MLB Free Agents 2014: Ranking the Top 100 Players Available

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2013

MLB Free Agents 2014: Ranking the Top 100 Players Available

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    There are no more than two games left in the 2013 MLB season, as the Red Sox took a 3-2 series lead over the Cardinals in the World Series with a 3-1 victory Monday night.

    It's been a great series to this point, and will no doubt finish with a bang, but it's still never too early to turn our attention to the upcoming crop of free-agent talent.

    Last offseason, it was Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton who highlighted the crop of available talent, and this winter should have its fair share of impact talents changing teams.

    So looking ahead to the upcoming offseason, here is my take on the top 100 free agents set to become available.

Nos. 100-96

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    100. IF Placido Polanco

    Veteran infielder could opt to retire at 38, and at the very least will have to settle for a bench job after hitting .260/.315/.302 in 377 at-bats for the Marlins this season.


    99. OF Delmon Young

    Released by the Phillies in mid-August, Young returned to the Rays and hit well enough to earn a spot on the playoff roster and start at DH in three of their five games. Still, his .715 OPS in 334 at-bats may make it hard for him to find a guaranteed job.


    98. SS Brendan Ryan

    A slick fielder who can't hit a lick, Ryan batted .197/.255/.273 in 319 at-bats this season. His days as a starting shortstop are likely over.


    97. C Kurt Suzuki

    Suzuki returned to the A's, where he once was one of the more productive AL catchers, and hit .303/.343/.545 in 15 games. Only 30, he's a top backup option who still has some upside.


    96. SS Clint Barmes

    Another "defensive-minded" shortstop, Barmes won't see another two-year, $10.5 million deal this offseason after hitting .211/.249/.309 in 2012. Still, he's a solid veteran middle infielder and should land a big league job.

Nos. 95-91

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    95. C Jose Molina

    Despite his offensive limitations, Molina has served as the Rays' primary catcher the past two seasons thanks to his ability to handle a staff. He could return to Tampa if the team can't find an upgrade, but he should end up with a backup job regardless.


    94. RP Joba Chamberlain

    Chamberlain has a 4.74 ERA and 1.676 WHIP in 67 games over the past two seasons, but the 28-year-old will be one of the more attractive buy-low options on the market. The talent is still there.


    93. OF Raul Ibanez

    The 41-year-old shocked baseball in the first half (.267 BA, .892 OPS, 24 HR), then completely forgot how to hit after the All-Star break (.203 BA, .640 OPS, 5 HR). Retirement is certainly an option.


    92. SP Ted Lilly

    Lilly has made just 13 starts the past two seasons, and he was 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA this year. However, he's a veteran, left-handed starter with a good track record. If he's healthy he'll find work.


    91. SP Erik Bedard

    Looking past his 4-12 record, Bedard had a 4.59 ERA and 1.483 WHIP while pitching for a poor Astros team. His 6.1 no-hit innings and 10 strikeouts on July 20 showed he still has overpowering stuff when everything is right.

Nos. 90-86

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    90. 3B Kevin Youkilis

    Signed to a one-year, $12 million deal by the Yankees to serve as an insurance policy to Alex Rodriguez, Youkilis played just 28 games and hit .219/.305/.343. He'll make significantly less in 2014.


    89. RP Ryan Madson*

    Madson has not pitched since 2011, when he saved 32 games and posted a 2.37 ERA for the Phillies. He had a second elbow surgery last May, and he'll look to get his career back on track in 2014.


    88. 2B Brian Roberts

    The second-base market is incredibly thin, but seeing as he hasn't played more than 77 games the past four seasons, it's hard to trust Roberts with an everyday job. The Orioles could look to bring him back as a bridge to Jonathan Schoop.


    87. SP Gavin Floyd

    After going 62-56 with a 4.12 ERA over his first five seasons with the White Sox, Floyd was limited to just five starts in 2013 and went 0-4 with a 5.18 ERA. He likely won't see the field until July at the earliest after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May, but he could be a nice sign-and-stash for someone.


