Who's left? Best free agent at each position

January 10th, 2023

Sure, most of the top free agents have been signed, including Aaron Judge returning to the Yankees and Jacob deGrom heading to the Rangers. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t several gems remaining on the open market for teams to snatch up.

Here’s a look at the best free agents still out there by position.

Catcher: Gary Sánchez
Early on, it looked as though Sánchez could be the catcher of the future for the Yankees after he posted a .923 OPS with 53 home runs in his first 175 games in the Majors from 2016-17. But then, outside of a solid 2019 campaign, he’s struggled both at the plate and behind it. That led to the Yanks dealing him to the Twins prior to last season in the move that sent Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to New York. Sánchez didn’t fare any better with Minnesota, hitting .205/.282/.377 in 128 games. But he just turned 30, and he may still have something left in his bat.

First base: Yuli Gurriel
With Brandon Belt on his way to Toronto, the first base market has been pretty thoroughly picked over. Gurriel is going into his age-39 season, and based on his 2022 performance, there's reason to believe his best offensive seasons are behind him. After leading the American League with a .319 batting average and posting a well above-average 131 OPS+ in 2021, he hit .242 with an OPS+ of 84 in 2022. His issues were fueled largely by a sharp decline in hard-hit rate (-6.4 points) and an even larger spike in chase rate (+8.8), although he did still rank extremely well in strikeout percentage (94th percentile) and whiff rate (96th.) Gurriel isn't well known for his defense either, with his -9 Outs Above Average at first base in 2022 ranking in the 4th percentile.

Second base: Josh Harrison
Jean Segura was the original choice here until he agreed to a two-year deal with the Marlins. Instead, the veteran Harrison gets the call after a solid season with the White Sox in 2022. Best known for his eight-year run with the Pirates from 2011-18 that included two All-Star selections and a top-10 finish in NL MVP voting in 2014, Harrison has never hit for much power but is an effective contact hitter. He was in the 78th percentile in strikeout rate in 2022, when he batted .256/.317/.370 (94 OPS+) while starting 85 games for Chicago at second base, 20 at third and one in left field. He produced an above-average offensive season in 2021, when he posted a 106 OPS+ for Washington and Oakland.

Shortstop: José Iglesias
You could probably just as easily go with Elvis Andrus here -- both are about the same age and both produced between 1 and 2 Baseball Reference wins above replacement last season for their respective clubs. But we’ll give the nod to the younger Iglesias (he turns 33 in January), who has been a bit more consistent offensively over the past few years. With the Rockies in 2022, he had a .708 OPS (90 OPS+), in line with what he had produced at the plate in 2021 for the Angels and Red Sox. He had a great 2020 campaign for the Orioles, when he posted a .956 OPS, albeit in only 150 plate appearances during the pandemic-shortened season. It’s his slick fielding at short, however, that is his calling card.

Third base: Brian Anderson
Anderson has been limited by injuries over the past two seasons, but he is still just 29 years old. After missing the final four months of the 2021 season with a left shoulder subluxation that ultimately required surgery, Anderson made three trips to the IL in '22, including missing three weeks with a sprained left shoulder. He hit just .222 with a .657 OPS while being limited to 98 games in his injury-plagued '22 season. Anderson will be looking to recapture his form from 2018, when he hit .273 with a 110 OPS+ over 156 games on his way to finishing fourth in NL Rookie of the Year Award voting. He followed it up with a career-best 20-homer season in '19 and a career-high 116 OPS+ in '20.

Left field: Jurickson Profar
With Andrew Benintendi off the board, Profar takes the top spot among remaining left fielders after a strong all-around season for San Diego in 2022. He produced a career-best 3.1 bWAR last season, posting a .723 OPS (111 OPS+) with 15 homers. Entering his age-30 campaign in 2023, Profar comes with the added bonus of being a versatile defensive player, also having seen time at every position but pitcher and catcher during his eight-year MLB career.

Center field: Odúbel Herrera
It's getting quite thin in center. Herrera is the best option left on the market even though he was released by the Phillies in August after batting .238 with a .658 OPS over 185 at-bats. The case for the 31-year-old is that he is a streaky left-handed bat with some pop who can steal a few bases and still provides value defensively, according to his Outs Above Average totals. But Herrera, a 2016 All-Star with Philadelphia, hasn't logged a league-average wRC+ since 2017. His Sprint Speed, which was once well above the median, fell to the 40th percentile in 2022. Although he owns a serviceable 20.8 percent career strikeout rate, Herrera's 37.3 percent chase rate denotes how his swing decisions are often unwise, sometimes spectacularly so.

Right field: Adam Duvall
Although he’ll be in his age-34 season next year, Duvall is just a season removed from launching 38 homers and leading the NL with 113 RBIs for the Marlins and Braves, helping Atlanta win the World Series after coming over in a Trade Deadline deal. He missed much of last season due to a wrist injury, but if he’s right following wrist surgery, he could be a great source of power in any lineup.

Designated Hitter: Trey Mancini
Mancini didn’t produce as much at the plate as the Astros hoped he would when Houston acquired him in a Trade Deadline deal with the Orioles, but all’s well that ends well -- the Astros won the World Series. Still, the 30-year-old has posted a .735 OPS with 39 homers in 1,203 plate appearances since returning to the Majors in 2021 following a cancer battle. He’s proven he’s still got pop in his bat, and he could be a cost-effective signing for a team in need of another above-average hitter in the lineup.

Starting pitcher: Michael Wacha
After a stellar start to his career in St. Louis, Wacha went through some difficult times, including a 5.39 ERA with the Mets and Rays from 2020-21. But the right-hander rebounded significantly with the Red Sox in 2022, going 11-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 23 starts. Wacha still hasn't reached the 130-inning threshold in any season since '17, and his expected ERA (4.56) wasn't nearly as shiny as his actual mark. That could give some teams pause, but at 31, Wacha also offers more upside than some of the older pitchers remaining on the market, such as Zack Greinke.

Reliever: Andrew Chafin
Chafin inked a two-year deal with Tigers prior to last season, but the left-hander opted out last month after a pretty successful year in Detroit. He finished with a 2.83 ERA and a 10.5 K/9 rate over 57 1/3 innings. Although he has only 11 saves over his nine-year career, Chafin has been effective while pitching in high-leverage situations recently. Over the past two seasons, the 32-year-old has limited opposing hitters to a .205 average and just 10 extra-base hits through 156 at-bats in those situations. His 33.8 percent chase rate in 2022 was a career high and ranked in the 89th percentile among qualified pitchers.