With the MLB season wrapped up and one of the longest curses in sports history lifted, let’s take a look at some players who may be finding new clubs in the offseason.
1. Edwin Encarnacion – DH/1B, Age: 34
2016 Stats: BA: .263, HR: 42, RBI: 127
Matching his career high in home runs, and setting a career high for RBI’s, Encarnacion will definitely be a sought after player this offseason. With David Ortiz’s retirement, Encarnacion and Nelson Cruz are the two best designated hitters in the league. Encarnacion could end up in a number of different clubs. He could end up with the New York Yankess, the now Ortiz-less Red Sox, or he could very well end up staying in Toronto. Wherever Encarnacion signs, he won’t come cheap.
2. Yoenis Cespedes – LF, Age: 31
2016 Stats: BA: .280, HR: 31, RBI: 86
With Cespedes staying relatively healthy this year, only missing 30 games, he was able to compile a good stat line. Having his best On Base Percentage (.354) since his rookie year, Cespedes recently opted out of his contract with the New York Mets and chose to become a free agent. Cespedes bounced from Oakland to Boston to Detroit and finally landed in New York with the Mets in 2015, helping bring them to the World Series. After a successful 2016 season, Cespedes is looking to get paid this offseason as a left fielder, however he could also make a compelling case as a part time DH. Clubs that could use Cespedes include the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angels, and the Baltimore Orioles.
3. Justin Turner – 3B, Age: 32
2016 Stats: BA: .275, HR: 27, RBI: 90
Setting a career high in HR’s and RBI’s, Turner has been very productive the past few seasons. Although, having his best year at the age of 32 could probably steer a few clubs away from signing the third baseman. Still, Turner has improved his resumé with these past three seasons and seems to be the best third baseman on the market. Clubs that could benefit from Turner include the Chicago White Sox, LA Angels, and San Diego Padres.
4. Aroldis Chapman – Relief Pitcher, Age: 29
2016 Stats (Yankee and Cub Stats combined for the year): ERA: 1.51, Saves: 36, IP: 57.3
Even though Chapman gave up a few runs in Game 7 of the World Series, make no mistake, he was overworked and over-utilized for the last few games of the series and for the most part, he delivered. An integral player in the Cubs World Series victory, Chapman is one of the top closers in the game. Chapman has a monster arm and should still have a few prime, if not above average, years left in him as a closer/relief pitcher. Clubs that would be interested include the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Francisco Giants.
5. Kenley Jansen – Relief Pitcher, Age: 29
2016 Stats: ERA: 1.83, Saves: 47, IP: 68.2
After having a career year on all fronts and being named to his first All Star game, Jansen is probably the only rival to Chapman in terms of closing pitchers on the market. Being a key player in the Los Angeles Dodgers regular season and playoffs, signing Jansen won’t be cheap. Good thing for Jansen, baseball doesn’t have a salary cap. Interested clubs should include the LA Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and SF Giants.