The Reiter 50: Ranking Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Baseball's Top Free Agents

The Reiter 50: Ranking Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Baseball's Top Free Agents

Our annual top 50 free-agent rankings are out, breaking down one of the most hyped free-agent classes in MLB history.
October 27, 2018

The monster free agent class that clubs have been waiting and saving for years is finally about to arrive–and, perhaps inevitably, it is not nearly as formidable as it once promised to be. There are several reasons for that: injuries (Josh Donaldson, Andrew Miller); unexpected drop-offs in performance (Andrew McCutchen, Matt Harvey); probable exercising of player options (David Price, Jason Heyward); contract extensions (Charlie Blackmon); even tragedy (José Fernández).

Another reason why the market might prove cooler than once anticipated: the industry, as a whole, has become far less enthusiastic about dropping big money on free agents. After the 2015 season, clubs spent a record $2.5 billion on them, but last offseason that sum declined by about a billion dollars. The relative quality of the players available played a role, but so did recent outcomes. Seven players signed contracts worth more than $100 million in the mammoth winter of 2015: Price, Heyward, Zack Greinke, Chris Davis, Justin Upton, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann. At least four of them–Heyward, Davis, Cueto and Zimmermann–have disappointed, and it’s possible that none of the seven was worth the money. The market should be further suppressed by the fact that around a third of the league is in rebuilding mode, and unlikely to spend much now.

Still, it’s a big class, and it’s topped by two of the 50 or so most accomplished 26-year-old hitters in the game’s history. Would you rather spend several hundred million dollars on Manny Machado, or Bryce Harper? “Emotionally, Machado seems so risky, but I guess he scores out better,” says one executive. Another concurs: “I’d go with the infielder,” he says. That’s the first decision clubs playing at the top of the market will have to make, but there are many more.

Here, then, is this year’s Reiter 50, SI.com’s annual ranking of each winter’s best free agents, as well as a suggestion as to what might make for the best destination for each of them. A few notes: each player’s listed age reflects how old he will be during the 2019 season, and we’re using the Baseball Reference version of Wins Above Replacement.

Navigate the list: 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1 


50. Matt Harvey

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 30

Current Team: Reds | Best Fit: A's

2018 Stats: 7-9, 4.94 ERA, 1.303 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 0.7 WAR

Once assured of appearing near the very top of this list, Harvey now finds himself at the bottom as little more than another cheap reclamation project for the A's—although he did pitch somewhat better after his trade from the Mets to the Reds (4.50 ERA in 24 starts). He beats out other players like Jose Bautista, Brad Brach, Melky Cabrera, Daniel Descalso, Evan Gattis, Carlos Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, Josh Harrison, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Holliday, Oliver Perez, Brandon Kintzler, Jonathan Lucroy, Lance Lynn and Martin Maldonado - almost all of whom would have made the list in almost any other year, but not this one.


49. Joe Kelly

Position: RP | Age: 31

Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Dodgers

2018 Stats: 4-2, 4.39 ERA, 1.355 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 2 SV, 0.5 WAR

Kelly has long been bedeviled by inconsistency, both as far as his command (4.4 walks per nine innings) and quality: he allowed three or more runs in one inning or less in five separate outings this season. But the Dodgers saw firsthand how dominant he can be when he's feeling his 99 mile an hour fastball and looping curve: in his six scoreless World Series innings, he struck out ten and walked none.


48. Trevor Cahill

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 31

Current Team: A's | Best Fit: Padres

2018 Stats: 7-4, 3.76 ERA, 1.191 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 1.3 WAR

One of Oakland's collection of unheralded, but surprisingly effective, starters, Cahill has a sinker that induces a ton of ground balls and an ability to generate a low contact rate–a great combination, obviously. He was good in 11 starts for the Padres in 2017 (3.69 ERA), and they might want him back.


47. José Iglesias

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Position: SS | Age: 29

Current Team: Tigers | Best Fit: Padres

2018 Stats: .269 BA, .699 OPS, 5 HR, 48 RBIs, 15 SB, 2.2 WAR

Much of Iglesias's relatively impressive WAR stems from the fact that he remains a stupendous fielder–although his batting line, especially his 30 doubles, isn't bad. He'd be a perfect placeholder until Fernando Tatis Jr., one the game's top propects, is ready to take over in San Diego.


