At the risk of devaluing the term “highly-anticipated” by pointing out how many annual offseason series there are … I have another one for you. This time, though, it’s a little different.
Over at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron does what many publications do at this point in the year – ranks the top 50 available free agents and projects their expected contract – but unlike most other places, FanGraphs also includes crowd-sourced opinions on each guy! See! That’s fun, right?
When you combine the opinion of someone who follows the market like Cameron with the distilled opinion of the masses, you tend to get something that does a good job of predicting the future. So, with that said, you should definitely go and check it out!
Below, I’ve included some of the more Cubs-related free agents and their expected price tags, from the largest contract to the smallest:
Cameron: 6 years/$168M
Median Crowd Source (MCS): 5 years/$125M
Average Crowd Source (ACS): 5.4 years/$130M
I think I can tell you quite specifically what’s going on here: baseball fans were strongly scared off by Darvish’s World Series performance, whereas Cameron was not. Given how much closer Cameron’s prediction is to others we’ve seen, I’m guessing the crowd is light on this one.
Cameron: 4 years/$96M
MCS: 5 years/$110M
ACS: 4.6 years/$102.5M
Like I’ve said previously, if Arrieta is willing to settle for four years and something in the $25M AAV range, I’d put the Cubs among the front runners for his services. I expect him, with Scott Boras in tow, to get at least five years (he’s probably asking 6-7) and $120M.
Cameron: 4 years/$68M
MCS: 4 years/$60M
ACS: 3.6 years/$53.1M
If Davis doesn’t get a four-year deal, I’d be moderately surprised. Some team out there will take the chance and give it to him. Similarly, I’m cautiously expecting him to get $60M+ on the market, but I would not want the Cubs to go that high.
Cameron: 4 years/$60M
MCS: 4 years/$56M
ACS: 3.6 years/$52.6M
Given how reasonable the projected deals have been for Alex Cobb, I would have wagered that the Cubs were his front runners, even without the existing rumors and pitching coach connection. The offseason never works out the way you expect, but I’d be moderately surprised if Cobb didn’t end up in Chicago.
Cameron: 3 years/$48M
MCS: 4 years/$60M
ACS: 3.6 years/$53.2M
Lynn has mostly been considered a Cobb-alternative this winter, but he’s expected to command something a bit more than, or at least in the same range as, the former Ray. With that said, these estimates strike me as a bit light, so we’ll have to see how his market shakes out (because it’ll directly affect Cobb’s, all things equal).
Cameron: 2 years/$22M
MCS: 2 years/$18M
ACS: 2.4 years/$22.4M
Again, these estimates look a bit light – compared to the field – for Morrow, but, like Brett said earlier today, the relief market is very saturated this year. Morrow was clearly quite good in 2017, but the injury history gives you plenty to stress over.
Cameron: 3 years/$30M
MCS: (omitted from crowdsourcing)
ACS: (omitted from crowdsourcing)
We’re going to take a closer look at Tyler Chatwood later this week, but suffice it to say, he is one of the more intriguing buy-low candidates out there. And at just three years and $30 million, his projected commitment really isn’t too high.
Cameron: 3 years/$45M
MCS: 3 years/$36M
ACS: 3 years/$37.1M
Once again, while I can see Holland getting $15M per year for three years, that’s not a contract I really love for the Cubs. Holland’s terrible walk rate in recent years is precisely the direction the Cubs hoped to avoid going into next season, and he was flat-out bad in the second half last year.
Cameron: 3 years/$30M
MCS: 3 years/$27M
ACS: 3.1 years/$28.3M
We’ve been pretty openly married to the idea of bringing in Reed this winter, and if he’s commanding less than $10M/season I’m even more on board. Plus, given the Cubs closer opening, he could be offered that role as extra incentive to sign with the Cubs – something he may not necessarily get everywhere else.
There are obviously a number of other interesting relievers included in Cameron’s piece – Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith, Anthony Swarzak, Juan Nicasio, Pat Neshek, Tony Watson, Jake McGee, Steve Cishek – and almost all of them have been loosely connected to the Cubs in one way or another this winter. Suffice it to say, I expect the Cubs to land one of the guys from that group and one of the more established relievers over the winter.
In other related projections, each of Alex Avila and Jon Jay were projected to get just one year deals this offseason, which, if true, would make both candidates to return to the Cubs. If, however, either player can get offered a 1. real starting job or 2. multi-year deal, the Cubs will probably be unable to sway them away from those offers.