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The Reiter 50: Cano, Ellsbury lead rankings of top free agents

Photo: Damian Strohmeyer/SI

Longtime AL East rivals Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury could have new teams in 2014.

For once, the majority of Major League Baseball's clubs are rooting for Alex Rodriguez. They are rooting for him, specifically, in the arbitration hearings in which he is currently embroiled, as he tries to fight the 211-game, Biogenesis-related suspension the league wants to impose on him.

Should arbitrator Fredric Horowitz uphold the suspension -- the hearings are set to resume on Nov. 18, though a decision might not come until December -- the Yankees would be off the hook for the entirety of the $25 million in salary Rodriguez is set to earn in 2014. Even as the Yankees try to push their payroll below the $189 million luxury tax threshold, thereby resetting their annual assessment, saving that money would put them in position to thoroughly control this winter's free agent market, which opens on Tuesday. In fact, they could view the Reiter 50, SI.com's sixth annual ranking of baseball's top 50 free agents, as a grocery list.

If Horowitz reverses the suspension, the Yankees will still be active, as they will be clearing their books of the salaries of the retired Andy Pettitte ($12 million) and Mariano Rivera ($10 million) and of free agents Robinson Cano ($15 million), Joba Chamberlain ($1.875 million), Curtis Granderson ($13 million), Travis Hafner ($2 million), Phil Hughes ($7.15 million), Hiroki Kuroda ($15 million), Boone Logan ($3 million), Lyle Overbay ($1.25 million) and Kevin Youkilis ($12 million), among others.

In either case, re-signing Cano, the free agent market's best player, will likely be the Yankees' top priority. Further down, they and baseball's other 29 clubs will find few other appealing second basemen, nor, for that matter, third basemen or shortstops. Teams shopping for a surefire ace will also be out of luck. There is, though, the usual glut of aging first basemen/DH-types. There are also a number of middle-of-the-rotation starters, closers and outfielders, as well as, uncommonly, catchers.

For the first time, this list includes an international player who, even if he is not technically a free agent, will still be available to the highest bidder. To find out who he is and where he ranks among the rest of this year's top free agents, see below.

(NOTE: Age is as of Opening Day 2014.)

1. Robinson Cano

Age: 31
Position: 2B
2013 Stats: .314 BA, .899 OPS, 27 HR, 107 RBI, 7 SB
Current team: Yankees
Best fit: Yankees

Will Jay-Z's client receive the $300 million deal he wants? No, of course not, and it's doubtful Cano even expects to. It's called a bargaining tactic. But Cano, an All-Star and top-six finisher in the MVP voting every year since 2010, is definitely the best player on the market, and he'll get by far the biggest contract. It wouldn't be at all shocking if another club -- it would take only one -- decides to go all-in with Cano, even a lower revenue team like the Marlins or Pirates. But the odds are that he will remain a Yankee, despite their commitment to lowering their payroll beneath the $189 million luxury tax threshold. One general manager guesses that Cano's deal will be for eight years and $178 million.

2. Jacoby Ellsbury

Age: 30
Position: OF
2013 Stats: .298 BA, .781 OPS, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 52 SB
Current team: Red Sox
Best fit: Mariners

Ellsbury was perhaps the American League's best all-around player in 2011, when he hit 32 homers, but that power surge now seems like a fluke given that he has never had another season in which he reached double digits. So he is really a speed guy on the wrong side of 30, and one who is injury prone, as he has played in more than 135 games just once since '09.

Still, as a prototypical leadoff hitter and excellent centerfielder, teams will covet him. The Mariners make sense because they need someone to fill both of those roles, they've been trying to make a free agent splash for years and -- if it matters -- Ellsbury, a native of Oregon, is from the Pacific Northwest.

3. Shin-Soo Choo

Age: 31
Position: OF
2013 Stats: .285, .885 OPS, 21 HR, 54 RBI, 20 SB
Current team: Reds
Best fit: Astros

Choo has many strengths -- he gets on base an awful lot (his 112 walks and .423 OBP were second in the NL), he's got good power and speed, he's a solid outfielder -- and one major weakness: he doesn't hit lefthanded pitchers. Against southpaws this season, he batted .215 with zero home runs in 221 plate appearances.

Even so, he deserves to rank this high, relative to the competition. His good habits might prove particularly attractive to a rebuilding club hoping those traits will rub off on its quickly rising prospects, and that Choo will still be a lineup mainstay once it is ready to contend. The Astros, who have Carlos Correa, Jonathan Singleton and George Springer in the pipeline, are one such team.

