By Jeremiah Delgado
The 2016 Winter Meetings are just a few weeks away and the MLB offseason will be underway. The MLB certainly has the biggest free-agency spending due to the fact that there is no salary cap and only a luxury tax. These are going to be the biggest free agents that teams will be after this offseason.
Aroldis Chapman, Closer
Chapman just helped the Chicago Cubs end their championship drought. Although, his World Series performance might be slightly overshadowed by allowing the Cleveland Indians to tie the game with a three-run lead, he still had a good playoffs.
If not for the implosion of a clearly fatigued pitcher, Chapman might have been the World Series MVP. He was the only pitcher Joe Maddon trusted coming out of his bullpen. After a performance like that, he is going to be looking for big money and well within reason.
A lot of teams like the San Francisco Giants will be looking for bullpen help. There is a good chance he picks the team with the highest bid and that will be the team he started the year with, the New York Yankees. They need to add another arm in their bullpen because Dellin Betances is not ready to become the closer and will have some money to spend.
Best Fit: New York Yankees
Kenley Jansen, Closer
There are definitely some great bullpen arms this free-agency period. Jansen is another great closer and the Los Angeles Dodgers will be looking to re-sign him. The Dodgers have to make decisions on other players as well, like Justin Turner, Rich Hill and Josh Reddick.
The odds are Jansen is going to want to get paid like Chapman and if the Dodgers want to keep some of their other players they might go for a cheaper option to fill the void. The Giants won’t be willing to pay Chapman money, but nothing would be sweeter than to steal away their rival’s top closer.
Jansen will be headed north to the Bay and give the Giants that closer they need.
Best Fit: San Francisco Giants
Jose Bautista, RF
At the age of 36, Bautista is near the end of his career and is not going to get top money from any other team besides the Toronto Blue Jays. He will not be as potent in a lineup outside of theirs because of the hitters surrounding him.
His power numbers were down this season, as he only hit 22 home runs and had a slugging percentage of .452. This late in his career, he might be best suited as a DH if he wants to move to another team.
There will be teams looking to add his bat to their lineup if they already feel like they just need that extra bat to take them to the next level. The Blue Jays won’t be ready to break up their core just yet.
Best Fit: Toronto Blue Jays
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH
Unlike his teammate, Encarnacion may have many destinations to go other than Toronto this offseason. He is going to be a highly-coveted bat in the American League. Teams like the Red Sox, Indians, Orioles, Mariners and Yankees will be in the running to sign him.
His best suitors will be those willing to pay the most and are ready to win now. The Mariners are an intriguing destination because he does have friends in Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz on the team. The Red Sox seem like the ones who are going to fit the criteria for him.
They are ready to win now and definitely can pay him the money. Boston also needs a new DH after the retirement of David Ortiz. Ortiz will probably try to convince Encarnacion that Boston is a great place for him to play and to fill-in his shoes.
Best Fit: Boston Red Sox
Yoenis Cespedes, OF
Another offseason that Mets fans will have to worry about bringing back Cespedes. He is ready to make a long-term deal with a team and there is a good chance it is not with the Mets. In just five seasons, Cespedes has been on four different teams and is clearly not ready to stop moving.
He will have plenty of suitors trying to lock him down for the long-term. It looks as though his time as a Met is finished. Some possible spots for him are with the Giants and Angels. The Giants could use another bat and the Angels would like to pair up Cespedes with Mike Trout.
Unfortunately for Mets fans, the highest bidder will come just a subway ride away. That’s right, the Yankees are going to make a push for Cespedes in hopes that he can provide some extra power for the “Baby Bombers”.
The biggest hurdle will be the amount of years Cespedes is going to want. The Yankees are tired of getting burnt by long-term deals for players over 30.
Best Fit: New York Yankees
Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF
After getting a one-year deal with the Orioles, Trumbo has really shown why he deserves a longer-term deal. He hit 47 home runs and had a slugging percentage of .533. He seems to be a player teams are interested in but warrants caution as this is his first good season in at least two years.
There might even be a reunion between him and the Angels as they are desperately looking to add a bat or two. He has familiarity with the organization as that is who he was drafted by. The Orioles are going to make sure Trumbo does not go anywhere.
Trumbo is going to return to the Orioles because of the team he has around him. If he goes elsewhere, his numbers will not be the same and the Orioles are into keeping their talent as they have done so with Chris Davis and Adam Jones.
Best Fit: Baltimore Orioles
Mark Melancon, Closer
Plenty of teams will be after a closer and Melancon is a very consistent one. He may not have the strikeout numbers like Chapman or Jansen but he gets hitters out. In the past two seasons, Melancon has 98 saves.
The Nationals are hoping that Melancon does not leave for another team but there are a lot teams looking for a closer as stated previously. He is going to be cheaper than the other two closers on this list and that bodes well for the Dodgers.
They will need to replace their closer and Melancon could leave for Los Angeles. He could also be headed to Detroit and help the Tigers. Melancon is going to a division rival. The Mets will try to use the money they gained from seeing Cespedes leave and use it on another arm in their bullpen.
The domestic violence allegations against Jeurys Familia will force the hand of the Mets and force them to make a move to bolster their bullpen.
Best Fit: New York Mets