Although the 2019 World Series concluded less than four weeks ago, many of the Major League Baseball organizations are already using the offseason to prepare for the 2020 MLB season. This upcoming MLB season will officially begin this February when pitchers and catchers report to their respective spring training facilities.
There were approximately eight Major League Baseball franchises that have already filled their manager vacancies that had opened up as the previous season came to an end on October 30th, 2019. Below is the list of the teams that have changed managers this offseason.
Teams with Managerial Changes prior to 2020 MLB Season:
The Chicago Cubs – David Ross
The New York Mets – Carlos Beltran
The Los Angeles Angels – Joe Maddon
The Philadelphia Phillies – Joe Girardi
The San Diego Padres – Jayce Tingler
The Kansas City Royals – Mike Matheny
The San Francisco Giants – Gabe Kapler
The Pittsburgh Pirates – Currently Interviewing Potential Candidates to fill Open Position
The Top Free Agents Entering the 2020 MLB Season:
- Gerrit Cole- Right handed pitcher that played for the Houston Astros in 2019 along his AL Cy Young winning teammate in Justin Verlander. Cole is one of the best if not the best pitcher in the MLB at the moment. Coming off his strongest season where he rarely lost a start and he finished the 2019 Major League Baseball campaign with a 2.50 ERA. The Angels, Yankees, Dodgers, and Padres are currently showing high interest in giving Cole a series long term contract. Cole is from Southern California and many baseball analysts are predicting him to wind up with the Los Angeles Angels working under the great and newly acquired manager in Joe Maddon.
- Anthony Rendon- a World Series Champion after completing that unbelievable 2019 MLB postseason run with the Washington Nationals last year. He is a great third baseball that does a considerable amount of damage at the plate with his bat. The Nationals, Phillies, Cardinals, and Dodgers are pursuing him, but he may want to play for his hometown team in the Rangers. I could see the Cubs making a run for Rendon if they were to trade Kris Bryant in order to make room for him on Chicago’s roster at the hot corner.
- Stephen Strasburg- also on that Cinderella Washington Nationals squad that won it all in 2019. He opted out of his contract that had $100 million remaining on it to test the waters of the free agent market, and it did not take him long to make that decision as he declined his team option for this this upcoming MLB season.
- You can’t blame him as his stock value can’t be any higher than it is at the moment. Strasburg was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2019 World Series for his outstanding starts against the hot hitting Houston Astros this past October. He had an ERA of 3.32 last year which is incredibly low for pitching the over 200 innings of baseball last season.
- Zack Wheeler- throws heat hitting 100 consistently. His nasty spin, movement, and high velocity gets him some comparisons to the superstar ace of any rotation, Cole. His ERA of 3.96 could have been lower, but his fielding independent pitching mark of 3.48 is more indicative of his strong pitching capabilities. Any team in the majors would love to sign this hurler as he is still currently in his late 20’s.
- Madison Bumgarner- was the heart and soul of the San Francisco Giants teams that won three World Series titles over the last decade. Although his heater doesn’t necessarily blow people away the way it used to, he throws more nasty curveballs to rack up strikeouts, and with his increasing age comes experience and elite baseball knowledge dictating that he knows how to get opposing batters out. He will be seeking a large contract, and I am confident that there will be a taker out there for “Mad Bum.”
- Yasmani Grandal- agreed to 4 Year $73 Million Deal with the Chicago White Sox around the 20th of November 2019. This makes Yasmani Grandal the first big name player to get signed during baseball’s free agency period.
- Hyun-Jin Ryu- this skilled lefty has pitched well for the Los Angeles Dodgers ever since making his debut with them in 2013. Last season Ryu led the National League in earned run average (2.32), and he was named to the 2019 NL All Star Team as well. He was a finalist for the Cy Young award in the National League last season which went to a very deserving Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.
- Josh Donaldson- is a star athlete and true professional year in and year out. Last season Josh had an OPS of .900. He will give you great at bats coming up with clutch hits when your ball club truly is in need of them. At age 34 he is working for hopefully one last fruitful contract he can ride off into the sunset with, but as long as he keeps performing the way he has over the last several years he is a strong asset to the MLB franchise that signs this quality first baseman.
- Marcell Ozuna- this hard hitting slugger played for the St. Louis Cardinals this past year of baseball, and although I thought he was better while with the Miami Marlins a few years ago he will still find teams clamoring for his services in the outfield as well as at the dish. In 2019 Ozuna plated an OPS of .800 with the red birds.
- Nicholas Castellanos- was overlooked for the first half of last season as he played for the absolutely terrible Detroit Tigers, but once he joined the Chicago Cubs line up, he became a serious threat. He was a serious doubles machine! His OPS with Chicago was at an astonishing 1.002.
Several players were left off this list due to their options that are likely to be exercised or ball players that have yet to opt out of their options. Players that this applies to include David Price, Anthony Rizzo, Elvis Andrus, Yu Darvish, Starling Marte, and Jose Quintana are just some of the premium talents that have yet to decide or announce what their MLB future.