Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


The Post-Tanakalyptic Wasteland: Where the Remaining MLB Free Agents Will Land (Part I)

The race is over, and there’s an oft-mentioned team at the finish line. The New York Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka to a 7-year, $155 million deal on Wednesday morning, one of the richest deals a pitcher has ever received. Assuming that Tanaka is anywhere near as potent as he was in Japan, this should be a great signing for the Yankees, who need starting pitching like a starving man needs a sandwich. He’s just 25 years old, which means the Yankees have essentially locked him up for the prime of his career. I wouldn't necessarily expect him to win 20 games right away, as the adjustment from Japan to the MLB is a big one, but with a devastating splitter (a pitch that is almost endangered in the major leagues), he should definitely see success as a #3 or #4 starter right out of the gate.

Now that Tanaka, who had been Target Number One for many teams with money to spend, is off the board, the race is on for the remaining big-name free agents. In this space, I’ll break down the top three free-agent position players: who needs them, who wants them, and what’s realistic.


Top Remaining MLB Free Agents - Position Players

1. Nelson Cruz

Power is always at a premium in the MLB, and Nelson Cruz has it. The reason he’s still without a team in late January seems to be his asking price. The consensus is that Cruz is looking for a 4-year deal in the neighborhood of $75 million, and so far no one is willing to pay that price for a defensive liability whose production is in question after serving his 50-game PED suspension. His signing will also require draft pick compensation, warding off potential buyers even more.

So who needs him? The Orioles have been in contact with Cruz’s agent, though there has been little progress so far. While they have one of the league’s more potent offenses, it certainly wouldn't hurt to have a 3-4-5 of Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz. Whoa-- I just got chills.

The Rockies have shown some interest in Cruz, but again they haven't made any real progress. The Rockies could certainly use some more pop, and Cruz would add some protection for Tulo and CarGo. However, as a defensive liability and no DH spot, it’d be hard for most NL teams to pull the trigger on Cruz.

The Mariners have already added Corey Hart and Logan Morrison to back up Robinson Cano, but Morrison isn’t exactly intimidating. They’re swiftly approaching their payroll limit, but if Cruz’s asking price comes down, I could see them taking a stab at him. Stranger things have happened.

The Royals could be a sleeper on Cruz, especially if they end up trading away Billy Butler. They made a run at Carlos Beltran, and could certainly use more power in their lineup. After signing Omar Infante, there isn’t a whole lot of money left in Kansas City, but again if the asking price comes down, who knows?


2. Stephen Drew

Shortstop is not a particularly deep position, and Stephen Drew is definitely talented. He’s a phenomenal defender, and is coming off of one of the best offensive seasons of his career. He’s a Boras client, so naturally old Scott is looking for an outrageously lucrative offer for a player whom he claims can be the “ultimate utility man.”  If he is to become the next Michael Young, there are plenty of teams who could use him.

The Mets immediately come to mind, but they seem unwilling to offer Drew a long-term deal. Boras has been pointing to Elvis Andrus’s long extension as an example of what he’s seeking for Drew. The Red Sox would of course like to resign Drew, but again not for any more than a year or two. If it does come down to several one-year offers, it’s more than likely Drew will remain in Boston.

However, there are plenty of teams that have the money to spend and could be willing to spend it on Drew. The Twins could certainly use a stable middle infielder, and have the money for a multi-year deal, within reason. The Blue Jays and Astros also could be in the conversation, and it’s not unlike Boras to make a deal in the dark and surprise everyone. Keep an eye on the sleepers here.


3. Kendrys Morales

Morales is similar to Cruz in that he has draft pick compensation attached to him, and his lack of first base play over the last three years is also a concern for potential suitors. However, he’s a switch-hitter with pop from both sides, and when he has played first base, he’s actually been an above-average fielder. This is a guy who can definitely hit .275 with 80 RBI and 30 jacks, and there are plenty of teams who could use some of that.

The Royals seem like the most likely suitor for Morales for the same reasons they’d be interested in Cruz—they have very little power in their lineup, and should they trade Billy Butler, they’ll need a replacement in the middle of the lineup. The Royals seem unwilling to resign Ervin Santana for the money he wants, and so they could very well end up trading Butler for starting pitching. Morales could DH and slide right into the hole left by Butler.

The Mariners could certainly resign Morales in the DH role as well. Considering it’s this late in the offseason and Morales will start getting desperate for a team, the Mariners might be able to get him for a 1-year deal for a steal. The Orioles might be in a similar situation, but after signing Delmon Young it seems less likely (Henry Urrutia will also take some at-bats in that spot).


Stay tuned for Part II, where I examine the top three remaining pitchers.

Agree? Disagree? I wanna know. Tweet me @Roto_Dubs.

More Recent Articles


Week 11 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 11... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 11 George Kittle (ankle, knee) has officially been ruled out. Matt Breida will not play in Week 11. Jay Ajayi... Read More

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 11

Welcome to our Week 11 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More

Week 11 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Welcome back to Mexico City. Last season, the Chiefs were supposed to take on the Rams in this game before field conditions moved the game to Los Angeles. Even though the game was moved, the fantasy output was amazing as both teams scored over 50 points and there was not an unhappy fan among us.... Read More

Wide Receiver / Cornerback Matchups To Target in Week 11

In Week 10, the Buccaneers defeated the Cardinals in a game that featured a whopping 57 points scored between the two teams. Christian Kirk was expected to exploit the Buccaneers weak secondary, and he exceeded all expectations by catching three touchdowns, finishing as the No. 1 wide receiver on the week. On the other side... Read More

Holiday Shopping - Who To Buy For The Playoffs Run

As the fantasy football season nears the home stretch, most owners should begin turning their eyes towards the remaining six weeks of the fantasy schedule. Either you're comfortably in the playoffs and need to see who you should be rostering in order to get the best matchups or you need that extra boost to qualify... Read More

Updated Week 11 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 11 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 11 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: George Kittle (ankle, knee) has officially been ruled out. Matt Breida will not play in Week 11. Jay Ajayi was signed by the Eagles and is expected to... Read More

The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 11

Welcome to Week 11, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based on my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More

Woos and Boos - Starts and Sits for Week 11 Lineups

If we learned anything from the fantasy scoring in Week 10 is that hitting on the right quarterback can make or break your week. Sure, the household names like Lamar Jackson (35.65 FP) and Patrick Mahomes (34.30 FP) paced the field, but it was the play from lesser QBs like Daniel Jones (33.40 FP) and... Read More

Week 11 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More

Week 11 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 11 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 11 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More

Week 11 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that the bye weeks are in full swing; streaming becomes a more viable and almost necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions throughout the season could easily be the difference between missing the playoffs and having... Read More

Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Philip Rivers, Devin Singletary, O.J. Howard

Fantasy football players are going to have to go under the radar to find booms and busts this week because many of the NFL’s superstars will be on bye. Fantasy footballers will not be getting any Aaron Jones touchdown runs or Daniel Jones touchdown tosses this week, nor will they be getting any 300-yard passing... Read More

Late-Season Fantasy Football Surgers and Breakouts

Winning a fantasy football championship is about finding the right mix of players at the right time. It’s not easy to do, because it takes a full season process to build a roster that can win it all. You must start by drafting well, then making the right deals, pinpointing the best waiver pickups, and... Read More

Fantasy Football Mailbag - Q&A for Week 11

This article's content may vary week-to-week, but generally, it will be answering questions fielded from either the @RotoBallerNFL twitter account or my personal one (@RotoSurgeon). This week, the focus is on start/sit questions, and there were plenty. Every week, many of us struggle with which quarterback to start, or who to flex, and I am... Read More