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Ranking MLB's Top 50 Free Agents

Free agency is officially upon us, and this offseason features the best class of shortstops in recent memory. See how they stack up and where we think they'll sign.

For the second consecutive winter, MLB enters an offseason at a crossroads. Last year, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that cast a murky cloud over the league’s future. Now, the collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the players association is set to expire Dec. 1. How CBA negotiations unfold will undoubtedly be the story of the offseason, making any predictions on player movement feel somewhat fanciful.

Assuming the owners and players can come to an agreement in a relatively timely fashion (granted, that’s quite a large assumption), this year’s free-agent class is a big one. There are star shortstops under 30 and starting pitchers galore, with several intriguing buy-low options for teams looking to jump into the contending tier or shore up any roster gaps.

2021 Free-Agency Tracker: Who's Going Where?

Of course, there’s no real way to predict how CBA negotiations will play out. The owners and players have many issues to resolve, from the rules of the game to service-time manipulation and the structure of free agency itself. However the two sides hash out these critical matters, the game remains rife with talent, and much of that talent will be available on the open market in due time. Here are the best of the bunch, along with which team we view as being the best fit for each free agent.

A few notes: Each player’s listed age reflects how old he will be during the 2021 season, and we’re using FanGraphs' version of wins above replacement. This page will be updated throughout the offseason as players sign with teams.

Oct 8, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) hits a double and drives in a run against the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the 2021 ALDS at Minute Maid Park.

1. Carlos Correa, SS

Age: 27 | Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Tigers

Correa put to rest any concerns lingering after his subpar-2020 season with a superb year in '21, during which he set career bests in home runs (26), walk rate (11.7%) and strikeout rate (18.1%). He did that while ranking among the top shortstops in outs above average, and his career numbers in the postseason should set him up for an enormous payday this winter. While there will be no shortage of teams lining up to pitch him, we see the Tigers—who finished the year strong and could be ready to jump into playoff contention—making a big splash and luring Correa to Detroit, reuniting him with former Astros manager A.J. Hinch.

2. Corey Seager, SS

Age: 28 | Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Yankees

Update: Reportedly agreed to a 10-year, $325 million deal with the Rangers.

Take your pick between Seager and Carlos Correa for the top shortstop in a loaded class, but we’ll give Correa the nod for being the better defender. How long Seager can remain at shortstop is a question that’s lingered since before Seager even reached the big leagues, and he ranked near the bottom of the list at the position in outs above average in 2021. The bat has always played, though: Seager hit .306/.381/.545 with 31 home runs in 147 games over the past two seasons, but his ability to remain in the lineup every day has also been a bit of a concern.

3. Freddie Freeman, 1B

Age: 32 | Current Team: Braves | Best Fit: Braves

Freeman could not have elevated his stock any higher as he enters free agency for the first time. He followed up his 2020 MVP campaign with another stellar season at the plate, capping it off by leading the Braves to their first World Series title in 26 years. Freeman has missed a total of seven games over the last four seasons, and he’s had an OPS+ of 132 or better in each of the last nine years. Given how much he’s meant to Atlanta for the past 12 years, it’s difficult to imagine him wearing any other uniform. Bet on the Braves to do whatever it takes to ensure Freeman spends his entire career playing for the same franchise.

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4. Marcus Semien, 2B/SS 

Age: 31 | Current Team: Blue Jays | Best Fit: Blue Jays

Update: Reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $175 million deal with the Rangers.

After finishing third in AL MVP voting in 2019, Semien faltered in a walk year in '20, forcing him to settle on a one-year deal with Toronto. He did not make the same mistake twice, putting up a monster season that has him positioned nicely for a big payday. Semien played below average at shortstop before '21 but excelled defensively at second base, so that’s likely where his future lies. He also got faster despite turning 31 this season: His average sprint speed of 28.6 feet per second stands as his best time since '15 and led to a career-best 15 stolen bases in 16 attempts.

5. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF 

Age: 30 | Current Team: Giants | Best Fit: Mets

Bryant put a miserable, injury-plagued 2020 season behind him with a strong '21 that places him in a favorable position to hit the open market. Bryant’s walk (10.6%) and strikeout rates (23.0%) returned to his career norms, and he reached double-digit steals for the first time since his rookie year, doing so at a strong success rate (10 bags in 12 attempts). Bryant spent more time in the outfield than at third base for the first time in his career, and it will be interesting to see how teams view him defensively and whether he projects to play at the hot corner long-term. Wherever he plays on the diamond, he’s a safe bet to remain an All-Star-caliber bat.

