Of the free agent contract projections lists, the FanGraphs one is annually my favorite, because it comes with two layers: the writer’s *AND* a crowdsourced estimate. I’m not going to say there is always wisdom in the crowd of baseball fans, but among FanGraphs readers, if you bundle them all together and take the average contract guesses, I tend to think there’s some value there.
Here’s the FanGraphs list of the top 50 free agents with contract estimates from both Ben Clemens and the crowd. Lots to digest in there, but I thought I’d just offer up some reactions …
- Generally speaking, the crowd seems pretty light on a lot of these, especially the shortstops. Just 7/$210M for Trea Turner? 8/$256M for Carlos Correa? 6/$168M for Xander Bogaerts? 6/$141M for Swanson? I would take the over on all of those when it comes to the final guarantee. But, hey, if the Cubs could get any of those four on those deals, I’d be ecstatic.
- The crowd exactly agreed with my guess on a Kodai Senga contract, at four years and $60 million. Clemens was at four and $56 million. I know there’s plenty of transitional risk to MLB, but that seems like an outstanding use of money to me. Hopefully the Cubs press and close.
- Both Clemens and the crowd see Willson Contreras getting four years, with Clemens at $20M AAV and the crowd at $17.7M AAV. I think Contreras would be very happy to get a deal in that range.
- Clemens and the crowd both see Jose Abreu getting two years, with Clemens at $18M AAV and the crowd at $15M AAV. If that did the trick, I’m sure the Cubs would be happy to land him. He is rumored to be among their preferred targets.
- Another projected five-year deal for Carlos Rodon ($24 to $27M AAV in this one), which seems to be the consensus at this point. I think he gets it, and the team that gives it to him may find themselves with an ace for three or four of the next five seasons, or they may find that he breaks. That’s kinda the polar possible outcomes for him, and it’s just a question of which organization has the stomach for the risk.
- If Michael Conforto were really going to get only one year and $12 million, as projected, I wonder if there’s any chance at all that he could play center field (gives the Cubs a lefty bat, and a short-term CF option). He hasn’t done it in a few years, and obviously he missed all of last season following the shoulder injury, so there are loads of questions. But might be a decent low-cost, one-year risk.
- Speaking of center field, Kevin Kiermaier’s glove is pegged at two years and $8 to $10M AAV, which strikes me as a little steep for a glove-first guy coming off missed time. Still, I hope the Cubs give him a look, and if there’s a one-year deal to be had, it might be a perfect short-term fit.
- Kenley Jansen, recently and loosely attached to the Cubs, is projected at just one year and $12 million. I say: why the heck not?
- Christian Vazquez is absolutely going to do better than his 2/$16M projection, but if that’s where he actually landed, the Cubs need to be ALL OVER that.