Monday November 7th, 2016

Because the Cubs and the Indians pushed the World Series to seven games, baseball’s free agents don't become available to the highest bidder until Tues., Nov. 8—the same day on which Americans will make an even more fraught decision.

Alas, as many voters would say about this year’s presidential election, the market is short on attractive options. Whereas last year’s class was the best in the now nine-year history of the Reiter 50—SI.com’s annual ranking of the top 50 free agents—this winter’s is among the worst. Stephen Strasburg’s decision to sign a seven-year, $175 million extension with the Nationals last May has left the winter entirely devoid of available top-end starting pitchers, and eagle-eyed observers will note that it includes not a single true shortstop, either.

Things are not always as they seem, however. Each of last year’s clear-cut top three options—pitchers David Price and Zack Greinke and outfielder Jason Heyward—disappointed in their new homes, but players down the list—like Dexter Fowler (No. 12), Ian Desmond (No. 13), Marco Estrada (No. 15) and especially Daniel Murphy (No. 17)—excelled. Desmond and Fowler are available again, and they’re ranked here along with 48 other names that clubs should consider (ages listed are for the 2017 season), along with a brief analysis of each player and the destination that is his most logical.

Position: OF | Age: 31
Current Team: Mets | Best Fit: Phillies
2016 Stats: .280/.354/.530 (.884 OPS), 31 HR, 86 RBIs, 3 SB

After an attractive long-term suitor failed to materialize last winter, Cespedes gambled on himself, signing a three-year, $75 million deal with the Mets that included an opt out after the first. We have a winner: He ended up making $27.5 million from New York for 2016, and after a season in which he set a career-high in OPS—thanks largely to a personal-best walk rate of 9.4%—he enters a weaker market as the clear-cut No. 1 option. Many clubs will chase him—keep an eye on the power-starved Giants—but the darkhorse Phillies could emerge with both a centerpiece for their rebuild and having leveled a devastating shot at their NL East rival.

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Position: RP | Age: 29
Current Team: Cubs | Best Fit: Nationals
2016 Stats: 4–1, 1.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 14.0 K/9, 36 Sv

Chapman lost nothing, performance-wise, in a season he started a month late due to his domestic violence suspension and that was split between the Yankees and the Cubs. In fact, he never before threw his fastball harder, averaging a career-best 100.4 mph with the pitch. At the same time, he showed better control than ever, dropping his walk rate from 4.5 to 2.8 per nine. An improving Chapman is a concerning thought to opponents, and while the Nationals should try to sign him to stabilize their long turbulent ninth innings, they'll have competition from his two 2016 teams, among others.

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Position: 1B/DH | Age: 34
Current Team: Blue Jays | Best Fit: Red Sox
2016 Stats: .263/.357/.529 (.886 OPS), 42 HR, 127 RBIs, 2 SB

The Blue Jays got astonishing production out of what turned out to be the four-year, $37 million contract they gave Encarnacion (one that began in 2013): He hit 151 homers and drove in 440 runs over the course of the deal, ranking third and second, respectively, in baseball over that span. By the end of this past May, when he had just 10 home runs, it seemed as if he might be on course for a disappointing walk year, but he quickly returned to his slugging form. The Red Sox, now with a sizable hole at designated hitter following the retirement of David Ortiz, could use that kind of power in their lineup. Can you say "New Papi?"

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Position: RP | Age: 29
Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Dodgers
2016 Stats: 3–2, 1.83 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 13.6 K/9, 47 Sv

Jansen, who joined the Dodgers' organization as a catcher 12 years ago, throws essentially one pitch: a cutter that averages 93.5 mph and can scrape 98. It is, however, a simply dominant one, as hitters batted .185 against it this season, helping Jansen to a year in which he had 104 strikeouts against only 11 walks. Aroldis Chapman's singular stuff keeps him ahead of Jansen, but not by much. The Dodgers have no reason whatsoever to let Jansen walk.