6. Trevor Story, SS

Age: 29 | Current Team: Rockies | Best Fit: Rangers

Story’s player profile has a lot to like. He’s been durable, is at least a solid defender with good power and speed, and his strikeout rate has declined in each of the past two seasons to a career-low 23.4% in 2021. Story saw a steep decline in BABIP this year, with a .293 clip after a career mark of .347 before this year. That’s likely tied to a dip in line drives and uptick in ground balls, though his average exit velocity and barrel rate were mostly in line with his career marks. A mechanical adjustment could be the remedy there, and would likely elevate Story back to his All-Star form.

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7. Max Scherzer, SP

Age: 37 | Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Giants

Update: Reportedly agreed to a three-year, $130 million deal with the Mets.

Scherzer was everything the Dodgers hoped he’d be and more, though after pitching on short rest and out of the bullpen in October, fatigue finally appeared to set in. Scherzer hasn’t topped the 200-inning mark since 2018 after doing so in each of the previous six seasons, and enters free agency at 37 years old. Still, this remains one of the most dominant arms in the game. Scherzer has a chance to set a new record for highest average annual value with a short-term, high-dollar blockbuster deal with a contending team.

Marcus Stroman

8. Marcus Stroman, SP

Age: 30 | Current Team: Mets | Best Fit: Nationals

Update: Agreed to a deal with the Cubs.

It may be a tiny bit sacrilegious for us to place Stroman over the AL Cy Young winner in Robbie Ray, who has a good shot at reeling in the largest contract of any free-agent pitcher this offseason. But Stroman’s consistency earns him a higher spot on our list. The 5' 7" dynamo (and solid Twitter follow) has recorded an ERA below 3.25 in three of his last four seasons on the field (not counting the 2020 campaign, which he opted out of), speaking to his elite ability to induce harmless ground balls. The '17 Gold Glove winner is also one of the most athletic pitchers in the sport, increasing the odds he’ll age gracefully into his 30s.

9. Robbie Ray, SP

Age: 30 | Current Team: Blue Jays | Best Fit: Mets

Update: Reportedly agreed to a five-year, $115 million deal with the Mariners.

Ray rebounded from a miserable 2020 campaign (after which he was ranked as our No. 37 free agent) to emerge as the AL Cy Young winner. He led the majors in strikeouts (248) and led the AL in ERA (2.84), innings (193.1), WHIP (1.05) and ERA+ (154). In the process, the hard-throwing lefthander racked up the most strikeouts through 1,000 career innings of any pitcher in MLB history. Those accomplishments are made even more impressive when you consider two of the three ballparks the Blue Jays called home in '21 were extremely hitter-friendly minor-league stadiums. Ray’s past control issues could cap the ceiling of his next contract, however.

10. Kevin Gausman, SP 

Age: 31 | Current Team: Giants | Best Fit: Red Sox

Update: Reportedly agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal with the Blue Jays.

Gausman was the only pitcher giving Jacob deGrom a run for his money in the NL Cy Young race in the first half, when he allowed 22 earned runs in 18 outings, but crashed back to Earth after traveling to Denver for his first All-Star Game. All five of his starts with zero earned runs came in his first 12 appearances (the exact amount he made in the shortened 2020 season), and he gave up 22 more hits and four more home runs in 37.1 fewer innings in the second half. The former No. 4 overall draft pick seems like a prime example of a guy who found it hard to recalibrate to a 162-game season and should be a solid No. 2 starter for several more years.

11. Nick Castellanos, RF 

Age: 30 | Current Team: Reds | Best Fit: White Sox

Castellanos enters free agency coming off a career year at the plate, setting new highs in home runs (34) and wRC+ (140) while posting his lowest strikeout rate (20.7%). Since 2018, he ranks fourth among all outfielders in RBIs (296), 11th in home runs (98) and 15th in wRC+ (126). Castellanos has always punished lefties, but he hit righties just as well in '21, posting nearly identical splits. Sluggers of Castellanos’s profile who don’t project well defensively will benefit from the expected adoption of the designated hitter in the National League.

