If Major League Baseball is truly a copycat industry, this should be a lucrative winter for free agents.
Five years after executive indifference led to a chilling, multiyear depression for top players, one year after a 99-day lockout split a sizzling market in half and led to a frenzied signing period just days from Opening Day, some semblance of stability has returned to baseball.
The COVID-19 cancellations and restrictions of 2020-21 are largely gone. A five-year collective bargaining agreement was struck, even as the onerous qualifying offer will still stick to a handful of free agents.
And 2023 should resemble something close to a “normal” season for the first time since 2018, bereft of labor strife, juiced baseballs and nascent infectious disease. What’s more, as the highly aggressive San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies joined the stalwart Houston Astros and New York Yankees in baseball’s final four, owners received a not-so-subtle reminder: Aggression helps. Spending helps.
With that, a look at the top 87 free agents, from the elite to those reasonably expected to sign a major league contract. Rankings based on projected future performance and perceived market value:
(Age as of April 1, 2023; 2022 team)
1. Aaron Judge (30, OF, Yankees)
He does not play the game’s most premium position, but Judge has many factors in his favor: A potential bi-coastal bidding war, a Yankees franchise that should be highly motivated to retain him and, oh yeah, the AL-record 62 homers he slugged last season. Judge may not get the lengthy deal the younger shortstop on this list may receive, but a high annual value and his greater appeal should put him atop this winter’s market.
2. Carlos Correa (28, SS, Twins)
One year after topping this list, Correa is back, after accepting an opt-out laden, lockout-driven deal that paid him $35.5 million last season. After duplicating his on-base percentage (.366), increasing his adjusted OPS (140) but seeing a slip in some defensive metrics, Correa is a year older but just as good. If 10 years, $350 million was a shoot-for-the-sky number last year, why not nine years, $315 million this time?
3. Trea Turner (29, SS, Dodgers)
If Correa is No. 1 among shortstops, Turner is very much 1A, a year older but quicker, showing better afield but with less power, less reliable in walk rate and OBP but also a legitimate game-changer. Will the Dodgers realize how special their Turner-Mookie Betts-Freddie Freeman power trio is, or will they return to “fiscal responsibility” and replace Turner internally? Either way, he will draw huge interest from Philly to Frisco, and has a good shot at cracking the $300 million barrier.
4. Xander Bogaerts (30, SS, Red Sox)
Like Judge, Bogaerts has a significant factor in his favor: A huge market quickly growing impatient with its front office and ready to howl in protest should a core player depart via free agency. Bogaerts’ departure would only ramp up the angst in Boston one year ahead of Rafael Devers’ free agency. Oh, and he can play: Bogaerts produced 6.1 fWAR last season and led all shortstops with a .377 OBP.
5. Dansby Swanson (29, SS, Braves)
If you don’t consider Swanson a “franchise player” the way you would Correa or Turner, perhaps further examination is necessary. Swanson blew away the shortstop field in outs above average (21) and trailed only Francisco Lindor with 6.4 WAR. Now that he’s aged into more power, averaging 26 homers the past two seasons, there’s far more to tangibly love about Swanson beyond the fact he quarterbacked five consecutive division champions.
6. Jacob deGrom (34, SP, Mets)
Is there a more volatile player on the market? DeGrom brings the upside of a two-time Cy Young Award winner and a guy who struck out 14.3 batters per nine innings each of the past two seasons – and the downside of a pitcher limited to 26 starts over those two years due to assorted injuries. Perhaps the Mets keep it simple, offer him a deal that mirrors running mate Max Scherzer’s (three years, $130 million) and everyone calls it a day at $43 million per year. But will deGrom want more guaranteed cash? Will a pitching-hungry team ignore the red flags and pay him like a starter in his prime?
7. Justin Verlander (40, SP, Astros)
Verlander’s body may be entering its fifth decade, but his elbow is just a year old, and he was electric in his first season removed from Tommy John surgery. While Verlander will still be subject to myriad old man pains – such as the calf injury that knocked him out for a few weeks near the end of the season – his new arm produced a 1.75 ERA and 185 strikeouts. Now, will an aggressive suitor guarantee his wish that he pitch until he’s at least 45?