Position: 3B | Age: 32
Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Dodgers
2016 Stats: .275/.339/.493 (.832 OPS), 27 HR, 90 RBIs, 4 SB

Offensively, Turner is basically Daniel Murphy: a slap hitter who transformed himself into a slugger after he turned 30. Until two years ago, his career high for homers was seven; he's hit 43 the past two seasons. Unlike Murphy, though, Turner is also an above-average fielder and could double his erstwhile teammate's three-year, $37.5 million deal from last winter—probably thanks to the Dodgers, who also value his competitiveness.

Position: OF/DH | Age: 31
Current Team: Orioles | Best Fit: Blue Jays
2016 Stats: .256/.316/.533 (.849 OPS), 47 HR, 108 RBIs, 2 SB

There are many things that Trumbo does not do well: play defense, run, draw walks, hit for average, hit lefties (strangely, as he bats righthanded). But he did blast four more bombs than anyone else in 2016, and power gets paid. The Blue Jays could be short 88 homers from last season if their three free-agent sluggers depart. They will be interested.

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Position: OF | Age: 31
Current Team: Rangers | Best Fit: Orioles
2016 Stats: .285/.335/.446 (.782 OPS), 22 HR, 86 RBIs, 21 SB

Desmond famously "lost" about $80 million by turning down a long-term contract offer from the Nationals a few seasons ago, only to have to settle for an $8 million pact with the Rangers last winter after a poor contract year for Washington in 2015. To his immense credit, though, the former shortstop returned to his previous 20–20 standard and learned an entirely new position on the fly, playing at worst a decent centerfield. The Orioles won't be turned off by a second-half decline in which he hit .237, as they badly need an outfielder with not just power but also speed.

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Position: C | Age: 29
Current Team: Nationals | Best Fit: Angels
2016 Stats: .307/.354/.496 (.850 OPS), 22 HR, 80 RBIs, 0 SB

Ramos's out-of-the-blue breakout ended disastrously for him when he suffered a torn right ACL on Sept. 26—an injury that seemed to doom both Washington's playoff chances and his own prospects in free agency. Not so fast on that second conclusion, though: It's the second time he's ruptured the same ligament, but those heal, and the team that ends up with him should get Ramos for at least a marginal discount and then benefit from several years of one of game's few all-around catchers. The Angels have been looking for one of those forever.

Position: CF | Age: 31
Current Team: Cubs | Best Fit: Nationals
2016 Stats: .276/.393/.447 (.840 OPS), 13 HR, 48 RBIs, 13 SB

Fowler joins Yoenis Cespedes and Ian Desmond as another guy who reached last spring disappointed—he was a free-agent a year ago before returning to the Cubs on a one-year, $13 million deal—but is poised to do much better after surpassing his career high in OPS+ and improving in centerfield, too (thanks in part to better positioning). The Cubs' surplus of outfielders means Fowler will likely move on, and the completely barren shortstop market means the Nationals will probably move Trea Turner back to that position, where he starred in college, thus leaving centerfield open.

Position: OF | Age: 30
Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Astros
2016 Stats: .281/.345/.405 (.750 OPS), 10 HR, 37 RBIs, 8 SB

Having refashioned himself from a high-strikeout slugger who hit 32 homers in 2012 into a well-rounded threat, the lefthanded-hitting Reddick might have been No. 2 on this list had it been made on May 19, when he was hitting .322 with an .860 OPS. Then he broke his left thumb in May and struggled after being traded on Aug. 1 to the Dodgers, with whom it took him a month for him to find his groove. Still, his youth and stable skillset place him in the top 10, to the likely surprise of the more famous player directly beneath him. He could wind up with the Astros, where he'd be an antidote to Houston's heavily righthanded and high-strikeout lineup.