    86. C John Buck

    After a terrific April (.241 BA, .844 OPS, 9 HR, 25 RBI), Buck crashed back to earth the rest of the way (.213 BA, .592 OPS, 6 HR, 37 RBI) and will likely have to settle for a backup catcher/pinch-hitter role this coming year.


    *Player has a team option for 2014 that is likely to be declined.

Nos. 85-81

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    85. UT Willie Bloomquist

    Bloomquist started off 2013 with a bang by being named to the Team USA roster for the World Baseball Classic, and was solid once again in a utility role for the Diamondbacks with a .317/.360/.367 line in 139 at-bats. Used sparingly, he's a solid addition to any team's roster.


    84. RP Matt Albers

    Acquired by the Indians in the Shin-Soo Choo trade last offseason, Albers had a 3.14 ERA in 56 innings. He doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he's been solid the past two seasons and should be able to find a big league deal.

    83. RP Jamey Wright

    A below-average starter the first 11 seasons of his career, Wright moved to the bullpen full time in 2007 and has been a solid late-inning arm since. The 38-year-old had a 3.09 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 66 games for the Rays this season.


    82. UT Nick Punto

    The prototypical utility infielder, Punto hit .255/.328/.327 in 294 at-bats for the Dodgers in 2013 while seeing time at second base, shortstop and third base. The 35-year-old should be back in that role for someone next season.


    81. SP Johan Santana*

    The Mets are all but certain to pay their $5.5 million buyout on the $25 million team option they hold on Santana for next season, and he'll be one of the more intriguing options on the market. He's expected to be healthy by spring training after shoulder surgery this past year, but how much does he have left?


    *Player has a team option for 2014 that is likely to be declined.

Nos. 80-76

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    80. SP Shaun Marcum

    It's hard to see past the 1-10 record and 5.29 ERA that Marcum put up in 14 games (12 starts) for the Mets in 2013. However, a 3.64 FIP and .322 BABIP suggest he pitched at least marginally better than those numbers suggest.


    79. OF Rajai Davis

    While he doesn't hit quite enough to be an everyday player, posting a .260/.312/.375 line in 2013, Davis has some of the best wheels in baseball. He has at least 30 steals in each of the past five seasons, and went 45-of-51 on thefts this year.


    78. CF Franklin Gutierrez

    Gutierrez looked like a star in the making in 2009 when he hit .283/.339/.425 with 18 home runs and 70 RBI, but it's been all downhill since then due in large part to injuries. He managed 10 home runs in 145 at-bats this season and remains a plus defensive center fielder.


    77. RP Luis Ayala

    Ayala was traded to the Braves in April after resurrecting his career in Baltimore, and helped shore up their bullpen after early injuries. He had a 2.90 ERA in 31 innings, and will be looking to catch on somewhere as a setup man.


    76. RP Matt Thornton

    Thornton has appeared in at least 60 games in each of the past eight seasons. Even though he missed out on the Red Sox postseason run due to injury after being acquired in July, he should still have plenty of suitors this offseason. Proven left-handed relievers are always in demand.

Nos. 80-71

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    75. RP Matt Lindstrom**

    A hard-throwing right-hander, Lindstrom has some experience closing dating back to his time with the Astros, but has settled in as a plus setup man the past few seasons. He had a 3.12 ERA in 76 appearances out of the White Sox bullpen this season. He has a $500,000 buyout on a $4 million option, and the rebuilding Sox may very well cut ties.

    74. RP Mike Gonzalez

    Signed by the Brewers to a one-year, $2.25 million deal last offseason to help shore up their bullpen, Gonzalez had a 4.68 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in 75 appearances. He'll likely get a similar deal this offseason, as he continues to be a solid left-handed option with strikeout stuff.

    73. OF Jason Kubel*

    Kubel signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Diamondbacks prior to 2012, and he had an .833 OPS with 30 home runs and 90 RBI in his first season in Arizona. He struggled this past season though, hitting just .216/.293/.317 while battling injuries and being dealt to the Indians in August. He has a $1 million buyout on a $7.5 million option.

