Atlanta Braves – A.J. Pierzynski – Catcher – 2016: .219 avg. and 2 home runs
Sure, A.J. Pierzynski isn’t a very productive offensive player anymore as he is about to turn 40 years old in December. However, Pierzynski offers something more valuable to the rebuilding Braves and that is leadership to all of the young players. Atlanta probably won’t be in a position to compete next season, but the Braves should consider re-signing Pierzynski to be their backup catcher just to provide a veteran leader for the team.
Miami Marlins – Mike Dunn – Relief Pitcher – 2016: 3.40 ERA
The Marlins bullpen hasn’t been very good in recent years, but the one relief pitcher that has been consistent for Miami is Mike Dunn. He had a 3.40 ERA last season as a setup man for the Marlins and he is one of the most underrated players in the entire MLB. It won’t cost much at all to re-sign Dunn and without him the Marlins bullpen will be awful. Also, it’s not easy these days to find quality left-handed bullpen arms like Dunn, so letting him leave in free agency would be a major mistake for Miami.
New York Mets – Yoenis Cespedes – Outfielder – 2016: .280 avg. and 31 home runs
I don’t know where the Mets would be without Yoenis Cespedes because he basically carried the entire offense with 31 home runs last season. Cespedes is the only consistent offensive threat that the Mets have right now, so if they lose him this offseason then their offense would be a complete mess next season. Cespedes surely will ask for a ton of money in free agency, but the Mets need to do anything it takes to try and re-sign him.
Philadelphia Phillies – David Hernandez – Relief Pitcher – 2016: 3.84 ERA
Philadelphia seems closer to contention than they were at this time a year ago. However, for this team to contend again then they will need a quality bullpen to be successful. The issue was that the Phillies didn’t have a very reliable bullpen in 2016. David Hernandez was a bright spot in the Phillies bullpen as he had a 3.84 ERA for them in 70 games. He has been a very consistent relief pitcher the past few years and he likely won’t cost much to retain. Hernandez is a veteran middle relief pitcher that can provide some stability to the bullpen and Philadelphia would be silly not to bring him back for that reason.
Washington Nationals – Wilson Ramos – Catcher – 2016: .307 avg. and 22 home runs
Ramos had by far the best year of his career last season as he hit .307 with 22 home runs for the Nationals. However, a late season torn ACL really is the one reason that the Nationals could have some concern re-signing him since he might never be close to the same type of player again. Either way, it is extremely difficult to find catchers that are as talented offensively as Wilson Ramos is. Also, Washington doesn’t really have another catcher that they could replace him with. Ramos is in the prime of his career and the Nationals should do anything to re-sign him despite the uncertainty regarding his knee injury.