Position: OF | Age: 36
Current Team: Blue Jays | Best Fit: Mets
2016 Stats: .234/.366/.452 (.818 OPS), 22 HR, 69 RBIs, 2 SB

Back in February, reports—denied, if unconvincingly—suggested that Bautista had demanded a deal of least five years and $150 million from the Blue Jays. He won't get close to either figure—not as a 36-year-old whose OPS dropped by nearly 100 points from 2015, is quickly declining in the field and missed 46 games with a number of ailments to his lower extremities. Reeling from the loss of Cespedes, the Mets could dangle a high-money, low-years contract to Bautista—who will probably linger on the market—in an attempt to save face with their fans.

Position: SP | Age: 37
Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Red Sox
2016 Stats: 12–5, 2.12 ERA, 0.997 WHIP, 10.5 K/9

Hill is definitely the best starting pitcher on the market, which says a lot about both him and the market. Let's focus on the positives. Hill, despite recurring blister issues, was great for the A's and even better for the Dodgers after a deadline trade thanks in large measure to what is without question the league's best curveball. Though he pitched only 110 regular-season innings, he was last seen shutting out the Cubs over six innings in the NLCS. Hill is Massachusetts-born and a two-time Red Sox veteran, but what matters way more than that is Boston's need for high-end starting pitching depth. The Sox are one of the few teams that could stomach an innings total in the low 100s for Hill, as long as they're good ones.

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Position: RP | Age: 32
Current Team: Nationals | Best Fit: Giants
2016 Stats: 2–2, 1.64 ERA, 0.897 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 47 Sv

Melancon has an ERA of 1.80 over the past four seasons—in which the former Pirate and National has struck out nearly six times as many hitters as he has walked—and yet he's the third option on the closer market. Still, he's a very good option indeed, especially for the Giants, who suffered an MLB-high 30 blown saves by a formerly dependable bullpen and will be hunting for a renewed late-game stability.

Position: 1B | Age: 35
Current Team: Indians | Best Fit: Indians
2016 Stats: .239/.335/.465 (.800 OPS), 34 HR, 101 RBIs, 5 SB

Working on a discounted one-year, $7 million deal, Napoli became the heart of the AL champions' lineup and the soul of the Indians' clubhouse in his year in Cleveland. While a return is his first priority, he will still test the market, as he should. Still, the relationship worked so well that Cleveland might stretch for a multi-year deal, thereby keeping the club that came so close to a ring intact, as Rajai Davis is their only other free agent of any prominence. 

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Position: SP | Age: 30
Current Team: Pirates | Best Fit: Rangers
2016 Stats: 12–8, 4.17 ERA, 1.253 WHIP, 7.1 K/9

Ah, Ray Searage. The Pirates' pitching coach/sorcerer helped yet another pitcher exploit his gifts, as Nova went from a 4.90 ERA with the Yankees to a 3.06 mark in 11 starts after a midseason trade to Pittsburgh. Nova's performance was tied to a remarkable improvement in command, as he had a 52/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio with the Pirates—nearly six times better than his control for New York. Even after moving onto another team, the Blue Jays' J.A. Happ showed in 2016 than a Searage-aided turnaround can last, and the Rangers, who are stacked on offense but lack starting pitching behind Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels, could hope for the same from Nova.

Position: C | Age: 31
Current Team: Orioles | Best Fit: Braves
2016 Stats: .243/.302/.409 (.711 OPS), 17 HR, 66 RBIs, 1 SB

Wieters will probably never become the superstar many anticipated, but he is a stalwart catcher with power who last year showed that he has recovered from the Tommy John surgery he had in June of 2014, throwing out a strong 35% of would-be base stealers. As a Georgia Tech alum, he has ties to Atlanta—something that normally doesn't matter in free agency but just might have an impact this year, as the Braves will seek to give fans a reason to come out to their new ballpark. More important in the long term will be the fact that Wieters can provide a steadying influence for a young and talented pitching staff.

