Magnificent 11: Best free agents still available

January 4th, 2020

As free agents continue to come off the board, a number of talented players remain on the hunt for new contracts. Spring Training is a little more than a month away, giving clubs plenty of time to address their remaining needs.

Who are the top players still available? Here’s a look at the market’s most desirable 11 remaining free agents and some potential landing spots:

1. , 3B
The top free agent on the market, Donaldson has no shortage of teams bidding for his services. The Twins, Braves and Nationals have already made four-year offers in the $100 million range, while the Dodgers and Rangers remain in the mix to differing extents. Donaldson, who turned 34 last month, will give his next team solid defense at third base and a potent middle-of-the-lineup bat, making him the lone all-around impact player available.

Possible fits: Twins, Braves, Nationals

2. , OF
Like Donaldson, Ozuna’s market appears to be gaining clarity, as the Reds, Rangers and Cardinals have emerged as favorites. Ozuna’s two years in St. Louis were solid (he averaged 26 homers, 88 RBIs and a .779 OPS), though he’s never matched his breakout 2017 season (37 homers, 124 RBIs, .924 OPS). The 29-year-old is one of two impactful outfielders remaining on the market, so he should be able to land a good deal.

Possible fits: Reds, Rangers, Cardinals

3. , OF
The other top free-agent outfielder, Castellanos thrived during his two-month stint with the Cubs, hitting 16 homers with a 1.002 OPS in 51 games. Whether potential bidders are willing to overlook his questionable defense and four mediocre months in Detroit (11 homers, .790 OPS in 100 games) remains to be seen, but the soon-to-be 28-year-old has shown the ability to perform for several years (.840 OPS from 2016-19).

Possible fits: Cubs, Giants, Rangers

4. , RHP
Hudson was brilliant during his two-month stint with the Nationals, posting a 1.44 ERA in 24 regular-season appearances before saving four games during Washington’s World Series run. The Nationals signed Will Harris to a three-year deal, but Hudson -- who had a 2.47 ERA overall in 69 outings for Toronto and Washington last season -- remains on the team’s radar. As many as 10 clubs remain interested in the right-hander, who turns 33 in March.

Possible fits: Nationals, Giants, Braves

5. , C
More than a dozen catchers have already signed this offseason, limiting Chirinos’ options. Still, given his bat (he’s averaged 17 homers, a .798 OPS and 105 games over the past three seasons), the 35-year-old is still an appealing option for clubs seeking help behind the plate. Chirinos appears to be close to signing, so he could be one of the next free agents to come off the board.

Possible fits: Pirates, Rangers, Athletics

6. , RHP
Stammen has been among the game’s most consistent relievers over the past three years, pitching to a 3.06 ERA and 1.131 WHIP while averaging 70 outings per season. Stammen, who turns 36 in March, was a solid late-inning option for the Padres in 2019, pitching 71 1/3 of his 82 innings in the seventh inning or later. He might already be off the market, as a source told that he's reached a multiyear deal to re-sign with San Diego.

Possible fits: Padres, White Sox, D-backs

7. , SS
Shortstop was among the shallowest positions on this year’s free-agent market, which makes sense given the dearth of teams looking for one. Didi Gregorius signed with the Phillies, leaving Iglesias as the top available shortstop. Iglesias, who turns 30 on Sunday, posted career-best offensive numbers in 2019, hitting 11 home runs with a .724 OPS in 146 games with the Reds, while also flashing a strong glove in the field. Iglesias’ best shot at a starting job would appear to be with the Orioles.

Possible fits: Orioles, Brewers, Tigers

8. , OF
Puig has the talent to be listed with Ozuna and Castellanos, but the enigmatic 29-year-old has been on three teams since the start of 2018, leading some executives to wonder about his makeup. Puig is a great physical talent, but he occasionally makes on-field mistakes that drive managers and coaches crazy. Puig -- who hit only two home runs in 49 games after being traded to the Indians last summer -- might have to settle on a one-year pillow contract to reestablish his value.

Possible fits: Rangers, Giants, White Sox

9. , RHP
Despite a recent report that Cishek was hoping to land with the Red Sox (he’s from Massachusetts), a source said that won't be the case for the 33-year-old righty. Cishek doesn’t throw hard, but the ground-ball specialist has been very consistent throughout his career, posting a 2.68 ERA in his decade in the Majors. He’s had a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the past four seasons.

Possible fits: Rangers, White Sox, Nationals

10. , LHP
Injuries limited Wood to 35 2/3 innings over seven starts for the Reds in 2019, but the lefty had been quite good from 2013-18, pitching to a 3.29 ERA in 172 games (129 starts) for the Braves and Dodgers. With all of the notable starting pitchers already signed, Wood will be a worthwhile gamble for some pitching-needy team.

Possible fits: Angels, Giants, Brewers

11. , INF/OF
Given Holt’s versatility -- he played six positions for the Red Sox last season -- it’s somewhat surprising that the 31-year-old hasn’t attracted more interest. A return to the Red Sox can’t be counted out, though there are many teams that would benefit from adding the jack-of-all-trades.

Possible fits: Red Sox, Mets**,** Yankees