The stars of MLB free agency – Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon – have all signed. The next tier of free agents are yet to move. Outfielders have been under the radar so far, with leading free agents Nicholas Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna the only players frequently popping up on the rumour mill.
That has started to change, however, with Jon Heyman reporting that talks began with several outfielders at the Winter Meetings.
The Brewers, Marlins and Rays have discussed a deal with Avisail Garcia, per Heyman. Several teams made contact with Yasiel Puig, and the Marlins met with Puig, Corey Dickerson, Kole Calhoun and Garcia. It isn’t a market loaded with superstars, but there are a lot of difference makers as well.
As discussed on a recent podcast, Ozuna has a qualifying offer attached that puts him in a tricky spot. There are plenty of alternatives who will be cheaper and do not cost a draft pick. Castellanos is one of them – the former Detroit Tiger has shown signs of improved defence, too.
Puig is an interesting one. He’s famed for his personality more than his production, and he’s one of the streakiest hitters in the Majors. It’s a solid fit for the Marlins, a player to entertain and hopefully bring some fans in. Puig also lives in Miami. It makes sense, but there’s obviously a chance the Marlins get outbid.
Garcia is one of MLB’s most underrated hitters. His free agency could go any number of ways. A good defender and more than solid hitter, plenty of contenders should be checking in with his agent. The issue for him, however, is the alternatives like Puig, Dickerson (another severely underrated ballplayer) and Calhoun.
Putting Castellanos and Ozuna ahead of the pack makes sense, though Ozuna’s draft pick cost will put a lot of teams off. Garcia likely comes next, with Dickerson following ahead of Calhoun (who hit over 30 dingers last season), Puig and Domingo Santana in the next tier.
So many teams could do with outfield help. Once one of the top guys signs, don’t be surprised to see a flurry of moves. Getting the best value deal here will be a big moment in free agency.