Last year, in anticipation of the greatest MLB offseason free-agency frenzy ever, we imagined what would happen if MLB players, like NBA players, decided to team up and create their own "superteams." Alas, none of those grand ideas ended up happening: Bryce Harper did not join up with his buddy
Last year, in anticipation of the greatest MLB offseason free-agency frenzy ever, we imagined what would happen if MLB players, like NBA players, decided to team up and create their own "superteams." Alas, none of those grand ideas ended up happening: Bryce Harper did not join up with his buddy Kris Bryant in Chicago, the top six relievers didn't all join the Rays to make a full staff of openers, the best players of the 2017 World Baseball Classic did not all join the Padres. (Though Ian Kinsler did!)
That does not mean that superteams put together from free agency isn't still a cool idea. So, even though this year's free-agency crop is a bit thinner than last year's, let's have some more fun. Let's imagine some 2020 superteams, free agents all combining forces. You know, like Voltron.
Gerrit Cole joins the Nationals
Oh, heck, at this point, why not pile it on? If the Nationals lose Anthony Rendon -- and we'll get to him -- they should have some money to spend, so why not try the same trick they pulled last time: Replace a beloved position player with the top free-agent pitcher on the market. Imagine what the Nationals' rotation would look like if they brought in Cole:
SP1: Max Scherzer
SP3: Stephen Strasburg
SP4: Patrick Corbin
Holy cow, right? That's mid-'90s Braves level right there, isn't it? You want the best chance the Nats have to fight off the growing Braves gaggle of young stars? Combine that rotation with the Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Trea Turner, Carter Kieboom core, and you've got something downright terrifying. Admit it: You want this to happen now.
Rendon joins the Phillies
Heck, if you're going to have the first move, you might as well have this one. It would be downright trolling for the Phillies to take the second Nationals position-player superstar in as many years. Rendon and Harper back together in Philadelphia, facing the Nationals 19 times a year? The Phillies do have an opening at third base, and they will have considerable urgency, particularly if they don't make the playoffs this season. The real question: Will it require 13 years for this particular National?
Marcell Ozuna joins the Brewers
Hey, why not reunite two-thirds of that famed Marlins outfield while sticking it to a division rival in the process? Sure, Ryan Braun has one year left on his contract, but the Brewers can figure that out. Christian Yelich and Ozuna in the same outfield again? They were fantastic before Yelich turned into a superhuman. Imagine what they'd do now.
All right, so those are the fun superstar superteams that have at least a passing relation to reality. Let's play around with some particularly fanciful, but hopefully likable, scenarios, all of which are team-independent. Just some guys getting together, whatever the team. Like:
Opt-out All-Stars: J.D. Martinez, Yu Darvish, Aroldis Chapman and Strasburg
Oh, yes, let's not get too carried away with that Nationals rotation up there, or the Red Sox power quartet, or the Yankees' bullpen, or even the Cubs' renewed rotation. Remember: All four of these players have opt-outs. They're probably not all going to use them -- it's possible none of them use them -- but it could certainly happen. You want a fun wrinkle in next year's free agency? These four could make it happen.
Southpaw squad: Madison Bumgarner, Cole Hamels and Dallas Keuchel
Lefties unite! If you've got a division rival that struggles against left-handers, imagine their terror when they're facing these three guys over a weekend. All told, this could make some sense for, say, Texas, which will have plenty of openings in the rotation.
Old guys unite: Fernando Rodney, Rich Hill, Ben Zobrist, Adam Wainwright, Pat Neshek, Curtis Granderson and Hunter Pence
It's the old dogs team! This is like the first scene of a comedy featuring John Travolta, Tim Allen and Alan Arkin. This absolutely would be the team that complains the most about the shift.
Royals reunion: Alex Gordon, Jarrod Dyson, Mike Moustakas, Kendrys Morales, Edinson Vólquez and Zobrist
There sure are a ton of members of the 2015 Royals hitting the market at the same time, no? It feels like that team is going to live on as a collective entity for many years to come, and not just in Kansas City. But also especially in Kansas City. I know it makes no sense for the Royals to bring all these guys back, but … wouldn't it be fun to see all these guys back? (Note: Gordon has a mutual option worth $23 million for 2020, and it's hard to see the Royals picking up their end of it.)
Legends of the fall: Bumgarner, Hamels, Zobrist, Steve Pearce, Pablo Sandoval and David Freese
These players might not guarantee you a World Series appearance. But if you did happen to make the World Series, know that you'd be in fantastic shape with this crew once you got there: All six of them are free agents this offseason, and all six of them have won the World Series MVP at some point.
That's sort of amazing, when you think about it. There are eight active former World Series MVPs, and six of them are free agents this winter. The only two that aren't: 2015's Salvador Perez and 2017's George Springer.
The Odd Couple: Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig ... teammates!
Fair to say … these two have quite a history! But come on: Imagine the fun we'd all have if these two longtime antagonists found themselves on the same roster. It's like the beginning of a buddy cop comedy! This would instantly become one of the most fascinating stories in baseball. Imagine tracking them throughout the year. That is: If they both survive the year.
None of these will likely happen. But what a blast it would be if any of them did.