46. Tony Sipp

Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Position: RP | Age: 35

Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Cubs

2018 Stats: 3-1, 1.86 ERA, 1.034 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 0 SV, 1.3 WAR

The southpaw rebounded from a 2017 in which he had a 5.79 ERA, and was effective against both lefties (.191 batting average against) and righties (.201). He also allowed just one home run all season long, and would be one more helpful piece in a strong Cubs bullpen.


45. Aníbal Sánchez

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 35

Current Team: Braves | Best Fit: Reds

2018 Stats: 7-6, 2.83 ERA, 1.083 WHIP, 8.9 K/9, 2.6 WAR

Sánchez is another pitcher who found success by overhauling his arsenal. Clearly, the mix that won him the AL ERA crown as a Tiger in 2013 was no longer working–his ERA rose to 6.41 in 2017–so he essentially junked his slider and sinker in favor of a cutter. It worked, and he'll be rewarded this offseason–perhaps by the Reds, to whom he could serve as the same sort of veteran bellcow he did with Atlanta.


44. Joakim Soria*

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Position: RP | Age: 35

Current Team: Brewers | Best Fit: Indians

2018 Stats: 3-4, 3.12 ERA, 1.137 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, 16 SV, 0.9 WAR

*Editor's note: The Brewers hold a $10 million option on Soria in 2019 they are not likely to pick up.

The former All-Star closer for the Royals posted his best strikeout rate since he was 25, in a season he split between the White Sox and Brewers. As Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are likely to move on, the Indians will need a new late-inning option in front of closer Brad Hand.


43. Asdrúbal Cabrera

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Position: Utility | Age: 33

Current Team: Phillies | Best Fit: Pirates

2018 Stats: .262 BA, .774 OPS, 23 HR, 75 RBIs, 0 SB, 0.7 WAR

Cabrera isn't the best fielder–but still, he's a switch-hitting middle infielder with power, and one who can play third in a pinch, too. He's be a very useful piece in Pittsburgh, providing depth behind Adam Frazier at second and Colin Moran at third and even playing short if the young Kevin Newman struggles.


42. Brett Gardner

Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Position: OF | Age: 35

Current Team: Yankees | Best Fit: Indians

SIGNED: Yankees

2018 Stats: .236 BA, .690 OPS, 12 HR, 45 RBIs, 16 SB, 2.8 WAR

It appears as if the longest-tenured Yankee's career in New York is over after 11 years. The club appears unlikely to pick up his option, especially if they make the big acquisition I suggest they might below. With Michael Brantley a free agent and Bradley Zimmer's health no sure thing, the Indians will need to add at least one outfielder.


41. Ian Kinsler

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Position: 2B | Age: 37

Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Tigers

2018 Stats: .240 BA, .681 OPS, 14 HR, 48 RBIs, 16 SB, 2.4 WAR

He's no longer anything close to a 30-30 threat–more like 15-15–but that's still useful, as is the fact that he remains an excellent defensive second baseman (second-best in the league, according to FanGraphs' UZR statistic). The Tigers don't figure to spend much this winter, but they could move Niko Goodrum to short, allowing for a return to Detroit for Kinsler.


40. Gio González

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 33

Current Team: Brewers | Best Fit: Blue Jays

2018 Stats: 10-11, 4.21 ERA, 1.444 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 1.8 WAR

The sometimes volatile southpaw is extremely durable, having made at least 31 starts in eight of his nine full years in the majors. He's also been excellent at times, including for the first two months of last season, when he had a 2.10 ERA for the Nationals, before his command deserted him (4.21 walks per nine). The Blue Jays badly need consistent innings, and could pick up Gonzalez even in the midst of a moderate rebuilding effort.


39. Steve Pearce

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Position: 1B | Age: 36

Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Red Sox

2018 Stats: .284 BA, .890 OPS, 11 HR, 42 RBIs, 0 SB, 1.4 WAR

The newly minted World Series MVP completed his journey through the AL East with a June trade from Toronto to Boston, where he served as an ideal platoon partner for Mitch Moreland. He continues to pair a high OPS (.901 with the Red Sox) with a low strikeout rate (16.3%), and the Red Sox will want to return the productive duo.


