Thank you all for coming. Please, have a seat. I appreciate you all for coming, as I understand how unorthodox this must seem. I'm just a baseball writer, and you're the most powerful agents in baseball, so this probably doesn't make a lot of sense to you. I completely understand your confusion and frustration.
However, rules are rules, and I've been told to assign the 10 best remaining free agents to their teams for next season. Major League Baseball has bestowed this power on me, and it's binding. If you're wondering about the CBA, it was altered. Pray I do not alter it any further.
The sooner we assign free agents to new teams, the sooner we can sit in a corner, facing the wall, waiting for baseball.
Everyone seems to agree on this one. The White Sox have done so much to rebuild their lineup this offseason, it would be odd if they just sort of stopped at the outfield. A switch-hitter like Fowler would slot nicely behind Adam Eaton at the top of the lineup, allowing Melky Cabrera to slide further down.
However, this would mean giving up on Avisail Garcia. That's collateral damage a team should be willing to accept for Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis or Justin Upton. It's probably not something the White Sox would be keen on doing for the privilege of spending $40 million on Fowler, who might not be that much better.
No, Fowler is on the Indians now. Lonnie Chisenhall can focus on third base, mostly, and there's one fewer gap in the lineup. This doesn't turn the Indians into a juggernaut, but every small step toward not wasting their superlative rotation is a big step. If that makes sense. Which it doesn't.
The Dodgers are starting Enrique Hernandez at second, and they have Chase Utley and Alex Guerrero in reserve. Austin Barnes is a freakish quasi-catcher who can play second, and they just traded for Micah Johnson, who has potential. My friend over at True Blue LA is pining for a Kendrick return, but it sure seems like they're set. One of those players should work out.
No, there isn't a more obvious fit than the Angels, his old stomping grounds. The ol' trade-a-player-then-sign-him gambit almost never works. But there's always an exception, and the Angels have an acute need for more offense, and the easiest place they can upgrade is second. There's an old friend out there, and the market isn't treating him so well. It's a perfect match.
Okay, so there are a couple of kinks. First is that the Angels would have to give up their No. 20 pick, and they don't exactly have the kind of farm system that can shake that loss off lightly. Second is that we have no idea if Kendrick enjoyed his time with the Angels. It's easy to say that a reunion would be peachy, but I know I've left a lot of workplaces with a smell-you-later attitude. I don't know why it would be different with baseball players and teams.
Of course, I would return to each of those workplaces and wear a bear suit every day for an extra $200,000, much less several million. Maybe that's not a consideration after all. Kendrick is back on the Angels.
The Rays would be giddy if Brad Miller morphed into their shortstop of the future, at least until Willy Adames is ready. But they're too close to contention to play around with too many spots in their lineup, and Miller is the weakest link in a lineup that isn't exactly robust.
Even if Desmond doesn't build on his second-half resurgence last year, he would be a defensive upgrade. The Rays are in a spot where they need to hoard all of the marginal wins they can scrounge up. No, I don't know how they'll pay for it, either, but there should be a way to stretch and get Desmond on a modest multi-year deal with an opt-out, or even a one-year deal. They can sell chocolate bars or magazines or something. Tell Curt Casali that he'll win a new bike if he sells $15 million worth.
Like the Angels and Kendrick, this would cost a draft pick. And it would be the No. 14 pick as of now, which is no joke. The Rays are close enough in the AL East with their pitching to make it worth it, so Desmond is on the Rays.
Nothing's gone right for the Nationals this winter
Unless you're the biggest Daniel Murphy fan in the world, this winter has been more about what the Nationals haven't done instead of what they have done.
After a career with the Brewers and Rangers, I feel like it's time to be nice to Gallardo and put him somewhere that's less dinger-happy. The Royals already gave up their draft pick for Ian Kennedy, and while their rotation is ostensibly full, we saw the promise of Chris Young, bizarre strikeout machine, in the late innings of last year's postseason.
