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J.D. Martinez,

J.D. Martinez, sbnation.com THE NOT-SO CHICAGO CUBS KANSAS CITY ROYALS HOT STOVE COLORADO ROCKIES ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS Contributed by Adrian Bowles It seems as if since Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton were on the move back in December we haven’t seen the Hot Stove live up to its full potential like we expected. Every MLB offseason, fans are eager to see what their General Managers are brewing up when it comes to adding new players to their rosters. No matter how good your team did last year, there is always room for improvement. So, the big question among fans is, which well named player will land on my team next? Yet so far, this offseason we haven’t seen very many moves compared to years past where we saw All-Star players signing in early December like Edwin Encarnacion of the Cleveland Indians who signed on Dec. 22. last season or Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who signed on Dec. 8. back in 2011. Notable signings thus far: the Chicago White Sox signed catcher Wellington Castillo, the Texas Ranger signed left-handed pitcher Mike Minor, the Chicago Cubs signed right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow, the Philadelphia Phillies signed first baseman Carlos Santana, the Los Angeles Angels signed short-stop Zack Cozart, the Cleveland Indians signed firstbaseman Yonder Alonso, and the Colorado Rockies signed both catcher Chris Iannetta and right-handed closer Wade Davis. But not many of these players, if any at all, are top tier players that are going to change the face of a team; which kind of seems to be the trend in this year’s free agent class. 40 40 www.EverythingElko.com \ February 2018

This year’s free agent class does supply talent, but the top talent is holding off waiting for the most money they can possibly get. The result of that is all the second and third tier players are waiting as long as they can as well. Let’s look at the top tier players in this year’s free agent class. Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs and Yu Darvish of the Los Angeles Dodgers are the top two pitchers in this year’s class. Each player could potentially add another Ace to any team’s pitching staff yet neither have signed with a team. According to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago, the Cubs reportedly may be willing to offer a four year, $110MM contract to Arrieta which will set the bar high for all other pitchers this season. Jake Arrieta nbcsports.com Alex Cobb, cbssports.com If Arrieta gets a contract close to that we should expect Darvish to get one similar even though no team appears as the obvious front runner for Darvish. The next best pitcher in this year’s free agent class was Brandon Morrow who signed a 2-year $21MM contract with the Chicago Cubs on Dec. 12. Which may have been a mistake on Morrow’s behalf. Outfielder J.D. Martinez of the Arizona Diamondbacks and first-baseman Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals are the top two position players in this year’s free agent class, and much like Arrieta and Darvish they haven’t signed with a team either, looking for the biggest payday they can get. The Boston Red Sox appear as the obvious front runner for Martinez who is looking for a contract north of $200MM. The Red Sox have already made it clear that the maximum amount of time they would sign Martinez for would be five years, which would be a massive contract if they live up to Martinez’s expectations. There is still a lot of questions around where Martinez will land and with what kind of contract. Hosmer is also in search of a contract that could possibly make him around $20MM a year. According to the San Diego Tribune, the San Diego Padres offered Hosmer roughly $140MM for a sevenyear contract and now the Kansas City Royals, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, have sweetened the deal by and extra $7MM but Hosmer hasn’t decided yet. With all four top free agents still on the market why would any other player want to sign when they can’t compare their contract to the top player at their position? This is why the Hot Stove is on low and not burning us like it normally does during this time of the year. Following the 2018 season we have the biggest free agent class known to date with All-Stars like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones, Charlie Blackmon and so many more players. Players like Harper and Machado will be looking for contracts in the $300MM-$400MM range. Our top four players in this free agent class understand that their contracts won’t be nearly as high as the contracts being given out next season due to the lack of talent presented currently. This results in not only the top tier players waiting as long as they can for teams to try and make more room on their payroll www.EverythingElko.com \ February 2018 41

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