, their biggest weakness is the bullpen. Since the Astros desperately need a closer to add more depth to their bullpen, it seems that Greg Holland is the perfect fit.

Holland came into the 2017 season coming off of having Tommy John surgery and he proved that he still has the ability to be a big league closer.  This past season Holland racked up 41 saves and 60 punch-outs over 61 games with 3.61 ERA, in addition to being named to the NL all-star team.

In the Postseason last year, Houston was forced to use starting pitchers out of the bullpen in order to win games. By adding Holland, it will take the pressure off of Ken Giles, and adds a reliable pitcher to come in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning.

Jonathan Lucroy

https://www.purplerow.com/2017/10/11/16458682/colorado-rockies-free-agent-jonathan-lucroy-priority-news-notes
  • Previous Team: Colorado Rockies
  • Position: Catcher
  • Age: 31
  • Best Fit: New York Mets

For the entirety of his career, Jonathan Lucroy has been known as being one of the most well rounded catchers in the league. Over the same span, the catcher’s position for the New York Mets has been the clubs achilles heel, both offensively and defensively. Currently, the team plans on using the platoon of catchers: Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Last season d’Araund recorded a .244 batting average on 85 hits with 16 home runs and 57 RBI, while struggling on the defensive side of the ball with his inability to throw out baserunners.

Lucroy would be the prefect fit for the Mets because of his durability and ability to control the oppositions run game, while hitting for a solid average.

Alex Cobb

Via; gammonsdaily.com
  • Previous Team: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Position: Starting Pitcher
  • Age: 30
  • Best fit: Baltimore Orioles

Alex Cobb has spent the first six years of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, but with Tampa Bay in the midst of an organizational overhaul, which included trading the face of the franchise, Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants, a fresh start elsewhere would make sense for Cobb.

In 2017, Cobb had one of the best seasons of is career, winning 12 games, while recording 128 strikeout with a 3.66 ERA. He is the perfect fit for any team that is looking to add depth to their starting rotation, and the Baltimore Orioles need that most.

Last season the Orioles ranked 27th across MLB for staff ERA (4.97). The starters held a record of 75-87 with only 61 quality starts. The poor pitching rotation for Orioles in desperate need of a veteran that go out an win them double digit games. The decline in Chris Tilman, Dlyan Bundy and Kevin Gausman shows that Orioles need to bolster their starting staff if they still want a chance of contending in 2018 and beyond.

Carlos Gonzalez

Via: heavy.com/sports
  • Previous Team: Colorado Rockies
  • Position: Outfielder
  • Age: 32
  • Best FIt: Oakland Athletics

At this stage in his career Carlos Gonzalez has regressed both offensively and defensively.  The 32-year-old veteran should make is his way the AL, where he has the ability to serve as a designated hitter.

The two time sliver slugger has the potential to be a strong veteran presence for any young team looking for a leader. The Oakland Athletics have been in the rebuilding process for the better part of four years now and have a core group of talented, young players. The move would also allow Car-Go to reunite with the team that he made his MLB debut with in 2008.

Lucas Duda

Via: espn.com
  • Previous Team: Tampa Bay Rays
  • Position: First baseman
  • Age: 32
  • Best Fit: New York Mets

Other then his brief stent with the Tampa Bay Rays, Lucas Duda has spent his entire career with the New York Mets. Although though New York is trying to get younger at the first base position with the development of Dominic Smith, Duda can pair with the off-season addition of veteran first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez as much needed depth.

Last season, Smith’s ability to man first base was unclear and with the injury he suffered in Spring Training, Duda could serve as a good platoon player for fist base as well as one of the corner outfield positions. During his time with the Mets, Duda smacked 126 home runs with 378 RBI. A homecoming to Queens makes the most sense for the lefty slugger at this stage of his career.