It was a bloodbath last night. Players across the land were released to the free agent market as teams have decided to baton down the hatches for the storm that is the Covid world. No one is getting paid this offseason in what will likely go down as the most difficult time to be a free agent in a decade.
Here are the biggest names that will be looking for new homes for 2021.
Hanser Alberto has no power with a .377 career SLG and little speed with nine thefts in 282 games. It’s not absurd to think a guy like that could end up a free agent until you consider (A) the Orioles really have on one groomed to replace him and (B) the dude has hit .299 the last 193 games.
Archie Bradley is 28 years old, had 18 saves in 2019 and last year posted a 2.95 ERA, six saves, a 1.09 WHIP and a 6.00 K/BB ratio. He’s yet to develop into the shutdown, ninth inning arm many thought he could be, but it is still pretty stunning to see him be let go by the Reds in a move that surely spells doom to the Reds’ outlay of cash in 2021. Why not tender him a contract and then deal him? The Reds must get the sense that he wouldn’t have been worth the trouble.
David Dahl has been a flat-out fantasy failure to this point of his career. That’s a fact. He can’t stay healthy, most recently having shoulder surgery, but this is still surprising to see. We share the same b-day, though he will turn 27 next April, a couple decades younger than this scribe. Will he ever stay healthy? Early returns suggest no flippin’ way. Still, this is a guy who, per 162 games, has produced an average line of .286-23-87-91-9 with a .828 OPS. He has a mere .722 OPS on the road in his career, he loved Coors (.918), but hopes springs eternal each year so maybe, just maybe, he can stay healthy and be productive in 2021.
Adam Duvall went .237-16-33 with a .833 OPS last season. His reward? He was non-tendered by the Braves who didn’t want to pay him something like $5 million in arbitration this year. Hell, if Hunter Renfroe is let go, I guess Duvall being let go shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Maikel Franco is 28 years old and coming off a season with a .778 OPS. That’s ‘just a guy’ territory, maybe slightly lower for a corner infielder, but it was still surprising to see him let go. He’s nothing more than a compiler, but he could have a bench role in deep mixed leagues in 2021 if he can convince someone to play him every day.
Nomar Mazara and Carlos Rodon were non-tendered by the White Sox. Not surprising at all on Rodon who simply can’t stay healthy. As for Mazara, are those of you that disagreed with me for years finally willing to admit defeat and admit I was right? Amazing to think that Mazara is still just 25 years old, isn’t it? Perhaps there is still time for him to reach that mythical “upside” everyone had told me for four years that he possesses.
Eddie Rosario… is someone I wrote about nearly a month ago. Let me quote myself. “Projected to make $10-12 million in his third year of arbitration, it sounds like the Twins might just say no thanks and let Rosario find another place to ply his trade. Is that really where we are in 2020-21 baseball? I’ve warned about the free agent landscape previously, but this seems really odd to me… there’s only one logical reason for the Twins to cast him adrift unless… Player salaries are going to plummet this offseason.” The last three full years, 2017-19, he averaged .284-28-88-86 with a .813 OPS. He is 29 years old. #Bloodbath
Danny Santana had surgery on his elbow and will be on a bit of a push to be ready for Opening Day. It’s not shocking he was let go, not after hitting .145 in 15 games last season, but the dude is just a year remove from going .283-28-81-81-21 helping folks to fantasy championships in 2019.
Kyle Schwarber has two 30-homer seasons, and from 2017-19 he averaged .234-31-71-71-2 with a .829 OPS. He’s a middling defender who clogs up the basepaths however, and after a down season of .701 in the OPS column the Cubs simply weren’t willing to go to arbitration to pay him what he would have been rewarded. Seems dumb to say, but it also seems logical – he’s a DH waiting to happen. He’s basically another version of Joc Pederson, guys that mash righties (career .859 OPS) but who really shouldn’t be playing much against lefites (career .650 OPS). Should also be noted that Schwarber’s OPS was .080 points higher at Wrigley (.857) than on the road (.777).
Make sure you bookmark our Free Agent Tracker.
The following players avoided arbitration by agreeing to deals with their clubs. Some league only appeal might be found here.