    72. SP/RP Chad Gaudin

    One of the better swingmen in baseball this past season, Gaudin was 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 30 games (12 starts) for the Giants. He was 5-1 with a 3.53 ERA as a starter, so he has value in both roles, and it will be interesting to see where he ends up this winter. Can he can duplicate his 2013 success?


    71. 1B Mark Reynolds

    After signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the Indians in the offseason, Reynolds looked like an absolute steal after posting a 1.019 OPS and hitting eight home runs in the first month of the season. He hit just .202/.291/.334 over his next 362 at-bats though, and anyone signing him will be doing it solely for his power.


    *Player has a team option for 2014 that is likely to be declined.

    **Not a free agent, White Sox exercised club option.

Nos. 70-66

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    70. RP Manny Parra

    A former starter for the Brewers, Parra had a 5.06 ERA in 62 games for Milwaukee in 2012 in what was his first full season in the bullpen. The Reds picked him up last offseason, in need of another left-handed arm, and he proved to be a fantastic pickup, posting a 3.33 ERA with 11.0 K/9 in 57 appearances.


    69. RP Kevin Gregg

    Released by the Dodgers on April 3, Gregg was scooped up by the Cubs and quickly became their closer when Carlos Marmol faltered. He threw 14 straight scoreless innings to begin and converted his first 12 save chances. Even with a late-season falloff, he was 33-of-38 on save chances with a 3.48 ERA on the year.


    67. 2B Mark Ellis*

    With the Dodgers signing Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, the Mark Ellis era in Los Angeles has likely come to an end. He was solid this season, hitting .270/.323/.351, and should be able to find another starting job, but the Dodgers will likely pay $1 million to buy out his $5.75 million option. 


    66. RP LaTroy Hawkins

    The 40-year-old Hawkins keeps plugging away, as he played for his 10th different team in the Mets this season, and had a 2.93 ERA to go along with 13 saves in 72 appearances. That should be enough to win him another big league job for 2014.


    65. SP Roberto Hernandez

    The man formerly known as Fausto Carmona enjoyed a solid return to the big leagues in 2013, appearing in 32 games (24 starts) for the Rays and going 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA and 1.338 WHIP. He's not the same guy who won 19 games back in 2007, but he can be a serviceable back-of-the-rotation starter.


    *Player has a team option for 2014 that is likely to be declined.

Nos. 65-61

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    65. SS Rafael Furcal

    An All-Star for the Cardinals in 2012, Furcal missed all of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in spring training. The 36-year-old is a plus defender with some speed, and given how thin the shortstop position is, that will likely be enough for him to find a starting job somewhere.

    64. RP J.P. Howell

    After a terrible 2011 season (46 G, 6.16 ERA), Howell bounced back in 2012 (55 G, 3.04 ERA) but still managed only a one-year, $2.85 million deal out of the Dodgers last winter. That proved to be a steal, as he had a great 2013, posting a 2.03 ERA over 67 games. That may be enough to get him a multiyear deal.


    63. SP Edinson Volquez

    The Padres' Opening Day starter, Volquez went 9-10 with a 6.01 ERA and 1.665 WHIP in 27 starts with San Diego before being released in August. The Dodgers scooped him up a day later, and he had a 4.18 ERA in 28 innings with them. The stuff is still there for him to be a plus starter, but until he shows some results he'll likely have to settle for a one-year deal.

    62. OF David Murphy

    Murphy hit .304/.380/.479 over 457 at-bats in 2012, and looked poised for a breakout season after being handed the everyday left-field job after the departure of Josh Hamilton in Texas. He flopped though, hitting just .220/.282/.374, and chances are he's headed back to being an oft-used fourth outfielder.


    61. SP/RP Bruce Chen

    After going 36-43 with a 4.71 ERA over the first 12 seasons of his career, Chen is 44-33 with a 4.17 ERA over the past four. He was bumped to the bullpen this year, and wound up serving as a swingman, going 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA in 34 games (15 starts). The 36-year-old won't get a huge deal, but could have a ton of suitors given the market for low-cost, left-handed veteran starters.

