Collin Whitchurch is an editor at Baseball Prospectus and is here to discuss some free agent rankings.
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: Hi everyone. I'm Collin, associate editor at BP. I ranked this year's Top 50 free agents this week and will now answer any questions you might have regarding how I ranked them or where I predicted they go. Also ask me for movie recommendations or who I'm betting in LSU-Alabama this weekend. I'll be here for as long as you've got questions. Let's go!
Yuri (Israel): Hey Collin, excited to have you for a chat today. As the old saying goes: any day that someone other than Craig is chatting at BP is a good day. Anyway, do you think the Yankees could end up with Strasburg?
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: The Yankees could end up with anyone, including Strasburg and including Gerrit Cole. They will get Strasburg if they decide to pay what's necessary to get him to come there. I'm not optimistic they're going to do that, though, but don't rule it out entirely.
grover (California): The A's 2020 rotation already has Mike Fiers, Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea as locks and Jesus Luzardo, Chris Bassitt, AJ Puk vying for the remaining spots. How do you fit Dallas Keuchel and Homer Bailey into this mix?
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: Well, Dallas Keuchel is better than any of the six guys you mentioned right now. Wouldn't really worry about how he'll fit in, because the answer is "in the front." Bailey is more about depth, which is important because while you mentioned six viable SP candidates, this is a team trying to win now and are you confident in any of them? Fiers was the team's best starter last year and his nice 3.90 ERA was backed up by a 5.06 DRA. Luzardo and Puk are exciting as hell, but could easily be relievers.
sportsguy21792 (Madison): Saw a projection for Grandal to get 4/$70m. Sorta prices him out of a return to Milw I suspect. I like the fact that he bet on himself last year and took the 1 yr deal with Milw. He deserves to get paid.
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: Grandal as the No. 4 best available free agent was an easy call for me after the Big Three (Rendon, Cole, Strasburg). The best catcher in baseball (sorry, Realmuto fans) in his prime available to the highest bidder two years in a row? Something is clearly broken.
4/70 might be reasonable for Grandal, although IMO it's low, and if 4/70 prices the Brewers out, that's the Brewers' own fault because they can absolutely afford it. There are a lot of catcher-needy teams that SEEM like they might spend money this offseason to contend with. The Braves, Angels, Rangers, White Sox just to name a few. Another team I just thought of: How frustrating would it be (for everyone else) if he went to Houston?
Elton (Pacific Northwest): I'm entering my fifth year of a dynasty league and, after making big strides last year (7th place!), have decided not to compete in 2020 with an eye to the future. Are there any free agents out there that could improve their 2021 value based on where they sign? I don't care about 2020 because I'm punting that season, so focus on guys that will sign for 2+ years, please.
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: This is tough because most free agents are, of course older. I'm going to ignore your last line and give you a couple of names who will likely settle for one-year deals but could improve their value based on performance and where they land.
Julio Teheran and Michael Wacha are both on the right side of 30 and coming off down seasons. They'll likely get one-year deals (Teheran could potentially get more) and rebuild their value to re-enter the market next offseason. I dunno how your dynasty league works, but if you could get either on the cheap and hang onto them for their next contract, they might be worth fliers for a rebuilding team.
Dan (Atlanta): Should the Braves bring back Josh Donaldson or maybe back up the spending truck for Anthony Rendon? Austin Riley is terrible. He just can't be the team's 3B of the future.
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: Riley might not be their 3B of the future but he also could be their LF of the future. He certainly scuffled after his hot start, but I wouldn't give up on him entirely. That said, it would certainly be disappointing from a Braves fan perspective if they don't bring in someone with a little more certainty to man 3B. Whether it's re-upping Donaldson or snagging Rendon, their core is young and cheap and ready to win right now. Not supplementing that core by patching what few holes they have on the roster would certainly be a disappointment.
Jeffrey Epstein Didn't Kill Himself (Los Angeles, CA): Which, if any, players that was offered a QO should take it?
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: There are really only two players who I think should consider it — Jake Odorizzi and Jose Abreu — and Abreu is the only one I think has a chance to take it. He won't get more than $17.8M for 2020 on the open market. If he declines it, it'd be because he values years over the one-year guarantee.
YaBoi BigBen (DC): So like the White Sox are definitely not signing Cole or Rendon so like what's a realistic offseason for them?
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: I gave them Marcell Ozuna and Edwin Encarnacion in my predictions, along with bringing back Jose Abreu. Yes, that would be quite disappointing.
Want another underwhelming possibility that I didn't mention in the column? The White Sox could use a catcher, right? And Yasmani Grandal is available, right? But doesn't Jason Castro just seem like SUCH a White Sox signing?
Pete (Chicago): Are the White Sox going to embarrass themselves again?
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: *shakes Magic 8-Ball*
All Signs Point to Yes
sportsguy21792 (Madison): What do you make of Milwaukee declining the contract for Thames without having an established 1B on the roster. Think they try to bring him back at a reduced cost?
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: There are quite a few 1Bs available this offseason and none who are expected to cost all that much. They could and probably will bring back Eric Thames, but could also go after Mitch Moreland, Jose Abreu, Justin Smoak, Howie Kendrick, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Thames is cool, but if I were a Brewers fan I'd rather they get someone capable of playing every day. Thames is a platoon bat.
My name is Judge.... (Chicago): wouldn't it make sense for smith to accept the QO? no way he gets more that 17.8 as a reliever. if he gets 17.8 this year then hits the open market with next year he could get 4/52-4/60. which makes a total deal of 5/70 or 6/77.8
it takes betting on yourself, but if im him i accept.
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: I think you're underrating Will Smith a bit. He's easily the best reliever available this offseason with Aroldis Chapman off the board, and this is probably his one good shot at a big, long-term deal (he's 30 and has made less than $12M total in his career). He might not get more than $17.8M in 2020, sure, but there's no reason he couldn't or shouldn't get something like 3/45 or 4/60, which I bet he finds more appealing.
sportsguy21792 (Madison): How should the Nationals prioritize their 2 big FA decisions? Can they afford both Strasburg and Rendon?
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: They absolutely can afford both Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon, as can any team. Are they willing to pay both Strasburg and Rendon, though, is an entirely different question. If I were them, I'd prioritize the position player, but if they pick one, I have a feeling they keep the World Series MVP.
Jordan (Sioux Falls): I've been a Mariners Fan by whole life, and it hasn't been the best of times. Considering the theme of this chat is Free Agency, I'd like to declare my fan Free Agency. Who should I root for? Can I say "my team just won the championship" if I choose Nationals. Thoughts? Prayers? Thank you.
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: Tetsuya Naito is a big Hiroshima Carp fan so I'm gonna say you should pick them.
Terry from Mount Greenwood (Mount Greenwood, it's in the name): How much are da Sox gonna pay King Felix
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: This hurts me.
sportsguy21792 (Madison): Do you think this offseason will drag to the finish line like the past 2 seasons with good players left without a dance partner and having to take a lower/shorter deal?
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: I think it has the potential to, yes. I'm at least a little optimistic that the big names will come off the board a little bit earlier (by the end of 2019 would be great), but I do fear we're going to get into February and wonder why Kole Calhoun got a one-year, $10M deal, Corey Dickerson is still available, and Jose Iglesias is taking an NRI.
It's not great!
Free Agent Chat w/Collin Whitchurch: We will leave it there. Thanks to everyone for the questions. Be sure to check back in tomorrow for the Yankees' Top Prospects chat with Jeffrey Paternostro!
Also, go see Parasite. That movie is NUTS. And bet LSU +7 this weekend against the tide.