The 2018 MLB season is upon us. It’s a great time when pitchers and catchers are reporting this week, and teams are still assessing their roster. Teams like the Yankees and Mets are always in the spotlight in the offseason since the New York market is so demanding. Around the winter meetings, the Marlins and Yankees made a blockbuster trade acquiring slugger Giancarlos Stanton while the Mets more recently picked up a slugger of their own, by the name of Todd Frazier. The Cubs are also a team always on the prowl, making many moves such as the signing of Yu Darvish with earnings over $100 million. Something not to be forgotten are the notable free agents still on the market, including Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and others. MLB Hot Stove is certainly a time where teams address needs and wants as Spring Training approaches.
Early in the offseason, the Marlins started their fire sale by dealing the National League Most Valuable Player to the Bronx Bombers for Starlin Castro and some other pieces. This bolsters an already potent lineup, which now features two of the leaders in home runs from a season ago. This move puts the Yankees right back in contention for 2018 and it seems that the Red Sox did not answer with any moves this offseason so far.
On the other side of town, the New York Mets made some moves by adding reliever Anthony Swarzak and more notably, Todd Frazier. Being a New Jersey native, Frazier always wanted to play for New York and he is getting his shot. This is the kind of move Mets fans wanted so they can now finally turn the page on David Wright. The former Yankee gives substantial pop as a third baseman and he gets on base as well. He will gel well with his new teammates.
The Cubs are always busy, especially in the offseason. Lately, they invested all their chips in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes by giving him a six-year, $126 million deal. Darvish joins a rotation packed with Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood, which is expected to be star-studded. On the contrary, it is a bit shocking to see the Osaka, Japan native receive such a large amount of money while struggling mightily in the Fall Classic. Simply, he failed to get an out in the second inning in both of his starts and also, reports of him tipping pitches surfaced. In Los Angeles, he was a bit of a letdown, considering the Dodgers gave up four top prospects for Darvish. The 31-year-old looks to bounce back from a very forgettable World Series in 2018.
Not to be forgotten are those players still on the free market such as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, J.D Martinez and Jake Arrieta, among others. Hosmer and Moustakas are both from the Kansas City Royals, being keys to the Royals championship in 2015. The Royals certainly had a tough time departing with the two faces of their franchise. The 28-year-old slugger Hosmer is demanding more than $147 million and the only suitors at the moment, the San Diego Padres and the Royals.
Moose has been linked to many teams like the Cardinals and the Yankees but no concrete deal has been made yet for either free agent. J.D Martinez came off a career season where he tallied 45 home runs and 104 runs batted in. Teams may be a little skeptical to pay J.D so he may have to duplicate his efforts with a prove-it deal in 2018. Jake Arrieta is not getting any younger at the age of 31 so teams are a little hesitant to sign him long-term because his velocity is fluctuating so front offices want younger arms. The signing of Yu Darvish may mean the end of the run of Arrieta with the Cubs. The best case for all these free agents simply is to settle for a short-term deal.
The 2018 MLB Hot Stove has certainly disappointed players with the lack of big transactions. However, front offices are gearing more toward homegrown talent rather than overpaying for free agents who are declining very soon. Also, the 2019 free agent class, which includes Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw and Manny Machado just to name a few, is stacked so teams are gearing up for that class of talent. Front offices are making more team-friendly deals so they can afford big name players who knowingly can produce and win a title.