Tag: Chicago White Sox

MLB Free Agent Feature: Josh Donaldson

Within this segment, we’ll be breaking down the careers of the top Free Agents on the market. How did they get here? What makes them so enticing to teams? Where could they end up? Let’s find out.

Let’s check in on a man of many names — the great Viking Hoskuld, the Bringer of Rain, the one and only, Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson Displays Dominance…

Joshua Adam Donaldson was born in Pensacola, Florida, and played baseball all throughout high school. He then went on to attend Auburn University, and was selected 48th overall in the 2007 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. Early in his career, Donaldson was admired for his excellent eye and plate discipline, as well as his power stroke. During the 2008 season, the Cubs and Athletics struck a six player deal that included Donaldson, and the then-catcher spent the entirety of the 2009 season in the Athletics Double A system.

The three-time All Star first debuted in 2010, but it was during the 2012 season that his major league career took flight, and he converted to the hot corner full time. Donaldson began as a split time third baseman, but, as his bat began to heat up, he started playing more and more often. In 2013, Donaldson became the Athletics full time third baseman, as well as their prominent bat. In 2014, Donaldson was traded to the Blue Jays for a four-player package, and proceeded to win the AL MVP Award in 2015 He turned in five straight All-Star caliber seasons from 2013-2017, in which hit hit a total of 164 home runs as well as a combined 491 RBI. Donaldson was also consistently praised for his excellent play of third base, as well as his unyielding drive to win. Though he muddled through last year plagued with injury, Donaldson is sure to see a sizable contract this offseason, and very well may be the best deal of this winter.

Who’s Bringing the Rain?

Donaldson’s age and recent struggles will undoubtedly affect the size and value of his nearing contract, however, that does not change the fact that he is due for a payday.

His primary suitors are the Saint Louis Cardinals, who are becoming less and less likely to land Bryce Harper with every passing moment, and are in dire need of an option at third (or first) base. Had Manny Machado been an option at the hot corner, they may have shown more interest in him, but Machado seems set in his choice to play shortstop.

Other teams that should have interest include the the Los Angeles Angels, the Chicago White Sox, and the Philadelphia Phillies, should they miss on their other big Free Agent targets.

Donaldson, if healthy, will prove an excellent addition to any teams’ lineup, and will serve as an major presence in the clubhouse as well. It is entirely possible that he ends up becoming one of the most undervalued Free Agents of his class, and he might play a much larger role in the 2019 season than many spectators suggest.

My Prediction: The Saint Louis Cardinals, 2 years, $36 Million

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MLB Free Agent Feature: Manny Machado

Within this segment, we’ll be breaking down the careers of the top Free Agents on the market. How did they get here? What makes them so enticing to teams? Where could they end up? Let’s find out.

This time, we’re checking in on a major commodity — a power hitting, smack talking shortstop: it’s Manny Machado.

How Did Machado Make the Majors

Manuel Arturo Machado, or Manny, was born in Hialeah, Florida, but raised in Miami, and groomed from an early age for baseball greatness. He was picked third overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2010 MLB Draft, and since then has become one of the most talked about young stars of the modern era. At only 26 years-old, Machado has accumulated countless amounts of praise and multiple gold glove awards for his defense at the hot corner, and has slugged his way to the top percentile of major leaguers, boasting a career slash line of .282/.335/.487 and 175 home runs over 926 games.

Machado debuted in 2012 with the Baltimore Orioles at 19 years of age, and hasn’t looked back since. Machado began his career with minimal flare, slugging only 33 home runs throughout his first three major league seasons. However, like his fellow Free Agent Bryce Harper, Machado exploded in his 22 year-old season. Manny came out of nowhere, bombing 35 dingers and slashing .286/.359/.502 with an OPS of .861. Then, he did it again in 2016, dropping 37 home runs and further improving his slash. After that, Manny slumped a bit in 2017, only to return to form completely in 2018, for what would be a career year for the young slugger. He turned in a season of .297/.367/.538 with 37 long balls, and found himself a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization at the trade deadline.

Manny’s cocky, confident nature can sometimes get in his way, (see the entirety of the 2018 Postseason) but that shouldn’t really affect his value all that much. Teams know what they’re getting with him. A consistent bat, a magician of defense, and an oft over-confident presence. This should be interesting…

Who Wants Him?