12. Javier Báez, SS 

Age: 29 | Current Team: Mets | Best Fit: Giants

Update: Reportedly agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal with the Tigers.

Báez simultaneously endeared himself to (with his stellar play) and alienated himself from (with his dismissive thumbs) Mets fans during his two months in Queens. The good seems to have outweighed the (objectively hilarious) bad, as the Mets seem interested in staying together. Báez, who struck out more than any NL player in 2021, was aided by an astronomical .390 BABIP in New York. But he also notched a career-best 7% walk rate in Queens, which would significantly raise his floor and staying power if he can carry that over into his 30s.

13. Clayton Kershaw, SP

Age: 34 | Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Dodgers

For the first time in his storied career, Clayton Kershaw is a free agent. As has been the case for the last several seasons, the lefthander was effective when he was able to get on the mound in 2021, even if his 3.55 ERA represents his worst since his rookie year in '08 (seriously). Kershaw missed two months while dealing with elbow and forearm inflammation on his pitching arm, returned in mid-September but then left his Oct. 1 start with the same issue and didn’t pitch in the postseason. His health will be the biggest determining factor in what kind of deal he gets, and makes him a particularly difficult player to rank in this list. A return to Los Angeles is still possible even though Kershaw wasn't extended a qualifying offer, if only because it’s hard to imagine him wearing anything other than a Dodgers jersey.

14. Starling Marte, CF 

Age: 33 | Current Team: A's | Best Fit: Reds

Update: Reportedly agreed to a four-year, $78 million deal with the Mets.

It was an ideal platform year for Marte, who set career highs for on-base percentage (.381), WAR (5.4), hard-hit rate (39.4%) and OPS+ (132) at age 32. The catalyst seems to have been an increased willingness to take his walks when ahead in the count. Marte also tied his previous career high of 47 stolen bases while being caught just five times for a phenomenal 90% success rate. He’d probably be a better fit in left field on defense, but he can still hold it down in center if necessary.

15. Eduardo Rodríguez, SP

Age: 29 | Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Red Sox

Update: Rodríguez reportedly signed with the Detroit Tigers on a five-year deal worth at least $77 million.

After missing all of the 2020 season with a heart condition, Rodríguez returned to form in '21 to help lead the Red Sox to the ALCS. The lefthander made 31 starts and notched career bests in strikeout rate (27.4%) and walk rate (7.0%). Rodríguez’s 4.74 ERA obfuscates just how effective he was, as his expected ERA (3.55) and FIP (3.32) indicate he pitched considerably better than his results. Boston needs all the pitching help it can get to orchestrate a repeat of last season, so a reunion wouldn’t be a huge surprise—though it’ll have plenty of competition.


16. Chris Taylor, IF/OF

Age: 31 | Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Mariners

Update: Reportedly agreed to re-sign with the Dodgers.

After spending the last five seasons as the Dodgers’ Swiss Army knife, Taylor may search for an everyday starting job at one position on the heels of his first All-Star bid. He grades out best defensively at second base, where his rough season averages of 20 home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .800 OPS would certainly play. Taylor’s history of heroics in the playoffs would make him attractive to a young team looking to take the next step into contention. Perhaps the Mariners, who ill-advisedly traded Taylor in 2016 and are reportedly looking to spend this winter, could bring back their former draftee to replace disappointing 29-year-old Dylan Moore.

17. Seiya Suzuki, OF

Age: 27 | Current Team: Hiroshima | Best Fit: A's

After starring for Nippon Professional Baseball for the past six seasons, Suzuki is ready to make the leap overseas. In 133 games last season, he hit a career-high 38 home runs with a .319/.436/.640 slash line. Over the past three years, Suzuki has more walks (263) than strikeouts (241), with 91 home runs in 391 games. Suzuki is a right-handed hitter who’s spent some time in the infield during his career but has played exclusively in the outfield since 2015 and projects as a right fielder. Though strikeout rates in NPB are not as high as in MLB, Suzuki’s modest 16.4% strikeout rate since '18 is an impressive mark for a power hitter of his caliber.

18. Raisel Iglesias, RP

Age: 32 | Current Team: Angels | Best Fit: Dodgers

Update: Reportedly agreed to a four-year, $58 million deal with the Angels.

