The story of MLB Free Agency has been IF Manny Machado and OF Bryce Harper playing the waiting game to score predicted record contracts.
Now, we are approaching February, and while many teams have continued about their business, the pending Machado and Harper deals have slowed the market for other players, particularly those at the same positions.
Despite Spring Training being just weeks away, there are still a number of impact players available; players that could make a difference for many teams across the league.
Here’s a look at five players that could make a big impact on your team if they signed today:
IF/OF Marwin Gonzalez
Perhaps the most versatile player on the market, Gonzalez can play every position outside of pitcher and catcher. (Lord knows, I’m sure he could pitch in a pinch!)
Clearly, Gonzalez’s market is being held up by Machado and Harper, as he instantly would become a top option for any teams that miss out on the superstars.
Last year, Gonzalez spent most of his time in the outfield, but came into the Major Leagues as a shortstop.
On top of his versatility in the future, Gonzalez is no slouch with the bat, providing decent power and clutch hitting. Of course, he is a switch hitter, so he always has the platoon advantage.
I’d expect the Phillies, Astros, Nationals, White Sox, and Dodgers to be among the top contenders for Gonzalez’s services.
SP Dallas Keuchel
Keuchel looks as if he is about to suffer the same fate as SP Jake Arrieta did last offseason: waiting until deep into Spring Training to land a proper deal.
In a way, Keuchel’s market may be held up by Machado and Harper, as teams that miss out on those players may want to pivot and hand some of that money to Keuchel.
While he’s coming off a solid season, it wasn’t the best out of Keuchel’s last few years, and he will be 31-years-old on Opening Day.
Nowadays, teams are wary going over three years for starting pitchers, and Keuchel was rumored to be aiming for a five-year, $100+ million deal.
I’d expect he falls into the four-year, $85 million range when it’s all said and done. But he may not get that deal until March.
Still, Keuchel provides quality innings from the left side of the mound, and is a consistent ground-ball pitcher that would fit in the Top 3 of any team’s rotation.
The top contenders for Keuchel have been rumored to be the Reds and Nationals, but I’d expect the Phillies, Yankees, and Giants to make a run at the left-hander.
CP Craig Kimbrel
Possibly the biggest name left on the market, Kimbrel is rumored to be seeking a record deal for a reliever.
While I don’t think he will land that type of commitment, Kimbrel will still get his, as he’s one of the best closers in the league.
Despite some postseason follies, Kimbrel is one of the most dominant relievers, and would provide a boost to any team’s bullpen.
He too may have to wait until Spring Training to sign, but I’d expect the Red Sox, Braves, Giants, and Angels to be in on the righty.
OF Adam Jones
This career Baltimore Oriole may find a new landing spot this offseason.
Coming off one of the worst seasons of his Major League career, Jones is looking to prove that he has something left in the tank post-30-years-old.
While he is no longer a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder, Jones would provide solid defense at either corner outfield position, and a solid, right-handed bat for the middle of any team’s lineup.
Jones would be an upgrade for many teams, especially those seeking a veteran bat for the middle of their order.
While he may have to wait for an injury in Spring Training to sign, I’d expect the Orioles, Giants, Dodgers, Rockies, and Diamondbacks to be among his suitors.
3B Mike Moustakas
Here is another veteran bat that would provide an upgrade to the middle of many team’s batting order.
Moustakas spent the entirety of his career with the Kansas City Royals before joining the Milwaukee Brewers for their postseason run last year.
As a left-handed bat at third base, Moustakas offers something that many teams don’t have.
While he won’t blow you away with his production, he is still above-average and would provide an upgrade for several teams.
I’d expect the Giants, Padres, Royals, Orioles and Rays to be interested in his services.