38. Kelvin Herrera

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Position: RP | Age: 29

Current Team: Nationals | Best Fit: Nationals

2018 Stats: 2-3, 2.44 ERA, 1.195 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 17 SV, 1.6 WHIP

Herrera wasn't great after a June trade from Kansas City, where he'd started the season with a 1.05 ERA, to Washington. He's lost a few miles per hour of his once-blazing fastball–and, to compound matters, he tore a ligament in his foot in late August. Still, the Nationals have cycled through late innings relievers for years, and if Herrera is healthy some continuity might be attractive.


37. Kurt Suzuki

Mike Zarilli/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Position: C | Age: 35

Current Team: Braves | Best Fit: Angels

2018 Stats: .271 BA, .776 OPS, 12 HR, 50 RBIs, 0 SB, 2.1 WAR

Suzuki hit .252 and averaged five home runs and 47 RBIss between 2012-`16; in the two seasons since, with Atlanta, he's batted .276 with averages of 15 homers and 50 RBIss. He's a poor framer and thower (just a 19% caught stealing rate), but he'd still be a welcome addition to a punchless group of Angels catchers that combined to hit .220.


36. Garrett Richards

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 31

Current Team: Angels | Best Fit: Rays

2018 Stats: 5-4, 3.66 ERA, 1.284 WHIP, 10.3 K/9, 0.1 WAR

The hard-throwing Richards has been dealing with arm trouble for years. He's worked only 138 2/3 innings over the past three seasons, pitching to a 3.05 ERA and striking out 9.6 batters per nine innings. He finally had no choice but to opt for Tommy John surgery over the summer, which will likely sideline him for most, if not all, of 2019. But the Rays have a good track record of successfully rehabbing injured free agents–recently Nathan Eovaldi and Wilson Ramos–and Richards, with his 96 mph fastball, represents another attractive project.


35. Cody Allen

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Position: RP | Age: 30

Current Team: Indians | Best Fit: White Sox

2018 Stats: 4-6, 4.70 ERA, 1.358 WHIP, 10.7 K/9, 27 SV, 0.0 WAR

He had sub-3.00 ERAs each season between 2013 and `17–and then this year happened. It's bad timing for Allen, but potentially good for the Sox' bullpen, which has no proven arms whatsoever aside from Nate Jones.


34. Nick Markakis

Mike Zarilli/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Position: OF | Age: 35

Current Team: Braves | Best Fit: Braves

2018 Stats: .297 BA, .807 OPS, 24 HR, 93 RBIs, 1 SB, 2.6 WAR

Another late career first-time All-Star, Markakis had his best OPS+ since 2012 while playing in every game for the Braves. But he's been a consistent, if unspectacular, force for years: he's now fifth among active players in hits (2,237), trailing only Adrián Béltre, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Robinson Canó. The young Braves would be taking a step back by letting him move on.


33. Clay Buchholz

John McCoy/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 34

Current Team: Diamondbacks | Best Fit: Diamondbacks

2018 Stats: 7-2, 2.01 ERA, 1.037 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, 3.0 WAR

The long-time Red Sox starter was quietly sensational in Arizona, but health is always a concern. He hasn't topped 140 innings since 2014, and he didn't this year, as a flexor strain in his pitching elbow ended his season in mid-September. That's ominous–but a pitcher who is again this tough to hit (.217 average against) is worth another shot for the Diamondbacks.


32. CC Sabathia

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 38

Current Team: Yankees | Best Fit: Yankees

2018 Stats: 9-7, 3.65 ERA, 1.314 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 2.3 WAR

Sabathia keeps chugging along. His performance was nearly identical in each of the past two years, and he should again be good for about 150 innings. His late career discovery of a cutter has counterbalanced the natural decrease in the velocity of his fastball, to an average of 90 mph. As with Adrián Beltre, he'll likely keep things going in his long-term home.


31. Wade Miley

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 32

Current Team: Brewers | Best Fit: Brewers

2018 Stats: 5-2, 2.57 ERA, 1.215 WHIP, 5.6 K/9, 1.5 WAR

The reinvention of Wade Miley was real. The veteran of four previous teams–and the owner of a 5.48 ERA over his previous two seasons–completely revamped his style in Milwaukee, trading in an arsenal centered on a four-seamer, a sinker, and a slider for one that relied on a cutter, a changeup, and a curve. That allowed a previously homer-prone pitcher (25 in 157 2/3 innings in `17) to rarely allow the ball to leave the yard at all (three homers in 82 2/3 innings this year). Why would either side want to mess with that?