Position: 2B | Age: 31
Current Team: Mets | Best Fit: Mets
2016 Stats: .282/.347/.476 (.823 OPS), 23 HR, 55 RBIs, 3 SB

He's not Daniel Murphy, but Walker did a credible job of distracting Mets fans from their club's failure to re-sign the second baseman who became an MVP candidate with Washington—at least until back surgery ended Walker's season in late August. Despite missing a good chunk of the second half, the former Pirate tied his career high in homers and set a new mark in OPS (.823). New York will probably have to re-sign him, not just for his production but also to mitigate Murphy-based agony in the long term.

Position: OF | Age: 30
Current Team: Blue Jays | Best Fit: Giants
2016 Stats: .253/.338/.478 (.816 OPS), 24 HR, 57 RBIs, 1 SB

Although his speed is gone, Saunders, a former five-tool top prospect, had easily his best season and is now the third central piece the Blue Jays might lose, after Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. The Giants badly need a slugger—their 130 homers last season ranked third to last in the majors, and their outfielders accounted for just 50 of those—to provide support for what should again be one of the league's deepest rotations.

Position: DH | Age: 34
Current Team: Royals | Best Fit: Rangers
2016 Stats: .263/.327/.468 (.795 OPS), 30 HR, 93 RBIs, 0 SB

Morales had a monster finish, leading all players with 30 RBIs in September and October and slugging eight homers, and the Royals got great production for the two years and $17 million they invested in him: 52 homers and 199 RBIs. The Rangers could lose four regulars from their stretch lineup—DH Carlos Beltran, centerfielder Ian Desmond, leftfielder Carlos Gomez and first baseman Mitch Moreland—and though Texas' young offense remains strong, the team could bolster its lineup by investing in a cheaper source of veteran power like Morales.

Position: OF | Age: 31
Current Team: Rangers | Best Fit: Mariners
2016 Stats: .231/.298/.384 (.682 OPS), 13 HR, 53 RBIs, 18 SB

Gomez, who got MVP votes in both 2013 and '14 as a Brewer, once figured to rank near the top of this list as a threat to receive a nine-figure contract. But his disappointing performance in Houston (in 85 games there last season, he hit .210 with five homers, 29 RBIs and 13 steals) ended any chance of that, as did a concerning decline in his formerly Gold Glove defense. But Gomez reestablished some value with a strong finish in Texas after being claimed off waivers, posting a .905 OPS in 33 games. A third consecutive AL West home is possible, as the Mariners' current outfield is an lackluster group led by Guillermo Heredia, Leonys Martin and Seth Smith. 

Position: OF/DH | Age: 39
Current Team: Rangers | Best Fit: Blue Jays
2016 Stats: .295/.337/.513 (.850 OPS), 29 HR, 93 RBIs, 1 SB

Beltran is the oldest position player on this list, but he just completed a season—split between the Yankees and the Rangers—in which he exceeded 150 games played and 25 home runs for the first time since 2012. He's a perfect fit for Toronto, which was reportedly interested in him at last summer's trade deadline and now has even more need for power—especially from the left side, from which the switch-hitter blasted 20 of his homers last season—but likely won't want to commit to a long-term deal.

Position: SP | Age: 30
Current Team: Phillies | Best Fit: Braves
2016 Stats: 12–10, 3.71 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, 7.3 K/9

The 2011 AL Rookie of the Year with the Rays should parlay his strong contract campaign with the Phillies—which was largely the result of a much-improved changeup—into a deal that will likely outstrip his actual value, given the paucity of starters on the market. He still gives up too many home runs (24 in 2016) and is still hit hard by lefties (a .751 OPS against), but the Braves could turn to him for veteran stability in a rotation that is otherwise extremely green.

Position: OF | Age: 36
Current Team: Indians | Best Fit: White Sox
2016 Stats: .249/.306/.388 (.694 OPS), 12 HR, 48 RBIs, 43 SB

Last seen crushing an unlikely, game-tying–two-run homer off of Aroldis Chapman in Game 7 of the World Series, Davis's strength mainly lies in the speed that still hasn't deserted him despite his advancing age, as he won his first stolen base crown last season. Despite his weaknesses elsewhere (including in centerfield, where even with his wheels he's no better than average), his one elite skill will make him attractive, possibly to a recently disappointing White Sox club that could use a righthanded hitter to platoon with young Charlie Tilson in center.

