25 Names to Watch This Offseason

The Chicago Cubs are the defending World Series champs. How will teams approach this offseason in an effort to dethrone them in 2017? (photo via ABC News)

Ahh, welcome to the fall and winter months’ baseball fans. After one of the greatest World Series in baseball history, I am incredibly intrigued to see what next season has in store. But first, we must see where the big fish of the offseason will land. Below is a list of 25 potential free agents/trade targets for this offseason along with their predicted destinations. Before you judge me and my baseball knowledge, keep in mind that this stuff is as unpredictable as it gets and can change in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, the Intramural Star lacks the means to acquire inside sources who can provide me with up-to-the-second information like ESPN and FOX. That being considered, lets dig in!

Michael Saunders

(photo via USA Today)

2017: Toronto Blue Jays

With the Jays moving on from Encarnacion, I expect them to hold onto Michael Saunders following his breakout year.

Greg Holland

(photo via MLB.com)

2017: Chicago Cubs

After missing all last season due to Tommy John surgery, Holland is a name that is flying under the radar. Keeping in mind that he was one of the game’s best prior to his injury, this type of player has Theo Epstein’s name written all over it. The Cubs will sign him as a set-up man to the big-name closer that they acquire.

Carlos Beltran

(photo via Odyssey)

2017: Kansas City Royals

Beltran is a veteran bat and leadership presence that would be a great addition to any clubhouse. I see him returning to Kansas City, the place where he started his career, after the departure of Kendrys Morales. I could also see situations where he ended up with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians. For now, I’ll take a shot in the dark and say he’s a Royal next season.

Matt Wieters

(photo via CBS Sports)

2017: Atlanta Braves

It appears as if the Orioles have decided to part ways with their all-star catcher who never quite lived up to the billing during his time in Baltimore. I see the Mets and the Braves both pursuing him, with the Braves eventually winning out. The presence of former teammate Nick Markakis and coach Dave Wallace within the Braves organization should help their cause.

Josh Reddick

(photo via USA Today)

2017: Cleveland Indians

Josh Reddick did not handle the bright lights of Los Angeles very well. Therefore, I think a smaller market like Cleveland would be a much better fit for him. The American League Champions need a boost to their outfield with Rajai Davis and Coco Crisp becoming free agents and Michael Brantley returning from injury.

Jeremy Hellickson

(photo via ESPN.com)

2017: Philadelphia Phillies

As I am writing this post it has come out that he accepted a qualifying offer from the Phillies. Hellickson seems to enjoy the culture in Philadelphia and realizes that if he can replicate his 2016 campaign he will put himself in position to make a lot of money next offseason. This is a smart financial move for Hellickson.

Jose Bautista

(photo via CBS Sports)

2017: New York Mets

My gut tells me that Bautista will be in a Blue Jays uniform in 2017. However, my brain tells me that this dude is egotistical enough to be believe that he deserves more money than the Jays will be willing to give him. When the Mets lose out on Cespedes, they will spend a portion of that money on Bautista, who will eagerly accept and to shove it to Toronto management.

Mike Napoli

(photo via The News-Herald)

2017: Cleveland Indians

Napoli would be a great addition to any team in baseball. However, he was an integral piece of the Indians’ American League Pennant, and they simply cannot afford to let him walk. I would be surprised if he was not in a Cleveland uniform in 2017.

Wilson Ramos

(photo via the Washington Post)

2017: New York Mets

The Mets, who will be in the mix for both Ramos and Matt Wieters, will end up with Ramos. The Mets are in obvious need of a catcher with some pop, and Ramos fits the bill after his breakout season in 2016.

Ivan Nova

(photo via MLB.com)

2017: Pittsburgh Pirates

No non-playoff team may be better primed to return to October in 2017 than the Pittsburgh Pirates. To do so, they must sign Ivan Nova, who excelled for them following his arrival from the New York Yankees. This is a deal Pittsburgh must make despite Nova’s large asking price.

Mark Trumbo

(photo via PressBox)

2017: Baltimore Orioles

Trumbo denied the Oriole’s qualifying offer yesterday. However, he has been clear about his desire to remain in Baltimore. With the Orioles appearing to be letting Matt Wieters walk, I do not foresee them allowing Trumbo to follow suit.

Chris Sale

(photo via Bleacher Report)

2017: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox need more pitching and are one of the few teams in baseball who have pockets deep enough to afford Sale. There have been rumors of this since last season, and with the White Sox in rebuilding mode, I do not see a reason for this deal not to be completed.