Iglesias was one of the few bright spots on the Angels last season while showing an increased reliance on his changeup to go along with his mid-90s fastball and wicked slider. Out of 144 qualified relievers, the right-hander held the third-largest difference between his strikeout rate (37.7%) and walk rate (4.4%)—both of which were career-best marks. Wouldn’t it be just like the Dodgers to go out and sign the one closer who has a legitimate claim to being an upgrade on fellow free agent Kenley Jansen?

19. Brandon Belt, 1B 

Age: 34 | Current Team: Giants | Best Fit: Royals

Update: Accepted the one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer from the Giants

Belt led the Giants with a career-high 29 home runs despite being limited to just 97 games due to injuries to his oblique, knee and thumb, the last of which sidelined him for the playoffs. Medical concerns are nothing new for Belt, who’s only topped 120 games once in the last five seasons. But the two-time World Series champion has also seemingly unlocked a new power stroke that makes him the second-best first baseman on the market; after never posting a slugging percentage above .500 before 2020, he’s gotten within 10 points of .600 in each of the last two seasons.

20. Michael Conforto, RF

Age: 28 | Current Team: Mets | Best Fit: Marlins

Conforto was one of several Mets hitters who lost the plot at the plate last season. He also took a marked step back in the field after leading all outfielders with six assists in 2020. But he won’t turn 30 until March '23, and some teams will be willing to bet on the 2020 All-MLB second-team outfielder. Conforto was also one of only five hitters who slashed at least .300/.400/.500 in the pandemic-shortened campaign; the others were Juan Soto, Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna and DJ LeMahieu. It could make sense for the former first-round pick to reestablish his value on a one-year pact.

21. Carlos Rodón, SP 

Age: 29 | Current Team: White Sox | Best Fit: Cardinals 

Rodón finally put everything together in 2021, showing why he was the No. 3 overall pick in the '14 draft. The only issue—as has been the case for virtually his entire career—was durability. Shoulder issues limited him to just 24 starts, and he didn’t pitch more than five innings in any of his outings after July 18 (though he remained sharp with a 2.51 ERA in those games). A team that signs Rodón would be wise to not do so in the hopes he’ll make 30 starts per year, as his track record does not portend such a development as he nears his 30s.


22. Kyle Schwarber, OF/DH

Age: 29 | Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Red Sox

Schwarber reached his final form this year. You may remember him single-handedly keeping the Nationals in contention by tying an MLB record with 16 home runs in a calendar month—all of which occurred in an 18-game span between June 12 and June 29. He injured his hamstring just a few days later, earned his first career All-Star nod and was traded before the deadline to Boston … where he was even better than he was in Washington by most metrics. The former No. 4 overall pick ranked 10th in wRC+ (148) among players with at least 450 plate appearances, ahead of sluggers like Max Muncy, Nick Castellanos and Yordan Alvarez. The main blemish on his outlook is that it’s clear his time to permanently slide to DH is approaching; this is a guy who accounted for -3 defensive runs saved at first base in just 10 games there with the Red Sox.

23. Mark Canha, OF

Age: 33 | Current Team: A's | Best Fit: Padres

Update: Reportedly agreed to a two-year, $26.5 million deal with the Mets.

Canha was something of a late bloomer, not becoming a regular in Oakland until his age-29 season, and thus enters the market set to turn 33 in February. He’s been remarkably consistent since working his way into the everyday lineup, posting a wRC+ of 115 in each season and an on-base percentage of .366. Canha spent most of his time in left field last year, and his place on the low end of the defensive spectrum (combined with his age) could limit the value of his next deal. Still, this is a viable top-of-the-order bat for a contending team, with power and patience combined with a newfound stolen base threat (a career-high 12 stolen bases in 14 attempts). Expect no shortage of suitors.

24. Anthony DeSclafani, SP

Age: 32 | Current Team: Giants | Best Fit: Twins

Update: Agreed to a three-year, $36 million deal with the Giants.

DeSclafani’s breakout in San Francisco after a dreadful final year in Cincinnati was one of the early subplots of the season. The righthander still ended up posting the best ERA (3.17) and FIP (3.62) of his career after wisely ramping up his slider and changeup usage against lefties, but he noticeably faded as the year went on. After completing at least seven innings five times in the first half, including two shutouts, DeSclafani didn’t do it once in the second half after being selected to his first All-Star Game. Still, he projects to be a mid-rotation innings-eater and earn a multiyear deal this winter.

