Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Best of What’s Left via Free Agency

As we inch closer to the Christmas and winter holidays now is a great time to look at what is left on the free agency market and determine the “best of what’s left.” This post will be more of a general MLB-related post and less of a Yankees-related post I warn you, although I will always put that Yankees-related spin in when I can or when it’s relevant, so without further ado…. Let’s get to it.

Edwin Encarnacion is probably the best hitter still on the available market at first base and DH. Formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays the right-hander, who will be 34 when the season begins, is better suited as a DH at this part of his career. Encarnacion did play 74 games at first base in 2016 but you have to think that was out of necessity more so than because of his defensive prowess.

Encarnacion’ s former teammate Jose Bautista is also still on the free agent market despite eye-popping home run numbers over the past five years or so. Bautista is 36-years old though and coming off a down-year offensively that saw him hit just 22 home runs and take 87 walks for Toronto. Bautista can still play the field adequately enough that he shouldn’t be held to the “DH only” type thought process that is or isn’t keeping Encarnacion from finding a new home currently.

Mark Trumbo led the world in home runs in 2016 yet still finds himself without a job as we inch towards Christmas. Trumbo is tied to draft pick compensation after the Baltimore Orioles handed him a qualifying offer sheet which may be slowing down his progress towards finding a home for the 2017 as well. Trumbo can play first base, the outfield and play some DH so he’s attractive in a lot of ways but the fact that he wants at least a four-year deal may be scaring some teams away.

Ivan Nova, the former Yankee, may somehow be one of the best pitchers available via free agency at this point and time. Nova turns 30-years old later next month and hits the free agent market for the first time in his career after posting a 3.06 ERA in 11 starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. The Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros may be interested and Pittsburgh may be as well depending on the price tag.

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