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Position: 1B/OF | Age: 33
Current Team: Cardinals | Best Fit: Mariners
2016 Stats: .225/.300/.484 (.784 OPS), 28 HR, 67 RBIs, 1 SB

Moss essentially does one thing—try to pull the ball out of the yard—but he does it well, especially against righthanded pitchers. No one who faced righties as often or more than he did had a better home run rate: one every 12.04 at-bats. He'd be an excellent match with the Mariners, where he could serve as a powerful placeholder until first base prospect Dan Vogelbach is ready while also moonlighting at designated hitter and in the outfield.

Position: UT | Age: 34
Current Team: Orioles | Best Fit: Yankees
2016 Stats: .288/.374/.492 (.866 OPS), 13 HR, 35 RBIs, 0 SB

Even in an abbreviated 2016 in which had two stints on the disabled list, the versatile Pearce saw time at first base, second base, third base and both corner outfield spots while putting up excellent offensive numbers, given the fact that he played just 85 games. He'd be an ideal, do-everything veteran presence on a Yankees team that is suddenly rather young. In fact, he'd probably play most every day, somewhere.

Position: 1B/DH | Age: 31
Current Team: Rangers | Best Fit: Royals
2016 Stats: .233/.298/.422 (.720 OPS), 22 HR, 60 RBIs, 1 SB

Moreland is a consistent (if modest) power threat, slugging 22 or 23 home runs in three of the past four years. But his batting average dropped by 45 points from 2015 to '16, and his OPS fell by more than 90 points. He should now be a cheap-enough source of power for the Royals, where he could split time at DH and back up Eric Hosmer at first base.

Position: SP | Age: 30
Current Team: Marlins | Best Fit: Pirates
2016 Stats: 5–11, 5.25 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 7.6 K/9

Cashner has still got strong stuff, boasting the high-90s heater that once led the Padres to trade Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs acquire him back in 2012. He's simply not effective enough at controlling it, as his relatively low strikeout rate (and escalating walk rate and WHIP) suggests. This just sounds like a job for Ray Searage, the Pirates' pitching coach and resident miracle worker.

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Position: 3B | Age: 31
Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Brewers
2016 Stats: .260/.357/.459 (.816 OPS), 13 HR, 40 RBIs, 1 SB

Before his right hamstring strain put him on the disabled list for good in late July, Valbuena was up to his usual tricks: crushing righthanded pitching (to the tune of an .841 OPS in 2016). The Brewers are heavily righthanded, so the versatile and lefty-swinging Valbuena could platoon around the diamond for them and produce around 25 homers in a full season.

Position: OF | Age: 30
Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Angels
2016 Stats: .206/.286/.355 (.641 OPS), 15 HR, 54 RBIs, 4 SB

Rasmus's final offensive numbers in 2016 were terrible, but so was his health for most of the season: a cyst in his ear affected his balance before it was surgically removed, and an injured hip that required off-season surgery. So it might be best to focus on his healthy April, in which the lefty hit seven homers with an OPS near 1.000. Add that to his defensive excellence at all three outfield positions, and he could prove a bargain, particularly for a team like the Angels, which as of now has no lefthanded hitter on the roster other than rightfielder Kole Calhoun.

Position: SP | Age: 44
Current Team: Mets | Best Fit: Mets
2016 Stats: 15–8, 3.43 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 5.5 K/9

What can you say? The man's ancient. He throws basically nothing but fastballs—a league-high 90% of the time—and they are fast in name only, averaging in the high 80s. But he gets the job done and has been a godsend for the Mets, who have every reason to bring him back to celebrate his 44th birthday in May.