25. Kenley Jansen, RP 

Age: 34 | Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Blue Jays

Jansen might be the preferred scapegoat among Dodgers fans during tough times, but the righthander was quietly excellent in 2021 after posting three straight seasons with ERAs more than 3.00. Jansen pitched 69 games—tied for his most since '16—with 2.22 ERA and 38 saves in 43 opportunities. His 2.83 expected ERA and 3.08 FIP support his results, as does the return of his velocity: Jansen’s cutter clocked in at 92.5 mph on average, his fastest since '17. Jansen’s walk rate ballooned to 12.9% last year, easily his worst since his rookie season. That and his mounting workload over the years are the biggest red flags for an otherwise extremely reliable closer.

26. Avisaíl García, OF 

Age: 31 | Current Team: Brewers | Best Fit: Brewers

Update: Reportedly agreed to a four-year, $53 million deal with the Marlins.

Garcia declined his part of a mutual $12 million option for 2022 after launching 29 home runs, nine more than his previous career high, to make good on his promising batted-ball profile. The '16 All-Star has a lot of chase and whiff in his swing, and isn’t a good fielder despite ranking in the 88th percentile of sprint speed. But the Brewers can’t afford to be worse on offense in '22 than they were this year if they see themselves as true contenders, and retaining their home run and RBI leader on another two-year pact seems like a sound strategy.

27. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

Age: 32 | Current Team: Yankees | Best Fit: Yankees

The longtime Cub surprisingly saw his slugging percentage and home run rate drop after moving to New York despite Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch being tailor-made to a lefty pull hitter like himself. No longer a high-average or high-power threat, Rizzo doesn’t profile as a premier hitter for his position going forward. But the four-time Gold Glove winner still gets on base at an above-average clip and will continue to play a smooth first base as long as he’s in the league.

28. Eduardo Escobar, IF

Age: 33 | Current Team: Brewers | Best Fit: White Sox

Update: Reportedly agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract with the Mets.

A first-time All-Star in 2021 who exhibited the best plate discipline of his career after moving from Arizona to Milwaukee in July, the switch-hitting Escobar could fit on a lot of teams as a full-time starter who bounces around the infield. He projects to be a two- to three-win player in that role for the next couple of years. The Brewers can probably keep only one of Escobar and Avisaíl García, so we’ll project the White Sox signing Escobar to fill their hole at second base, which is his best position in the field.

29. Jon Gray, SP

Age: 30 | Current Team: Rockies | Best Fit: Angels

Update: Reportedly agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal with the Rangers.

In a bizarrely puzzling move, the Rockies declined to issue a qualifying offer to Gray after opting to hang on to him at the trade deadline, setting up the potential for them to receive no compensation should he sign elsewhere. That feels like a strong possibility given the team’s current state, and there will be plenty of pitching-starved teams looking to add Gray this winter. Gray had an expected ERA under 4.00 in each season from 2015 to '18 before dealing with injury and ineffectiveness in '19 and '20. He returned to form last season, though his results (an 8–12 record with a 4.59 ERA in 29 starts) weren’t exactly eye-popping. Gray’s 3.95 xERA and 4.22 FIP indicate this is a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm with perhaps some post–Coors Field upside.

30. Kyle Seager, 3B

Age: 34 | Current Team: Mariners | Best Fit: Blue Jays

Long underappreciated on struggling Mariners teams, it would’ve been nice to see Seager end his career in Seattle with a playoff appearance. As it were, he at least got to participate in a playoff race while embracing more of an all-or-nothing approach at the plate. Corey’s older, more demonstrative, brother set new career highs for home runs (35) and RBIs (101) while posting career-worst marks for batting average (.212) and strikeout rate (24%). The result was a perfectly average output at the plate by OPS+ standards (100). Presumably aiming to sign with a contender to taste postseason baseball, he likely ends up as a top-tier bench bat somewhere. But if the Blue Jays don’t re-sign Marcus Semien, could they slide Cavan Biggio to second and put Seager in a platoon at the hot corner with Santiago Espinal? We’d love to see it.