8. Carlos Rodon (30, SP, Giants)
Rodon fused the dominance of a career comeback year in 2021 with good health in 2022, making 31 starts and leading the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (12) and fielding independent pitching (2.25). Now, a well-timed opt-out means the best lefty on the market will flirt with a nine-figure contract.
9. Willson Contreras (30, C, Cubs)
Are the Cubs ready to bid farewell to the last everyday connection to their World Series winners? They could do worse than retain a catcher who’s still a four-win player, can still churn out an .815 OPS, and would become a crucial part of any club’s foundation.
10. Tyler Anderson (33, SP, Dodgers)
Feel free to scoff at a pitcher who cut his ERA nearly in half, to 2.57, and made the All-Star Game after bouncing around four clubs the previous three years. We’re inclined to believe the Anderson breakout, that his true self will land somewhere between his ERA and his 3.31 FIP, provided a club well-versed in getting the best out of him, as the Dodgers did, is inclined to buy into his career season.
SIGNED: Three years, $39 million with Angels, Nov. 15.
11. Brandon Nimmo (30, CF, Mets)
While two of his past five seasons have been injury-shortened, it’s tough to argue with Nimmo’s offensive consistency in that span: An .837 OPS (134 adjusted), a .388 OBP and 55 extra-base hits per 162 games. In 2022 he was borderline elite in center field and will hold down a premium position and the leadoff spot for any suitor.
12. Chris Bassitt (34, SP, Mets)
He may not be an ace, but Bassitt is pretty much money in the bank as a No. 3 starter. Bassitt held down the Mets rotation when Scherzer and deGrom were injured and his WHIP, ERA and strikeout-walk ratio have hovered in the same range the past four years. A big-market suitor with an established No. 1 would be an ideal fit.
13. Kenley Jansen (35, RP, Braves)
His price tag soared when Edwin Diaz accepted $105 million to return to the Mets, establishing a ceiling for relievers while plucking the best one off the market. Jansen got $80 million from the Dodgers six years ago and while that may be unrealistic, supply and demand will drive his price high after leading the majors in saves (41) and striking out 12 batters per nine innings.
14. Anthony Rizzo (33, 1B, Yankees)
While Rizzo posted a full-season career low .224 batting average, he still muscled 32 balls out of Yankee Stadium and his .817 OPS was his best since 2019. Plenty of demand for a middle-of-the-lineup bat and Gold Glove-caliber defender.
SIGNED: Two years, $40 million with Yankees, Nov. 15.
15. Nathan Eovaldi (31, SP, Red Sox)
Time is both Eovaldi's friend and foe. He's five years removed from Tommy John surgery and just one year past an All-Star campaign where he struck out 195 and led the AL in starts (32) and FIP (2.79). But injuries limited him to 20 starts this year and the mileage on his body may make getting longer than a four-year deal challenging.
16. Taijuan Walker (30, SP, Mets)
After a decade of fits and starts, Walker has settled into who he is and it’s pretty good: A 3.65 FIP that mirrors his 3.49 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP that will look just fine on the market. Walker has made 29 starts each of the past two seasons and represents a nice mid-range rotation option - particularly since he won't be saddled with the qualifying offer, as teammates Bassitt and deGrom will.
17. Josh Bell (30, 1B, Padres)
Few switch hitters offer the plate coverage and power potential the 6-4, 260-pound Bell does. He struggled after a midseason trade, with his OPS dipping from .877 in Washington to .587 in San Diego, but offers a career .351 OBP and an easily expected 25 homers.
18. Clayton Kershaw (35, SP, Dodgers)
Feels like the same tune as before: Back to L.A. on a short-term deal or into the carpool line. Maybe the Rangers but maybe not. Either way, Kershaw had a strong bounceback from 2021 elbow woes, making 22 starts and posting a 2.57 FIP that was his best since 2016.
19. Jose Abreu (36, 1B/DH, White Sox)
His White Sox for life stint may finally be ending after nine seasons and 243 home runs, with Andrew Vaughn slated to take over at first. In his advanced age, Abreu has sacrificed some power (a career-low 15 homers in 2022) but not production (.824 OPS).
