2018 MLB Free Agents: Updated Rumors, Predictions on Top Stars Available

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2018

TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 14:  Outfielder Victor Mesa #32 of Cuba hits a two run single to make it 4-2 in the top of the fourth inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool E Game Four between Cuba and Japan at the Tokyo Dome on March 14, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.  (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
Matt Roberts/Getty Images

As we begin the final weekend of the 2018 MLB regular season, the vast majority of teams have already turned their attention to 2019, and their respective fanbases are no doubt doing the same.

For teams not headed to the postseason, work has no doubt already begun on assessing this year's crop of free agents.

Superstars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the headliners of the class and could be headed for record deals thanks to their age an impressive track records to date.

However, the class by no means begins and ends with that duo, as there's a wealth of potential game-changing talent set to hit the open market.

We've rounded up some of the latest rumors surrounding a few of the top names who could be on the move this winter.

     

Matt Harvey Won't Return to the New York Mets

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25:  Matt Harvey #32 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals at Great American Ball Park on September 25, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When asked about the possibility of returning to the Cincinnati Reds in free agency recently, Matt Harvey offered up the following to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com:

"Absolutely. There's only one team out there I would not sign with. That's about it."

It's not hard to piece that one together.

Once a budding superstar for the New York Mets, Harvey's decline was a drastic one as injuries derailed his career.

After struggling to a 6.70 ERA over 92.2 innings in 2017, he was quickly demoted to the bullpen this season after a similarly rocky start and eventually traded to the Reds in exchange for catcher Devin Mesoraco.

While he hasn't regained his previously elite form, he has been a serviceable starter since the trade, going 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA (4.33 FIP) and 1.25 WHIP with 111 strikeouts in 128 innings.

Now he'll hit the open market for the first time, and while he's not on the same level as top-tier options like Clayton Kershaw, Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton, he's an intriguing buy-low option.

He just won't be an option for the Mets.

Prediction: Harvey re-signs with the Reds on a two-year, $15 million deal.

     

International Star Victor Victor Mesa to Host a Showcase

TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 15:  Outfielder Victor Mesa #32 of Cuba grounds out in the bottom of the third inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool E Game Five between Netherlands and Cuba at the Tokyo Dome on March 15, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.  (Photo by Matt
Matt Roberts/Getty Images

While he won't drum up the same offseason frenzy that Shohei Ohtani created last offseason prior to signing with the Los Angeles Angels, Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa has a chance to be an impact player in his own right.

He'll be joined in the showcase by his 16-year-old brother Victor Mesa Jr. and hard-throwing right-hander Sandy Gaston.

The older Mesa is considered by most to be the top international talent available this offseason.

During his last full season playing in the Cuban National Series in 2016-17, he hit .354/.399/.539 with 40 steals in 70 games.

Ben Badler of Baseball America offered up the following scouting report back in May:

"Mesa, 21, is a comparable player to Nationals center fielder Victor Robles, the No. 5 prospect on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list. He's a premium defender in center field who at his best has shown 70 speed and at least a 70 arm on the 20-80 scale. He gets quick reads off the bat and takes sharp routes to cover plenty of ground in center field and make highlight-reel catches, winning a gold glove award in Cuba when he was 17."

The Orioles ($6.5 million), Marlins ($4.3 million), Rays ($3.6 million) and Dodgers ($2.78 million) have the most remaining bonus poll money to spend, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

With the O's making a newfound commitment to international scouting and the Marlins having a strong tie to the Cuban community, those two look like the favorites.

Prediction: Victor Victor Mesa signs with the Marlins.

      

Former All-Star Closer Trevor Rosenthal to Hold Workout

ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 19: Trevor Rosenthal #44 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on April 19, 2017 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Jeff Curry/Getty Images

A few days before the Mesa brothers show off their talents to a hoard of MLB scouts, right-hander Trevor Rosenthal will hold a showcase of his own.

The 28-year-old has been working his way back from Tommy John surgery all season, and he's posted a few video clips of himself on the comeback trail.

Rosenthal was at his best in 2015, when he nailed down 48 of 51 save chances with a 2.10 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 10.9 K/9 to earn his lone All-Star appearance and finish 17th in NL MVP voting.

After a rocky 2016 season, he rebounded nicely in 2017 with a 3.40 ERA and 14.3 K/9 in 50 appearances, as he eventually moved back into the closer's role after starting the season in a setup capacity.

However, the elbow injury that eventually required surgery cut his season short and spelled an end to his time in St. Louis, as he was non-tendered last offseason.

He has a chance to be a great under-the-radar signing for a team looking for late-inning help but not looking to break the bank with a run at Craig Kimbrel or Andrew Miller.

Prediction: Rosenthal signs with the Braves on a one-year, $5 million deal that includes a mutual option for 2020.

     

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Sept. 27.  

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