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Position: RP | Age: 42
Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Red Sox
2016 Stats: 2–3, 3.45 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, 7 Sv

Uehara is almost as old as Bartolo Colon, but the source of his continued success is more obvious: a splitfinger fastball that continues to be extremely nasty and which he expertly mixes with his straight heater to keep hitters guessing. The Red Sox' bullpen could lose several pieces (including Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler) this off-season, but Uehara is likely the one the team will keep.

Position: RP | Age: 34
Current Team: Giants | Best Fit: Rangers
2016 Stats: 1–0, 2.64 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 4 Sv

Amidst all of the Giants' bullpen woes, Romo—who spent nearly three early-season months on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow—finished the season with zero blown saves and his best ERA since 2013. He also reclaimed the role of closer, taking over for Santiago Casilla in September. The Rangers could add Romo as another late-inning piece, one who could be in the mix for saves should Sam Dyson falter.

Position: 2B | Age: 38
Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Angels
2016 Stats: .252/.319/.396 (.715 OPS), 14 HR, 52 RBIs, 2 SB

Utley put together an unlikely bounceback season at 37, holding down the Dodgers' regular second base job and finishing with his second-most homers since 2010. A move slightly south would be beneficial for the Angels, who need a better everyday second baseman than Cliff Pennington and can use Utley's toughness and lefthanded bat.

Position: RP | Age: 37
Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Yankees
2016 Stats: 4–7, 2.25 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 22 Sv

As a sidearmer who can't top 87 mph, Ziegler might seem to be an unlikely late-inning force, but he continued to be just that in 2016, starting the season as the Diamondbacks' closer and finishing it as a setup man for the Red Sox. His ERA has exceeded 2.50 in just one of the last six seasons, and he could prove a key piece for the quickly reloading Yankees, whose bullpen is thin after closer Dellin Betances and righthanded setup man Tyler Clippard.

Position: 1B/DH | Age: 30
Current Team: Orioles | Best Fit: White Sox
2016 Stats: .249/.322/.504 (.826 OPS), 22 HR, 49 RBIs, 1 SB

The No. 2 pick in 2008 experienced a short prime—back-to-back 30-homer seasons in 2012 and '13 for the Pirates—and his fielding limitations now mean the lefty swinger is best suited to a platoon role as a designated hitter against righthanders, off of whom he hit all but one of his longballs for Baltimore this past season. The White Sox' talent has in recent years seemed to outpace their records, and a cheap power source like Alvarez could help new manager Rick Renteria turn things around.

Position: RP | Age: 36
Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Twins
2016 Stats: 7–2, 2.48 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 0 Sv

Try to forget, if you can, Blanton's disastrous NLCS against the Cubs, in which he yielded seven earned runs in three innings. Before that, the long-middling starter had remade himself as a genuine relief weapon, holding both lefties and righties to batting averages below .200 and tying for ninth in the majors with 75 appearances. The Twins' poor bullpen (4.63 ERA) was one of many causes for their atrocious 59–103 finish, the team's worst record since moving to Minnesota for the 1961 season. While the organization has several young stars who should provide improvement from within, the Twins will likely have to look elsewhere—say, in Blanton's direction—for necessary relief help.

Position: RP | Age: 36
Current Team: Nationals | Best Fit: Reds
2016 Stats: 2–4, 4.37 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, 19 Sv

Papelbon has got all sorts of baggage. The steamer trunk is a fastball that sat at 91 mph last season, four ticks down from what it was five years ago—and a strikeout rate that mimics that decline. Papelbon was so toxic that after the Nationals released him in early August he remained unsigned the rest of the year. The Reds' bullpen, though, was an absolute disaster in 2016, with a 5.09 ERA, and Cincinnati might be willing to accept all sorts of issues if it can find any relief help at all.