30. Adam Jones

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Position: OF | Age: 33

Current Team: Orioles | Best Fit: Padres

2018 Stats: .281 BA, .732 OPS, 15 HR, 63 RBIs, 7 SB, 0.2 WAR

His power has started to fade, and he no longer has the range to play in center. But Jones still has the skills to play in, say, rightfield, for a club that needs a productive veteran presence–like the Padres, who are ready to do what the Orioles aren't, which is win.


29. David Robertson

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Position: RP | Age: 34

Current Team: Yankees | Best Fit: Phillies

2018 Stats: 8-3, 3.23 ERA, 1.033 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, 5 SV, 1.0 WAR

The longtime shutdown reliever's ERA was inflated by a few bad early-season outings; he allowed no runs in 55 of his 69 appearances. The Phillies will undoubtedly be searching for a veteran to bolster a bullpen that ranked 11th in the NL in ERA (4.19), and Robertson could close for them.


28. Brian Dozier

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Position: 2B | Age: 32

Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Indians

2018 Stats: .215 BA, .696 OPS, 21 HR, 72 RBIs, 12 SB, 1.0 WAR

Dozier hit half as many home runs as he did in 2016, and his OPS dropped by nearly 200 points; the former Twin finished the season as a part-timer with the Dodgers. Those developments might suppress his price to the point at which the Indians–likely to lose both Michael Brantley and Josh Donaldson from their lineup–could afford him.


27. Adrián Béltre

Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

Position: 3B | Age: 40

Current Team: Rangers | Best Fit: Rangers

2018 Stats: .273 BA, .763 OPS, 15 HR, 65 RBIs, 1 SB, 2.2 WAR

Injuries have started to catch up with the future Hall of Famer–he's participated in 213 games over the last two seasons–but when he plays, he hits, and he still plays a well-above average third base. If he doesn't retire, it's difficult to imagine him winding up anywhere else but Texas.


26. Jed Lowrie

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Position: 2B | Age: 35

Current Team: A's | Best Fit: Cubs

2018 Stats: .267 BA, .801 OPS, 23 HR, 99 RBIs, 0 SB, 4.8 WAR

Lowrie is coming off a career year–he surpassed his previous high in home runs by nine and in RBIs by 24–and he would be higher on this list if not for his age and lack of a truly top-level track record. Given Addison Russell's off-the-field issues (and disappointing production, too), the Cubs could give Lowrie a look, and make Javier Báez their permanent shortstop.


25. J.A. Happ

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 36

Current Team: Yankees | Best Fit: Mariners

2018 Stats: 17-6, 3.65 ERA, 1.131 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 3.4 WAR

Happ's career-high strikeout rate and excellent season-concluding stint with the Yankees–for whom he went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA–will assure him of a multi-year deal, even though he just turned 36. The Mariners badly need pitching behind James Paxton, and their thin minor league system means they'll almost certainly have to buy it.


24. Daniel Murphy

David Banks/Getty Images

Position: 2B | Age: 34

Current Team: Cubs | Best Fit: Rockies

2018 Stats: .299 BA, .790 OPS, 12 HR, 42 RBIs, 3 SB, -0.9 WAR

Murphy is another constant injury risk, as he played in just 91 games this year. But he also proved his legendary 2015 postseason with the Mets was no fluke: in the three years thereafter, mostly with the Nationals, he hit .320 with an average of 20 homers and 80 RBIss. His .917 OPS was baseball's tenth-highest over that period–better than Kris Bryant's, José Altuve's and Giancarlo Stanton's. Those numbers might only increase in Coors Field–and the Rockies have an opening at first base, so Murphy's' much-maligned defense wouldn't be much of an issue.


23. Andrew McCutchen

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Position: OF | Age: 32

Current Team: Yankees | Best Fit: Mariners

2018 Stats: .255 BA, .792 OPS, 20 HR, 65 RBIs, 14 SB, 2.7 WAR

McCutchen was one of the game's best players between 2012 and 2014, when he batted .320, averaged 26 homers, 88 RBIss, and 22 steals and had three straight top-three NL MVP finishes for the Pirates, winning one. He's declined since then, particularly as far as his contact ability and his speed, although he still has power and plays credibly in the outfield. The Mariners' window for potential contention appears to be closing; McCutchen would represent an improvement over Denard Span, and could even play center for Seattle.


