The MLB Winter Meetings are upon us. The time of the MLB off-season where big brass and player agents mingle to talk about trades and contracts. Among other things that will shape the league, possibly for seasons to come.
Everyone’s attention for the majority of the off-season so far, had been on star outfielder Aaron Judge. Would he go to the Bay? Would he stay in the Bronx? Well we now know that the AL single-season HR record holder is staying in the pinstripes. With that being said, there are still some very good players left on the market. They now have their time to shine/get the buzz.
Below, I will mention 5 of those such FA’s left (in no particular order), and an idea of what team(s) would be the best fit for the player in question.
Correa, 28, was a one-and-done with the Twins this past season. After signing a three-year, $105 million contract with Minnesota before the season, a deal that had a player opt-out after each year. The former Rookie of The Year opted out, but didn’t rule out a return to the Twins.
Correa was a part of the Houston Astros 2017 World Series Champion squad. Joining the Twins last year, made it so he was a part of a non-playoff team, for the first time since 2016. While 78-84 isn’t a horrible record, it’s not what the former #1 pick is used to. I think with having a season like he did, Correa will have plenty of suitors, including contenders. He wants to get back to the playoffs, and I’m not so sure the Twins are the way to go. Even if their new uniforms are some of the best in the league now.
Best Fits: Braves, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners.
Sticking with the shortstops. Dansby Swanson is like Correa, a former #1 draft pick. Swanson and the Braves are coming off of a loss in the NLDS to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies just snagged arguably the best SS on the market in Trea Turner to pair back up with his buddy Bryce Harper.
The Braves have all their young stars locked up for quite a while on mostly team-friendly deals (Albies, Acuna, Riley etc.,). Why that hasn’t been the same case with the 28 year-old Gold Glover, I don’t know. While they do have a top 100 prospect SS in Braden Shewmake (according to The Athletic’s Keith Law). I don’t see the Braves letting him walk just yet. But maybe they’ll surprise us all.
P.S. Swanson has arguably the best hair flow in the game of baseball.
Best fits: Braves, Giants, Red Sox.
3. Andrew Benintendi, OF. 2022 Team(s): Kansas City Royals/New York Yankees (.304/.373/.399, 5 HR, 51 RBI. 1.000 FLD%)
Moving to the outfield. We have a guy who is seemingly underrated at times. Former Golden Spikes Award Winner at the University Of Arkansas, Andrew Benintendi. While he was one of the most talked about names before this past season’s trade deadline. Benintendi still to me, seems to not be talked about enough. This is a guy who won’t get you 20-30 HRs a year. But hasn’t hit under .270 (min. 80 games) since he came into the league. Along with never having a FLD% below .980.
He could be the spark that a contender or a just missed the playoffs team could use. Putting a little bias in here, which I rarely ever do, I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back to Boston.
Best fits: Red Sox, Mariners, Cardinals.
Rodon became one of the top pitchers in the game after a stellar 2021 season with the Chicago White Sox. Which landed him his first All-Star appearance. As well as a two-year $44 million contract with the San Francisco Giants before this season. After earning a second straight All-Star season, the 29 year-old opted out of the deal with the Giants to test the open waters.
You could argue that Rodon was the #2 guy behind Logan Webb last season. But you could of course, also argue the other way around. What i’m saying is that Rodon could definitely be the ace for most of the teams in the league. While that would come with more money in his pocket, I’m leaning towards Rodon being better suited as a #2 rotation guy on a contender.
Best Fits: Guardians, Padres, Blue Jays.
5. Trey Mancini, 1B/OF. 2022 Team(s): Baltimore Orioles/Houston Astros (.239/.319/.391, 18 HR, 63 RBI. .982 FLD%)
The 2021 Comeback Player of The Year, after his battle with Colon Cancer. Mancini was the most beloved Oriole to play the game since, depending on who you ask, Adam Jones or Cal Ripken Jr. Until he got shipped to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline this past July. While he now has “World Series Champion” next to his name, Mancini will always be thought of as an Oriole.
Mancini mainly plays 1B or is put in the lineup as the DH. With the Astros signing of 1B/DH Jose Abreu, I see a reunion between Mancini and the Astros very unlikely. I don’t see Mancini looking for the biggest “bag” so-to-speak. Although I wouldn’t knock him for it either. I see the Notre Dame product either taking less money to go to a contender for a shot at another ring. Or taking a more sizable offer for a bigger role on a not so high-level yet team.
Best Fits: Brewers, Cardinals, Rangers.
The “Hot Stove” as they call it, is starting to get hotter each day. It’s only a matter of time before these 5 players find their new homes or go back to their old ones.