The Houston Astros won the World Series on Saturday, and the offseason began for baseball.
It took little time for teams to strike as the New York Mets signed closer Edwin Diaz for five years $102 million. The Atlanta Braves traded for utility outfielder Sam Hillard from the Colorado Rockies.
Now, these transactions focus on what teams can do if its’ free agents refuse to sign.
This discusses moves some contending teams can make to bolster its’ chances of making it to the World Series.
These moves focused on a team’s needs realistically.
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Los Angeles Dodgers sign Xander Bogaerts
Assuming Trea Turner walks in free agency, the next best move for the Dodgers is signing Xander Bogaerts.
Now, this is realistic for the Dodgers, who are no stranger to spending big money for great player.
Replacing Turner’s production in the lineup should be a priority for LA. Turner hit .298 (BA) and posted a .343 on base percentage (OBP). Bogaerts can replace some of that productivity as he hit .307 with a .377 OBP. He lacked in homers and stolen bases compared to Turner but could be a fine replacement atop the Dodgers lineup.
Turner is projected for a $33 million contract, Bogaerts is projected for $31 million. Both are close in age, Turner 29, Bogaerts 30.
Once LA singed Freddie Freeman in the previous offseason, there was an All-Star at every position. Bogaerts keeps that tradition for LA.
Braves sign Andrew Benintendi
Despite a terrible 2020 season, Benintendi owns a lifetime BA of .279. He is a lefty in what would be a predominantly right-handed lineup. The outfielder hit 20 homers once in his career but showed he is capable of double digits. Benintendi has yet to post a 100-RBI season. He is a solid hitter with solid defense.
After an abysmal 2022 season, Marcell Ozuna looks on the decline. Mired by controversy in 2021, Ozuna doesn’t bring Atlanta a good return on investment on his four-year $65 million contract he signed in 2021. His defense is horrible, which he always was below average, but his bat is not worth it. The Braves can try to trade him, and the terrible contract, or eat it in a trade or release.
The Braves own a platoon of Eddie Rosario, Sam Hilliard and Guillermo Heredia. If Atlanta signs Benintendi, it should give the team a solid third outfielder.
He is projected for a contract around the $17.5 million range, and at 28 Benintendi may still be in his prime. A three-year $54 million contract won’t be too crazy for Atlanta. The team wanted to be a top-five payroll too.
New York Mets sign Mitch Haniger
The Mets own two outfield prospects in its’ top 10 list.
But if New York wants to bridge a gap between prospect development, Hangier could be an option. The injuries are concerning, he only played in 57 games in 2022. He never played in 2020, and his 2019 season was lackluster. Haniger showed in his 2021 season he owns pop in his bat. He hit 39 homers and knocked in 100 RBIs as well. He owned a .253 BA, .318 OBP and .485 slugging percentage.
The Mets need a solid third outfielder, and with all the former Mets players that hit free agency in the 2022 offseason, it may be a smart move to lock up Haniger for a couple of years until the prospects reach the MLB.