Nos. 60-56

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    60. 1B Paul Konerko

    It's almost silly to even include Konerko here, as the chances are remote he'll do anything but re-sign with the White Sox or retire this offseason. It was a rough season for the 37-year-old team captain, as he hit just .244/.313/.355 with 12 home runs and 54 RBI.


    59. RP Jesse Crain

    Crain was an absolute stud for the White Sox in the first half this season, posting a 0.74 ERA over 38 appearances and earning a spot on the AL All-Star team. However, a shoulder strain sidelined him on July 2 and he would not pitch again. Those health concerns no doubt hurt his stock this winter, and almost certainly cost him a multiyear deal.


    58. 2B/OF Kelly Johnson

    One of a handful of low-cost additions that helped improve the Rays offense, Johnson signed a one-year, $2.65 million deal last offseason and hit .235/.305/.410 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI in 366 at-bats. He can play second, third and left field, so there is value in his versatility to go along with the pop in his bat.


    57. OF David DeJesus*

    Traded twice in the second half, DeJesus ended the season with the Rays and helped them secure a playoff spot by hitting .260/.328/.413 in 104 at-bats. While that likely won't be enough for the team to exercise his $6.5 million option, he'll get plenty of interest in free agency thanks to his plus on-base skills.


    56. C Dioner Navarro

    An All-Star with the Rays back in 2008, Navarro had seen just 369 at-bats in three seasons heading into 2013 and hit just .211/.279/.325 with eight home runs. Signed by the Cubs to serve as backup to Welington Castillo, he hit .300/.365/.492 with 13 home runs in 240 at-bats. That may be enough for someone to give him a look as a starter.


    *Player has a team option for 2014 that is likely to be declined.

Nos. 55-51

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    55. OF Chris Young*

    A legitimate 30/30 threat during his time with the Diamondbacks, Young was acquired by the A's last offseason, and he hit just .200/.280/.379 with 12 home runs and 10 steals. He's certainly a bounce-back candidate, but there's no way the A's exercise their $11 million option on him.


    54. RP Oliver Perez

    Perez has reinvented himself as a reliever the past two seasons in Seattle, posting a 3.16 ERA in 94 games with a solid 10.7 K/9 mark. A 7.56 ERA in the second half certainly hurts his value, but he was good enough in the first half (1.98 ERA) that someone will be willing to take a chance on the left-hander.


    53. 1B Lyle Overbay

    One of a handful of Band-Aids the Yankees were forced to slap on their ailing offense, Overbay did his best to replace Mark Teixeira at first base, hitting .240/.295/.393 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI in 445 at-bats. He may not find a starting job, but he's a solid left-handed bat capable of seeing extended playing time.


    52. SP Mike Pelfrey

    After missing most of 2012 with Tommy John surgery, Pelfrey signed a one-year, $4 million deal with a Twins team desperate for starting pitching. His 5-13 record and 5.19 ERA was not pretty, but he looked much better in the second half and looks like a good buy-low option now a full year removed from surgery.


    51. RP Eric O'Flaherty

    One of the best left-handed relievers in baseball since joining the Braves in 2009, O'Flaherty has a 1.99 ERA and 1.155 WHIP in 295 games over that span. Off to another good start this season, he was forced to the DL on May 18 and wound up needing Tommy John surgery. A one-year deal to prove he's healthy is in order.


    *Player has a team option for 2014 that is likely to be declined.

50. SP Josh Johnson

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    2013 Stats

    16/16 2-86.201.660105308381.1


    Player Overview

    Not long ago, Josh Johnson was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Seeing as he is still just 29 years old, there will no doubt be someone willing to take a chance on him this winter. 

    He's dealt with injuries throughout his career, but from 2008-11 few were better than Johnson when he was on the field, as he went 36-13 with a 2.80 ERA and 8.5 K/9 over 84 starts.

49. C Carlos Ruiz

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    2013 Stats

    92.268/.320/.3688316 0 5 3730 1


    Player Overview

    After a breakout season in 2012 saw him hit .325/.394/.540 with 16 home runs in 372 at-bats, Carlos Ruiz saw his offensive production drop off substantially this season.

