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The Reiter 50: Cespedes, Chapman lead list of MLB free agents

Which free agents will break the bank this off-season, and where will the market's top players end up? For the ninth straight year, Ben Reiter ranks the best available players, including the best fit for each of them.

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—’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.

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