20. Michael Wacha (31, SP, Red Sox)
After three seasons as a swing guy, Wacha started 22 games with Boston and showed well, his 1.12 WHIP and 127 adjusted ERA full-season career bests. He’s made 22 starts each of the past two seasons, which won’t guarantee him frontline money, but Wacha is settling into a nice comfort zone somewhere between the phenom he was and the injury-addled pitcher who struggled late last decade.
21. Martín Perez (31, SP, Rangers)
Yet another late-career lefty who makes you wonder, just how real was last year? Perez flourished back in Arlington, posting career bests in ERA (2.89) and FIP (3.26), giving up just 0.5 home runs per nine innings and making his first All-Star team. His career marks entering the season – 4.71, 4.54, 1.5. Feeling lucky?
SIGNED: Accepted one-year, $19.65 million qualifying offer from Rangers, Nov. 15.
22. Jameson Taillon (31, SP, Yankees)
After two Tommy John surgeries, Taillon found himself in the Bronx, settling in not as the ace drafted between Bryce Harper and Manny Machado but rather a steady mid-rotation option. Taillon equaled his career high with 32 starts and posted the best strikeout-walk ratio (4.72) of his career while his 3.91 ERA landed on league average a second consecutive year.
23. Rafael Montero (32, RP, Astros)
Montero capped a career season – a 2.37 ERA over 71 appearances, just three homers allowed – with a fantastic playoff run that only further showcased him before a first trip to the free agent market. Montero punched out 10 in 9 ⅓ playoff innings over 10 games and took part in a combined no-hitter. Perhaps not a closer, but certainly will be a valued seventh- or eighth-inning guy.
SIGNED: Three years, $34.5 million, with Astros.
24. Joc Pederson (30, OF, Giants)
Will a second dip into free agency yield Pederson more than the one-year deal San Francisco gave him? Perhaps his future will be as a platoon guy, but the Giants also deployed him well: He smacked 23 home runs, one every 16.5 at-bats, his best rate since hitting 37 in the juiced-ball 2019 season. You could do worse than a useful outfielder who rakes against right-handers, which is why the Giants extended him the $19.65 million qualifying offer that will likely produce a return engagement.
SIGNED: Accepted one-year, $19.65 million qualifying offer from Giants, Nov. 15.
25. Seth Lugo (33, RP, Mets)
The Mets have a dozen free agents and many share an identical profile: Really valuable to us, but should fetch a lot of cash on the open market. Toss Lugo in that bin: He appeared in a career-high 65 games this season and struck out more than a batter an inning for the fifth consecutive year. They can surely get by without him, but those numbers aren’t easy to replace.
26. Robert Suarez (32, RP, Padres)
Behold the most fascinating reliever on the market. Suarez has just one major league season to his credit, but dominated after spending eight seasons in Mexico and Japan, striking out 61 in 47 ⅔ innings. He overpowered the Dodgers in the NLDS before giving up a pennant-winning home run to Bryce Harper in the NLCS. Still, there’s not much tread on the arm and the market is thin, so don’t be surprised when Suarez gets a large payday.
SIGNED: Five years, $46 million, with Padres.
27. J.D. Martinez (35, DH, Red Sox)
The landscape has changed a lot since Martinez signed a five-year, $110 million deal with Boston. Good news: The NL added the designated hitter. Bad news: Martinez’s power has diminished a bit, hitting just 16 homers in 139 games. He still thumped 43 doubles, though, and a 30-team market for his services will ensure a decent payday.
28. Johnny Cueto (37, SP, White Sox)
A nice revival for the quick-pitching right-hander, whose 158 ⅓-inning total was his highest since his 2016 All-Star campaign. The innings-eaters thin out pretty quickly on this list, making postmodern Cueto a decent gamble for mid-range rotation help.
29. Jose Quintana (34, SP, Cardinals)
A wild ride for Quintana, who looked cooked after a lost 2021 but posted a 2.93 ERA over 32 starts and got the Game 1 nod in the playoffs after a trade from Pittsburgh to St. Louis. Betting on a repeat might be foolhardy, but Quintana suppresses home runs (majors-best 0.4 per nine) and controls the strike zone, which is most of the battle these days.