    He handles a staff well, and seeing as the Phillies have no real in-house options, he looks like a prime candidate to be re-signed. Still, catching is always at a premium and someone else could make a run at Ruiz. He's still a capable starter at this point in his career.

48. 1B/LF Michael Morse

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    2013 Stats

    88.215/.270/.3816713 013 2734 0


    Player Overview

    Michael Morse did not quite provide the offensive boost the Mariners were hoping for when they acquired him in the offseason. After a late-season stop in Baltimore, he'll try to catch on with someone looking to add a power bat on a low-cost deal.

    A late-bloomer, Morse essentially came out of nowhere to post a .910 OPS and hit 31 home runs in 2011 at age 29. If he can put his terrible 2013 behind him and get back on track, he could wind up being one of the better bargains of this year's class.

47. SP Roy Halladay

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    2013 Stats

    13/13 4-56.821.46855365162


    Player Overview

    Just two seasons removed from a second-place Cy Young finish, when he went 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA in 2011, Roy Halladay has fallen off abruptly and enters free agency looking for someone to give him a chance to prove he still has something to offer.

    Injuries limited him to just 13 starts last season, and his average fastball velocity was down to just 88.7 mph, according to FanGraphs, so chances are an incentive-laden, one-year deal is the best he can hope for. Still, if the 36-year-old can prove healthy, he could be a solid veteran arm to fill out someone's rotation.

46. UT Michael Young

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    2013 Stats

    147.279/.335/.39514526 5 8 4652 1


    Player Overview

    After spending the first 13 seasons of his major league career with Texas, and piling up 2,230 hits and a .301 batting average over that span, the Rangers shipped Michael Young to the Phillies last offseason for a pair of relievers.

    He was moved again to the Dodgers in August, and went on to hit .314/.321/.392 in 21 games during their playoff push. His versatility gives him added value. While he may still find someone willing to give him everyday at-bats, it's more likely he's headed for a super utility spot on a contender if he's willing to accept such a role.

45. SP Jason Hammel

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    2013 Stats

    26/23 7-84.971.4571554896139.1


    Player Overview

    A middling starter who was 34-45 with a 4.99 ERA when the Orioles acquired him prior to the 2012 season, Jason Hammel was one of the biggest surprises of the first half in 2012, as he went 8-5 with a 3.47 ERA and quickly emerged as the ace of the Orioles staff.

    Though he was limited to just three second-half starts because of injury, he still earned the Opening Day nod for the team this season. The results were not nearly as impressive though, and the 31-year-old now hits the open market as a decent middle-of-the-rotation option with some upside.

44. RP Boone Logan

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    2013 Stats

     61/0 5-2 03.231.17933135039


    Player Overview

    Good left-handed relief pitching is always at a premium, and Boone Logan has been one of the best in the business while pitching for the Yankees the past four seasons.

    He's made 256 appearances in those four years, posting a 3.38 ERA and 10.3 K/9. After Javier Lopez and Scott Downs, he's the best left-handed bullpen arm on the market this year. That should mean a multiyear deal and something around at least a $4 million annual salary.

43. RP Joe Smith

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    2013 Stats

     70/0 6-2 32.291.22254235463


    Player Overview

    Joe Smith has quietly been one of the best and most frequently used setup relievers in baseball over the past five seasons with the Indians. He's made 303 appearances during that span, posting a 2.76 ERA, 1.199 WHIP and 7.1 K/9.

    Still just 29, he should continue to serve in the eighth-inning role moving forward, though he did spend time in the closer spot this season and recorded the first three saves of his career. He made $3.15 million this season, and will likely see more in free agency. The Indians will have a hard time letting him go, as he was one of the few reliable arms in their 'pen.

42. RP Scott Downs

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    2013 Stats

     68/0 4-4 02.491.47745193743.1


    Player Overview

    Scott Downs earned a three-year, $15 million contract from the Angels last time he tested the free-agent waters, and the 37-year-old southpaw is in position to receive a multiyear deal once again this winter.

    He didn't pitch quite as well after joining the Braves at the deadline, posting a 3.86 ERA and 1.929 WHIP in 25 appearances. But with a 2.33 ERA in 447 appearances since the start of 2007, he has a long enough track record of success to overlook that.