4. Brian McCann

Age: 30
Position: C
2013 Stats: .256 BA, .796 OPS, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 0 SB
Current team: Braves
Best fit: Rangers

This year's market features several quality catching options, but McCann is clearly the best of them. He rebounded from a 2012 season ruined by a shoulder injury to put together another strong offensive year, and he is still good defensively, is relatively young and is a clubhouse leader. McCann reportedly would like to play for an AL club, so that he can DH when not behind the plate, and the Rangers -- who have been looking for a long-term catcher for years and who tried to trade for him at this year's deadline -- fit the bill.

Photo: Icon SMI

Masahiro Tanaka is the top international player available this offseason.

5. Masahiro Tanaka

Age: 25
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 24-0, 1.27 ERA, 0.943 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 1 SV
Current team: Rakuten Eagles
Best fit: Yankees

No matter what you think of the win statistic, it is exceedingly difficult to go 24-0 in any professional league, including Nippon Professional Baseball. The consensus among MLB clubs is that while Tanaka is not quite as talented as Yu Darvish, he's fairly close -- and that makes him the top pitcher on an open market that is devoid of aces. (While Tanaka is not technically a free agent, due to the posting system, practically he is).

Tanaka is easily the youngest starter available but, says one GM, "You don't know about his warts and hickeys as much as you do the other guys'." Tanaka will be very attractive to the Yankees, who need a starter and who can also commit as much money as necessary to his posting fee, which doesn't count against their payroll.

6. Mike Napoli

Age: 32
Position: 1B
2013 Stats: .259 BA, .842 OPS, 23 HR, 92 RBI, 1 SB
Current team: Red Sox
Best fit: Red Sox

Napoli originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox last offseason, which was eventually knocked down to one year and $5 million after his physical turned up a hip condition (though he actually made $13 million, after reaching all his incentives).

There will be no such discount this year. Napoli isn't a catcher anymore, but he proved an excellent full-time first baseman (he actually led the league in FanGraphs' Ultimate Zone Rating), and he set a career high in plate appearances and RBIs. A multi-year reunion with Boston seems in order. Where else could he go with that beard?

7. Ervin Santana

Age: 31
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 9-10, 3.24 ERA, 1.142 WHIP, 6.9 K/9
Current team: Royals
Best fit: Royals

The market for domestic free agent starters is relatively weak -- none of them is anything better than a No. 2 starter, possibly even a No. 3, and each has knocks against him. It is hard to separate the top three, but Santana represents the most attractive option. While the former Angel tends to have very bad years from time to time (his ERA exceeded 5.00 in both 2009 and '12), he seems to have matured as a pitcher, and his unimpressive won-lost record this year was belied by his excellent ratios (including his 2.2 walks per nine innings). The Royals will do what they can to make sure his stay in Kansas City lasts more than a single season.

8. Ubaldo Jimenez

Age: 30
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 13-9, 3.30 ERA, 1.330 WHIP, 9.6 K/9
Current team: Indians
Best fit: Orioles

After two and a half years of struggles, Jimenez regained his elite form in the second half of 2013, in which he had a 1.82 ERA -- tops among AL starters in that category -- and struck out 10.7 batters per nine. Teams will be wary of the way in which his long-limbed delivery can break down for significant periods of time, but he still has the chance to be a star. He would instantly be the best starter on an Orioles team that has the offense to be a serious contender, but is in need of an upgrade to a rotation that ranked 27th in ERA at 4.57.

9. Matt Garza

Age: 30
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 10-6, 3.82 ERA, 1.236 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
Current team: Rangers
Best fit: Angels

Garza missed the first month and a half of the season while recovering from a strained lat, and while he pitched well as a Cub (6-1, 3.17 ERA) he disappointed after being traded to the Rangers (4-5, 4.38). He has, however, been generally consistent in a career that has already run through four organizations -- his ERA has been between 3.32 and 3.95 in every season since 2007 -- and the Angels are in desperate need of consistency in a rotation that seems to have two open spots behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards.

10. Nelson Cruz

Age: 33
Position: OF
2013 Stats: .266 BA, .833 OPS, 27 HR, 76 RBI, 5 SB
Current team: Rangers
Best fit: Royals

It's important to note that Cruz put up his excellent power numbers in only 109 games. Had he played a full season, he would likely have approached 40 homers. Of course, the reason that Cruz missed so much of the year was because of a 50-game PED suspension, which will give his suitors pause as they consider one source of his strength and how he might perform in the future.

Still, Cruz is clearly the market's top righthanded-batting outfielder, and he'll be in demand. The Royals, whose rightfielders last year combined to hit .258 with 12 homers and 71 RBIs, could use him.

Photo: Jeff Roberson/AP

Carlos Beltran showed little sign of slowing down during two years with the Cardinals.