Franchy Cordero ($800,000) will return to the Royals. I’ve long been a fan of pieces of his game, but he’s had a hard time putting it all together. He has 14 bombs in 284 at-bats with eight steals over 89 games spread over four seasons. However, the lack of contact continues to crush his outlook as he owns a 35 percent K-rate that has limited him to a .236 average and .304 OBP. He must make more contact.
Jace Fry ($862,500) will return to the White Sox. He had 24 punchouts in 19.2 innings last season.
Jakob Junis ($1.7 million) had a 5.24 ERA over 31 starts in 2019. Last year he had a 6.39 ERA over eight outings. His WHIP the last two years is 1.45 as he’s allowed 1.70 HR/9. Good luck.
Chad Pinder ($2.275 million) will return to the Athletics. He played second base 13 times, third base seven times and the outfield twice last year. He is a nice bench option in AL-only leagues.
Joe Ross ($1.5 million) will return to the Nationals. The 27 year old righty has had arm woes and he chose to sit out the 2020 season due to Covid. Over his last three years he owns a 5.21 ERA over 153.2 innings, and the last time he was a guy with promise was 2016. Last we saw him in his return from surgery, he couldn’t find the strike zone (4.64 BB/9 in 2019). He could challenge for a starting spot with the Nationals, but he will most likely have to prove himself, or others will have to fail, before being given that chance.
Yolmer Sanchez ($1 million) will return to the Orioles. He’s nothing but an AL only option. Good glove though. What a consolation prize for letting go Alberto/Iglesias (more below).
Caleb Thielbar ($700,000) will return to the Twins. He posted a 1.15 WHIP with 22 Ks in 20 innings last year.
We still do not know if the National League will use the designated hitter in 2021. Totally vexing why they keep delaying the decision.
THIS AND THAT
Vlad Guerrero Jr. continues to lose weight. He’s also headed to the Dominican Winter League to get in some at-bats.
Jose Iglesias is now an Angel as the Orioles continue to show that they don’t care much about winning baseball games in 2021. The trade was lackluster at best. Iglesias is coming off an impressive season with the bat having hit .421 with RISP while he posted a .956 OPS. He’s nowhere near that guy of course, but he should slide right into to replace Andrelton Simmons for the Angels.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a catcher who played third base last year. Looks like he will get a shot to depose Elvis Andrus this season to become the team’s starting shortstop. Last year IKF appeared at third base 46 times and shortstop 15 times. He might already qualify at both spots. Regardless, he didn’t catch an inning, and that crushes his outlook. He hit .280 last year with eight steals, great for a catcher, but blah everywhere else, especially when accompanied by a .699 OPS, his mark last season (which was a three year best).
Corey Kluber is still drawing interest from multiple teams. The 34 year old free agent threw one inning last season and 35.2 in 2019. His last season of 40-innings was 2018 when he went 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and 222 punchouts over 215 innings. The last two years have been catastrophic fails though, making his outlook incredibly murky heading into the ’21 campaign.
Corey Knebel was dealt by the Brewers to the Dodgers for a PTBNL or cash. Shrewd addition by the Dodgers in the hopes that the flamethrower can find his “game” once again.
Have you always wanted to work in fantasy sports? I spoke about how to get involved and what to expect in this podcast.
Trevor May agreed to a 2-year, $15.5 million deal with the Mets. The last three years he has 153 punchouts in 113 innings, a 12.2 K/9, with a 4.03 K/BB and 1.08 WHIP. He’s not inline for 9th inning work however, so he’s just a guy to target in the final rounds in mixed leagues.
Josh Reddick said goodbye to the Astros on his Insta page. He’s made, sit down, just under $67 million. He has one season of 20 homers. One season of 85 RBI. One season of 80 runs. He’s a career .263 hitter with a .750 OPS. He is exactly the kind of player that used to get paid, a solid veteran type, but no longer will. At nearly 34 years of age, he could have a long wait before agreeing to a deal.
Domingo Santana, who is just 28 years old and went 30/15 in 2017, is headed to Japan for the 2021 season.