41. LF Nate McLouth

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    2013 Stats

    146.258/.329/.39913731 412 367630


    Player Overview

    Plucked from the scrap heap in the second half of the 2012 season, McLouth went on to hit .268/.342/.435 over 55 games while shoring up left field and the leadoff spot in the Orioles' lineup. That was enough for the Orioles to bring him back on a one-year, $2 million deal this season.

    After hitting .275/.347/.399 with 24 stolen bases in the first half, he cooled to just .233/.304/.400 with six steals in the second half, and that my have cost him a multiyear deal. That said, there's still a good chance he finds a starting gig, perhaps back with the Baltimore team that gave him a second chance to begin with.

40. RP Edward Mujica

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    2013 Stats

     65/0 2-1372.781.00560 54664.2


    Player Overview

    Expected to be a useful setup man entering the season, Edward Mujica quickly found himself thrust in the closer's role. From the day he recorded his first save on April 18 until the end of August, he converted 35-of-37 save chance with a 1.72 ERA and 0.802 WHIP.

    The wheels fell off in September though, as he clearly tired from the workload, going 2-for-4 on saves with an 11.05 ERA and losing the closer's job heading into the postseason. Whether he finds anyone willing to pay him closer money remains to be seen, but he should be a solid addition to anyone's bullpen nonetheless.

39. C A.J. Pierzynski

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    2013 Stats

    134.272/.297/.42513724 117 7048 1


    Player Overview

    Signed to a one-year, $7.5 million deal to replace Mike Napoli, A.J. Pierzynski turned in another solid offensive season in 2013 and helped ease what were a number of big losses to the Rangers lineup.

    The 36-year-old is an average defender, but with plus power for the position and a great clubhouse presence, he should be able to get a similar deal again. There are a number of teams where he would be an upgrade at the catcher position.

38. SP Tim Hudson

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    2013 Stats

    21/21 8-73.971.1881203695131.1


    Player Overview

    Still going strong at age 38, Tim Hudson saw his season abruptly ended when he stepped awkwardly on first base and broke his right ankle, effectively ending his season July 24.

    The injury cut short a month that saw him go 4-0 with a 3.10 ERA and pitch at least seven inning in each of his four starts, so there was plenty left in the tank. He made $9 million each of the past four seasons, and a similar salary over perhaps two years could be what he winds up getting this offseason.

37.5. RP Brian Wilson

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    2013 Stats

     18/0 2-1 00.660.8788 41313.2


    Player Overview

    Brian Wilson opted to wait until the second half to sign after being non-tendered by the Giants in the offseason. He agreed to a minor league deal with the Dodgers on July 30.

    He made his season debut on Aug. 22, and pitched great down the stretch and into the playoffs as the Dodgers' primary reliever. He may not have quite the same overpowering stuff he did pre-injury, but he proved he can still be an very effective late-inning arm and has set himself up for a nice contract. 


    *Note: Brian Wilson was an oversight when I first put this list together and was not originally included, hence him being oddly slotted at "No. 37.5" on this list.


37. 1B/OF Corey Hart

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    2013 Stats

    Injured, did not play.


    Player Overview

    There may be no player whose stock was hurt more by injury this season than Corey Hart, as he was likely headed for a major payday this offseason. Instead, he will likely have to settle for a one-year, incentive-heavy deal.

    A consistent producer for the Brewers since 2007, Hart averaged a line of .279/.343/.514 with 29 home runs and 83 RBI from 2010-12, but missed all of the 2013 season with knee issues. He's still only 31 years old, and could certainly set himself up to get paid at the end of 2014, but he'll need to prove himself healthy first.

36. SP Paul Maholm

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    Paul Maholm split the 2012 season between the Cubs and Braves, going 13-11 with a 3.67 ERA. That was more than good enough for the Braves to exercise a $6.5 million option on him for the 2013 season.