11. Carlos Beltran

Age: 36
Position: OF
2013 Stats: .296 BA, .830 OPS, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 2 SB
Current team: Cardinals
Best fit: Yankees

During the playoffs Cardinals GM John Mozeliak noted that at one point in his career, Beltran may have been "the best player on the planet." He's now a decade past his prime, though, and while his two-year, $26 million deal with St. Louis worked out extraordinarily well as far as production (he slugged 56 homers and drove in 181 runs), even more startling might have been his durability. Beltran played in 151 games in 2012 and 145 in 2013, after having played a combined 145 in 2009 and '10 as a Met (he played 142 in a 2011 season split between the Mets and Giants).

The impending arrival of prospect Oscar Taveras makes it likely that Beltran will move on from St. Louis. While his age and injury history might make him too big of a risk for even a middle class team, he could prove a tolerable, high-ceiling gamble for a wealthy one like the Yankees, who have long been after him.

12. Hiroki Kuroda

Age: 39
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 11-13, 3.31 ERA, 1.162 WHIP, 6.7 K/9
Current team: Yankees
Best fit: Dodgers

Kuroda was a legitimate Cy Young contender through Aug. 12, when he was 11-7 with a 2.33 ERA, but a rough final eight starts (in which he went 0-6 with a 6.56 mark) put an end to that. Still, the Yankees would very much like him back -- he was their best starting pitcher last year -- but Kuroda has always approached free agency his own way. He has signed three straight one-year contracts when he could have had longer deals so that he could maintain flexibility and even preserve the option to go back to Japan.

He might go home, but another sensible move would be to go about a third of the way there -- back to Los Angeles, where he pitched for the Dodgers from 2008 to '11, and where he'd nicely slot in behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

13. Curtis Granderson

Age: 33
Position: OF
2013 Stats: .229 BA, .723 OPS, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 8 SB
Current team: Yankees
Best fit: Giants

Granderson's walk year was painful. He suffered a fractured forearm when he was hit by a pitch during his spring training debut, and then a broken knuckle when he got struck again just a week after he'd returned, in May. Suitors will overlook the poor numbers that he produced in the 61 games he played in 2013 and focus instead on those from the previous two seasons, when he combined to hit 10 more home runs than anyone else.

Any club with a need for a power-hitting outfielder (the Cubs and Phillies are among them) will talk with Granderson, but the Giants could represent a sensible destination, as their lefties produced just 40 homers and an OPS of .692 in 2013.

14. Bartolo Colon

Age: 40
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 18-6, 2.65 ERA, 1.166 WHIP, 5.5 K/9
Current team: Athletics
Best fit: Indians

Whatever its source, Colon's very late resurgence is real: He's thrown 507 innings since 2011, and his number have gotten better in each season since then, to the point that he might get Cy Young votes this year for the first time since 2005 (when he won the award). The Indians figure to lose at least a few starters, Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir, and could consider giving even a two-year deal to the man who was their ace from 1998 to 2002.

15. Stephen Drew

Age: 31
Position: SS
2013 Stats: .253 BA, .777 OPS, 13 HR, 67 RBI, 6 SB
Current team: Red Sox
Best fit: Cardinals

Until Drew's World Series Game 6 home run, he had barely hit at all throughout the playoffs, and he still finished with a postseason batting average of .111. Shortstop-needy teams won't care at all, not in a winter in which he is by far the best option, and especially not after a year in which his solid production and slick fielding led to a WAR of 3.1.

The Cardinals, the team that surrendered Drew's World Series homer, are in want of basically nothing except for an upgrade on Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso at shortstop, and should have some money to spend after shedding Beltran's contract. Add in the fact that Drew has a relationship with St. Louis after spending boyhood time there while his older brother J.D. was a Cardinal, and there might be no better fit this off-season.

16. Bronson Arroyo

Age: 37
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 14-12, 3.79 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, 5.5 K/9
Current team: Reds
Best fit: Yankees

Those who don't know or haven't closely followed Arroyo see the long hair and the guitar playing and assume that he is flaky, but the truth is the opposite. He has never missed a single start in his professional career, and he is extremely consistent. Except for a hiccup in 2011, his ERA over the past five years has ranged from 3.74 to 3.88. The Yankees could lose three members of their starting rotation -- only CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova are sure to return -- and they might search for a guy like Arroyo, as they can confidently slot him in somewhere behind those two and then worry about other things.

17. Joe Nathan

Age: 39
Position: CL
2013 Stats: 6-2, 1.39 ERA, 0.897 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 43 SV
Current team: Rangers
Best fit: Tigers

In a fairly strong year for free agent closers, Nathan is clearly the best. He very smoothly came back from 2010's Tommy John surgery to reestablish his dominance in his two years as a Ranger, saving 80 games in 86 chances. The Tigers bullpen doomed them against the Red Sox in the ALCS and will clearly be a major area of focus for Detroit this off-season, especially as Joaquin Benoit is himself a free agent. The Tigers could spend for Nathan's dependability, as well as his influence on Bruce Rondon, who remains their hard-throwing closer of the future.

