Shelf help: A lineup of unsigned players

December 15th, 2016

is going back to the Dodgers, and probably , too.
The shopping days before the holidays are beginning to fly by, but that hardly means the shelves are empty -- far from it. There are still dozens of attractive free agents available, and you could build a lineup from those who have yet to sign. And in some areas -- first base, corner outfield and bullpen arms -- there are so many options that the challenge is to pick through the remainders to find the right fit.
Hot Stove Tracker
Here it goes:
Maybe Encarnacion should have taken the $80 million extension from the Blue Jays, as he hasn't done better in a market that is valuing closers and complete players ( and ). The Blue Jays signed to a three-year, $33 million deal to be the primary DH, and they then added , seemingly to share first base with . Is there still room for Encarnacion? So far the Rangers, Astros, Cardinals and Pirates haven't found the way to fit him into their payroll. Somebody will soon. Also unsigned: , .

While Utley is a platoon player at this point (.154 average against lefties last year), he was a two-win player for the Dodgers last season. He could still wind up back with Los Angeles, but for now, Andrew Friedman seems occupied by the possibility of trading for or perhaps . Utley will play at age 38 next season. Also unsigned: , .
Only 10 days short of being a free agent, Plouffe was designated for assignment and then outrighted by the Twins. He declined the outright and became a free agent. Plouffe suffered a cracked rib in July and strained an oblique muscle in September, but he played 152 games in 2015. He could be an option for the Dodgers, but not many teams are searching for help at third base. Also unsigned: , .
Due to play at age 33 next season, the steady Aybar has played at least 126 games each of the past eight seasons. He's solid, but he hit only .243 last season, and 2017 might be the year he's pushed to the bench by the rising tide of shortstops in the early 20s. Also unsigned: , .
An All-Star last season with Toronto, Saunders could still return to the Blue Jays. He's a streaky hitter and has never played more than 140 games in a season, but he delivered 24 homers in his 2016 campaign. Though Saunders' timing in hitting the market isn't great, he could be a major contributor at age 30 in '17, and he is coming off a season that raised his confidence, especially in hanging in against left-handed pitchers (.927 OPS in 123 plate appearances). Also unsigned: , .
The guy who hit that home run off to tie Game 7 of the World Series hasn't yet been re-signed by the Indians, who are clearing the decks for the arrival of their top prospect, Bradley Zimmer. Davis led the American League with 45 stolen bases last season as a 35-year-old. He could offer a lot of value as a fourth outfielder, if not a regular. Also unsigned: , .

Not only is Bautista's career OPS .861, but he's been even better over the past three years (.892). Given his standing with the franchise and the current inventory of outfield options, one would think the Blue Jays would be trying to re-sign him. Bautista's outfield play (-8 Defensive Runs Saved, per FanGraphs) is a big negative, especially for National League teams. Also unsigned: , .
Roll back the clock 10 years -- even better, 20 -- and there's no way that the player who led the Major Leagues in home runs would have lasted more than a month on the free-agent market. That's been the case for Trumbo, who is listed as our designated hitter but could have fit at first base or in right field. Trumbo's asking price has so far been too high for the slow-moving Orioles -- they had 10 free agents but have so far re-signed no one more significant than -- and teams like the Rangers, Indians and Cardinals, who have room for a first baseman or a DH. Also unsigned: , .
He answered all the questions about his comeback from Tommy John surgery, hitting 17 home runs and throwing out 35 percent of runners attempting to steal last season. He could be an upgrade for the Mets over and would a great fit for the Braves, Rockies or White Sox. Also unsigned: , .
The owner of a dynamic slider, Ross was in heavy demand a year ago, but the Padres held onto him, only to non-tender him after surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome. The Cubs and several other teams are talking to him about a contract, even though he's questionable for Opening Day, with teams seeking a 2018 option (or even '18 and '19 options) in exchange for a significant guarantee. If Ross is healthy, he has the front-of-the-rotation upside that other available free agents lack. Also unsigned: , .

By Opening Day, Holland will be 18 months removed from Tommy John surgery, meaning he might regain his 96-mph fastball. He should be able to get outs if he pitches in the low-90s, instead, as his slider was also a major weapon pre-Tommy John. Holland would probably have signed already, but he is looking for a multiple-year contract. He offers the Nationals an option that could keep them from having to trade for a closer like the White Sox . The Dodgers, Cubs and Giants were also showing interest before landing closers elsewhere. A team could also try to sign Holland as a setup man. Also unsigned: , .