Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press
Atlanta Braves: C Matt Wieters
The Atlanta Braves blossomed ahead of schedule and won the National League East behind a strong young core. A division-series defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers may have temporarily dampened their spirits, but this squad is on the rise.
They’ll be in the market for a catcher with Kurt Suzuki and Rene Rivers entering free agency.
Like the Astros, the Braves could be tempted by Wieters. There may be mutual interest considering Wieters hails from neighboring South Carolina.
However, the same injury and regression red flags apply, so Atlanta should go another route.
Miami Marlins: RHP Matt Harvey
Wouldn’t this be a classic Miami Marlins move?
Last winter, they dealt uber-slugger Giancarlo Stanton and possible NL MVP Christian Yelich, among others. This winter, they might look to add an arm to a starting staff that posted a 4.34 ERA.
What about Matt Harvey? He’s familiar with the NL East from his days with the New York Mets, and he showed flashes of being decent after a trade from the Mets to the Cincinnati Reds.
Someone should sign Harvey, assuming he’ll accept a short-term prove-it contract. But it shouldn’t be the Marlins, who have enough dysfunction as it is.
New York Mets: C Matt Wieters
Are we picking on Wieters? Maybe. But the Mets are another club that will hunt for catching this winter.
Wieters might look like an attractive target, as he has experience within the division and might be willing to take a short-term deal to rebuild his value.
But after another injury-riddled, also-ran season, New York needs to be moving toward youth and rebuilding, not rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship.
His resume aside, Wieters is a deck chair.
Philadelphia Phillies: 2B Asdrubal Cabrera
Asdrubal Cabrera notched 23 home runs and 60 extra-base hits in 2018, solid numbers for a middle infielder.
After a trade from the Mets to the Philadelphia Phillies, however, he slashed a paltry .228/.286/.392 in 185 plate appearances. He also adds nothing on defense, as evidenced by his abysmal minus-17 DRS at second base.
The burgeoning Phils ought to pursue veteran bats to augment their youthful lineup. Given his notable limitations, Cabrera should be out of the running.
Washington Nationals: OF Bryce Harper
After years of anticipation, Bryce Harper is about to hit free agency. He’s a six-time All-Star who claimed NL MVP honors in 2015. And he turns 26 on October 26, which means he’s just entering his prime.
Despite hitting a so-so .249 in his contract year, Harper will surely garner interest from deep-pocketed suitors including the Yankees, Chicago Cubs and, well, basically anyone with two nickels to rub together. After all, he is a generational talent who swatted 34 homers and drove in 100 runs ths season.
So, why should the Washington Nationals let Harper go?
The Nats don’t have a bottomless budget, and the untold dollars it would take to win a Harper bidding war could cripple them financially. Plus, they have a budding star in 19-year-old outfielder Juan Soto ready to assume the franchise-player mantle.