18. Kendrys Morales

Age: 30
Position: 1B
2013 Stats: .277 BA, .785 OPS, 23 HR, 80 RBI, 0 SB
Current team: Mariners
Best fit: Indians

The Cuban switch-hitter will likely never again be the MVP caliber slugger he was before he cracked his leg in two while celebrating a walk-off grand slam as an Angel in 2010. His one season in Seattle, though, should provide a preview of what he'll be for the next several years: a perfectly solid, if unspectacular, run producing designated hitter who can play a little first base.

He'd fit in very well in Cleveland, which could use a DH other than the re-signed Jason Giambi, and where he could provide middle-of-the-order support to the trio of Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana.

19. Ricky Nolasco

Age: 31
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 13-11, 3.70 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, 7.4 K/9
Current team: Dodgers
Best fit: Padres

The longtime Marlin was fantastic in his first 12 starts after being traded to the Dodgers -- 8-1, with a 2.07 ERA -- but then allowed 20 earned runs in just 17 innings over his final five, the last an NLCS loss to the Cardinals. That finish could depress the price of Nolasco, who might represent a very good alternative to the top three domestic options of Santana, Jimenez and Garza, and who is about the same age.

Nolasco seemed to genuinely value pitching in Southern California, where he grew up, and the Padres could keep him there in the hope that Petco Park helps him replicate his early Dodgers' tenure over the long haul.

20. Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Age: 28
Position: C
2013 Stats: .273 BA, .804 OPS, 14 HR, 65 RBI, 4 SB
Current team: Red Sox
Best fit: Red Sox

The clear second option on the market among catchers, Saltalamacchia became the second option on his own team when it mattered most: David Ross, his backup, started four of Boston's six World Series games. Even so, Saltalamacchia was a key component of the Red Sox' championship team -- until you've observed his long curls dripping with champagne, you can't appreciate the full potential of what hair can be -- and ranked sixth among all catchers in OPS. Whereas Boston overhauled its roster last winter, it will now likely seek to keep it as intact as it can, and re-signing Saltalamacchia (and Napoli) would be a great start.

Photo: Carlos Osoro/AP

Like Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta is a quality righthanded hitter who is coming off a lengthy PED-related suspension.

21. Jhonny Peralta

Age: 31
Position: SS
2013 Stats: .303 BA, .815 OPS, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 3 SB
Current team: Tigers
Best fit: Diamondbacks

Peralta is really the only other desirable shortstop on the market other than Stephen Drew, but he has his faults, including a 50-game Biogenesis suspension and the fact that his defensive range is mediocre at best. He'd likely be better off at third base, and the good news for him is that there really aren't any particularly attractive players available at that position, either. The Diamondbacks could put him there, and shift Martin Prado to the outfield, thereby immediately upgrading the middle of an order that was already quietly productive, as it finished fifth in the NL in runs scored.

22. Dan Haren

Age: 33
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 10-14, 4.67 ERA, 1.238 WHIP, 8.0 K/9
Current team: Nationals
Best fit: Twins

Haren is no longer the near-ace he was during his days with the Diamondbacks and Angels, but during the second half of his year in Washington he looked like something reasonably close. He went 6-4 with a 3.52 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio, 5.00, that approached those with which he used to regularly lead the league.

It is possible that he has put his recent injury troubles -- including soreness in his back, shoulder and hip -- behind him, and that he could be a bargain for a pitching-needy team. No team needs pitching more than the Twins, whose starters combined for a 5.26 ERA, by far the worst in the majors.

23. A.J. Burnett

Age: 37
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 10-11, 3.30 ERA, 1.215 WHIP, 9.8 K/9
Current team: Pirates
Best fit: Pirates

Burnett finally played out the five-year, $82.5 million deal he got from the Yankees before 2009. If it didn't work out particularly well for New York, it did for Pittsburgh. The Pirates, who traded for Burnett in February of 2012 and only had to pay $13 million of the $33 million he made over the past two years (the Yankees picked up the rest), got 26 wins, a 3.41 ERA and 389 strikeouts in 393⅓ innings out of the veteran. Pittsburgh valued the influence Burnett had on their young starters, and while he has said he might retire, a return to the Bucs for at least one year seems more probable.

24. Grant Balfour

Age: 36
Position: CL
2013 Stats: 1-3, 2.59 ERA, 1.197 WHIP, 10.3 K/9, 38 SV
Current team: Athletics
Best fit: Orioles

The fiery Australian had his streak of 44 consecutive save conversions broken in July, and he wasn't nearly as dominant in the second half (4.13 ERA) as he was during the first, when his 1.63 ERA helped him land his first All-Star selection.

