So after seven long and sometimes grueling months, the Kansas City Royals have been crowned the Champions of baseball, and rightfully so, after taking out a game New York Mets team in five games. That means that 29 teams did not win it all, and now comes a hot stove season when they need to retool to get to where the Royals are.
The best part is, even the Royals are not immune to needing some off-season tweaking. Yes, they just won the World Series and have not even had the parade yet, but they will have to deal with some key players becoming free agents. Alex Gordon, the longest tenured Royal, Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist will all hit the open market. I will be shocked if they don’t do everything in their power to resign Gordon, but Zobrist and Cueto will probably be gone.
What amazes me is the names that will be available this off-season on the market. If all the players available were to join up to form one team, they would probably be good enough to make the post-season. Don’t believe it? Well let’s take a look:
C – Matt Wieters (Alex Avila, Geovanny Soto, Chris Ianetta)
1B – Chris Davis (Mike Napoli, Steve Pearce, Mark Reynolds)
2B – Ben Zobrist (Howie Kendrick, Daniel Murphy, Stephen Drew)
SS – Ian Desmond (Asdrubal Cabrera, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Pennington)
3B – David Freese (Juan Uribe, Connor Gillespie)
LF – Yoenis Cespedes (Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Marlon Byrd)
CF – Dexter Fowler (Denard Span, Colby Rasmus, Rajai Davis)
RF – Jason Heyward (Chris Young, Gerardo Parra, Alex Rios)
RHP – Zack Grienke, Jordan Zimmerman, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, John Lackey
LHP – David Price, Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson, JA Happ
Bullpen – Joakim Soria, Tyler Clippard, Darren O’Day, Tony Sipp, Matt Thornton
So other than 3rd Base, which is admittedly a bit weak, the rest of the team looks like they would be at least a Wild Card if not a division winner.
So teams with money and holes to fill, may have a field day this off-season. But it is not just free agents that will have new addresses, there is sure to be a lot of trade chatter this off-season as well. Speaking to people around the game, there are a lot of names that will be made available in trades this winter, some of whom may surprise you.
This is just a sample of players who will be made available for the right price, Yasiel Puig, Craig Kimbrel, Carlos Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, Ryan Zimmerman, Carlos Martinez, Chris Sale, Adrian Beltre and Sonny Gray.
Obviously, that list is not exhaustive and it doesn’t mean those players will be dealt, but the teams are willing to listen on those players. A couple of them (Sale, Gray, Kimbrel) could be real game changers, depending on where they end up.
This is just the chatter one day after the World Series ended, imagine how much more there will be as the winter wears on. I will say that the only free agent I fully expect to stay put is Zack Grienke, he loves the Dodgers (and the numbers Dodger Stadium adds to his stats) and the Dodgers need him behind Kershaw.
While I know losing was a tough pill for the Mets to swallow, I have heard a lot of Mets fans say that while it was tough, they know they’ll be back. I wouldn’t be too cocky there Mets fans. Remember, not only were the teams who made the post-season this year built for the long haul like the Mets, but certain teams like the Nationals and Giants didn’t make the playoffs this season and they are ALWAYS dangerous. So yes, you have a great young rotation that should be made even better come June when Zack Wheeler returns from Tommy John surgery; your offense is still a bit of an issue.
So yes, be optimistic about your squad, but don’t get too cocky about them. It is not that easy to get back there. That’s why 29 teams will be working hard this winter to be able to be the lone team celebrating when it is all said and done.