Mar 8, 2020; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) throws in the first inning Houston Astros at Clover Park.

31. Noah Syndergaard, SP

Age: 29 | Current Team: Mets | Best Fit: Phillies

Update: Agreed to a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels.

Syndergaard has pitched a grand total of two innings over the last two seasons, as Tommy John surgery took its toll. The Mets gave him a qualifying offer, meaning he’ll cost his new team a draft pick if he decides to leave Queens. Unlike Justin Verlander (more on him in a moment), Syndergaard has youth on his side, so he wouldn’t appear to be in a position where he has to settle for a short-term “prove it” deal like the 39-year-old Verlander likely will. Handing out long-term contracts to pitchers is always a gambit, and Syndergaard’s case adds an extra layer of risk. When healthy, though, he’s one of the most electric arms in the game.

32. Justin Verlander, SP

Age: 39 | Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Tigers

Update: Agreed to a one-year, $25 million deal with the Astros.

Verlander is one of the great unknowns of this class. Before his torn UCL, the two-time Cy Young Award winner had shown little to no signs of decline, but it will be 21 months since stepping on a big league mound by the time Opening Day 2022 arrives. The list of players to undergo Tommy John surgery at 37 is extremely short, so there’s really no precedent for what to expect if and when Verlander makes it back to the majors. The Tigers made strides toward contention in '20, and a return to where it all began on a one-year deal could make sense for both sides.

33. Steven Matz, SP

Age: 31 | Current Team: Blue Jays | Best Fit: Rays

Update: Reportedly agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Cardinals.

Matz did well in 2021 to do away with the bad memories of '20. When healthy, he’s been a solid mid-rotation piece, even if he doesn’t pitch deep into games. He’s made at least 29 starts in each of the last three non-pandemic-shortened years, and he was much more effective at limiting home runs.

34. Nelson Cruz, DH

Age: 41 | Current Team: Rays | Best Fit: Mariners

Even in his age-40 season, Cruz ranked in the 93rd percentile of average exit velocity and hard-hit rate. This wasn’t a trademark Boomstick campaign, though. While Cruz notched his seventh All-Star appearance while looking like an elite bat in his half season with Minnesota, it looked like Father Time was finally catching up to Ol’ Nelly with the Rays. Perhaps Florida’s booming retiree population rubbed off on him. He slashed .225/.283/.442 for a .725 OPS with Tampa Bay, his worst mark since becoming a full-time player in 2009. Seattle would still welcome him back with open arms after he averaged more than 40 homers there between '15 and '18.

35. Michael Pineda, SP

Age: 33 | Current Team: Twins | Best Fit: Mariners

When healthy, Pineda is a solid starting pitcher. He’s put up a 3.80 ERA over the last three seasons, though he hasn’t topped 146 innings since 2017. The underlying stats don’t paint as pretty a picture, though: Pineda’s expected ERA last year was just shy of 5.00, and his hard-hit rate allowed of 46.7% ranked among the bottom 4% of the league. Even though opposing hitters feasted on his fastball to the tune of a .284 batting average and .493 slugging percentage, he actually threw the pitch more frequently (54.2%) than he has in a decade. An adjusted pitch mix would likely lead to more effectiveness for Pineda going forward.

36. Alex Wood, SP

Age: 36 | Current Team: Giants | Best Fit: Braves

Update: Agreed to a two-year deal with the Giants for $25 million.

It always felt like Wood and his deceptive, herky-jerky delivery were underrated, so it was nice to see him rebound in San Francisco after spending the better part of two seasons on the injured list. This is a guy who owns a career 3.50 ERA—with a 3.11 ERA in 37.2 postseason innings to boot—and minimal platoon splits, and yet he’s never earned an eight-figure salary. A couple of years ago, he junked a curveball that had been his primary off-speed pitch in favor of a sinker-slider-changeup combo that’s more effective in terms of pitch tunneling and generates ground balls roughly half the time.

37. Alex Cobb, SP

Age: 34 | Current Team: Angels | Best Fit: Angels

Update: Agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Giants.

