By Adam Hayes
While there were not many solid starting pitchers available on the free agent market, there have been several great players available at every other position. If a team has enough money to spend, then they can drastically improve their team this offseason. Now that we are quickly approaching Christmas, all of the top free agents are starting to sign new contracts. These are the three best free agents currently available to sign before the start of the 2017 MLB season.
After playing as a utility player early in his career with the New York Mets, Justin Turner has quickly developed into one of the best third basemen in the league during his three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Turner’s ability to hit for a high average while also hitting a lot of home runs helped him finish in ninth place for the 2016 NL MVP Award. The biggest problem for Turner at the moment is that most of the teams in desperate need of a third baseman do not have enough money to sign him.
There is no question that Edwin Encarnacion is the best hitter left on the free agent market, but his lack of flexibility in the field only makes him desirable to teams in the American League. A fair offseason prediction was that Encarnacion would sign with the Red Sox to replace David Ortiz’s DH spot, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. The Blue Jays appear to have moved on from Encarnacion, so the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers may be the only two teams in the need of his services. The Rangers need a power hitter to fill the void created by Mitch Moreland signing with the Boston Red Sox. The Indians will also have an opening in the lineup if they do not bring back Mike Napoli.
After Mark Melancon and Aroldis Chapman signed huge contracts, Kenley Jansen is the only All-Star closer remaining on the free agent market. It appears that the bidding for Jansen’s services has been narrowed down to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins. The Nationals desperately need a closer after losing Melancon to the San Francisco Giants, but it may be difficult for them to lure Jansen away from his home in Los Angeles. If the Dodgers offer a competitive contract, then they will most likely be able to retain Jansen’s services. The two teams that miss out on Jansen may have to attempt a trade with the Chicago White Sox for Daniel Robertson.