OF Market Slated to Heat Up

MLB: New York Mets at Miami Marlins

With the Royals reportedly re-signing Alex Gordon to a four-year deal worth $72 million, the market for the rest of the top tier of outfielders (Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes) as well as for OF/1B Chris Davis. Upton and Cespedes may have to wait for Chris Davis to decide whether he’s willing to take the Orioles’ offer of 7 years for $154 million. If Davis remains firm on holding out for more money, the Orioles may have no other choice than to move on from their first-baseman. They’re closely watching the market of Justin Upton, and this leads me to believe that they’ll pounce on Upton if Davis remains firm on his preferred contract.

UPDATE: Had to update a few of my predictions due to the Denard Span signing

The teams that are still interested in a top free agent outfielder or a trade target (Carlos Gonzalez, Marcell Ozuna, Jay Bruce) are the Angels, Giants, White Sox, Cardinals, Tigers and Nationals.

The Cardinals, however, seem like a perfect match for the Rockies for their All-Star Carlos Gonzalez. However, realistically, they could be in the market for any of the free agent OFs.

Although the Nationals placed a $200 million bid for Jason Heyward’s services, I doubt them to go big for an outfielder since they’ve made other moves since then. They might try to sign someone cheaper such as Dexter Fowler, Gerardo Parra, or Denard Span to pair with Michael Taylor.

The Angels’ owner Arte Morano remains firm that the Angels will not be going over the luxury tax threshold, which signing a big OF would do.

That leaves the Giants and White Sox, with the Tigers as a dark horse candidate due to their owner Mike Illitch. The Giants have already given out large contracts to a pair of starting pitchers (Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto), but with Angel Pagan’s future free agency and next year’s weak class of free agents, they might be inclined to sign an OF to help them continue their pattern of winning a World Series in even-numbered years (2010, 2012, 2014).

UPDATE: Due to the Giants signing Denard Span to a three-year deal, it would make no sense for them to give another long-term contract to a pricier OF. This would effectively remove them from this market, if they were every planning to do so in the first place.

The White Sox reportedly are very interested in signing Cespedes, but they want to sign him for a deal that’s three years or less. However, since they were willing to go three years on a 32-year-old Gordon, it seems that they’ll be willing to go four or five years on a 30-year-old Cespedes. They’re also figured to be interested in Justin Upton, as well.

The Tigers’ GM Al Avila has stated that their team is done making big moves, and signing Cespedes would make their payroll “ugly”. However, owner Illitch has stated that he’s willing to go over the luxury tax if it means improving the ball club and getting closer to that elusive World Series championship.

As of now, I see the best fits for Cespedes, Upton, and Davis are the White Sox, Giants, and Orioles respectively. But make sure to watch out for the Tigers and Nationals as well.

UPDATE: After the Span signing, I feel the best fits for the three OFs respectively are the Tigers, White Sox, and Orioles. I’m predicting the Nationals to go after Gerardo Parra. But they’re still sleepers as well as the Texas Rangers who are reportedly interested in Upton.

What do you think? Where do you think these All-Stars will sign in the coming weeks?

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