Cobb was exactly what the Angels needed last season—they just didn’t get enough of it. The veteran righthander posted a 3.76 ERA with a 2.92 FIP over 18 starts, missing stretches with various bumps and bruises. Cobb continued his ground-ball-heavy ways in 2021, with opposing batters hitting just .226 with a .308 slugging percentage against his splitter. The Angels and Cobb each expressed interest in a reunion for next season.

38. Kim Kwang-hyun, SP

Age: 33 | Current Team: Cardinals | Best Fit: Giants

A lefty who won the KBO’s MVP award at age 20 in 2008 and won four league championships in Korea before signing with St. Louis ahead of the '20 season, Kim relies on a standard four-pitch mix to induce soft contact. Most of his fastballs don’t touch 90 mph, and he has a pretty high walk rate (8.6%) for someone who doesn't miss a lot of bats. The Cardinals moved him to the bullpen in September to try to keep him healthy after he experienced elbow soreness. But the '08 Olympic gold medalist has the résumé and surface-level results to merit a rotation spot somewhere his talent could be maximized.

39. Jorge Soler, OF

Age: 30 | Current Team: Braves | Best Fit: Rangers

The 2021 World Series MVP has a wide range of future outcomes, but there are signs he could soon be one of the sport’s most feared sluggers. For one, he absolutely crushes the ball when he makes good contact, routinely ranking in the 98th percentile of max exit velocity and boasting MLB’s longest average home run distance (423 feet), a statistic no one will be surprised to learn after witnessing his World Series moonshot. His approach also showed signs of maturation this summer, as he struck out at a career-low 23.6% clip with a chase rate that ended up in the 80th percentile of the league. That’s solid growth from the '19 American League strikeouts leader. Soler best profiles as a mashing DH who doesn’t have to concern himself with improving his sloppy glovework.

jorge soler

40. Eddie Rosario, OF

Age: 30 | Current Team: Braves | Best Fit: Braves

Rosario’s star turn this October surely didn’t hurt his free-agent prospects. The outfielder was a godsend for the Braves even before their postseason run, batting .271/.330/.573 in 106 plate appearances before catching fire in the NLCS. From 2017 to '19, Rosario hit .284/.317/.495 with 83 home runs while averaging 590 plate appearances per season, and put up similar numbers in the abridged '20 campaign. Though not a plus defender at a nonpremium position, Rosario is a low-walk, low-strikeout left-handed bat with power that has earned a chance at everyday playing time in '22 and beyond.

41. Collin McHugh, RP

Age: 35 | Current Team: Rays | Best Fit: Rays

Since becoming a (basically) full-time reliever in 2018, McHugh has been remarkably successful, posting a 2.82 ERA over 211 innings. Opposing hitters were simply unable to square him up last season, as his 2.5% barrel rate was the fourth-lowest among relief pitchers with as many batters faced. McHugh has shown an ability to pitch in a variety of roles, and he recorded at least six outs in 21 of his 37 games last season. He’s on the older side of the ledger, but he’ll be a valuable addition to any bullpen.

42. Zack Greinke, SP

Age: 38 | Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Phillies

The active leader in innings pitched saw his strikeout rate plummet to 6.3 K/9, the fourth-lowest mark in the league among 39 qualified starters, while his home run rate nearly doubled to its highest point since his rookie year back in 2004. The six-time All-Star also recorded a 5.34 ERA in the second half and suffered a neck injury that prevented him from building up his arm strength enough to work as a full-fledged starter during Houston’s postseason run. But Greinke flat-out knows how to pitch, having navigated lineups with an upper-80s fastball for a few years now, and he’ll get another shot with a contender.

43. Yan Gomes, C

Age: 34 | Current Team: A's | Best Fit: Marlins

Update: Reportedly agreed to a two-year, $13 million deal with the Cubs.

The best option in a very thin catcher’s market, Gomes provides decent pop for his position and knows how to handle a pitching staff but probably can’t be counted on as a full-time starter at his age—he hasn’t topped 120 games played since 2014. His time in Oakland didn’t turn out as planned, with a drastic downturn in offensive production muddying his free-agency prospects. Statcast sees his pitch-framing skills—once elite—have regressed to roughly league average. But the two-time World Series participant will be valued for his experience and veteran leadership.