30. Ross Stripling (33, SP, Blue Jays)
Behold the majors’ self-awareness king, who knows he won’t strike out many guys, isn’t built to go deep into games but knows how to deliver quality innings. Stripling provided a 1.02 WHIP over 134 ⅓ innings and can start, “open” or pitch bulk relief innings.
31. Andrew Benintendi (28, OF, Yankees)
A strange 2022 for Benintendi, who posted a career-best .373 OBP, made the AL All-Star team and then fractured a hamate bone after a trade from Kansas City to New York. He hit just five home runs in 461 at-bats. Yet his age is such that there could still be growth for Benintendi – from an acumen and/or power standpoint.
32. Matt Moore (33, RP, Rangers)
Thanks to advanced metrics, teams are finding they can get by without a left-handed reliever (see: Astros), but Moore morphed into one of the best in his first season exclusively out of the bullpen. Moore struck out 10 per nine innings and notched five saves and 14 holds with just one blown save.
33. Mitch Haniger (32, OF, Mariners)
Injuries have limited Haniger to 277 games since 2018, but he’s managed a 120 adjusted OPS over the past two seasons, including a 39-homer campaign in 2021.
34. Corey Kluber (36, SP, Rays)
The former Cy Young Award winner topped the 30-start mark for the first time since 2018 and while he posted a 4.34 ERA, did lead the majors in fewest walks (1.2) per nine innings. A friendly ballpark and an elite defensive team would make a particularly good fit for Kluber, who may get a multiyear commitment after signing a pair of one-year deals.
35. Noah Syndergaard (30, SP, Phillies)
An odd but effective 2022 for Thor, who in his first full-bore year back from Tommy John surgery pitched above league average in 24 starts for the Angels and Phillies before adopting a swingman role in the postseason. Whether he can build back toward the guy who tossed 197 innings in 2019 is uncertain, but in the right hands, he should take another step toward the previous version of himself.
36. Drew Smyly (33, SP, Cubs)
Smyly’s 2023 team will likely be his eighth in 10 seasons, but he might finally lay down some roots. While he pitched just 106 ⅓ innings, Smyly posted a 3.47 ERA and a 118 adjusted ERA and is firmly atop a second tier of available lefty starters.
37. Zach Eflin (28, SP/RP, Phillies)
Recovering from a knee injury hatched a pleasant surprise for the Phillies and Eflin, who, lacking the runway to build back as a starter, became a crucial relief weapon for them down the stretch and in the playoffs. Eflin tossed 6 ⅓ scoreless innings over six games of the NLCS and World Series, and he gave up just one earned run in 7 ⅓ relief innings in the regular season. Perhaps a Philly reunion, where they know what he can bring to the table, is the best outcome for all.
38. Andrew Chafin (32, RP, Tigers)
Opted out after a solid single season in Detroit, where he punched out 67 in 57 ⅓ innings. Salty veteran presence will play well in a veteran or developing bullpen.
39. Chris Martin (36, RP, Dodgers)
Yet another L.A. success story, as Martin went from mop-up work with the Cubs (4.31 ERA in 34 games) to a high-leverage slot with the Dodgers (1.46 ERA in 24 games). Come playoff time, he was an eighth- or ninth-inning guy; for his sake, here’s hoping he bottled whatever the Dodgers gave him.
40. Brandon Drury (30, INF/OF, Padres)
After churning through four teams in seven seasons, Drury found his groove in 2022, smacking a career-best 28 homers with the Reds and Padres, winning a Silver Slugger award. He added five RBI in the NLCS and, with his multi-positional versatility, may have found a niche by his 30th birthday.
41. Jordan Lyles (32, SP, Orioles)
The Lyles-Orioles union was ideal: Veteran starter provides innings and counsel to young, unproven staff. Now, they’re ready to move on, declining Lyles’ $11 million club option. But Lyles posts, logging 180 and 179 innings the past two seasons and should do the same for a similarly green staff in 2023.
