Predicted landing spots for top 6 free-agent OF
First, the Detroit Tigers signed free-agent right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to a five-year, $110 million deal. Then, the Boston Red Sox trumped the Tigers, agreeing to a record-setting seven-year, $217 million deal with David Price, which gives the lefty the right to opt out of the deal after three years.
And now Zack Greinke appears to be heading to the D-backs for six years and $206 million.
Intriguing, for sure.
Now, however, it is time to get serious about the free-agent market, where the real depth in talent is in the outfield.
This is a free-agent class ripe for a team with payroll space that wants to add an impact player to the everyday lineup.
So far, the outfield activity has been limited. Colby Rasmus opted to accept the Astros' qualifying offer and remain in Houston. Nori Aoki received a one-year guarantee from Seattle. And Chris Young was signed by the Red Sox with the anticipated role of a fourth outfielder.
Those are warmup acts to the main outfield attractions this offseason. And with baseball officials heading to Nashville, Tenn., for next week's annual Winter Meetings, the answer to the question of who is headed where is on the horizon.
• Yoenis Cespedes is an impact guy. He has power. He has speed. He has a strong arm. However, Cespedes is streaky and needs his other skills defensively to help cover up his inconsistent routes. An in-season addition from the Tigers, he was a key factor down the stretch for Mets.
Likely destination: Red Sox, whose new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has already signed one of the stars (Price) he traded last season when he ran the Tigers.
Don't overlook: Angels, Giants, White Sox, Rangers and Yankees
• Jason Heyward is the jewel of this group. He's only 26. Heyward is a plus defensive outfielder, gets on base, and while he hasn't shown the power some expected, he hasn't yet reached his prime. Power is something hitters develop with experience.
Likely destination: Return to the Cardinals
Don't overlook: Cubs, Mets, Angels and Yankees
• Justin Upton has shown league MVP Award potential in a career that has taken him from Arizona to Atlanta to San Diego. Formerly a right fielder, he's better suited in left, and he has the offensive ability to fit that role comfortably.
Likely destination: Washington, where Upton would be reunited with general manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo, who was the scouting director in Arizona when the D-backs made him the first selection in the 2005 Draft.
Don't overlook: Cubs, Yankees, Angels, Rangers and Giants
• Alex Gordon is the most complete -- but least eye-popping -- member of the group. He is a four-time Gold Glove Award winner and a productive offensive player, although on a solid offensive team he is a better fit in the second or sixth spot. He hit eighth for the Royals in World Series.
Likely destination: Return to the Royals, where Gordon has spent his entire career and with whom he fits comfortably
Don't overlook: Cubs
• Denard Span was limited to 61 games in 2015 by injuries that began with a hernia and core muscle surgery and ended with hip surgery. That could slow the bidding for Span, and could turn him into a short-term risk for a team willing to gamble on his ability to rebound in '16. When healthy, Span is a legitimate center fielder who can hit in the upper portion of a lineup.
Likely destination: Mariners
Don't overlook: Cubs and Rockies, who were ready to draft Span out of high school but instead took lefty Jeff Francis because of Span's perceived signability questions.
• Dexter Fowler is a young 30. He is a top-of-the-lineup bat with basestealing ability. Fowler is also a solid center fielder who fit in comfortably at Wrigley Field.
Likely destination: Marlins
Don't overlook: Cubs, Nationals, Angels and White Sox
For those teams who get left out of the shuffle for the big-name outfield free agents, there are holes that can be filled with the likes of Austin Jackson, Gerardo Parra, Will Venable, David Murphy and Ben Zobrist.