Moving Young to a spot-starter role (or even middle relief) still makes sense, and Gallardo's pitch-to-contact trend wouldn't be as concerning if he had a bunch of zippy waterbugs behind him. He's on the Royals now, which is a pretty good deal for everyone involved. That is, assuming that he makes less than Kennedy, which was a pretty good deal for every Ian Kennedy involved.
The biggest problem for Freese is that there are five or six loser teams that don't want to pay for incremental upgrades. The Braves really are starting Adonis Garcia and hitting him fifth, but why shouldn't they at this point? Might as well see if he's a late bloomer.
He'll likely have to take a lesser deal for a team that doesn't have to use him as a full-time starter. The Astros are starting Luis Valbuena, a left-hander who could use a platoon partner, if not a return to the utility role he's best at. I can't believe that I'm advocating for fewer at-bats from a player who hit 25 homers last year, but considering this is the organization that let Chris Carter walk, they know what I'm talking about. Low-average dingers are nice, but Valbuena wouldn't lack for at-bats.
The Astros haven't signed a single free agent this offseason, and Freese makes a good amount of sense, even if he's picking up only 300 at-bats or so. Freese is the Astros' new third baseman.
Jackson should go to a team that needs a strong defensive center fielder to complement a weaker defender and/or is a little lefty-heavy in the outfield. The Rangers can use him as Josh Hamilton insurance, and it would also lessen the pressure on Delino Deshields to repeat his unexpected 2015 season.
The bench would be a little light on left-handed bats, but they can figure that out. No team needs a player on the 3.5-outfielder borderline between the lineup and bench quite like the Rangers.
I'm not going to pretend that you're interested in where Justin Morneau is going, so we'll make this quick. Mike Napoli is the starting first baseman, and his hip is made out of beard trimmings and moxie. The backup plan is ostensibly 25-year-old Jesus Aguilar, a semi-prospect who had a down year in Triple-A.
Morneau would come to the Indians on a one-year deal and provide depth and a left-handed bench bat for a team that needs both.
Was it weird for the A's to acquire Clippard last year? Feels like that was weird in retrospect.
The Tigers have done a lot of work building up their bullpen this offseason, but they still have a couple of low-strikeout arms in the mix for the final two spots. Clippard might be slipping, but his fastball/changeup combo is still laden with late-inning potential. The Tigers get him for the low, low price of whatever Mike Ilitch wants to spend.
There technically isn't a baseball team on the moon, but that just means Latos can pitch and pitch and pitch, and he'll never allow a home run. So, we'll send Latos to the damned moon, and never have to hear about him ag---
Okay, fine. If there's a team that should be interested in the chances of a Latos bounceback season -- we're talking in a July 31 kind of way -- it would be the A's. They still have stray thoughts of making noise in the AL West, so Latos would be around for that if it happens. More likely, he would be available in a deal if he enjoys a resurgence. Hopefully one that works out better than the Dodgers debacle. The ballpark and team needs combine to make the A's a reasonable fit.
Who can use a third baseman with solid defense and a penchant for flashy, well-timed homers? Just about everyone should, but it's surprising just how hard it is to find a perfect fit. Uribe would want to go somewhere with at least a few starting at-bats available, but those are harder to come by than you might think.
The Diamondbacks don't exactly have holes at second and third -- at least, not the kind you would plug Uribe into automatically -- but they could use one more player on the bench, just in case. Even if they don't want to put Jake Lamb in a strict platoon, Uribe could at least take some of the at-bats against tougher lefties. He's on the Diamondbacks now.
Whew, that was a lot of work, but I think we've all figured out how to make everyone happy. I see that some of you had some of the Pellegrino waters I left on the table, so I'll collect the $5 per bottle from you before you leave, which will go toward the Ian Desmond Fund.
Now you can go home and not worry about where these free agents will sign. It's all been taken care of. Thanks for your time.