42. Kevin Kiermaier (32, OF, Rays)
Kiermaier seems as much a part of Tampa Bay as grouper sandwiches and pop-up showers, but the club declined his ’23 option, which likely marks the end of his decade at Tropicana Field. Kiermaier totes a .308 career OBP and will be coming off hip surgery, but remains one of the game’s elite defensive center fielders.
43. Andrew Heaney (31, SP/RP, Dodgers)
Injuries limited Heaney to 72 ⅔ innings but, as so many do, he renewed his career with the Dodgers, posting his finest season since 2015. Heaney struck out 110 and posted a 1.08 WHIP and likely found a road map for optimal usage – mostly starter, sometimes reliever, deployed in multi-inning bursts.
44. Adam Ottavino (37, RP, Mets)
Ottavino has pitched in five consecutive postseasons and, even as he nears 40, still finds himself in high-leverage situations for playoff teams. He dropped his WHIP below 1.00 for the first time since 2018 and posted a fabulous 188 adjusted ERA.
45. Justin Turner (38, 3B, Dodgers)
The Dodgers unsurprisingly declined his $16 million option and it’d be equally unsurprising if they brought him back at a lesser salary. Turner turned in a respectable .278/.350/.438 season, though his home run output dipped from 27 to 13.
46. Rich Hill (43, SP, Red Sox)
It may once again be Boston or bust for Hill, who has expressed an interest in returning and also representing the USA in the World Baseball Classic. Even if he’s just a five-inning guy in his advanced age, Hill remains valued in Boston and a return seems quite possible.
47. Yuli Gurriel (38, 1B, Astros)
From batting champion to below-average hitter, it’s fair to wonder if time has caught up with Gurriel, whose average has fluctuated greatly the past four seasons: .298, .232, .319, .242. He rallied with a fabulous postseason, posting a .347/.360/.490 line in 50 plate appearances and that’s probably where his future lies: Part-time bat on a contending team.
48. A.J. Pollock (35, OF, White Sox)
Pollock struggled in his first AL season, posting a career-low .292 OBP in 527 plate appearances. He was probably too exposed in Chicago’s lineup and should provide value in a more part-time role, where he might better approach the .355 OBP he produced for the Dodgers in 2021.
49. Matt Carpenter (37, 1B/DH, Yankees)
The Yankees rescued Carpenter from a minor-league contract with Texas and deployed him to perfection, batting .305 and hitting 15 home runs in 154 plate appearances. Should be an ideal lefty part of a DH platoon somewhere.
50. Jurickson Profar (30, INF/OF, Padres)
Profar played in a career-high 152 games and was a playoff menace, producing a .365 OBP, often out of the leadoff spot. While he’ll never hit for much power, Profar remains a multi-position value for a contending team.
51. Jean Segura (33, INF, Phillies)
Segura broke the majors’ longest streak without reaching the playoffs (1,328 games) and then got the Phillies’ biggest hit, a go-ahead single in their wild-card opener at St. Louis. Segura is a valued veteran and a firmly league average hitter, but Philadelphia is expected to go big at shortstop and move rookie Bryson Stott to second base.
52. Michael Brantley (35, OF, Astros)
Check back in five decades, when Brantley will wake up from an afternoon nap at the senior center and knock out three hits. He had a .370 OBP before a torn labrum that required shoulder surgery ended his year after 64 games. He will mash, somewhere.
53. Mike Clevinger (32, SP, Padres)
Four years after striking out 207 batters, Clevinger remains a curiosity, largely because injuries limited him to 30 starts since 2020. San Diego saw fit to give him two playoff starts and he didn’t record an out in the second one. An incentive-laced deal for a maybe-contender would seem to best benefit both parties.
54. Zack Greinke (39, SP, Royals)
Seems like a Royals reunion is in the works here, unless Greinke and Family decide to become full-time Mariners season-ticket holders. Can Greinke rack up 118 more strikeouts and become the 20th pitcher to exceed 3,000 in a career?
55. David Phelps (36, RP, Blue Jays)
He took the ball 65 times at age 35, and therein lies Phelps’ value. A 64-31 strikeout-walk ratio won’t get checkbooks rumbling, but Phelps will absorb innings and often in quality fashion, with a 2.83 ERA in 2022.
