Perfect fit: Free-agent deals that feel right

January 15th, 2018

Sometimes, two parties don't know how much they need one another until it's too late. Let's hope no one goes down that road this offseason. Everyone take a deep breath and see if we can do the right thing.

Besides, everyone needs time to shop around, check all their options and gauge the market. On the other hand, Spring Training is a month away. Time to do business.

Hot Stove Tracker

Here's where you friendly columnist is hoping to give things a nudge. Some of these free-agent marriages appear to be perfect fits. How about we look at them?

Closer Greg Holland and the Cardinals

The Cardinals are attempting to put the finishing touch on a nice offseason, having previously acquired left fielder from the Marlins. One of their remaining needs is someone to pitch the ninth inning, and Holland remains unsigned. He has averaged 42 saves, 60 appearances and a 1.063 WHIP over his past four healthy seasons. As fits go, he's close to perfect for what the Cards need.

RHP and the Brewers

The Brewers need a top-of-the-rotation starter to contend in the National League Central, and what would be better than taking someone who spent the past four-plus seasons with the Cubs? Arrieta, 31, is still under 1,200 career innings. In the past four seasons, he's 64-29 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.028 WHIP. He had a 2.26 ERA in his last 14 games after a tough start last season.

OF/DH J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox

OK, time to close the deal on this one. Only three teams hit fewer home runs than the Red Sox last season. Only (59) and (52) hit more than Martinez (45) in 2017. Since he reinvented himself with Detroit, Martinez has been one of baseball's most consistent power hitters and has MLB's second-highest slugging percentage (.574) during that time. Only (.579) has been higher.

CF and the Giants

When you trade for  and , you're telling the world you're in win-now mode. But the Giants have more work to do, needing at least one more outfielder. Cain, 31, has an .801 OPS over the past three seasons and impacts games with his legs, glove and bat. His signing might not instantly get San Francisco back into contention in the NL West, but it would be a big step in the right direction.

RHP and the Rangers

Look, let's stop kidding around. Darvish has shopped this entire offseason and has found nothing better than he already had during five seasons with the Rangers before being traded to the Dodgers last summer. He loves the area so much he has made it his year-round home and has a great relationship with third baseman , manager Jeff Banister, etc. Coincidentally, the Rangers need another starting pitcher to help make up some of the 23 games in the standings they finished behind the Astros in 2017.

1B and the Royals

Hosmer might have been the most valuable player in Kansas City's baseball renaissance and back-to-back trips to the World Series. He loves the city, franchise and team. There's a rebuild coming in Kansas City, but with Hosmer only 28 and and still in the primes of their careers, the Royals may still be capable of making some noise in the American League Central.

RHP Alex Cobb and the Twins

Few teams will be as interesting as the Twins as they try to build on a second-half charge to the postseason fueled by kids in , and . What Minnesota still needs is an arm or two for the front of its rotation, and Cobb proved last season he has completely recovered from Tommy John surgery by making 29 starts and pitching 179 1/3 innings for the Rays. Having registered a 2.82 ERA in the AL East from 2013-14, he could thrive in pitcher-friendly Target Field.

RHP and the Phillies

Lynn's bulldog mentality will play well anywhere, but could be especially important on a team loaded with talented kids but still trying to turn the corner on getting back to being competitive. He had an impressive 2017 season, tying for the NL lead with 33 starts in his return from Tommy John surgery. Lynn is 30 years old, approaching his 1,000th inning and has a career 3.38 ERA. He might not be the final piece of the puzzle for the Phils, but he would be an important one.

3B and the Yankees

Now that everyone has had time to consider their options, we're right back where we started. Frazier was a nice addition to the Yankees last summer and probably would accept a shorter-term deal to stay with New York. His presence would give hotshot prospect more time in the Minors.

C and the Astros

The Astros regretted not making a harder push for Lucroy at the 2016 Trade Deadline. Now is the time to make the move. He could fit into a rotation with while allowing Evan Gattis to focus solely on designated-hitter duties.