The playoffs come before MLB free agency, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start firing up the hot stove.
I know what you’re thinking — the postseason is only just beginning. It’s way too early to start thinking about 2018 MLB free agency. That’s where you’re wrong. It’s never too early to fire up the hot stove and start thinking about the offseason. Every GM around the league whose team has been eliminated is already working on his budget and identifying potential targets, and that’s what we’re going to do here.
MLB free agency can turn into a pipe dream, and this post is written trying to avoid getting too fantastical. Jake Arrieta is an obvious fit for the pitching-starved Baltimore Orioles, but there’s a better chance of me becoming President than Arrieta returning to the organization that nearly ruined his career. Likewise, the Tampa Bay Rays would love to bring J.D. Martinez back to his home state. Not going to happen.
The free agents picked for each team all fit within the team’s likely budget for free agents this winter and fill an area of weakness on the roster. Read on to find out which player could be making a big impact on your favorite team next season.
Arizona Diamondbacks: J.D. Martinez
It still defies logic that the Diamondbacks were able to get one of the best all-around power hitters in the game for a package of prospects that did not include a single top-100 minor leaguer. The Detroit Tigers were forced to sell J.D. Martinez extremely low. With Giancarlo Stanton beginning to cool in Miami, Martinez has actually put up the most eye-popping power numbers in baseball in the second half.
Martinez has over 40 home runs despite missing the entire month of April and the early weeks of May. He will play fewer than 120 games this year, but is third in the league in home runs, and will probably stay there. In his first 57 games with Arizona, Martinez has hit .294/.364/.734 with 27 home runs and 58 RBI.
The Diamondbacks can still have a great lineup on their hands if Martinez walks and signs elsewhere, but his presence puts them in the conversation for best lineup in baseball. With only Zack Greinke commanding a massive salary on their current roster, Arizona should also have the necessary funds to keep Martinez.