By William Fallon
The 2020 MLB season is now finished and there are a lot of great players available in free agency. With the offseason looming, I will predict where the top 10 free agents will land.
- Dj LeMahieu: Prediction: New York Yankees
Dj Lemahieu, I believe, is the most valuable free agent in this class, as his consistent MVP-level production with the bat and in the field provide so. With him being able to play almost every position in the infield at a gold-glove caliber level provides extra reasons as to why he is in my opinion, the best player in this free-agent class. That being said, he has expressed multiple times during this past season that he wants to stay with the Yankees, and with their season ending the way it did, I see no reason as to why the Yankees would not go out of their way to assure that he stays in pinstripes.
- Trevor Bauer: Prediction: Los Angeles Angels
After playing at an almost inconsistent rate for a good amount of his career, Bauer buckled down in Cincinnati and became the Cy Young frontrunner, and eventually winner, this past year. He seems to have focused much more on his control and he has looked nothing but dominant over the regular season and especially in his only postseason start. Bauer has basically expressed interest in every team in the majors and even NPB teams. Now why he would go to Japan to play I don’t know but after all, he is nowhere near the most conventional guy. But when it comes down to it, I believe the three teams that will be in the running for him, the Yankees, the Reds, and the Angels, and I think the Angels will present the best contract to join him with Mike Trout to help their desperate rotation.
- JT Realmuto: Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies
While the argument can be made as to why Realmuto is the best free agent in this class, with the premier offense and defense for his position, I just don’t see it that way. I may be wrong, but that’s just my opinion. After once again producing a fantastic season both with the bat and behind the plate at one of the toughest positions, he will generate a great amount of interest. I believe two teams are seriously in the running for him, those teams being the Phillies and the Mets. While Steve Cohen will definitely pursue Realmuto and present a good offer, I think the Phillies will present a good enough case to keep him, along with a lucrative contract to entice him.
- George Springer: Prediction: Chicago White Sox
George Springer presents an interesting case this free agency. With his premier bat and defense in centerfield, he will be highly sought after this year. Springer has pretty much said he is not going back to the astros, so that takes them out of the equation. Now what I see is a dark horse team in the white sox presenting a good case to provide a scary outfield consisting of Springer, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez. I believe that vision along with the ability of the white sox to produce a lucrative contract will entice Springer enough to go to Chicago’s north side and continue on what the White Sox accomplished this past year.
- Marcell Ozuna: Prediction: Atlanta Braves
Marcell Ozuna is going to be a player to watch this offseason, as reportedly many teams are interested in acquiring the 30 year old. Ozuna is only valuable for his bat, but his bat is enough to make him one of the best free agents in the class. Since he is not the best fielder, he will be playing DH wherever he goes if the NL keeps the universal DH. Personally I don’t think after he put up MVP caliber numbers, that the braves won’t go all-out to re-sign him, so I believe they will do so, keeping them very much in contention to take the NL next year.
- Didi Gregorius: Prediction: Cincinnati Reds
After a disappointing 2019 coming off a Tommy John surgery, Gregorius signed a one year deal with the Phillies and had a bounce-back year. Didi looks like the best shortstop coming out of the 2020 class, his only real competition being Marcus Semien, who regressed in 2020. That being said, the Reds were aggressive last year in improving their lineup, and it paid off, making the postseason, but, they had a glaring weakness at the shortstop position. With all this in mind, I believe they will present the best offer to attract Gregorius, actually rejoining the team, as he came up in their organization and played there in 2012.
- Marcus Semien: Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies
I believe this will come if Didi leaves the Phillies, because if he does, that opens the opportunity for the Phillies to pursue Semien, who is considered by many to be the best shortstop in this class, while others, myself included, prefer Gregorius. As I previously said, I believe Didi will leave, leading the Phillies to probably over pursue the former MVP candidate and possibly overpay in the process, something to watch for.
- Masahiro Tanaka: Prediction: New York Yankees
Tanaka once again had a pretty consistent year relative to his numbers year-to-year. When he had to be great, he was, but that did come with some struggles throughout the year. While his disappointing postseason may raise some concerns, only because he has been previously nothing but dominant in almost every previous postseason start, I do not believe that will affect his case for free agency. Also, I believe there is strong mutual interest between Tanaka and the Yankees to get him back in pinstripes, and I believe exactly that will happen, and he will continue to play for the Yankees.
- Liam Hendriks: Prediction: New York Yankees
This one may come as a surprise to people, but with the bullpen raising concerns this past year and postseason in particular, I believe the Yankees will actively search for extra additions. And in this class, there are no better relief pitchers than Hendriks. Hendriks has been considered one of the top relievers, winning AL reliever of the year this past year. His consistent production as a flamethrower is a plus and I believe this could be the big transaction that would lock up the Yankees bullpen and truly make them the team to beat next year.
- Nelson Cruz: Prediction: Minnesota Twins
Nelson cruz is somehow breaking every expectation of what a forty year old is capable of doing.Even at his age, he is swinging the bat better than almost everybody else in the league.Between 2019 and 2020, his combined stats are an absurd .308/.394/.626 slash line, with 57 homers and 141 RBIs. That being said, he is long past his fielding days and only is a designated hitter. Now at his age, I don’t believe many teams are going to be pursuing him for a long and lucrative deal so there is no true reason to leave especially after the twins have made the playoffs both years he was there, combined with the fact that at the moment, the Twins and Cruz seem to be negotiating a deal, so I really see no other option for the slugger than to stay.