We're now within a month of the official opening of spring training, and we're still waiting for the mechanic to come fix the decidedly lukewarm hot stove. Of Keith Law's top 50 free agents coming into the winter, 30 remain unsigned, including eight of the top 10 players.
Rather than bemoan this year's winter inaction, let's start placing some of these free agents in their best possible locations. These don't have legal force -- at least not until commissioner Rob Manfred lifts the restraining order and allows me to present my proposal to be named baseball's first philosopher/king -- so consider these simply exuberant suggestions.
Each player's projection is based on if he signed with the team in question.
There was a brief moment when this looked like it was a done deal, until the pitcher himself shot down and then mocked on social media the reports that he had come to an agreement with the Cubs. Still, it's hard to see many better fits. The team has lost Jake Arrieta from 2018, and ZiPS currently projects the team to have only the 10th-best rotation in baseball based on the current roster. With two of the usual suspects in Large Contract Signings, the Yankees and Dodgers, focused on getting under the salary cap, the Cubs might have a clearer field than usual to sign Darvish for big money and avoid a brutal bidding war.