Now that the World Series is over, Major League Baseball is now entering the always-interesting off-season, where big-name free agents and trade rumors leave fans conflicted for months.
After the chess match that was last year’s free agency between Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, both players signed massive deals and left the baseball world on their toes for nearly the entire off-season. Fans hope that this year’s class won’t be as draining. With pitching talents like Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg on the market, teams will be more than happy to overpay.
Strasburg and the Washington Nationals are coming off their first World Series victory. The reigning World Series MVP had a pretty good year, going 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA and is the current NL wins leader. Having just turned 31 in July, Strasburg has shown that age isn’t a factor.
However, his biggest “what if?” is his body, Strasburg is very injury prone. The 3-time All-Star was injured three different times in 2018. Strasburg is still young to an extent and would be a great addition to any rotation, however, teams should not pay big money for him.
On the other side of the pitching duel, Gerrit Cole came off the books for the Houston Astros. Cole, who is coming off an absolutely incredible year, went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA on the season. He also won the honors of AL ERA Leader and the MLB strikeout leader. Cole is going to ask for historical amounts of money and teams should give it to him.
Teams with a lacking rotation will be the first to call Scott Boras, both Cole’s and Strasburg’s agent. The last time a pitcher was this high on the market was CC Sabathia during the winter of 2008.
Another free agent who will get a big payday is a third baseman, Josh Donaldson. Donaldson is coming off a stellar year; the Braves star is drawing interest from teams like the Nationals, who might be losing their stud at third base, Anthony Rendon.
Free agency isn’t the only thing making this an interesting off-season. Boston Red Sox star outfielder, Mookie Betts has been the subject of trade rumors since July. The 2018 MVP didn’t have a bad year this season, however, the Red Sox, although stunning the baseball world last season, had a disappointing year.
Betts is just one of the All-Star caliber players having their name tossed around. Cleveland Indians shortstop, Francisco Lindor has also been on the trade market, so people think. Although no teams have shown interest in either Betts or Lindor, it will be intriguing to see what happens.
Fans won’t know much until Winter Meetings take place in early December. With the GM Meetings, which ended on November 14, this free agency might be quicker than previous years.