Forget about looking ahead to next winter, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan is already examining the free agent class of the 2018-19 offseason, and with good reason. An unprecedented amount of talent is scheduled to hit the open market that winter — Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez are just a few of the stars that will be available. Even more top names (Clayton Kershaw, David Price, Jason Heyward) will also be free agents if they exercise their opt-out clauses as expected, and Andrew McCutchen headlines another impressive list of players who be free agents in 2018-19 if all their club option years prior to that winter are picked up. Big-spending teams like the Dodgers and Phillies currently have either very little or literally nothing committed to payroll past the 2018 season, so lots of clubs will have room to maneuver. Obviously a lot can happen in three years’ time, though Passan notes that several clubs are already making plans for how they’ll approach this singular offseason.
Here’s some more from around baseball…
- There are “no active discussions” between the Braves and Royals on a trade that would send Nick Markakis to Kansas City, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. The Royals have gaps in both corner outfield slots with Alex Gordon and Alex Rios both hitting free agency though Markakis could be a bit pricey with $31.5MM owed to him over the next three seasons.
- In another tweet from O’Brien, he thinks the Braves aren’t likely to trade Ender Inciarte unless they’re “blown away (again) by a great offer.”
- Five teams are showing interest in veteran reliever Jared Burton, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). Burton signed minor league deals with the Yankees and Rangers last season but never reached the bigs, and he didn’t catch on with any other teams after Texas granted him a release in late June. Burton put up some solid numbers out of the Reds and Twins bullpens over his eight-year career, though a down year in 2014 hurt his market last winter.
- The Dodgers’ need for pitching tops Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com’s list of the 10 teams with the biggest remaining offseason needs.
- In a subscription-only piece for ESPN.com, Jim Bowden grades each club’s offseason moves thus far. The Red Sox are the only team that Bowden awards with an A+ (though three others receive an A grade), while the Reds’ lack of activity nets them the only F grade amongst the 30 teams.