In a market that includes seven relievers who saved 21 or more games in 2013, Balfour seems the second best. The A's never pay for closers, but other teams -- like the Orioles, who might want to return Jim Johnson to a set-up role after he blew an MLB-high nine chances last season -- will.

25. Marlon Byrd

Age: 36
Position: OF
2013 Stats: .291 BA, .847 OPS, 24 HR, 88 RBI, 2 SB
Current team: Pirates
Best fit: Phillies

You can't even call what Byrd did last year as a Met and Pirate a resurgence because he'd never had a year that was particularly close in terms of its power and production. Most teams will rightly be very skeptical of him, but he will represent a fine choice for those who lose out on the upper tier of outfielders -- Ellsbury, Choo, Cruz and Beltran. The Phillies are searching for some outfield power, and they could give a one- or two-year deal to Byrd, who began his career in Philadelphia. In 256 games for the Phils from 2002 to 2005, he hit 13 homers and drove in 79 runs.

Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

Nate McLouth resurrected his career during two seasons with the Orioles.

26. Nate McLouth

Age: 32
Position: OF
2013 Stats: .258 BA, .729 OPS, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 30 SB
Current team: Orioles
Best fit: Tigers

You might consider McLouth a poor man's Ellsbury: a good base-stealer but not quite as good, a good fielder but not quite as good, and slightly older. Any team that might consider Ellsbury should think about McLouth, who will be much, much cheaper -- which will make his market even broader. His speed and defense could make him a fine choice for Detroit, which in 2013 was deficient in both.

27. Joaquin Benoit

Age: 36
Position: CL
2013 Stats: 4-1, 2.01 ERA, 1.030 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 24 SV
Current team: Tigers
Best fit: Yankees

Though his 2013 will be best remembered for the grand slam he allowed to David Ortiz in Game 2 of the ALCS -- the one that sent Torii Hunter tumbling into the bullpen -- Benoit otherwise had a very good year. He stabilized the back end of the Tigers' bullpen after an early committee of closers faltered and then the return of Jose Valverde didn't work out by converting 24 of 26 save opportunities. He's had four strong years in a row (his ERA since 2010 is 2.53), and though he might still be best in a setup role, he has demonstrated his versatility. Mariano Rivera's retirement means the Yankees obviously need late innings help, and Benoit might form a nice duo with David Robertson, in whatever order they appear in games.

28. Phil Hughes

Age: 27
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 4-14, 5.19 ERA, 1.455 WHIP, 7.5 K/9
Current team: Yankees
Best fit: Angels

Yes, this might be high for a pitcher with those numbers, but Hughes' potential is still intriguing. Once pegged as the Yankees' future ace, Hughes is the youngest player, other than Tanaka, on this entire list (he won't turn 28 until June 24) and he's got a fastball that pushes 96 mph and a good curve. He should be available on team-friendly terms, and a change of scenery could help him become a dominant starter, or at least the terrific set-up man he was in 2009.

Angel Stadium is less than 10 miles from Foothill High, which Hughes attended, but a far better reason for the Angels to sign him is the opportunity to add a free agent with little downside risk, and major upside -- something the team has not done effectively in recent years.

29. Corey Hart

Age: 32
Position: 1B
2013 Stats: N/A (missed season due to injury)
Current team: Brewers
Best fit: Brewers

Hart batted .277 with an average of 24 home runs, 78 RBIs and 13 steals for the Brewers from 2007 to 2012 and made two All-Star Games during that time, but he didn't play at all last season due to a pair of knee surgeries. In his absence, Milwaukee's replacement first basemen produced an OPS of .629, the worst in the majors from what is supposed to be a slugging position.

A reunion of at least one year would be logical for both parties. Hart could reestablish his value by proving his health, and the Brewers could add a key piece to a lineup that could be formidable, particularly after Ryan Braun returns from his suspension.

30. A.J. Pierzynski

Age: 37
Position: C
2013 Stats: .272 BA, .722 OPS, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 1 SB
Current team: Rangers
Best fit: Yankees

No one expected Pierzynski to repeat the outlier season he had in 2012, his eighth and final year with the White Sox, when he slugged 27 homers and drove in 77 runs. Still, as a Ranger he was once again among the game's better hitting catchers, while displaying his trademark durability (he has caught more 115 more innings than anyone else since 2005) and strong arm (his caught stealing rate of 33% last season ranked ninth).

Pierzynski seemed a great match for the Yankees last winter, and, after a season in which New York's catchers combined to hit .213 with eight home runs, he's an ever better one now. He could sign a two-year deal to shore up the position until Gary Sanchez, the Yankees' top prospect, is ready to take over.