44. Tyler Anderson, SP

Age: 32 | Current Team: Mariners | Best Fit: Cubs

A soft-tossing left-hander with excellent control, Anderson won’t wow you with his stuff. He’s usually pitching to contact, and oftentimes that results in harmless fly balls. But it also results in home runs quite often—his 1.46 home runs allowed per nine innings were the seventh-most among 39 qualified starters in 2021. He had a couple of stinkers in the season’s final couple of weeks against the Angels that proved debilitating for Seattle’s playoff chances, but overall, he’s a fine candidate for the back end of the rotation.

45. Mark Melancon, RP

Age: 37 | Current Team: Padres | Best Fit: Angels

Update: Agreed to a two-year contract with the Diamondbacks with a mutual option for 2024.

The well-traveled Melancon has pitched for five different teams in the last six seasons, and he’ll likely find a seventh in 2022. The righthander led the majors in saves (39) and had a 2.23 ERA over 64.2 innings. Though he’s inching closer to 40 years old, Melancon remains a ground-ball specialist who has proven adept at suppressing home runs. He should get a lot of money from a team in need of a reliable back-end arm, even if it’s on a one- or two-year deal.

Oct 21, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Joc Pederson (22) wears pearls in the dugout before game five of the 2021 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

46. Joc Pederson, OF

Age: 30 | Current Team: Braves | Best Fit: Nationals

With Pederson delivering clutch heroics in yet another "Joctober," this time for the Braves during their underdog World Series run, the effortlessly cool outfielder’s stock is on the rise. Still, the $10 million on his mutual option for 2022 (with a $2.5 million buyout) will probably prove too rich for Atlanta’s blood. Renowned for his laid-back clubhouse demeanor as well as his discerning batter’s eye and powerful swing, Pederson could fit on a number of contending teams that want a capable left-handed bat who’s not averse to coming off the bench. He could also seek a locked-in starting job to prove himself once again as a potential impact deadline acquisition.

47. Kendall Graveman, RP

Age: 31 | Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Phillies

Update: Reportedly agreed to a three-year, $28 million deal with the White Sox.

Graveman converted to the bullpen in 2020 after a benign bone tumor was discovered on his spine in an effort to reduce stress and pain. The sinkerballer made lemonade out of lemons in his first full season as a reliever this year, recording a microscopic 0.82 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in Seattle before a midseason trade to Houston. He wasn’t as effective with the Astros, as his hit and walk rates nearly doubled, but the righthander could still fill the closer’s role for many teams. Perhaps he’ll serve as the latest bullpen Band-Aid in Philadelphia or continue his AL West tour with the Angels.

48. José Iglesias, SS

Age: 32 | Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Twins

For a time, the advanced metrics and the eye test agreed that Iglesias was one of the elite defensive shortstops in the game. While he made plenty of highlight-worthy plays in 2021, the numbers belie that reputation. Iglesias ranks 18th among shortstops in outs above average over the past two seasons, according to Statcast, and dead-last in defensive runs saved, per The Fielding Bible. Defensive stats are a little fuzzier than hitting metrics, but it doesn’t paint as rosy a view of where Iglesias stood not too long ago. His offensive profile—high contact with little power—has remained constant for essentially his entire career. With so many top-end shortstops available and lots of open jobs, a team in need could go a more affordable route and sign Iglesias on a smaller deal.

49. Jonathan Villar, IF

Age: 31 | Current Team: Mets | Best Fit: Guardians

At this point in his career, Villar is the epitome of an average major league player. He doesn’t have any standout skills but also isn’t terrible at anything. He’s a threat to hit somewhere between 15 and 20 home runs, steal 10 bases and hold his own in the infield. Villar capably filled in for the injury-riddled Mets in 2021, but he’s not an everyday starter for a World Series contender. He’s either a solid bench piece for a winning squad or a lineup regular for a mediocre team.

50. Cesar Hernandez, 2B

Age: 32 | Current Team: White Sox | Best Fit: Nationals

Update: Agreed to a one-year deal with the Nationals worth at least $4 million.

Hernandez put up a .357 on-base percentage and a 103 wRC+ from 2016 to '20 but took a bit of a step back offensively in '21. The switch-hitter was more aggressive but made contact slightly less frequently and also hit the ball in the air more, which led to easy outs. His line drive rate dipped below 20% for the first time in his career, which helped bring about a career-worst .266 BABIP. A return to his old approach and some natural regression on balls in play would raise his offensive floor.

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