22. Mike Moustakas

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Position: 3B | Age: 30

Current Team: Brewers | Best Fit: Angels

2018 Stats: .251 BA, .774 OPS, 28 HR, 95 RBIs, 4 SB, 2.5 WAR

I thought the Angels should've signed Moustakas last year, on the heels of his breakout 38-homer season. They didn't, even after his price fell to just $6.5 million for one year. Then L.A. got just 18 home runs, and a .648 OPS, from the nine(!) guys they tried at the hot corner. They should sign Moustakas.


21. Jeurys Familia

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Position: RP | Age: 29

Current Team: A's | Best Fit: Angels

2018 Stats: 8-6, 3.13 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 18 SV, 1.5 WAR

Familia excelled for both the Mets and the A's, but will likely want a closer's job again; his 51 saves led the majors in 2016. The Angels haven't had anyone reach 20 saves since 2015. If they don't pick Familia, they're likely to sign someone else to put an end to their late-inning carousel.


20. Hyun-Jin Ryu

Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 32

Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Dodgers

2018 Stats: 7-3, 1.97 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 2.6 WAR

Ryu spends time on the disabled list every year: 105 days in 2018 (groin), 32 in `17 (foot and hip), almost all of 2015 and `16 (shoulder and elbow). When he's healthy, though, he's excellent–so good that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts picked him, not Clayton Kershaw, to start Game 1 of this year's NLDS. He remains a perfect fit on the Dodgers, who can afford enough depth to cover for him when he's injured.


19. D.J. LeMahieu

Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Position: 2B | Age: 30

Current Team: Rockies | Best Fit: Red Sox

2018 Stats: .276 BA, .749 OPS, 15 HR, 62 RBIs, 6 SB, 3.0 WAR

LeMahieu's numbers have fallen off since 2016, when he was the NL batting champion and had a .911 OPS, but he's the clear second option (behind Machado) in a relatively deep class of middle infielders–in part because he's an elite fielder. Infield defense is particularly important to the Red Sox, who can no longer count on Dustin Pedroia's health and will need a replacement for Ian Kinsler.


18. Zach Britton

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Position: RP | Age: 31

Current Team: Yankees | Best Fit: Red Sox

2018 Stats: 2-0, 3.10 ERA, 1.230 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 7 SV, 0.7 WAR

He's not the Cy Young contender he was a few years ago, when as the Orioles' closer he allowed four earned runs all season long (ERA: 0.54), but his performance coming off of a torn Achilles last winter certainly reestablished his value. If the Red Sox re-sign Kimbrel and add both Adam Ottavino and Britton, any concerns about their bullpen will be erased.


17. Marwin González

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Position: Utility | Age: 30

Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Astros

2018 Stats: .247 BA, .733 OPS, 16 HR, 68 RBIs, 2 SB, 2.5 WAR

There simply aren't many players like González, who can play everywhere–he spent time at every position but catcher last year–and hit for power while doing so. His overall numbers were depressed by an uncharateristically poor first half; after the break, his OPS jumped to .844, with 10 home runs. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow will likely do what he can to retain one of the very first players he acquired after arriving in Houston in 2011.


16. Andrew Miller

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Position: RP | Age: 34

Current Team: Indians | Best Fit: Yankees

2018 Stats: 2-4, 4.24 ERA, 1.382 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 2 SV, 0.2 WAR

The lefthanded weapon had a 1.72 ERA between 2014 and `17, but was never right this year; he hit the disabled list three separate times, due to injuries to his hamstring, knee and shoulder. He's certainly worth the gamble, though, as the Yankees know well: they will be tempted to recreate the punishing tandem they had with him aboard in 2016, when Miller was usually followed by Aroldis Chapman.