56. David Peralta (35, OF, Rays)
You can count on Peralta for 30 doubles a year and slightly better than league average production overall, though his Silver Slugger season of 2018 does seem like a long time ago.
57. Elvis Andrus (35, SS, White Sox)
Next year will mark Andrus’ 15th in the major leagues, all of them spent at shortstop. He and the White Sox got a nice little boost when he arrived in an August trade and Andrus finished as a league average hitter for the first time since 2017.
58. Andrew McCutchen (36, OF, Brewers)
Last year marked a career first for McCutchen: The only season in which his adjusted OPS (99) was less than league average. OK, so just barely, but nonetheless, the former MVP needs a path to viability entering his 15th season after he hit .237 with 17 homers in 515 at-bats and was successful on just 57% of his 14 stolen base attempts.
59. Brandon Belt (34, 1B/DH, Giants)
A dozen years in San Francisco finished roughly for Belt, plagued by injuries and seeing his OPS plummet from .975 to .676. But good health and a fresh start would make him an attractive lefty DH candidate.
60. Trey Mancini (31, 1B/OF, Astros)
Probably best to judge Mancini for the .751 OPS in four months with Baltimore than the .622 mark after a trade to Houston – though he will get a shiny championship ring from the Astros. Still some pop in that bat and always plenty of respect in the clubhouse should a first base/DH timeshare open up for him.
61. Kyle Gibson (35, SP, Phillies)
He still eats innings with the best of them, but now they taste a little more sour. Gibson produced a 5.05 ERA over 167 ⅔ innings, and his 5.06 ERA in a year and a half with Philly was a run and a half more than his previous year and a half in Texas (3.52). Will take ball, will travel.
62. Carlos Santana (36, DH, Mariners)
Santana is very much in the hired gun stage of his career, what with his OBP dropping from .397 in an All-Star season of 2019 to .316 last year. He did help galvanize the Mariners’ lineup, though, hitting 14 homers in 79 games, and retains value as a lefty-swinging DH.
SIGNED: One year, $6.7 million with Pirates, Nov. 25.
63. Michael Lorenzen (31, SP, Angels)
For the first time in his career, Lorenzen worked exclusively as a starter and was OK, averaging 5 ⅓ innings per outing with a 4.24 ERA. And that’s what you’ll likely get: A five-ish inning, league average pitcher.
64. Tommy Kahnle (33, RP, Dodgers)
L.A. devoted two years to Kahnle’s Tommy John surgery recovery and got 12 appearances out of it, plus three more in the playoffs. But Kahnle did show glimpses why the Dodgers were so intrigued, posting a 0.63 WHIP in his limited runway.
65. Matthew Boyd (32, SP, Mariners)
Signed by the Giants in hopes he’d recover from injury to contribute, Boyd instead was shipped to Seattle in August and made 10 relief appearances, posting a 1.35 ERA. Could start or relieve in the future and yes, he’s left-handed.
66. Brad Hand (33, RP, Phillies)
It’s been an uneven past two seasons for the three-time All-Star, who bobbed in and out of the Phillies’ circle of trust before making seven postseason appearances, five of them scoreless. Likely won’t land a closer gig, but can still take down fairly high-leverage late innings.
67. Brad Boxberger (34, RP, Brewers)
Milwaukee declined a $3 million club option after Boxberger posted nearly identical seasons for them (64 innings, 68 strikeouts, 2.95 ERA in ’22). He’ll probably do about that well on the market and settle in as a set-up man.
68. Craig Kimbrel (34, RP, Dodgers)
The Craig Conundrum: Kimbrel isn’t comfortable in non-closing situations, but in 2022 was not particularly good as a closer. This left the Dodgers with little choice but keep him off the playoff roster. While he did save 22 games (and blew five others), his 7.7 hits per nine innings made many of them the white-knuckle variety.
69. Joey Gallo (29, OF, Dodgers)
While it was convenient for a minute to say Gallo found a comfort level after his trade from New York to L.A., his line with the Dodgers (.162/.277/.393) was just as bad as it was with the Yankees (.159, .282, .339). Still, Gallo’s relative youth and power history (38 homers just last year) will ensure he gets a DH gig in some form.
