2018 MLB Free Agents: Rumors, Predictions on Bryce Harper, Patrick Corbin, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 19, 2018

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 30:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals runs out a fourth inning double against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 30, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The most coveted free agents in Major League Baseball haven't signed anywhere yet, but that hasn't stopped the speculation from swirling around the league. 

Bryce Harper is one of two superstars set to sign large contracts somewhere, and there's a small chance he and Manny Machado could end up in the same spot.  

While Harper and Machado are the top names on the free-agent market, there are other valuable players available. 

Since every franchise won't be in on the two superstars, the competition for other free agents is heating up as well, with teams looking to improve in any way possible. 


Bryce Harper

A handful of teams will be after the services of Harper, but we might not know where he lands until after December's winter meetings in his hometown of Las Vegas.  

What we do know so far about Harper's free agency is a few franchises are interested and capable of bringing him in on a mega-contract, and Washington might not have a shot of bringing back the superstar outfielder. 

The Nationals, who recently declined a qualifying offer from the Nationals, has a few suitors in each league, as MASN's Mark Zuckerman noted the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis and New York Yankees could all be in the mix for Harper. 

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

While the Cubs might seem like a good fit for Harper on paper, they might have a hard time offering him the best contract. 

The Athletic's Patrick Mooney reported the Cubs have financial concerns that could hamper their ability to spend big in the offseason.

On the opposite end of the spending spectrum sits the Phillies, who are making it known they are ready to go after the top names on the market. 

Phillies owner John Middleton made it clear to USA Today's Bob Nightengale that his team isn't afraid to spend. 

"We're going into this expecting to spend money," Middleton said. "And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it."

Figuring out where Harper lands is a guessing game at this point, but don't be surprised if the Cubs find a way to stick their name into the discussion, even if they don't land the 26-year-old.

Philadelphia appears ready to go all out on Harper and Machado, and it should land one of the two big names, with Harper being the player it should target the most. 

Prediction: Harper signs with Philadelphia.


Patrick Corbin

The Phillies could also go after the top pitcher on the market during their offseason spending spree. 

Patrick Corbin, who was with Arizona from 2012-2018, is attracting interest from franchises in the American League and National League East divisions. 

MLB.com's Jon Morosi reported the Yankees, Phillies and Nationals have interest in the 29-year-old, who is seen as the prized pitching possession of the free-agent class. 

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Although Philadelphia might be better suited going after the big hitters in free agency, it could look to sign Corbin as an experienced arm to join a young rotation. 

The Yankees are set up for one of their trademark spending sprees, and with eyes on taking down the Boston Red Sox in 2019, they'll do whatever they can to improve their roster.

Although it's not official, the Nationals are likely going to lose out on Harper, and if that occurs, it makes sense for them to try to make a splash in free agency. 

Eventually, the specter of the Yankees and the roster they have ready to contention for a championship will draw Corbin to the AL East and the battle of arms between the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East. 

Prediction: Corbin signs with Yankees. 


Nathan Eovaldi

After shining for the Red Sox on the way to the 2018 World Series crown, Nathan Eovaldi is generating plenty of interest on the free-agent market. 

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globethere are nine teams that have already expressed interest in the right-handed starting pitcher. 

Of course, the list of potential suitors will dwindle as the weeks move on in free agency, but the number of teams interested in Eovaldi suggests it could be hard for the Red Sox to bring him back. 

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Of the teams mentioned in Cafardo's report, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Philadelphia are in the best position to qualify for the postseason in 2019. 

If Eovaldi doesn't return to Boston but still wants to be part of a contending team, those would be his best three options.

However, if Eovaldi is more concerned about taking care of himself with a big contract and wants to help a franchise build up to the postseason, the options are endless. 

While the Red Sox would be a great fit for Eovaldi based off the success he achieved in the second half of 2018, a team is going to jump in and offer more money for the starter. 

Prediction: Eovaldi listens to Boston's offer, ends up signing for more money in Atlanta. 


Josh Harrison

The top-tier free agents aren't the only ones receiving attention at this juncture of the offseason, as infielder Josh Harrison has interest from the Yankees, Nationals and Cincinnati, per Fancred's Jon Heyman

The versatile 30-year-old has spent all of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he had a $10.5 million offer declined by the NL Central side. 

Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

What makes Harrison a valuable piece on the market is his versatility in the infield and the outfield. 

If the Yankees somehow miss out on Machado, they could sign Harrison to help fill the void left by the injured Didi Gregorius, or he could be added as depth to back up Machado and a few other starters. 

Harrison could be seen as an upgrade in the middle of the infield in Washington, while Cincinnati might not have a starting role for him on the diamond. 

Harrison won't be the first player to sign as a free agent, but he'll certainly receive attention as the market continues to develop.

Prediction: Harrison lands in Washington.