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Looking Ahead: Where 2014’s World Series Stars Will Land Next Year

The World Series kicked off last night, and while this post goes against my usual enjoy the games and blog about next year in the offseason philosophy, there are as many as 6 more duels to enjoy.  We’ll have more Hunter Pence crazy eyes, more Yordano Ventura doing Yordano Ventura things, and the seas of blue and orange will ebb and flow before our eyes at least a few more times.  It will certainly be fun, even with Harold Reynolds in the announcer’s booth.

Maybe it’s the fact that my Braves were so bad this year, or that my adopted playoff darling played just one postseason game, or that I’m tired of the Giants–or that I’m bitter we actually published a post with #Ginasty in the title–but I’m ready to look ahead to next year.  In this day and age, players change teams after every World Series.  The Red Sox have already lost 4/9 of their World Series winning lineup from a year ago and 3/4 of the starters that pitched.  This year will be no different for the eventual winner: both the Giants and Royals will have radically different roster dynamics in 2015.  Let’s take a look at some of the potential departed and where they might end up.

James Shields
Not-So-Big Game James is set to be a free agent after this season and despite the fact that he hasn’t been at his best this postseason, is still a pitcher that will command a big investment from some team.  He’s thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last 8 years and figures to age better than most given that his success is mostly thanks to his changeup.  He’s a step below Max Scherzer and Jon Lester on the free agent radar, but should still collect a hefty paycheck.

The Boston Red Sox will be looking to re-man this offseason after selling off the aforementioned Lester this summer.  Shields makes a lot of sense for them in that he’ll provide stability to a rotation that has as many as 7 internally viable candidates already.  The Cubs are another interesting organization that could pursue Mr. Shields’ services.  He’s a 200 inning guy, 32, and figures to be available at decent value.  Theo Epstein may elect to kick-start the winning effort by bringing Shields in now and one of David Price, Doug Fister, or Jordan Zimmerman after next year.

Bold Prediction: Red Sox; 5 years/$102 M with the John Lackey/Tommy John clause

Jake Peavy
The Snake was traded to the Giants in July and compiled a paltry 2.17 ERA across 12 starts in his return to the NL West.  He was going to be a free agent anyway and has increased his value substantially with improved performances the last three months of the season.  Peavy will undoubtedly look to stay in the NL West where he has found nearly all of his success, though the market for him will likely be unfairly shaped by his performance in tonight’s game.

The Giants gave Tim Lincecum $35 Million (!) last offseason and have showed a willingness to pay slightly above market price for their guys (Pence and Posey have both gotten player-friendly deals).  Has Peavy become one of their guys in just three months?  Delivering another World Series to The Bay would probably help his chances.  Another option could be the Braves.  Peavy is an Alabama native and has been linked to the club in the past.  Will the new regime be open to welcoming the 33 year old former Cy Young winner?  Maybe.  If not, another sensible destination is Texas, where the Rangers are going to be looking to become contenders again.  To stretch a bit, the Angels might like the intense righty, but could they afford him is the question.

Bold Prediction: Giants 4 years/$56 Million

Nori Aoki
I’m a fan of Aoki and I’m sure I’m not alone.  The 32 year old Japanese outfielder has hit at least .280 with at least a .350 OBP in each of his three years in the majors.  He doesn’t hit for very much any power, but provides value by consistently getting on base, being a savvy baserunner, and tracking balls down in the outfield.

Aoki’s skillset doesn’t figure to get a fan base’s heart thumping, but he’s the type of addition that good teams make.  The Baltimore Orioles must figure out what to do with Nick Markakis and could find Aoki to be a cheaper alternative.  Aoki also feels to me like a Ray’s or A’s project.

Bold Prediction: Orioles 2 years/$21 Million

Pablo Sandoval
The Panda has proven to be an absolute freak in the postseason.  He is riding a streak of the 4th most consecutive games reaching base in postseason history.  At this point, everybody knows the story with Pablo: freak athlete, free swinger; struggles to control the strike zone as much as his weight.

The good news for him is that the third base position is currently very shallow in the Major Leagues.  A number of clubs could pursue the burly cornerman, including the Braves, Phillies, Padres, and Blue Jays.  However, I doubt Pablo goes anywhere this offseason as he is clearly a happy Panda in San Francisco.

Bold Prediction: Takes the Giants’ Qualifying Offer

Sergio Romo
Romo is just one of the group of right handed closers set to be a free agent this offseason.  Your guess as to where they all end up is likely as good as mine.  Ranking them in terms of overall money that clubs should, I’d handicap like this:

  • Huston Street
  • David Robertson
  • Francisco Rodriguez
  • Sergio Romo
  • Casey Janssen
  • Rafael Soriano
  • Koji Uehara
  • Jason Grilli
  • LaTroy Hawkins

Bold Prediction: Giants 3 years/$24 Million

Michael Morse
Morse has effectively become a rent-a-power-outfielder journeyman over the last few years.  He’s a good hitter when healthy (an important caveat) but isn’t going to be confused with Magellan in left field.  I don’t know what that last line means either, but Morse isn’t a very good defensive outfielder.

Like Aoki, Morse is another of the underrated players that good teams seem to like.  I see him as a possible Nelson Cruz replacement in Baltimore, or as an offensive upgrade in Cincinnati, or Philadelphia, or perhaps finding a second term with the Mariners.

Bold Prediction: Cincinatti, 1 year/$10 Million

-Sean Morash

Thought of the Day:  This is the type of article that I hate.  If you just read it, forget everything that I just discussed and go enjoy tonight’s game.

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