31. Tim Hudson

Age: 38
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 8-7, 3.97 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, 6.5 K/9
Current team: Braves
Best fit: Braves

Hudson's 2013 season came to a premature and painful end on July 24, when his ankle was fractured when the Mets' Eric Young Jr. accidentally landed on it while trying to beat out a grounder to first base. Hudson had been pitching very well before the injury, posting a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts since June 1, but he was unavailable down the stretch as Atlanta rolled toward the postseason, though he was he was walking around the Braves' clubhouse again by September.

While a number of contenders might try to sign him to a short-term deal, the defending NL East champion Braves could bring back the native of Columbus, Ga., to lead an otherwise callow rotation.

32. Omar Infante

Age: 32
Position: 2B
2013 Stats: .318 BA, .795 OPS, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 5 SB
Current team: Tigers
Best fit: Royals

Teams that are in need of a second baseman and don't want to spring for Cano -- which could be roughly 29 of them, or so -- will look to Infante. He was often overshadowed in Detroit's talented lineup, but among those who played his position and accumulated more than 400 plate appearances in 2013, he tied the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter for best batting average and ranked fifth in OPS, behind Cano, Carpenter, Chase Utley and Jason Kipnis. The Royals' other major need, besides an outfielder, is a second baseman (theirs batted .243 with four homers in '13), and Infante would ably fill that spot.

Photo: Andrew Hancock/SI

Paul Konerko has played all but 81 of his 2,187 career games with the White Sox.

33. Paul Konerko

Age: 38
Position: 1B
2013 Stats: .244 BA, .669 OPS, 12 HR, 54 RBI, 0 SB
Current team: White Sox
Best fit: Pirates

After a terrific 14-season run in Chicago in which he batted .285 and averaged 30 home runs and 93 RBIs, time finally seemed to catch up with Konerko in his 15th year as a member of the White Sox. His OPS, in fact, ranked him 130th of the 140 players who qualified for the batting title.

So he's done, right? Not necessarily. Konerko was hampered by a back injury and, says a friend, "He says he wouldn't keep going if he'd lost the feel with the bat in his hands -- but he hasn't." A rebound might be in order, such as the one Vladimir Guerrero experienced with the Rangers in 2010 and Lance Berkman had with the Cardinals in 2011. While it might be hard to imagine it happening with anyone but the White Sox, their signing of the Cuban Jose Dariel Abreu means they might not have room for him. A team like the Pirates, with a gap at first base and young hitters in need of mentoring, might.

34. Juan Uribe

Age: 34
Position: 3B
2013 Stats: .278 BA, .769 OPS, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 5 SB
Current team: Dodgers
Best fit: Dodgers

Uribe, signed by the Dodgers to a three-year, $21 million deal before 2011, seemed well on his way to being an epic free agent bust, as he hit .199 with six home runs and 45 RBIs combined in 2011 and '12. Last year, though, he was excellent all-around -- Los Angeles' best player, tied with Hanley Ramirez, according to FanGraphs' WAR. The Dodgers' continuing need for a third baseman, and the market's shortage of them, makes a re-signing plausible -- though L.A. could do without the two lost years this time.

35. Brian Wilson

Age: 32
Position: RP
2013 Stats: 2-1, 0.66 ERA, 0.878 WHIP, 8.6 K/9
Current team: Dodgers
Best fit: Tigers

Wilson came back from his second Tommy John injury more hirsute than ever and also, in his 18 appearances with the Dodgers anyway, more effective than ever, despite a fastball that now maxes out around 96 mph, as opposed to 100. He will likely look to close somewhere, and there will be closing jobs to be had -- but a setup position with the Tigers, who should throw a lot of owner Mike Ilitch's money at their bullpen this winter, could prove equally attractive.

36. Scott Feldman

Age: 31
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 12-12, 3.86 ERA, 1.183 WHIP, 6.5 K/9
Current team: Orioles
Best fit: Blue Jays

Feldman split his season almost exactly evenly between two teams: he pitched 91 innings with Chicago, 90⅔ with Baltimore. While his ERA was better in his first stop (3.46 to 4.27), he really only had a few bad outings for the Orioles, as he allowed three runs or fewer in 11 of his 15 starts. He is, in sum, an unspectacular but dependable rotation-spot filler. The Blue Jays, who suffered through so much injury and disappointment in what was designed to be a banner 2013, could use one of those.

37. Jason Vargas

Age: 31
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 9-8, 4.02 ERA, 1.387 WHIP, 6.5 K/9
Current team: Angels
Best fit: Mariners

There are 13 starting pitchers above Vargas on this list but all of them are righthanded, making the journeyman lefty who has pitched for four teams in eight seasons the best southpaw starter on the market. His one year in Anaheim was interrupted in June when he needed surgery to remove a blood clot from under his armpit, but he showed improvement in certain respects from his years in Seattle, allowing just 17 home runs (after yielding 35 in '12) and striking out a higher percentage of batters than ever before. In fact, the Mariners might want him back, to diversify a rotation that should be topped by three excellent righties in Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker.

