The MLB hot stove is slowly heating up.
The Atlanta Braves grabbed two pitchers off the free-agent market in recent weeks, signing Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly to one-year deals. Right-hander Mike Minor rejoined the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, and the Royals also filled a spot in the outfield Monday with Michael A. Taylor.
However, baseball's biggest free agents still remain unsigned.
With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on MLB's revenue streams, this year's free-agent market may be tepid. Some teams won't be able to spend, which could make it difficult to keep up with teams like the New York Mets, whose new owner Steve Cohen is flush with cash and eager to build a contender.
Teams may opt not to go to arbitration with some high-level players, flooding the market with more free agents. MLB and the MLBPA still have not agreed on a formula for how arbitrators should view statistics from the 2020 season.
While we're waiting for the action to get fully underway, let's look at some of the best fits for the top free agents in the 2020 class.
J.T. Realmuto: New York Mets
Elite, two-way catchers like J.T. Realmuto don't come along often. The 29-year-old two-time All-Star is arguably the best catcher in the game, and the New York Mets' biggest need is arguably a catcher.
The Mets have never been the model of consistency, but with a strong pitching staff in place, it's time for them to bolster their talent behind the plate.
They released Travis d'Arnaud in May 2019 after injuries derailed his tenure in New York. Wilson Ramos was great at the plate in his two seasons with the Mets, but he was problematic behind it. They're now left with Tomas Nido and Ali Sanchez, neither of whom inspire much confidence.
The Mets could choose to pursue James McCann, who hit his offensive stride in two seasons with the Chicago White Sox (.276/.334/.474 with a .808 OPS). McCann should be a cheaper option, but if new team owner Steve Cohen is willing to spend, Realmuto is worth the money.
DJ LeMahieu: New York Yankees
Even the New York Yankees weren't immune to the economic hardships of 2020.
The Yankees lost more money than any other team last season, per Dan Martin of the New York Post. They had the highest payroll in the game at $109 million, and owner Hal Steinbrenner has expressed a desire to stay under the luxury-tax threshold in 2021.
LeMahieu, who already rejected a qualifying offer, will not come cheap. However, the Yankees have money coming off the books with pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton likely moving on in free agency.
LeMahieu blossomed into one of MLB's best position players during his time in New York, playing second and third base. In 2020, he won the American League batting title, had the fifth-most hits in MLB, and his 2.8 WAR was tied for the fourth-best. He can also field three positions well.
Both sides seem to want to reach a deal, so don't be surprised if LeMahieu stays with the Yankees.
Trevor Bauer: San Diego Padres
Trevor Bauer could be a fit for nearly every team.
The NL Cy Young Award winner could form a super rotation with the Mets, and his bold personality would be welcomed in Queens, where the Mets have never quite been able to get out of the shadow of their counterparts in the Bronx. The outspoken Bauer has never held back when it comes to his pitching or his thoughts on pitching, even if it angers baseball's old guard.