Rich Hill

(photo via Los Angeles Times)

2017: New York Yankees

After the Red Sox acquire Chris Sale, the Pinstripes will scramble to get Rich Hill. In a weak pitching market, the Yankees will be able to sign the biggest check and lure the veteran lefty to the Bronx.

Zach Britton

(photo via the Baltimore Sun)

2017: Baltimore Orioles

Relax O’s fans. Britton is the best closer in the game and should have been an AL Cy Young finalist. Despite the Orioles’ desperate need for starting pitching, they cannot afford to give up someone as valuable and lockdown as Zach Britton.

Dexter Fowler

(photo via FOX Sports)

2017: Chicago Cubs

I do not understand why Fowler would ever want to leave nor why the Cubs would ever let him. Do not worry Cubs fans, your leadoff hitter and centerfielder will be back at Wrigley in 2017.

Justin Turner

(photo via FOX Sports)

2017: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers will do everything they can to maintain their third baseman. I cannot think of any other suitor who could match what the Dodgers will pay him either. I am confident that he will be back in LA in 2017.

Mark Melancon

(photo via MLB.com)

2017: Colorado Rockies

Melancon is a native of Colorado and has expressed interest in a deal with the Rockies. This move makes sense for the Rockies who need a major boost to their bullpen after blowing 28 saves last season and posting a 5.13 ERA. Melancon would solidify the closer role that was a revolving door for the Rocks last season.

Aroldis Chapman

(photo via the Chicago Tribune)

2017: San Francisco Giants

This is a shot in the dark, but Chapman will go to the team best suited to take out the Cubs in 2017: the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are in the market for a closer and Chapman is the best one in baseball not named Zach Britton. He also showed how valuable he can be in a playoff series in the World Series. The Nationals and Cubs will also be in the mix.

Kenley Jansen

(photo via the Los Angeles Times)

2017: Los Angeles Dodgers

After the way, he pitched last season, especially throughout the postseason, the Dodgers are obliged to give him the type of deal that he deserves. Unless they sign a guy like Chapman, Kenley Jansen will be back in Dodger blue in 2017.

Ian Desmond

(photo via Star-Telegram)

2017: Baltimore Orioles

Desmond is exactly the type of player the Baltimore Orioles need: an athletic outfielder with speed and power who contributed both offensively and defensively. Desmond, a former National, is also familiar with the mid-Atlantic region. Although his price tag will initially be beyond what the Orioles will be willing to pay, I foresee the deal eventually getting done. As an O’s fan, I sure hope it does.

Ryan Braun

(photo via Forbes)

2017: Los Angeles Dodgers

Ryan Braun was nearly traded to the Dodgers at the deadline in 2016. With a slew of young outfielders, the Brewers have no reason to hold on to Braun. It’s time to cash him in and get whatever you can; I expect the Dodgers to give enough to make the deal worth it.

Andrew McCutchen

(photo via FOX Sports)

2017: Pittsburgh Pirates

Although a lot of hype has been built up around Austin Meadows, Andrew McCutchen is the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates and will have a bounce back year in 2017. The only way that Pittsburgh is going to deal him will be if be the team underperforms again in 2017. In that case, he would be shipped out at the trade deadline, not in January.

Carlos Gonzalez

(photo via the Sports Journal)

2017: Colorado Rockies

If the Rockies were going to deal Carlos Gonzalez, it already would have happened. New skipper Bud Black has the best starting outfield in the National League West with CarGo, Charlie Blackmon, and David Dahl. CarGo is too valuable to a team with increased expectations in 2017.

Edwin Encarnacion

(photo via FanSided)

2017: Boston Red Sox

With the Blue Jays signing of Kendrys Morales, it is very unlikely that Encarnacion will remain north of the border. Every source points to the Papi-endorsed slugger heading to Boston. I expect the same.

Yoenis Cespedes

(photo via FOX Sports)

2017: Houston Astros

Cespedes may be the most unpredictable player on this list. However, the Astros are in desperate need of an outfielder and have one of the top young cores in all of baseball with soon-to-be AL MVP Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman. Cespedes will be tied teams like the Nationals, Mets, and Yankees the entire offseason. I believe the Nationals are merely driving up the price so that a team like the Mets will overpay. When none of the teams bite, the ‘Stros will swoop in and secure one of the biggest difference-makers in all of baseball.

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