38. Colby Lewis

Age: 34
Position: SP
2013 Stats: N/A (missed season due to injury)
Current team: Rangers
Best fit: Brewers

The Rangers thought they might have Lewis back from flexor tendon surgery as early as May. He never made it, due to tendinitis in his triceps and then surgery to remove bone spurs from his hip. Lewis, though, pitched well in his two and a half seasons in Texas after returning from Japan (he went 32-29 with an ERA of 3.93). If he's healthy he could prove a bargain to a team in need of a starter with upside. The Brewers could use one of those, as their starters ranked 11th in the NL in ERA (4.20).

39. James Loney

Age: 29
Position: 1B
2013 Stats: .299 BA, .778 OPS, 13 HR, 75 RBI, 3 SB
Current team: Rays
Best fit: Rays

Loney easily outearned the one-year, $2 million deal the Rays gave him last December, particularly in a first half in which he batted .315 with an .832 OPS. While he is one of the league's better defensive first basemen, he has never hit more than 15 homers in a season, and that lack of power won't endear him to most clubs with a hole at the position. It could also mean that the tight-fisted Rays might be able to afford to bring him back.

Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP

Justin Morneau struggled after a late-season trade to Pittsburgh.

40. Justin Morneau

Age: 32
Position: 1B
2013 Stats: .259 BA, .734 OPS, 17 HR, 77 RBI, 0 SB
Current team: Pirates
Best fit: Orioles

After spending his entire career with the Twins, Morneau was traded to Pittsburgh on Aug. 31. He batted .260 there, in 31 games, including the playoffs, but he hit zero homers and drove in only three runs. The health woes, mostly relating to concussions, that had ruined his recent seasons seemed to be behind him -- he played in 152 regular season games, his most since '08 -- and he remains young enough to regain some of the power-hitting form that made him the 2006 AL MVP.

The Orioles are in desperate need of a DH (their current best option appears to be Ryan Flaherty), and Morneau could be a good and relatively cheap one, as well as someone who could occasionally spell Chris Davis at first base.

41. Michael Morse

Age: 32
Position: OF
2013 Stats: .215 BA, .651 OPS, 13 HR, 27 RBI, 0 SB
Current team: Orioles
Best fit: Rockies

If Morneau was a slight disappointment after the Pirates acquired him for their stretch run, Morse was an outright disaster after the Orioles got him from the Mariners for theirs. The big slugger hit four home runs in the season's first four days, but in the 12 games he played for Baltimore, which included 30 plate appearances, he had just three singles and one walk. Morse, though, does have terrific power -- he hit 31 homers and drove in 95 runs for the Nationals in 2011 while also batting .303 -- and it could be fearsomely expressed in Colorado's altitude for a Rockies team that will be without Todd Helton for the first time since 1996.

42. Scott Kazmir

Age: 30
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 10-9, 4.04 ERA, 1.323 WHIP, 9.2 K/9
Current team: Indians
Best fit: Mets

Kazmir was once rated the game's seventh-best prospect by Baseball America, and led the American League in strikeouts as a 23-year-old Tampa Bay Devil Ray in 2007. Four years later, after a disastrous 2010 stint with the Angels (9-15, 5.94 ERA), he seemed on the cusp of washing out for good, in part because he had lost at least three miles an hour off a fastball that once topped out at 97.

After a year in independent ball, though, he returned to the majors with the Indians in 2013, with a heater that could again exceed 96 and improved command (his 2.7 walks per nine represented a career low). He is certainly a high-risk player, but it would be almost poetic if the Mets -- the team that originally drafted him 15th overall in 2002 -- brought him back as a veteran leader on a young and quickly improving staff.

43. Jesse Crain

Age: 32
Position: RP
2013 Stats: 2-3, 0.74 ERA, 1.145 WHIP, 11.3 K/9
Current team: Rays
Best fit: Rays

The Rays traded for Crain, an All-Star in 2013, at the deadline, but the strained shoulder with which he was then hampered prevented him from ever pitching for them. He might yet: his K-rate and success against both righties (.447 OPS) and lefties (.675) suggest he could make for a good, cheap closer, and Tampa Bay, which figures to lose the most recent good, cheap closer it found -- Fernando Rodney -- will be looking for one.

