MLB: Offseason Primer

los-angeles-dodgers-pitcher-zack-greinke

By: Adam Pasternak

In my opinion, the MLB has the most entertaining offseason out of all the sports. First of all, it takes place from November until February when all the other sports are just starting to heat up. Until then, there’s the Winter Meetings, arbitration cases, qualifying offers, big trades; there is never a dull moment. This winter will be no different, with many big name players on the market. Aces, Zack Greinke and David Price, are two big name starters who will ask for possible record breaking contracts. Will David Price stay in Toronto, where the reigning GM of the year Alex Anthopoulos is no longer? Will Greinke get the money he wants? The position players available this winter are also very good with now World Series champion Alex Gordon leading the charge in that department. It has already been rumoured that five teams, including the Red Sox have expressed interest in signing him. It will definitely be interesting to see where he goes, along with Yoenis Cespedes from the NL champion Mets. There are a lot of teams looking to improve and a lot of hungry GM’s eyeing big name players this offseason. Here’s a little information to get you ready for what looks to be an eventful winter.

1. The David Price Situation:

It’s really difficult to predict what the Blue Jays are going to do this offseason. With a sudden change in leadership, it’s going to be interesting to see if they stay the course or try and do something different. Either way, I think David Price needs to be involved. The Blue Jays should pay him whatever he wants, because they need him. Dickey is not going to cut it and Stroman can’t do it alone. Price had a strong season for the Jays last year after the deadline and although he struggled in the playoffs, he is still considered one of the best in the game. The Jays need to keep him. It won’t be easy though. All the big named teams will be offering him lucrative deals, and there has been some questions as to if Price is content with how the whole Anthopoulos situation was dealt with. The Jays won’t be making any major moves I don’t think, and they don’t need to. If they can resign Price and Estrada, maybe add another left handed power bat, and fix the bullpen they will have improved plenty. Let’s not get carried away here, the Jays are a great team. They have a great core, they just need some final pieces to get over the hump, but more on the rest of the team later. In the end I think Price will sign back in Toronto. From what I’ve seen, he likes it there and has struck a great friendship with Marcus Stroman. He has some unfinished business there and with the type of competitor that he is known to be, he will want to come back and set the record straight.

2. What Will Happen to Zack Greinke?

Grienke, who in my opinion should get the most credit in the Royals winning the World Series (Esobar and Cain were part of the package sent to K.C in return for Grienke a few years ago), has declined his option, and is now officially a free agent! He will command at least $200 million and he’ll realistically get it. The Dodgers need him back and they will give him the money he wants. The rivalled San Francisco Giants have been reported saying that they will pursue him this winter. In my opinion, the Giants will make a run at Greinke but at the end of the day he will go back to L.A. He is a perfect fit there and they have more than enough money to throw his way. They will have a new manager and probably lots of new players, but the direction they are headed in is a perfect fit for Greinke. It will be interesting to see if he even gives other teams any real consideration. He loves being in L.A and provided that they will give him the money he wants, he will be back there.

3. Where Will Alex Gordon Land?

After winning the World Series with the K.C Royals, it looks like their beloved, home-grown outfielder Alex Gordon will be taking his talents elsewhere next season. He’s a big name player, and it is well deserved. He’s got the Gold gloves, the all-star appearances, and now a World Series ring. The Red Sox have been rumoured to be interested in his services and expect many more big market teams to pursue him as well. In my opinion, he is better and more valuable than Jason Hayward. Gordon might not get the contract Hayward will get because of his age, but he is the better player. It will be interesting to see where he ends up, and don’t be surprised if its on a team in the AL East.

4. What About Yoenis Cespedes?

Yoenis Cespedes could very well be named the NL MVP in a few weeks, but even if he isn’t he will still get a large contract this offseason. It looks like he won’t be returning to the Mets and after a strong second half of the season, he will be a wanted man this winter. Some people suggest that Justin Upton should be ranked higher than Cespedes, but in my opinion, Yoenis is a better overall player. Upton is younger, but Yoenis is just turning 30. This will be his last big contract and has at least four good years left in him. He’s got a cannon of an arm and could soon have an MVP award too. If I was a team with the sufficient funs and in need of an outfielder, I would definitely look at Cespedes. Upton to me just isn’t worth his asking price.

5. Will Chris Davis Stay in Baltimore?

Not much has been discussed as to where Davis will play next year. It looks like the Orioles just don’t have enough money available to compete with the big time offers he will be receiving. He’s got great power, hitting 100 home runs between 2013-2015. Personally, I see him on an AL team because he can also hit in the DH spot. His glove isn’t great and as he gets older he could be a liability in the field. I see a team like the Yankees making a run at him this winter. With Tex and A-Rod getting towards the end of their careers, Davis can be the guy to take over the first base/DH job in the Bronx. Yankee Stadium would only boost his home run numbers as well. As much as I hate the Yankees, it’s a perfect fit. If they can get Davis, they will be a hard team to beat.

6. The Toronto Blue Jays:

The Jays offseason will not be overly eventful, I don’t think. This morning, they extended a qualifying offer to Marco Estrada. No player has accepted a qualifying offer in it’s existence, but considering the offer is worth $15.8 million, it is possible he becomes the first to accept it. I really don’t see any team offering him an annual salary near that mark over a long term deal. He’s in his thirties and throws a changeup for a living. In the end, regardless of the contract, I think he will be back in a Jays uniform next season. Another player the Jays could target is free agent starter Mark Fister, formally of the Washington Nationals. Fister had his best season in a Tigers uniform a few years back, and injuries have recently derailed his progress. Nonetheless, he is a solid pitcher and could still have a few good years left in the tank. He’s got a great breaking ball and could really help eat up some innings at the 4-5 spot in the rotation. As for the bullpen, getting an established lefty is priority number one. Someone like Tony Sipp could be an affordable and productive signing. There’s also questions as to what is going to happen with free agent catcher Dioner Navarro. At the beginning of the year he wasn’t shy to say that he wanted to be traded and be a starter, but after such a successful run for the Jays this year and with unfinished business left on the table, don’t be surprised to see Navarro back again on a short term deal to backup Russell Martin. The Jays are out for revenge and they want to win, badly. It’s going to be hard for anyone to choose to leave with so much left to accomplish.

There’s lots to lookout for in the coming months. Lots of players will be playing for new teams next season and it will be interesting to see what deals are made this winter. The offseason is always full of rumours and excitement and I can’t wait for the fun to start.

What do you think will happen this offseason? Comment below!

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