Where Will the Remaining Free Agents End Up?

Updated: February 15, 2017

There are still a few notable free agents remaining on the market, and there are still teams that have holes that need to be filled. These players will find homes eventually, and why not predict where they’ll go? Let’s take a look!

Jered Weaver to the Oakland Athletics – Let’s start with an old friend, a guy who was our ace for years. Although Weaver will be missed, the truth is that it was time to let Weave go; he just doesn’t have the stuff anymore to justify blocking a younger pitcher with higher upside, and while Weaver in the bullpen would be an interesting option, Weaver is too much of a competitor to give up starting until he absolutely has to. While Weaver has been linked to the San Diego Padres all offseason, I think Weaver would prefer to stay in the same division; Weaver’s personality and competitiveness will drive him to want to pitch against his former team as much as possible. For the A’s, signing Weaver will fill up innings while also allowing him to mentor some of the younger pitchers like Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea. An added bonus is the ability to flip Weaver for resources at the trade deadline if Weaver impresses. This move is right up the A’s alley.

Matt Wieters to the Angels – We’ve covered this before, and the rumors have never truly gone away. That’s because it just makes so much sense for the Angels to pounce on Wieters in what’s obviously a depressed market for him, regardless of what Scott Boras says. Wieters is most likely not going to get a multi-year deal at this point, and if the Angels can nab him for one year at a reasonable price, they could upgrade the one area of their roster they really failed to do so this season. Carlos Perez and Martin Maldonado are fine catchers with great gloves, but they offer nothing at the plate. Wieters would bring a solid, switch-hitting bat to a team that could use the balance. No other place that Wieters could sign would offer him as clear of a chance to start full-time at catcher as the Angels could. It just makes sense.

Jorge De La Rosa to the New York Yankees – The Yankees have a few intriguing options in their rotation, but they also have the chance to struggle in their rotation with no sure things at any spot in their five. While De La Rosa is no sure thing as far as health goes, he’s pitched decently well in Colorado for years, which is hard to do. The Yankees would also have the luxury to slide De La Rosa into what’s shaping up to be an impressive bullpen if some of their younger options impress.

Doug Fister to the San Diego Padres – The Padres are still looking for another veteran innings-eater to put in their rotation to bid time until their top prospects are ready, and after bringing in Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Cahill, and resigning Clayton Richard, they can use another consistent pitcher. Fister wasn’t quite as bad as the numbers suggest last year, and he pitched 180 innings. Fister could be a strong bounce back candidate in a pitcher’s park, and could even be a mid-season trade candidate.

Ryan Howard to the Texas Rangers – There’s a market out there somewhere for Howard, who can still hit righties and still has power to spare. The Rangers already brought in Napoli to replace Mitch Moreland in the first base/designated hitter mix, but bringing in Howard to back up and hit against tough righties in a hitter’s park could really be a nice fit.

Pedro Alvarez to the Houston Astros – Alvarez was a great value signing for the Baltimore Orioles last season, hitting over twenty home runs with an OPS over .800 for the first time in his career. The Astros could easily fit Alvarez in the first base/designated hitter mix with Yuliesky Gurriel and Carlos Beltran, and Alvarez could also play at third base and left field. While Howard is also a potential fit here, Alvarez fits what the Astros are about better, as he actually gets on base and is far more positionally versatile.

Angel Pagan to the Toronto Blue Jays – The Jays are currently set to rely on a platoon of Melvin Upton, Jr. and Ezequiel Carrera in left field, and are currently penciling Justin Smoak in as their starter at first base. While Steve Pearce is capable of playing both of those positions, and more, that’s not an ideal situation for a team with plans on winning the World Series. Angel Pagan could start in left, or start in right with Jose Bautista starting at first base, where he’s played before. An outfield of Pagan, Carrera/Upton, and Kevin Pillar with Bautista at first plays much better defensively, and signing Pagan would improve multiple positions at once. While there may be an injury concern with Pagan on that turf, it’s a move that makes a ton of sense.

Joe Blanton to the Washington Nationals – The Nationals may still be in the market for some pitching help, especially in the bullpen, and Blanton is the best option available after putting together an impressive season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He could also potentially fill in as a fifth starter, although I don’t think anyone really wants to go down that road again. In a different world, Blanton could be a fit on the Angels, but… just, no.

Jon Niese to the Angels – We’ll end with our Halos again, who add another lefty bullpen option who could potentially start. Niese is coming off a poor season that ended prematurely with injury, and wasn’t really all that good the year before. He did, however, have three straight years with an ERA below 3.75 from 2012-2104, and could be a bounce back candidate in a pitcher’s park with a good defense behind him. Niese could be a nice fit in the bullpen if he wasn’t able to find a spot in the rotation, and at this point the Halos need all the help they can get in the ‘pen, a role Niese has filled fairly well at various points in his career.

There are still some nice options available to fill some holes on teams that fancy themselves contenders, and those teams should not just rest on their laurels. The time is now to strike at these value deals before someone else does!

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