Hot Stove GPS: Guessing Player Signings

Predicting landing spots for 10 notable free agents

January 5th, 2018

The vast majority of this offseason's top free agents remain unsigned as we head toward the second week of 2018, but with less than six weeks remaining before pitchers and catchers report to Florida and Arizona, the Hot Stove seems destined to get going at some point soon.


and are the only players to sign deals worth $50 million or more this offseason, but there are many more big deals to come between now and Spring Training.

Hot Stove Tracker

Here's a look at who I believe are the top 10 free agents still on the market (listed alphabetically) and a best guess -- based on conversations with execs and agents -- on where they will wind up by Opening Day.

Note: Ages listed are as of Opening Day 2018

, RHP, age 32

Many teams have expressed interest in the right-hander, who will turn 32 during Spring Training, though none have emerged as a favorite. The Twins and Brewers are searching for a front-line starter, while the Cardinals, Nationals, Rangers, Astros and Blue Jays have all been rumored to have some level of interest. Then there are the incumbent Cubs, who might be lying in the weeds as they look to replace -- or re-sign? -- the 2015 Cy Young winner.

Notable suitors: Twins, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs

Best guess: Brewers

, OF, age 30

Bruce's power bat would slot nicely into a number of lineups, especially for American League teams that can use him in the outfield or at DH. But the Giants are in desperate need of some thump and Bruce has expressed an interest in playing in San Francisco, making for a natural fit.

Notable suitors: Mets, Giants, Blue Jays

Best guess: Giants

, OF, age 31

Cain's market has been slow to develop, but the talented outfielder would be a prime asset for a number of teams. The Giants have been connected for weeks, while the Brewers have been recently mentioned as an option for Cain, who turns 32 in April. Texas is looking to get back to the top of the AL West, making Arlington another prime option.

Notable suitors: Rangers, Giants, Brewers

Best guess: Rangers

Alex Cobb, RHP, age 30

The Phillies may be a year away from spending really big money, but securing a talented starter for the next four years would be a good start toward a return to contention. The Twins, Brewers, Cubs and Rangers have been attached to virtually every starter on the market and will surely be in on Cobb, as well.

Notable suitors: Twins, Brewers, Cubs, Phillies

Best guess: Phillies

, RHP, age 31

Darvish's poor showing in the World Series may cause some teams to pause before making a nine-figure offer, but the talented right-hander remains the top starter available on the free-agent market despite his Fall Classic flop. The Rangers have shown interest in a reunion, while the Twins have made no secret of their desire to add an ace. The Cubs are also looking to fill Arrieta's spot in the rotation, and Darvish could be the ideal choice to do so.

Notable suitors: Rangers, Twins, Cubs

Best guess: Cubs

Greg Holland, RHP, age 32

The Rockies signed Davis to replace Holland, taking away a major suitor for his services. The Cubs and Twins signed and , respectively, to fill their closer positions, but the Astros and Cardinals are two high-profile teams still looking to bolster the ninth inning.

Notable suitors: Astros, Rangers, Cardinals

Best guess: Astros

, 1B, age 28

Hosmer reportedly has offers on the table from both the Padres and Royals, who have been the two most aggressive clubs in pursuing the All-Star first baseman. The Cardinals are also lurking as a potential landing spot, though it won't be a shock if Hosmer decides to stay in Kansas City to help lead the Royals' rebuild.

Notable suitors: Royals, Padres, Cardinals

Best guess: Royals

, RHP, age 30

For teams not looking to shell out nine figures for Darvish or Arrieta -- or are unable to secure either of the two -- Lynn offers a nice alternative. The Twins, Phillies, Rangers and Brewers are just some of the teams that have been connected to the former Cardinals starter, who has averaged 14 wins and a 3.39 ERA over his five full seasons.

Notable suitors: Phillies, Brewers, Rangers, Twins

Best guess: Twins

J.D. Martinez, OF, age 30

The purest power hitter on the market, Martinez has been most heavily connected with the Red Sox, who are seeking an impact bat to replace the home runs they lost when David Ortiz retired after the 2016 season. Boston's signing of Mitch Moreland took them out of the Hosmer sweepstakes, giving president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski some leverage in his potential staredown with agent Scott Boras. The D-backs remain interested in bringing Martinez back, while the Giants could also look to add some thump to their lineup.

Notable suitors: Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Giants

Best guess: Red Sox

Mike Moustakas, 3B, age 29

Despite a career season in which he hit 38 home runs, there has been relatively little buzz around Moustakas this winter. The possible trade availability of Manny Machado (and to a lesser degree, Josh Donaldson) may have clouded the third-base market, though it appears both of those players will stay put. The Giants and Angels had been two clubs that seemed to be a good fit, but San Francisco dealt for and Los Angeles signed Zack Cozart. Could Moustakas take a one-year deal and try the market again next winter? That seems doubtful, especially with Machado and Donaldson set to become free agents after the season.

Notable suitors: Cardinals, Royals, Yankees

Best guess: Cardinals