The off-season has begun in baseball, and a handful of teams have already started wheeling and dealing in advance of what's sure to be a busy winter. But what do the next few months hold for the hot stove's biggest free agents and teams?
On this week's edition of The Strike Zone podcast, Ted Keith and Stephen Cannella welcome Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer Tom Verducci on to the show to talk all things off-season. The three start by looking at some teams that were aggressive last winter to see if Tom thinks they'll take the same course this off-season or try another path, then discuss just how teams should approach free agency in an era of increased parity. The conversation then shifts to the National League East, as Tom gives his thoughts on the Nationals' hiring of Dusty Baker, the Mets' plans for Matt Harvey and their young rotation and Yoenis Cespedes's free-agent future.
From there, the three shift gears to talk about whether the workload of October will affect the likes of Harvey and Jake Arrieta before discussing the NL Cy Young results and whether Arrieta deserved the award over Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Ted, Keith and Tom then shift back to free agency, focusing on one of the winter's most intriguing players, Jason Heyward, and what his market will be like, before picking the team that Tom expects will be the most active on the hot stove. Finally, the trio wrap up this week's show by discussing the impending retirement of David Ortiz, including whether the veteran slugger will get a league-wide send-off in 2016 and how his decision will impact the Red Sox this off-season.