Spring Training is underway, but there are still free agents out there who are a great fit for each MLB team.
It took long enough, but after months stuck in neutral, the MLB free-agent market finally began to move. Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez have all found new homes over the past weeks, ending months of speculation about which teams would be able to afford the nine-figure deals necessary to land them. Even with things starting to move as players get antsy with Spring Training camps opening, there are still dozens of quality veterans left without a home for 2018.
All-Stars Jake Arrieta, Mike Moustakas, Greg Holland and Jonathan Lucroy all remain unsigned. Solid starters Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are also still on the market, along with plenty of hitters and pitchers who will end up spending the year on a big-league roster. Unlike years past, where any free agents left at the end of March were destined to fight for a roster spot on a minor-league deal, there are MLB contributors left unsigned.
Arrieta, Moustakas, Cobb, Lynn and Holland are the biggest names, and will all command multi-year deals. They may have to be prepared to wait another week or two, but lesser names will begin snapping up one-year deals or even minor-league deals because they need to get in camp and nail down a roster spot. With just over a month until Opening Day, each MLB team still has room for one more addition to the roster. Here is one free agent each team should be targeting to complete their lineup or rotation.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Greg Holland
The Diamondbacks survived a year of the Fernando Rodney experience but will need a new closer for 2018 and beyond. That role is currently in the hands of starter-turned-reliever Archie Bradley. It’s not that Bradley doesn’t look suited for the ninth-inning job — he’s just much more valuable as a multi-inning reliever who can come in at any point of the game a la Andrew Miller in Cleveland.
Bradley covered 73 innings in only 63 games out of the bullpen last year, striking out more than a batter an inning and allowing only four home runs. The Diamondbacks need to deploy their best reliever in any situation, rather than waiting for the ninth inning.
Arizona passed on keeping J.D. Martinez, but should still have the financial means to make a big move to close out the offseason. Picking up a closer to allow Bradley to stay in his fireman role is the smart move, and All-Star Greg Holland is still on the market, having proved himself fully healthy after Tommy John.