Now that free agency is underway, it's time to focus on the important things in life -- like which downmarket type your favorite team could sign this winter. Most anyone can find landing spots for the best of the best free agents, but what about those deep-dive types? Where will they land?
In an honest attempt to answer that question, we've put together a guide with a realistic free-agent addition for every team. Note that none of the players listed below appeared in the top 25 of our free-agent rankings -- this the B-side of the class. Also note that we're not saying these teams will sign these exact players; we do think, however, similar moves could happen.
Let's dive in.
A number of important Diamondbacks decision makers, ranging from general manager Mike Hazen to skipper Torey Lovullo, are familiar with Brock Holt from their shared time in Boston. Holt would give Arizona a passable platoon option at the keystone, or, at minimum, a versatile bench piece who could offer insurance against Josh Rojas and/or Domingo Leyba stumbling. The Diamondbacks might prefer a right-handed version of Holt instead -- perhaps Sean Rodriguez?
The Braves, who have already brought back Tyler Flowers, figure to sniff around Yasmani Grandal as well as some of the other top available backstops. Alex Avila is part of that collection. His on-base skills and feel for hard contact against right-handed pitchers would make him a nature platoon partner for the right-handed Flowers. He'll come cheaper than Grandal, too, which could enable the Braves to pursue other upgrades, be it at third base or elsewhere.
Mike Elias and the Orioles aren't going to be big players in free agency, not this winter or anytime soon. Still it would make sense to ink Collin McHugh, who Elias is familiar with from their time together with Houston. McHugh could reestablish himself as a starter with the Orioles (from 2014-17 he started 102 times and posted a 106 ERA+ and 3.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio), and in doing so would give Elias a potential trade chip at the deadline.
Chaim Bloom has his work cut out for him this winter, as he tries to reduce Boston's luxury tax number to save his owner some coin. As such, the Red Sox don't figure to be super active on the free-agent front. First baseman Justin Smoak might be hard to pass on, though, given his on-base skills and strength, as well as the high marks he receives in the clubhouse.
The Cubs stand to lose Brandon Kintzler in free agency. If Jed Hoyer and crew want a cheap alternative, then Dan Otero would make sense. He generates a ton of ground balls and seldom walks anyone, but can't miss bats and has been prone to the long ball over the past season-plus. Otero should come cheap and has a history of being an effective reliever (he has a career 124 ERA+ in more than 400 innings), suggesting he'd be worth a spot in camp regardless of Kintzler.