Machado’s case is an anomaly. Any team would be glad to add his bat to their lineup, but quite a few of them took exception to his remarks and actions during the 2018 Postseason, which could affect the amount of teams that make him an offer. For example, initially, I thought the Milwaukee Brewers would be major players for Machado. They were able to make it to the NLCS, though there were quite a few holes in their roster, shortstop included. Manny would have fit Milwaukee perfectly, had it not been for his actions during said NLCS, which surely have sworn the Brewers away from him. That being said, there will still be plenty of offers on the table, I can assure you of that.

The frontrunners at this moment in time look like the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees. Both teams are massive in market size, and both have money in excess to spend on guys like Machado. Other teams of interest are the Saint Louis Cardinals, and the many dark horses in pursuit of a big bat such as the Chicago White Sox, The San Diego Padres, and, most interestingly, the New York Mets.

It will certainly be curious to see how Machado’s actions, as well as his comments are going to affect his market value. Certain teams may be more willing to spend more money over others, which could lead to a major surprise as to where he ends up. However, my prediction, while safe, seems like the most likely outcome.

My Prediction: The New York Yankees, 10 years, $310 Million.

MLB Free Agent Feature: Bryce Harper

The long awaited 2018-19 MLB Offseason has finally reared it’s head — feelings of anticipation, excitement, and endless possibility permeate the air. Will your team sign the pieces they need to win their division, their league, or even a championship?

Within this segment, we’ll be breaking down the careers of the top Free Agents on the market. How did they get here? What makes them so enticing to teams? Where could they end up? Let’s find out.

Today, we’re taking a look at perhaps the most highly anticipated Free Agent of the entire offseason: Bryce Harper.

Free Agent of the offseason…

Bryce Aron Max Harper, a 26 year-old Nevada native, took the baseball world by storm when he entered the league at just 19 years-old on April 28 of 2012, first appearing with the Nationals, who took him first overall in the 2010 MLB Draft. Harper wasted no time in making a name for himself, slashing a solid .270/.340/.477 with 22 big flies in 139 games. He followed this success up with two more relatively consistent years which each turned out similar numbers — but then 2015 rolled around. Harper exploded in his age 22 season, slashing an incredible .330/.460/.649 while belting 42 long balls and turning in an astonishing 1.109 OPS paired with a 198 OPS+. Harper immediately asserted himself as a force to be reckoned with, flashing his proper talent for all the world to see.

So, what is it exactly that makes Bryce Harper of such high demand? Sure, his numbers have been impressive from time to time, and yes, he’s young with a drive for greatness, but is that all really worth upwards of $30 Million in annual value? In short, yes, but it’s not his numbers in prior years that entice teams so heavily, it’s what they could be in future seasons that make teams go crazy for guys like Bryce. Harper’s ceiling is, arguably, the highest of any player in all of baseball. He has all the tools, and certainly the confidence, to become one of the greatest players to ever grace the diamond, and teams know that. Therefore, you can guarantee that Harper will receive the most demand of any player on the market this winter, I’d put money on that.

Where can Harper land?

Speaking of teams, who all is interested in this Superstar talent? The first two teams that come to mind are the Saint Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies, both of which have money to spend, and have maintained interest in Harper for a long, long time. Philadelphia certainly has more money, but Saint Louis has more of a winning culture to their name. Another team that will be big players for Harper are the Washington Nationals, his former ball club. According to multiple reports, the Nationals extended Harper an offer following the last game of the season that was in the ballpark of $30 Million per year over 10 years, no opt-outs. Harper, apparently, denied this offer, and the two have yet to resume talks. That being said, it certainly stands to reason that the team will come back with a restructured offer in the near future. Teams with an outside shot on the generational Harper include the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are a bit strapped for cash, the San Francisco Giants, who lack a whole lot more than just a superstar outfielder, and the Chicago White Sox, who are looking to come back from a rebuild in style.

Harper is due to set records this offseason, and it will be extremely interesting to see where his talent winds up.

My Prediction: The Philadelphia Phillies, 11 years, $363 Million.