15. Yasmani Grandal

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Position: C | Age: 30

Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Astros

2018 Stats: .241 BA, .815 OPS, 24 HR, 68 RBIs, 2 SB, 3.3 WAR

It's hard to separate the two top catchers on this list. It's a coin flip, really, even after Grandal failed to distinguish himself through most of the playoffs. Still, his combination of power and elite pitch framing is hard to find (he was one of the two best framers in the league last year, along with Jeff Mathis). The Astros are likely to lose both Brian McCann and Martin Maldonado, and the fact that the switch-hitting Grandal hit 20 of his home runs from the left side of the plate would make him a natural platoon partner with Max Stassi.


14. Wilson Ramos

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Position: C | Age: 31

Current Team: Phillies | Best Fit: Nationals

2018 Stats: .306 BA, .845 OPS, 15 HR, 75 RBIs, 0 SB, 2.7 WAR

He fully returned to the offensive from he showed as an All-Star with the Nationals in 2016, before tearing his ACL late that season. In fact, he led all catchers in batting average and OPS, while playing defense that was at least average. The Nationals likely wish they'd never let him leave as a free agent, and can rectify that mistake.


13. A.J. Pollock

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Position: OF | Age: 31

Current Team: Diamondbacks | Best Fit: Giants

2018 Stats: .257 BA, .800 OPS, 21 HR, 65 RBIs, 13 SB, 2.5 WAR

He's been injury-prone ever since his 7+ WAR season in 2015, but he's also well-rounded and easily the best pure centerfielder on this list–perhaps this year's Lorenzo Cain. The Giants' offense, the second-worst in the majors last year, needs help, and they struggled to cover AT&T Park's spacious outfield last year.


12. Adam Ottavino

Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Position: RP | Age: 33

Current Team: Rockies | Best Fit: Red Sox

2018 Stats: 6-4, 2.43 ERA, 0.991 WHIP, 13.0 K/9, 6 SV, 2.6 WAR

Ottavino reinvented himself this season, trading in his four-seam fastball for a cutter, and the results were sensational. He sliced his ERA in half and became one of the most valuble relievers in the game, dominating both righties (.467 OPS against) and lefties (.560). He could be another reinforcement for the Red Sox' bullpen.


11. Nathan Eovaldi

Elsa/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 29

Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Rangers

2018 Stats: 6-7, 3.81 ERA, 1.126 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 1.5 WAR

Eovaldi had one Tommy John surgery at 17, and then another at 25. This year, at 28, he was one of the hardest-throwing starters in the league; his average fastball velocity of 97.5 mph trailed only Noah Syndergaard's and Luis Severino's. His stuff will make him coveted by many, but few teams need pitching as badly as the Rangers, whose starters combined for a 5.37 ERA–second worst in the majors.


10. Charlie Morton

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 35

Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Astros

2018 Stats: 15-3, 3.13 ERA, 1.162 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, 3.5 WAR

Morton, a first-time All-Star in 2018, significantly outproduced the $14 million deal the Astros gave him (to much industry skepticism) two years ago. Based on WAR, his value to Houston exceeded $50 million, and his fastball this year averaged a career-high 96 mph. Neither party is likely to want to sever the relationship, especially with Dallas Keuchel moving on. In fact, Morton might receive (and accept) a $17.9 million qualifying offer.


9. Nelson Cruz

Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Position: DH | Age: 38

Current Team: Mariners | Best Fit: Rays

2018 Stats: .256 BA, .850 OPS, 37 HR, 97 RBIs, 1 SB, 2.9 WAR

Over the past half-decade, Cruz has hit 15 more home runs–203 of them–than anyone else in the majors, and only Nolan Arenado and Edwin Encarnación have driven in more than his 522 runs. Two factors will suppress his market: his advancing age, and the fact that he can really only play DH in an era in which teams crave versatility. Might he prove cheap enough for the Rays–who hit just 150 home runs last year–to afford?


8. Michael Brantley

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Position: OF | Age: 32

Current Team: Indians | Best Fit: Cardinals

2018 Stats: .309 BA, .832 OPS, 17 HR, 76 RBIs, 12 SB, 3.6 WAR

Brantley played in just 111 games between 2016 and 2017 due to injuries to his shoulder and then his ankle, but the smooth-swinging lefty returned this year to lead baseball in contact rate (90.9%). The Cardinals have virtually no lefthanded threats in their lineup other than Matt Carpenter, making Brantley an ideal fit.


