This week’s Detroit Tigers’ news seems to be all about the team tearing it all down. We learned that J.D. Martinez probably won’t get an extension, the team tried trading Justin Upton over the summer, and Miguel Cabrera is available for the taking.
In fact, I think this news means everyone on the roster is on the trade block. And with good reason too. While it’s understandable in the case of Martinez because of his expiring contract after 2017 and Upton because of his overpayment, the news that Cabrera is available comes with a surprise. However, if they are serious about re-hauling the roster, getting out from the $25-$30 million a year deal he is signed to for about the next decade is certainly going to help build a better overall roster.
Are the Detroit Tigers headed toward a fire sale this winter?
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Along with the sluggers you have to wonder about Justin Verlander. The ace was one of the best pitchers in 2016 even though few seemed to notice. He was among the leaders in ERA, strikeouts, and wins. The problem with trading Verlander is the contract. Nevertheless, the stellar performance in 2016 should help his cause. Plus, bringing Kate Upton to town should help.
The Tigers will receive some salary relief. Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez have contracts expiring in the next two years. This still doesn’t save them from Upton’s deal and the one they signed Jordan Zimmermann to last offseason. Their two big moves of the winter seemed to have backfired in the first year with another $40+ million owed to them in 2017.
Even without arbitration contracts factored in, the Tigers’ payroll is just under $180 million next year. They lose very little in free agency, which means if they do go the route of rebuilding it’ll all have to come via trade. I wouldn’t recommend it as they do have a very good team still and have far too much invested at this moment to take a few years off. The 2017 season should be one where they attempt to compete. Selling one or two players works, but more than that feels too preemptive.
Another year out of the postseason, but with a lot of promise, what does the offseason have in store for the Colorado Rockies? They have several players with expiring contracts and a trade block full of talent. For all we know this team is a few changes away from making a deep run. It starts with deciding on which free agents return. These are my predictions on the upcoming Rockies free agents and which we’ll see suit up for this squad again in 2017.
Jorge De La Rosa - Let Him Walk
The Rockies should probably retire Jorge De La Rosa’s jersey in a few years because of how well he pitched for them over the years. Now at 35-years-old and coming off an injured season that showed signs of decline, it’s very likely he isn’t re-signed. De La Rosa has a chance to pitch for a team looking to fill the roster with a veteran pitcher. The Rockies right now are trying to find the next generation of starters that can hopefully win them a couple of games. So far, they seem to have discovered a couple.
Boone Logan - Walks
Boone Logan had a very good year for the Rockies in 2016. His 3.73 ERA out of the bullpen was very respectable out of the bullpen. As a 32-year-old that survived pitching for the Rockies, he’s going to get a good deal from another team. While the Rockies may try to re-sign him, Logan is going to walk away.
Which Colorado Rockies free agents will the team re-sign?
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Nick Hundley - Let Him Walk
At the end of the year it seemed Nick Hundley was getting a lot more rest. This is because the Rockies have no intention of re-signing the veteran catcher. It’s nothing personal as he was a decent hitter for them during the duration he was with them. Now, Hundley is going to have to look for a team that needs a co-starter or an experienced back up. Thankfully Hundley does have options elsewhere.
Mark Reynolds - Walks
It’s tough to imagine the Rockies sticking with Mark Reynolds as their first baseman. He hit very well last year with a surprisingly impressive .282 batting average. However, the power wasn’t there as he hit only 14 home runs. Reynolds is best suited as a platoon player to face lefties exclusively. Colorado is a fit for him however I see Reynolds getting a better opportunity somewhere else.
Daniel Descalso - Re-Signs
Daniel Descalso might be the most irrelevant player on this list. Even so, he provided the Rockies with a .268 batting average off the bench. He was their go-to infielder for much of the season whenever other guys needed a blow. He won’t command big bucks at all and the familiarity should make it possible to re-sign him to a fair contract. If he walks, he walks. If he stays, the Rockies have one less bench piece to worry about.
The Rockies should have a much different roster at the start of 2017. One of their left-handed outfielders will surely be traded. I also expect a new first baseman, whether a starter or platoon option, to join them. None of the long-tenured players other than De La Rosa is headed into free agency and he is the most obvious to let walk with the big handful of candles on his birthday cake.
A World Series appearance changes plenty of players’ minds when it comes to re-signing with a team or not. For the Cleveland Indians, a team few expected to appear in the World Series, they may have a better shot at keeping their upcoming free agents around as the opportunity to win is a good one. However, they do only have three notable men with expiring contracts. The youngest of them is 34-years-old too so performance matters as much as age. Here’s a look at the trio of Indians free agents this winter and my predictions on whether we’ll see them again in 2017.
Coco Crisp - Walks
One of the few trades the Indians made was acquiring veteran outfielder Coco Crisp from the Oakland Athletics. I loved the move as it added depth to the outfield. Crisp is a veteran fading at the end of his career which is why I see him leaving the Indians. It won’t be because they have no interest in him either. There just won’t be a place for him with the return of Michael Brantley and the addition of a few other players with a little more talent at this point in their careers.
Mike Napoli - Re-Signs
I’ve been on the fence with the future of Mike Napoli for a while. I criticized the signing in the offseason. Then Napoli hit 34 home runs and knocked in 101 runs. Egg all over my face with a big mouthful of crow, I admit the Napoli signing was superb. I think he’ll return to the Indians next year too as the free agent pool of power hitting first basemen/DH’s is a deep one. I’m predicting Cleveland comes up short in the World Series then returns in 2017 with Napoli on the roster with a two or three-year deal and another productive year.
Which Cleveland Indians free agents will return in 2017?
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Rajai Davis - Re-Signs
One of the most underrated signings of the offseason was the addition of Rajai Davis to the Indians’ roster. Davis led the league in stolen bases while providing Cleveland with a more traditional leadoff option other than Carlos Santana whenever they felt so inclined. I see Davis getting a few deals from other teams however it is with the Indians he suits up with again in 2017. At 36-years-old, with legs that can outrun men half his age, Davis remains a weapon in the MLB.
It’s important this offseason the Indians don’t just let important pieces like Napoli and Davis leave. The American League Central has a chance to be a really bad division next year which helps them even more make another run at the World Series. Win or lose, this roster needs to stick together. A few additions and they can go from championship underdog to a favorite.