Position: OF | Age: 32
Current Team: Padres | Best Fit: Athletics
2016 Stats: .291/.339/.389 (.728 OPS), 2 HR, 26 RBIs, 2 SB

A broken right forearm shortened what was shaping up to be a resurgent season for the former Cardinal, a hard-nosed centerfielder who was on pace to hit more than 45 doubles had he played a full slate of games. The A's badly need outfield help—the current presumptive centerfielder, Brett Eibner, hit .165 in 44 games after he was acquired from Kansas City in July—and Jay would presumably fall within their extremely modest price range.

Position: OF | Age: 37
Current Team: Cardinals | Best Fit: Rockies
2016 Stats: .246/.322/.461 (.783 OPS), 20 HR, 62 RBIs, 0 SB

Holliday's generally productive (if recently injury-marred) eight years in St. Louis officially ended when the Cardinals declined to pick up his $17 million option, buying him out for $1 million instead. He's still got power (his 20 homers came in just 110 games), and a return to Colorado—where his career began in 2004 and for whom he made three All-Star teams—makes a lot of sense, albeit with a position switch. The Rockies' stacked offense has one gaping hole, at first base, which Holliday played for the first time in 2016 for 10 errorless games. If he's willing to leave the outfield for the infield, he could make sense for Colorado.

Position: SP | Age: 34
Current Team: Cubs | Best Fit: Yankees
2016 Stats: 15–10, 3.83 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 7.8 K/9

The Cubs were so stacked in 2016 that they didn't even require the services of 15-game-winner Hammel in the postseason, and they're in such good shape for the future that they turned down his (relatively affordable, for them) $12 million option for next season, setting him free. The scarcity of available starters means that Hammel is certainly among the market's best half-dozen, and he'll find work quickly—maybe as the No. 4 man for the Yankees, who don't have much behind CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda.

Position: RP | Age: 29
Current Team: Pirates | Best Fit: Blue Jays
2016 Stats: 4–2, 3.52 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 2 Sv

The former fire-balling Rangers phenom has become a symbol of the less-than-100% success rate of Tommy John surgery. It took him a long time to regain his heat after undergoing the procedure in 2012, but he finally did so last season, averaging 96 mph for the first time in half a decade, with a rejuvenated strikeout rate to match. The Blue Jays' bullpen held them back last season, as its cumulative 4.11 ERA was nearly half a run worse than that of the club's starting rotation, and Feliz could become a dominant setup man for closer Roberto Osuna.

Position: UT | Age: 32
Current Team: Pirates | Best Fit: Dodgers
2016 Stats: .270/.349/.510 (.859 OPS), 18 HR, 56 RBIs, 2 SB

Rodriguez was another under-the-radar star for the Pirates, easily surpassing his career highs in nearly every batting category and seeing time at every non-pitching position except for catcher. The Dodgers could give him a new home and a stable position, at second base.

Position: RP | Age: 36
Current Team: Giants | Best Fit: Diamondbacks
2016 Stats: 2–5, 3.57 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, 31 Sv

Casilla blew an MLB-high nine saves last season, but his peripheral stats remained strong even at his advanced age. The Diamondbacks still have most of the talent that made them a trendy pick last spring before they went through a season from hell, but they don't really have a closer, and Casilla would represent a cost-effective upgrade over young Jake Barrett.

Position: RP | Age: 31
Current Team: None | Best Fit: Dodgers
2016 Stats: N/A

Holland was an elite closer for the Royals in 2013 and '14, saving 93 games and pitching to 1.32 ERA. But his numbers declined (to a 3.83 ERA) as he tried to pitch through a UCL tear in '15, and he spent all of last season working his way back from Tommy John surgery. Now recovered, he is extremely intriguing. While the Giants, Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees were reported to be among the teams that sent representatives to his Nov. 7 showcase, the Dodgers are coming off a season in which manager Dave Roberts made the most pitching changes in baseball history, and Los Angeles won't be shy about taking a chance on a proven reliever with the upside of a shutdown setup man.

