Here’s a rundown of free agents other National League Central teams may stand to lose this winter. Note that the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis and the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn $17.4 million qualifying offers.
Jake Arrieta (QO), Alex Avila, Wade Davis (QO), Brian Duensing, Jon Jay, John Lackey, Rene Rivera, Koji Uehara
Arrieta is one of the more interesting free-agent cases in the league. He fell from the stratosphere, but ended up with pretty solid numbers. He just seems like a guy someone’s going to end up overpaying for, though.
He shaved his beard, so perhaps someone will think they’re signing a more youthful man.
Davis seems like a good fit to stay with the Cubs, but they’ve gone through closers, too, and Carl Edwards has emerged the last couple years. There’s chatter the Cardinals could be interested in Davis. It appears the Cubs would receive a Competitive Balance Round B selection if either Arrieta or Davis sign elsewhere.
Lackey, 39, has not retired and plans to pitch in 2018.
Bronson Arroyo, Zack Cozart, Scott Feldman, Drew Storen
Arroyo, who pitched for the Pirates in Three Rivers Stadium, is retiring.
A qualifying offer was a strong possibility for Cozart, but the Reds ended up choosing not to give him one. He’ll hit the market coming off a career year. Jim Duquette predicted he’ll sign with the Pirates. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Matt Garza, Anthony Swarzak, Neil Walker
Garza has fallen off and hits free agency as a possibly inexpensive starting option. Swarzak was excellent in 2017 (10.59 K/9, 2.56 BB/9, 2.33 ERA, 2.74 FIP) with the White Sox and the contending Brewers. He’ll generate some interest.
Neil Walker fits the bill as a possible infield solution for the Pirates, but don’t hold your breath.
Zach Duke, Lance Lynn (QO), Juan Nicasio, Seung-Hwan Oh
Duke’s still hanging around, and hopes to continue to do so. Lynn may want Jordan Zimmermann money. Like the Cubs, the Cardinals would receive a Competitive Balance Round B pick as compensation, should Lynn depart.
Hey, Juan Nicasio, what’s he been up to? He positioned himself well in 2017. The Cardinals are looking to shore up their bullpen, perhaps a reason they took Nicasio for a test drive at the end of the season.