44. Fernando Rodney

Age: 37
Position: CL
2013 Stats: 5-4, 3.38 ERA, 1.335 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, 37 SV
Current team: Rays
Best fit: Mets

Rodney had two mediocre years as an Angel in 2010 and '11 and then one of the best relief seasons of all time as a Ray in 2012. He allowed five earned runs all year, for an ERA of 0.60, and saved 48 games in 50 chances, finishing fifth in the Cy Young voting. He wasn't as good in '13 -- he blew eight opportunities -- but his fastball still topped 100-mph on occasion, and he's in line for a contract that far exceeds the $4.25 million he earned in two years in Tampa.

The Rays won't give it to him, but the Mets -- whose closer, Bobby Parnell, might not be immediately ready to return from surgery to repair a herniated disc -- are among the several teams that could.

45. Javier Lopez

Age: 36
Position: RP
2013 Stats: 4-2, 1.83 ERA, 1.068 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 1 SV
Current team: Giants
Best fit: Giants

The sidearming southpaw remains one of the game's best LOOGYs. He finished with an ERA under 2.75 for the fourth straight year in 203 and, as usual, he did most of his damage against lefties, who hit .156 against him. The Giants like to do what they can to re-sign their own players -- Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence would have appeared high in these rankings if San Francisco had not extended both of them in the past couple of months -- and they remain the most logical landing spot for Lopez.

46. Eric O'Flaherty

Age: 29
Position: RP
2013 Stats: 3-0, 2.50 ERA, 0.944 WHIP, 5.5 K/9
Current team: Braves
Best fit: Nationals

O'Flaherty is the best kind of lefthanded reliever, one who is murder on lefthanded hitters (who hit .143 off him in 2013) but who is also very good against righties (.209). In his five seasons as a top Braves setup man, his cumulative ERA was 1.99. O'Flaherty's problem is that he underwent Tommy John surgery in late May, and very likely won't be ready for the start of the regular season. The Nationals' bullpen could really use a quality southpaw, and they could sign O'Flaherty in the hope that he will return before the All-Star break and be fully back to form in time for their expected playoff push.

47. Scott Baker

Age: 32
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 0-0, 3.60 ERA, 0.867 WHIP, 3.6 K/9
Current team: Cubs
Best fit: Cubs

The Cubs signed the former Twin to a one-year, $5.5 million deal last November, but continuing trouble with the surgically-repaired right elbow that forced him to miss all of 2012 limited him to three starts in September. Two of those starts were very good (he allowed zero and one run, respectively), enough so that Chicago will likely try to bring him back for 2014 in order to be rewarded for some of the money it has already invested in him.

Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

A disastrous season in Toronto likely put a big dent in Josh Johnson's asking price.

48. Josh Johnson

Age: 30
Position: SP
2013 Stats: 2-8, 6.20 ERA, 1.660 WHIP, 9.2 K/9
Current team: Blue Jays
Best fit: Marlins

A year ago, it appeared that Cano would obviously be the best hitter of this free agent class and that Johnson would be its best pitcher. Only one of them came through. Johnson, who won the NL ERA title as a Marlin in 2010, was terrible in 16 starts for the Blue Jays -- who acquired him in last winter's massive deal that also involved Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle -- and then ended the year on the DL with a forearm strain.

Many of his numbers in 2013 and his extensive injury history will give suitors pause, but he has a solid 6-foot-7 frame and last year had a career high strikeout rate. He could go back to Florida to rejuvenate his career and to again lead an up-and-coming staff on a team that might not be as far away from contention as many believe.

49. Carlos Ruiz

Age: 35
Position: C
2013 Stats: .268 BA, .688 OPS, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 1 SB
Current team: Phillies
Best fit: Phillies

Ruiz had a career year in 2012, when he batted .325 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs, but last season did not go as well. His production fell off, he served a 25 game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines and he spent nearly a month on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. "Chooch," however, is beloved and trusted by pitchers, and the Phillies have no catching prospect who appears anywhere near ready to take over behind the plate. A reunion makes a lot of sense.

50. Kelly Johnson

Age: 32
Position: OF
2013 Stats: .235 BA, .715 BA, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 7 SB
Current team: Rays
Best fit: Nationals

Why does Johnson get the final spot over other options like Jeff Baker, Rajai Davis, Raul Ibañez, Paul Maholm, Dioner Navarro, Edward Mujica, David Murphy, Chris Perez, Mark Reynolds, Brian Roberts, Jose Veras, Delmon Young and Michael Young? Partly because he's got good pop in his bat -- he's averaged 20 homers over the past four years -- and even moreso because he is versatile. Last year with the Rays he spent time at leftfield, first base, second base and third base.

The Nationals likely won't be overly active in the free agent market, but they could really use an upgrade to a bench that failed them last year (Steve Lombardozzi's OPS was.616, Tyler Moore's was .608 and Chad Tracy's was .568). Johnson could provide great value to Washington and at a good price.

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