    The 31-year-old southpaw got off to a great start, going 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA in his first four starts, before leveling off. He battled injuries in the second half and went just 1-3 with a 5.73 ERA after the break, but he's still more than capable of being a solid No. 3 or 4 starter type.

35. 1B Justin Morneau

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    2013 Stats

    152.259/.323/.41114836 017 7762 0


    Player Overview

    Concussion issues and other injuries cut into the 2010 and 2011 seasons for Justin Morneau, but he bounced back with a solid year in 2012, hitting .267/.333/.440 with 19 home runs and 77 RBI for a subpar Twins offense.

    He's not the MVP-caliber player he once was, but he remains a solid run producer with some pop from the left side of the plate. That should be enough to drum up some interest. If nothing else, a return to the Twins to finish out his career seems like a possibility.

34. SP Phil Hughes

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    Rarely does a 27-year-old pitcher who already has 18-win and 16-win seasons find himself struggling to find a job in free agency, but that could very well be the case with Phil Hughes this offseason.

    All told in his seven seasons with the Yankees, Hughes went 56-50 with a 4.54 ERA. While he showed flashes of being a great pitcher, he never lived up to the hype that made him the No. 4 prospect in baseball entering the 2007 season, according to Baseball America. Someone will take a chance buying low on him, and perhaps a move away from the Yankees will be exactly what he needs.

33. 3B Juan Uribe

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    2013 Stats

    132.278/.331/.43810822 212 5047 5


    Player Overview

    Next to nothing was expected from Juan Uribe entering 2013. The veteran had hit just .199/.262/.289 in 432 at-bats over the past two seasons, but he got a chance at the everyday third-base job and seized it.

    His .278/.331/.438 line and 12 home runs were really the icing on the cake given his fantastic defense at third base, and then he came through with a huge game-winning home run in Game 4 of the NLDS. He's the best of a virtually nonexistent third-base market, and with no real in-house replacement, chances are he's back with the Dodgers.

32. 2B Omar Infante

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    2013 Stats

    118.318/.345/.45014424 310 5154 5


    Player Overview

    Acquired from the Marlins along with Anibal Sanchez at the deadline in 2012, Omar Infante shored up what had been a revolving door at second base in Detroit, and he turned in a great all-around season in 2013 despite being limited to just 118 games.

    Going back to the 2010 season, the 31-year-old has hit .295/.327/.415 and averaged nine home runs, 50 RBI and 61 runs scored. He's the top second-base option behind Robinson Cano, and should be able to get something similar to the three-year, $20 million deal Marco Scutaro got from the Giants last offseason.

31. SP Scott Kazmir

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    He'll likely lose out on AL Comeback Player of the Year to Mariano Rivera, but there is little question Scott Kazmir was the bigger comeback story in 2013. 

    The ace of the Rays early in his career, he was traded to the Angels in 2009 and fell off the face of the earth from there. The 2012 season found him playing in the independent league, where he went just 3-6 with a 5.34 ERA in 14 starts. Still just 29, he's set himself up for a nice payday and his big league career is back on track.

30. SS Stephen Drew

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    2013 Stats

    124.253/.333/.44311229 813 6757 6


    Player Overview

    The top shortstop on the market last offseason, Stephen Drew received a one-year, $9.5 million deal from the Red Sox in hopes that he could serve as a bridge to top prospect Xander Bogaerts.

    He's been nothing short of terrible this postseason (4-for-47), but he had a solid regular season for the position and is a solid defender, so a similar contract from someone else seems likely this offseason.

29. RP Javier Lopez

33 of 61

    2013 Stats

     69/0 4-2 11.831.06830123739.1


    Player Overview

    The Giants have already re-signed Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum before the offseason, and they will likely do everything they can to keep Javier Lopez in their bullpen. He's undoubtedly one of the top left-handed relievers in the game.

    He had probably the best year of his career this season. Since the start of 2010, the 36-year-old has appeared in 286 games and has a 2.37 ERA and 1.242 WHIP. If he tests the market, there's a good chance he winds up pricing his way out of San Francisco.