Position: SP | Age: 33
Current Team: Royals | Best Fit: Astros
2016 Stats: 10–11, 5.37 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 6.6 K/9

After Volquez finally made good on his promise in 2014 and '15 by going 26–16 with a 3.30 ERA for the Pirates and the Royals, the late bloomer withered last season in Kansas City, as his strikeout rate dropped and his home-run rate jumped. But his stuff looked identical—including a fastball that sits at 93 mph and touches 96—and he'd make for a smart acquisition for the Astros, who have an explosive offense and a solid bullpen but could be a starter away from genuine World Series contention.

Position: C | Age: 30
Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Orioles
2016 Stats: .210/.307/.377 (.684 OPS), 11 HR, 32 RBIs, 2 SB

One reason why the Orioles might not bring back catcher Matt Wieters this off-season is the presence of prospect Chance Sisco, who has posted a career .836 OPS in the minors. But Sisco is just 21, and Baltimore could use a short-term placeholder like Castro, once a top prospect himself who, after an All-Star season in 2013, has settled into life as a serviceable backstop with a little pop in his bat.

Position: RP | Age: 30
Current Team: Blue Jays | Best Fit: Mariners
2016 Stats: 1–7, 3.93 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 11.0 K/9, 0 Sv

Cecil hasn't finished with a strikeout rate worse than 10.4 per nine since 2012, and his excellent curveball makes him particularly effective against lefties. The Mariners have no southpaws in their 'pen after dealing Vidal Nuño to the Dodgers for backup catcher Carlos Ruiz, so they're certain to acquire one this winter. Cecil would be a good choice.

Position: SP | Age: 27
Current Team: Athletics | Best Fit: Royals
2016 Stats: N/A

Since he was an All-Star for the Marlins in 2014 (when he went 12–7 with a 2.65 ERA), Alvarez has thrown just 22 innings due to a pair of shoulder surgeries. But he's the youngest player on this list by two years of age, and, when healthy, possesses a terrific sinker. The Royals have shown that they are not scared to invest in talented pitchers who are working through injuries—see Kris Medlen and Mike Minor—and while the strategy hasn't worked out particularly well, they shouldn't stop trying.

Position: RP | Age: 32
Current Team: Rockies | Best Fit: Phillies
2016 Stats: 2–5, .369 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, 1 Sv

The three year, $16.5 million deal the Rockies gave Logan before 2014 seemed like an overpay at the time and proved to be just that, as he posted a 5.37 ERA over just 60 innings during his first two seasons with Colorado. But Logan, a 6'5" southpaw, regained his lefty-dominating ways last season, holding same-side hitters to a .142 batting average. The Phillies' bullpen had a 5.05 ERA in 2016, and Philadelphia's righty-heavy composition means that lefthanded hitters killed the team late in games. Let's give them Logan.

Position: OF | Age: 30
Current Team: NC Dinos (KBO) | Best Fit: Padres
2016 Stats (KBO): .317/.425/.676 (1.101 OPS), 40 HR, 118 RBIs, 13 SB

Thames didn't make much of an impact during his first three major league seasons for the Blue Jays and the Mariners, batting .250 with 21 home runs and last appearing in an MLB game in 2012 with Seattle. But he became a legend during the three years that followed—in the Korea Baseball Organization. There, he averaged 41 homers and 126 RBIs and even posted a 40–40 season in 2015, when he was the league's MVP. KBO numbers are notoriously difficult to translate back to the States, but his were so extraordinary that he would certainly be worth a shot—possibly to the Padres, who could use a high-upside power bat in their young outfield mix and whose general manager, A.J. Preller, is a master of international scouting.

Thames is the wild card of the off-season, but he's probably more attractive than those he pushed off this list. Among those who just missed the cut: starters Brett Anderson, R.A. Dickey, Doug Fister, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis; relievers Joaquin Benoit, Fernando Salas, Joe Smith and Travis Wood; outfielders Chris Coghlan, Coco Crisp, Matt Joyce and Angel Pagan; and first baseman Adam Lind.

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