Our predictions at the top of the free agent market are certainly not for the faint of heart; by our reckoning, both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have chances at securing record-setting contracts. Whether or not that’ll come to pass remains to be seen, but a more pressing question for hot-stove enthusiasts may be whether we’ll see a repeat of last winter’s agonizingly slow market. It seems fair to say our overall slate of predictions represents a general bet that the activity will pick up this time around. Indeed, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets that there’s a broader sense that the 2018-19 offseason will feature action. The player market, he says, could be “robust early” and “awfully busy” all winter long.
We heard earlier about some intriguing possibilities in Cleveland. For the most part, though, things are just starting to get heated up. Here’s some early chatter:
- While Garrett Richards will hit the market while still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, that doesn’t mean he won’t draw strong interest. Indeed, a dozen teams have already reached out, per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter). It’s no surprise to hear that, as quite a variety of clubs have agreed to two-year contractual arrangements with recovering hurlers in recent seasons, primarily in hopes of capturing value in the second season of the deal. MLBTR predicts that Richards will land a deal right in line with some of those cases.
- The Dodgers factor as a strong possible suitor for Japanese hurler Yusei Kikuchi, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register tweets. It’s hard to argue with that assessment based upon recent history, even if the Los Angeles club seems to be well on its way to filling out a deep rotation mix. The Dodgers have secured several talented but less-hyped starters from Asia via the posting process and have given out several large deals to pitchers with injury questions. In this case, Kikuchi figures to draw a number of suitors, particularly since he’s just 27 years of age. But recent shoulder woes could be a red flag for some organizations. Truthfully, it’s exceedingly difficult to get a read on his potential market, but the Dodgers are among the west coast organizations that seem to be rather good fits if Kikuch is posted, as seems likely but has yet to be decided conclusively.
- As the offseason gets underway, the Rockies represent a bit of a mystery team. They obviously look to be a contender, but have some clear needs and don’t appear to have much payroll flexibility barring a boost in their spending or clever move to shed salary. GM Jeff Bridich said today, as Nick Groke of The Athletic tweets, that the club will seek to oversee “responsible growth with the payroll,” adding that “success begets more growth.” That seems at least to leave open the possibility that the organization could add some more dollars to the books, though what kind of outlay might be possible remains unclear. Improving a lagging offense is the priority, as MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes.
- While the Marlins have given prior indication that they hoped to pursue a long-term deal with catcher J.T. Realmuto, his agent shot that idea down rather candidly, indicating that he does not expect his client to don a Marlins uniform in 2019. That hasn’t deterred the Miami brass, though, as Wells Dusenbury of the Sun Sentinel was among those to cover (Twitter links). CEO Derek Jeter rejoined recently that the Miami organization will decide where Realmuto plays. Today, president of baseball operations Michael Hill says that Realmuto’s apparent preferences won’t “impact in any way how we approach our offseason.” Of course, it still seems quite likely that the Marlins will end up marketing Realmuto this winter, as his value has undeniably crested after turning in a strong season with two more arb years left to go.
Philadelphia is looking to get better, Harper, Machado and Realmuto to Philly could help. Does Philadelphia has good enough prospects for Realmuto???
Sure. Just trade for Realmuto, sign Machado, sign Harper, and you’re all set.
I love hot stove. lol
If they emptied the farm for realmuto and signed Machado and Harper they’d still be a team with holes. Their bullpen is questionable and outside of Nola and Arrieta the rotation isn’t any more certain. They could probably spend those dollars filling in more gaps.
You are high. The Phillies rotation is stacked.
no you are high phillies rotation is not that stacked at all!
I know you are but what am I?
Obviously, they’ll be measured on a case by case basis, but if I’d personally hesitate to acquire any of the Phillips top prospects, I’m sure that other, more intelligent baseball execs would hesitate as well..
Whether it’s due to a lack of proper coaching, not making adjustments, or ultimately poor longterm projections in scouting, etc. Idk, but it just seems like several of the latest Phillies top prospects haven’t panned out as expected. Clearly, that excludes Nola, but moreso, I am especially referencing their position prospects..
I could be wrong, considering prospects in general are a pretty big crapshoot, but that’s just my opinion.
Lol we are| the Marlins dude. We are awful at evaluating and elevating talent. We have had so many kids show up with 4 tools or a 97moh fastball and killer slider and they are all gone. Since 2006 just look at our rosters and the players numbers for one or 2 years. Then they die.
I think the Phil’s have the prospects if it’s more of a give us 4 above average guys for JT. Plus I know that guy thought it was a joke but they could easily afford Machado and Harper and make a trade.
Last year we wanted Soto straight up or Robles and others from the Nats. What do we get now?
Yeah that Rhys Hoskins turned out to be a bum too.
I’d have to actually agree with him, though. And for most of his minor league career, Hoskins wasn’t a top prospect. It wasn’t until he and Cozens started mashing. And in the last 10 years, only like 2 first rounders have panned our for us. So, I’d say his comment isn’t without merit.
Man, Jeter is really bad at this executive thing.
It’s just a matter of time before Jeter and the Marlins get this straightened out, unfortunately total rebuilds take time.
Jeter and Marlin don’t want to win they just want to make money and will be bad for 7-10 years
Yea, because with just a little over a year proves everything.
Bridich is going to have to package a couple of prospects with Desmond and move that bad contract.
Or, go REALLY big and send Desmond, three top prospects, and some cash to the Marlins for Realmuto. That would be the ideal move, which means it has zero chance of happening.
Kikuchi also heavily scoured by Yanks and they need left handed starters. I would not be surprised if they are in on him as well as Corbin and Keuchel.