7. Dallas Keuchel

Elsa/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 31

Current Team: Astros | Best Fit: Braves

2018 Stats: 12-11, 3.74 ERA, 1.314 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, 2.6 WAR

The 2015 Cy Young winner was likely no better than the fourth-best starter on his own staff, but that speaks more to the Astros' rotational depth than his own quality. He surpassed 200 innings, and his tricky, southpaw stuff is likely to age well, as Keuchel has never relied on a blazing fastball anyway; in fact, his has never averaged even 90 mph. It's easy to imagine him stepping in as the veteran keystone of a very young Braves staff.


6. Josh Donaldson

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Position: 3B | Age: 33

Current Team: Indians | Best Fit: Cardinals

2018 Stats: .246 BA, .801 OPS, 8 HR, 23 RBIs, 2 SB, 1.2 WAR

Donaldson has barely played a season's worth of games over the past two years, and he appeared in just 52 in 2018 due to calf and shoulder injuries. But the 2015 AL MVP still put up a .900 OPS in those 165 contests, while playing a steady third base. His health questions might drive his price down to where the Cardinals can afford him; he'd represent a significant upgrade over Jedd Gyorko


5. Craig Kimbrel

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Position: RP | Age: 31

Current Team: Red Sox | Best Fit: Red Sox

2018 Stats: 5-1, 2.74 ERA, 0.995 WHIP, 13.9 K/9, 42 SV, 2.3 WAR

In October, the country saw what had been concerning Red Sox fans all season long: Kimbrel's loss of control. His walk rate spiked from 1.8 per nine in 2017 to a very concerning 4.5. But his fastball remained blazing, averaging over 97 mph, his strikeout rate remained elite, and he still allowed fewer than one hit per two innings. The Red Sox will likely focus the winter on fortifying their bullpen, and they should start by making their incumbent closer the highest paid reliever in the game's history.


4. Patrick Corbin

Norm Hall/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 29

Current Team: Diamondbacks | Best Fit: Yankees

2018 Stats: 11-7, 3.15 ERA, 1.050 WHIP, 11.1 K/9, 4.8 WAR

Nobody improved his free agent stock this season more than Corbin, who boosted his strikeout rate by 30% while cutting his home run rate nearly in half, largely by developing what FanGraphs valued as the best slider in the game. The Yankees, clearly, need starters–only Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino are guaranteed to return to the rotation–and they'll begin with the best option who is likely to be available to them.


3. Clayton Kershaw*

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Position: SP | Age: 31

Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Dodgers

2018 Stats: 9-5, 2.73 ERA, 1.041 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 4.0 WAR

*Editor's note: Kershaw agreed to a new three-year, $93 million deal with the Dodgers.

There are red flags. The 25 or so missed starts over the past three seasons. The fastball that has lost about three miles an hour, down to an average of 91. Even so, a marginally diminished Kershaw has a 2.26 ERA since 2016, and remains the best pitcher of his era. Kershaw is likely to opt out of the two years and $65 million that remain on his contract–and the Dodgers are just as likely to extend him.


2. Bryce Harper

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Position: OF | Age: 26

Current Team: Nationals | Best Fit: Yankees

2018 Stats: .249 BA, .889 OPS, 34 HR, 100 RBIs, 13 SB, 1.3 WAR

Harper's really 1A. He might not threaten Giancarlo Stanton's record 13-year, $325 million contract, not with his wildly inconsistent batting averages and prematurely disintegrating play in the outfield. But still, he only just turned 26, with years ahead of him to seize the generational superstardom that has always been predicted for him. The Yankees are ready to spend again, and they could put him in leftfield, and in the same lineup as Stanton.


1. Manny Machado

Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Position: SS/3B | Age: 26

Current Team: Dodgers | Best Fit: Phillies

2018 Stats: .297 BA, .905 OPS, 37 HR, 107 RBIs, 14 SB, 5.7 WAR

Yes: he can be frustrating. He admits he doesn't always run hard. He sometimes spikes opposing first basemen. But according to Baseball Reference he also has the 26th-highest WAR for a positional player through his age-25 season in baseball history. The six players immediately below him? Joe DiMaggio, Barry Bonds, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth. The rising Phillies–who are in the early seasons of a 25-year local TV deal that could be worth $5 billion, and who spent less than $105 million on their roster in 2018–have been waiting for a player like him.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)