Here are the best free agents at each position

November 30th, 2022

Looking to add a slugger? Aaron Judge is available. A frontline starter? Jacob deGrom can be had for the right price. Maybe a shortstop is atop your wish list? Trea Turner leads another talented crop. No matter what your team is seeking, there are attractive options available on the free-agent market.

Here’s a look at the top player at every position, plus some other alternatives at each spot.

C: Willson Contreras
It was something of a surprise when Contreras wasn’t traded prior to the Trade Deadline, but the long-time Cubs catcher now has a chance to test the open market. Contreras has topped the 20-homer mark in each of his past three full seasons, and while his framing skills are average at best, he was fourth among NL catchers with a career-high fWAR (3.3).

Best of the rest: Tucker Barnhart, Austin Hedges, Gary Sanchez, Christian Vázquez, Mike Zunino

1B: Josh Bell
With Anthony Rizzo and Jose Abreu off the board, Bell is the top option for teams looking for help at first base. He had a superb first half with the Nationals, slashing .301/.384/.493 with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs in 103 games, though he faded after being traded to the Padres (.192/.316/.271, three homers, 14 RBIs in 53 games). Still, his two full seasons in 2019 and '21 were excellent, giving the switch-hitter a good shot at a strong rebound season in '23.

Best of the rest: Jesús Aguilar, Brandon Belt, Trey Mancini

2B: Jean Segura 
This year’s market features a thin crop of second basemen, but Segura is a solid all-around player who can record double-digit homers to go along with double-digit stolen bases. Segura hit 10 homers to go with 13 steals in 2022 despite missing 64 games, ranking in the top 15 percent of the league in both strikeout rate and whiff percentage. He also registered a +3 outs above average, putting him in the 84th percentile.

Best of the rest: Aledmys Diaz, Josh Harrison, César Hernández, Rougned Odor, Jonathan Villar

SS: Trea Turner 
For the second straight offseason, the free-agent shortstop class is absolutely loaded. Turner is the best of the bunch -- and he will be paid accordingly -- compiling 31.7 fWAR since his debut in 2015. The 29-year-old has an .870 OPS, 80 home runs, 275 RBIs, 350 runs scored and 106 stolen bases in 489 games since the start of 2019.

Best of the rest: Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Didi Gregorius, José Iglesias, Dansby Swanson

3B: Brandon Drury
Drury picked a good time to post his best season, reaching personal highs in home runs (28), RBIs (87), OPS (.813), OPS+ (122) and fWAR (3.0). The 30-year-old played more third base (67 games) than any other position, but he’ll be coveted for his versatility: He can also play first, second and both corner-outfield spots.

Best of the rest: Maikel Franco, Evan Longoria, Justin Turner

LF: Andrew Benintendi
Benintendi had an All-Star first half with the Royals before being dealt to the Yankees prior to the Trade Deadline. He was limited to just 33 games thanks to a broken bone in his right hand, never quite finding his stroke with New York. Still, his 2.8 fWAR ranked fourth among all left fielders, and at age 28, he’s primed to land a long-term deal.

Best of the rest: Michael Brantley, Corey Dickerson, Adam Duvall, Andrew McCutchen, David Peralta, Jurickson Profar

CF: Brandon Nimmo 
Nimmo’s numbers might not jump off the page, but he’s an all-around player who does everything well. His 5.4 fWAR ranked third among all center fielders, trailing only Judge (11.4) and Mike Trout (6.0) in the Majors. Entering his age-30 season, Nimmo is a reliable table-setter with a .385 career on-base percentage.

Best of the rest: Odúbel Herrera, Kevin Kiermaier, Tyler Naquin, Kevin Pillar

RF: Aaron Judge 
Yes, Judge played more games in center field than right field, but he’s played more than five times as many games in right than center during his career. There’s no need to run through Judge’s résumé; he just completed one of the best offensive seasons in history and is the clear-cut No. 1 free agent in this year’s class.

Best of the rest: Michael Conforto, Joey Gallo, Robbie Grossman, Mitch Haniger

DH: J.D. Martinez
Martinez may no longer be one of the premier designated hitters in the game -- his 1.0 fWAR was his lowest in a full season in nearly a decade -- but with all 30 teams now employing the DH, the 35-year-old should have a number of suitors. Martinez remains lethal against lefties, posting a .998 OPS this season.

Best of the rest: Matt Carpenter, Nelson Cruz

RH starting pitcher: Jacob deGrom
deGrom’s 3 1/2-year run from 2018-21 was the stuff of legends. He posted a 1.94 ERA in 91 starts while winning back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards in 2018-19. He looked like his vintage self after returning from the injured list in August (1.66 ERA in seven starts), but he pitched to a 6.00 ERA over his final four outings. When healthy, he’s one of the best in the game, but will his recent injury issues cause potential suitors some concern?

Best of the rest: Chris Bassitt, Zach Eflin, Nathan Eovaldi, Corey Kluber, Kodai Senga, Ross Stripling, Noah Syndergaard, Jameson Taillon, Justin Verlander, Michael Wacha, Taijuan Walker

LH starting pitcher: Carlos Rodón
Rodón earned the right to opt out of the final year and $22.5 million of his contract by pitching 178 innings, blowing past the requisite 110 he needed to trigger the clause. Rodon followed up his breakout 2021 season (13-5, 2.37 ERA) with a superb 2022 (14-8, 2.88), putting him in position to land a big deal entering his age-30 season.

Best of the rest: Andrew Heaney, Sean Manaea, Wade Miley, José Quintana

RH relief pitcher: Kenley Jansen
Jansen led the National League in saves (41) and games finished (54) in 2022, posting a 3.38 ERA in his first year with the Braves. The right-hander’s Statcast numbers were outstanding -- he ranked in the top 12 percent in strikeout percentage, fastball spin, xBA, xSLG and hard-hit rate. With Edwin Díaz off the market, Jansen is the most proven closer out there.

Best of the rest: Brad Boxberger, Carlos Estévez, Mychal Givens, Chad Green, Luke Jackson, Craig Kimbrel, Seth Lugo, Chris Martin, Trevor May, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson

LH relief pitcher: Matt Moore 
For the first time in Moore’s 11 big league seasons, he didn’t make a single start, but his transformation into a full-time reliever couldn’t have been any better. The 33-year-old pitched to a 1.95 ERA over 74 innings, posting a career-best 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Moore was effective against both righties (.537 OPS) and lefties (.634 OPS), holding opposing hitters to a .187 average and only three home runs.

Best of the rest: Zack Britton, Andrew Chafin, Aroldis Chapman, Brad Hand, Taylor Rogers, Matt Strahm