MLB Trade Rumors just released their annual free agency predictions, which is always a fun read for baseball fans as the offseason gets going.
Before you freak out, please remember these are complete guesses by their staff. Last year’s list had Bryce Harper going to the Dodgers for 14 years, Manny Machado joining the Phillies, Josh Donaldson playing for the Cardinals and Dallas Keuchel becoming a National while getting 6x the amount of money he ended up signing with the Braves for in June.
MLBTR sees the Braves missing out on all the high-dollar guys and landing two veterans to address the rotation and third base.
“15. Cole Hamels – Braves. Two years, $30MM. Hamels is headed toward the twilight of his career, with his 36th birthday around the corner. The southpaw change-up artist has an admirable career record. His 39.3 WAR from 2007-15 ranks sixth in MLB, nudged between likely Hall of Famers Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and CC Sabathia. Hamels is still an above average starting pitcher, as evidenced by a 3.30 ERA in 39 starts for the Cubs since they traded for him at last year’s deadline. His Chicago renaissance was in full swing for his first 16 starts of 2019, featuring a 2.92 ERA, but an oblique strain in late June knocked him out for over a month. Hamels posted a 5.79 ERA in 10 starts after his return, creating some cause for concern.
Though Hamels’ days as a 210-inning workhorse are probably long gone, he’s a solid addition if he can provide 300 innings over the life of a two-year deal. The Cubs declined to issue a qualifying offer, so Hamels’ first-ever foray into free agency will be uninhibited. The Braves, Phillies, Brewers, Giants, Dodgers, Padres, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Twins, Astros, Angels, and Mariners could be options, though the veteran Hamels would presumably prefer to latch on with a contending club at this point of his career.”
“18. Mike Moustakas – Braves. Two years, $20MM. If we keep predicting a multiyear deal for Moustakas, will he finally get one? Time will tell! Moose, who was hitting 38 home runs before everyone starting doing it, has signed consecutive one-year deals the last two winters. He’s not one to draw many walks, though he’s improved in that regard, and he’s smacked 101 home runs over the past three seasons. Moustakas’ third base defense rates as acceptable, and he’s even shown he’s capable of handling second base. It’s a solid 2-3 WAR package that could still be useful to the Brewers. The Braves, Nationals, Phillies, Orioles, Indians, Twins and Rangers could get involved as well.”
Among their other predictions: Gerrit Cole to the Angels, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg back to Washington (please no), Josh Donaldson to the Rangers (at a 3/$75M price tag I’d sure think the Braves would entertain) and Zack Wheeler going from New York to Philadelphia.
Should be a fun winter.