70. Zach Davies (30, SP, Diamondbacks)
Davies pared his ERA from 5.78 with the Cubs to 4.09 over 27 starts with the Diamondbacks, largely by cutting his walks by nearly a quarter. Rotation-filling fodder.
71. Jace Peterson (32, INF/OF, Brewers)
Just keeps chugging along: Was worth 2.3 WAR last season and should provide positional versatility to his sixth club come 2023.
72. Michael Fulmer (30, RP, Twins)
The one-time Rookie of the Year is now a usable relief piece, though a career-worst 4.6 walks per nine will dampen his earning power and a shot at high-leverage roles early.
73. Christian Vázquez (32, C, Astros)
And so begins the march of respected veteran backstops. Vazquez’s trade left ‘em choked up in the Red Sox dugout and delighted in Houston, where he contributed three hits in 10 at-bats during the ALCS and World Series. A respectable 109 adjusted OPS overall.
74. Luke Jackson (31, RP, Braves)
Perhaps a major league guarantee will be too hard to come by, but Jackson finished second in the NL with 31 holds in 2021 before April 2022 Tommy John surgery. With recovery time typically shorter for relievers, a modest multiyear commitment would be a decent gamble on a guy who posted a 1.98 ERA in his most recent season.
75. Taylor Rogers (32, RP, Brewers)
After posting a 3.15 ERA and 50 saves in six seasons with Minnesota, the bottom fell out for Rogers after trades to San Diego and Milwaukee, where he combined for a 4.76 ERA. Yet his 1.18 WHIP was in line with his 1.16 mark; a moderate bounce-back seems possible.
76. Josh Harrison (35, INF, White Sox)
Even if lighter in the bat department these days, Harrison played five positions for the White Sox, including pitcher, and provides key roster flexibility along with veteran bona fides.
77. David Robertson (37, RP, Phillies)
Robertson recorded the Phillies’ lone World Series save, capping a year that began with the Cubs. Robertson’s 3.58 FIP is below average for a high-leverage reliever.
78. Tucker Barnhart (32, C, Tigers)
While his OBP fell to a career-low .287, Barnhart remains a respected receiver and should find a slot in the catching carousel.
79. Will Smith (33, RP, Astros)
Smith saved 37 games and helmed the World Series-winning Night Shift bullpen in Atlanta in 2021, then saw his WHIP spike to 1.41 and was traded to Houston. While Smith made the World Series roster, he did not pitch in the ’22 Series and may need to crawl back from a diminished role to begin ’23.
80. Erasmo Ramirez (32, RP, Nationals)
He did everything the Nationals asked and did it well, finishing with a 2.92 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in a bullpen often under siege from starters failing to get deep into games.
81. Dylan Bundy (30, SP, Twins)
Bundy started 29 games but was hit hard in Minnesota, yielding a 4.89 ERA and nearly 10 hits per nine innings.
82. Robbie Grossman (33, OF, Braves)
While Grossman suffered the worst year of his career, he did improve his OPS by 80 points after a trade to Atlanta. A reserve outfielder who can man either corner, has a .346 OBP and occasional sock.
83. Omar Narvaez (31, C, Brewers)
While his glimpses of power have vanished (22 homers in 2019, 11 in ’21), Narvaez remains a predictive presence in a catching timeshare.
84. Chad Pinder (31, INF/OF, Athletics)
A dash of power and the promise of positional flexibility should afford Pinder a shot elsewhere after becoming the rare player to reach free agency in Oakland before he’s traded.
85. Trevor May (33, RP, Mets)
Had a 5.04 ERA overall but it was 3.24, with a 2.75 FIP, after a three-month absence due to a stress reaction in his humerus. May averaged 12 strikeouts per nine innings with a 3.33 ERA from 2018-21.
86. Austin Hedges (30, C, Guardians)
Produced an abysmal 42 adjusted OPS yet still caught 105 games for the AL Central champions. Clearly the man is doing something right behind the plate.
87. Corey Dickerson (33, OF, Cardinals)
The one-time All-Star now personifies the league average hitter, which should mean a gig as an extra outfielder or part-time DH.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB top free agents 2022: Best players available, signing updates