With the offseason officially upon us, we say goodbye to the 2014 teams that we loved and hated and to the players on those rosters. I say this because the free agency period begins on Tuesday and there are many, many big-time players and MVP caliber athletes who can make an impact wherever they sign and cause chaos to the team they leave.
The 2015 Dodgers might look very different than how the 2014 Dodgers did. The same goes for the Detroit Tigers. And the New York Yankees. With that being said, let’s take a look at the top 9 notable free agents to keep tabs on and don’t forget to mark your calendars because on Tuesday, the pandemonium begins.
9. Russell Martin – C, Pittsburgh Pirates
The 31-year-old catcher had one of the best seasons of his career this year and the Pirates benefited. While they lost in the wild card game to the eventual World Series Champions, the Pirates got to that point thanks to the play of Martin. He hit .290 with 67 RBI despite missing 22 straight games in May because of an injury.
8. Hanley Ramirez – SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
The 30-year-old shortstop will not doubt be a hot commodity come Tuesday. Ramirez hit .283 this season with 71 RBI and was a defensive wall for the Dodgers. Ramirez is one of 7 Dodger free agents and while I want them to bring him back, I know he will be fielding a lot of offers from many teams.
7. Melky Cabrera – LF, Toronto Blue Jays
.301, 16 HR, 73 RBI. That’s all you need to know. He is gone and he is going to the highest bidder.
6. David Robertson – RP, New York Yankees
Robertson had the impossible task of trying to “replace” Mariano Rivera as the Yankees closer. It’s something that can’t be done but he tried and finished the season with 39 saves and 96 strikeouts. The Yankees bullpen was shaky this year and with a lot of change happening with the team (retirements, reinstatements, etc), the Yankees should sign him despite having Dellin Betances.
5. Nelson Cruz – DH/OF, Baltimore Orioles
Cruz had the best season of his career and notched 40 HR and 103 RBI. That guy is going to get paid and paid A LOT.
4. Victor Martinez – DH, Detroit Tigers
Along with Cruz, V-Mart had an incredible year. 32 HR, 103 RBI and batting .335. The Tigers need to re-sign him but if they don’t, Christmas is going to come early for the team that does.
3. James Shields – SP, Kansas City
Shields had a great year with the Royals, who unfortunately lost Game 7 of the World Series. Shields is one of the top pitchers in the league and can help any rotation immediately. If the Royals don’t sign him, they have a lot of young talent, expect a lot of teams to be calling come Tuesday.
2. Max Scherzer – SP, Detroit Tigers
Scherzer turned down a 6-year, $144 million contract. Yes, $144 million. With Detroit out of the picture, Scherzer is going to the highest bidder and look for the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers to be contenders for the 29-year-old who finished the year 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA.
1. Jon Lester – SP, Oakland A’s
After being traded at the deadline from the Red Sox to the A’s, Lester is now a free agent come Tuesday for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old left hander was expected to sign an extension with the Red Sox during the 2014 season but turned down a reported 4-year, $70 million offer.
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