28. 1B James Loney

34 of 61

    2013 Stats

    158.299/.348/.43016433 013 7554 3


    Player Overview

    James Loney burst onto the scene for the Dodgers in 2007, hitting .331/.381/.538 with 15 home runs in 344 at-bats as a 23-year-old rookie. He was never quite able to live up to that debut during his time with the team.

    A change of scenery proved to be just what the doctor ordered, as he joined the Rays on a one-year, $2 million deal and turned in a solid all-around year. He still doesn't have prototypical first baseman power, and chances are he won't get eight figures, but he has definitely set himself up for a decent raise.

27. SP Jason Vargas

35 of 61

    2013 Stats

    24/24 9-84.021.38716246109150


    Player Overview

    Had it not been for a blood clot under his left armpit, Jason Vargas likely would have been moved at the deadline, as he was one of the few movable part for a disappointing Angels team looking to restock their farm system.

    Vargas emerged as a workhorse behind Felix Hernandez in the Mariners' rotation from 2010-12, going 33-36 with a 3.96 ERA and averaging 204 innings per season. He's squarely in the second tier of free-agent starters this offseason, and the 30-year-old should get a nice multiyear deal from someone looking to fill out their staff.

26. SP Scott Feldman

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    Looking to add some low-cost veteran depth to their rotation, the Cubs signed Scott Feldman to a one-year, $7 million deal last offseason. The Rangers' Opening Day starter in 2010 after a 17-win campaign the previous year, the right-hander had gone just 15-23 with a 5.15 ERA in three seasons leading up to 2013.

    The Cubs flipped him to the Orioles at the deadline, and he went 5-6 with a 4.27 ERA in 15 starts pitching in a pennant race. Those numbers were inflated by his final start of the year, when he allowed eight runs in 2.1 innings. He was 5-5 with a 3.57 ERA in his other 14 starts. His solid late-season performance should earn him a multiyear deal.


25. SP Dan Haren

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    One of the best pitchers in baseball heading into the 2012 season, Dan Haren dealt with back and hip issues and went just 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA. That significantly cut into his value last winter, but he still managed to get a one-year, $13 million deal from the Nationals.

    The early returns weren't great, and his overall numbers are by no means impressive either, but he was 6-4 with a 3.52 ERA in the second half, and 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA over his final four starts. That strong finish may be enough to get him a multiyear deal, especially given how weak the starting pitching market is.

24. RP Fernando Rodney

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    2013 Stats

     68/0 5-4373.381.33553368266.2


    Player Overview

    The chances were slim that Fernando Rodney was going to duplicate his 2012 success, as the veteran right-hander converted 48-of-50 save chances with a 0.60 ERA and 0.777 WHIP in what was his first season with the Rays.

    He was just 37-of-45 on save chances this season, and saw his ERA rise to 3.38 and WHIP rise to 1.335. In what is a relatively thin market for late-inning relievers, Rodney could still wind up getting a decent contract. Regardless, he's likely priced himself out of Tampa Bay.

23. SP A.J. Burnett

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    After terrible seasons with the Yankees in 2010 and 2011, A.J. Burnett was shipped to Pittsburgh in what amounted to a cost-cutting move, and he immediate turned things around with the change of scenery.

    The 36-year-old led qualified National League starters with 9.8 K/9. Despite struggling mightily in his NLDS start against the Cardinals, he turned in a strong season overall. He has indicated that he'll either re-sign with the Pirates or retire, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

22. RF Marlon Byrd

40 of 61

    2013 Stats

    147.291/.336/.51115535 524 8875 2


    Player Overview

    Marlon Byrd received little interest on the free-agent market last season, and understandably so, as he hit just .210/.243/.245 with one home run in 143 at-bats between the Cubs and Red Sox and was without a job from June 12 on.

    He eventually signed a minor league deal with the Mets, and managed to play his way into the starting lineup relatively quickly thanks to their overall lack of outfield talent. The home runs kept coming, and when all was said and done he was hitting fifth for the Pirates in the postseason. Now he's positioned himself for a solid contract, at least something along the lines of the three-year, $26 million deal Cody Ross got last winter.

21. SS Jhonny Peralta

41 of 61

    2013 Stats

    107.303/.358/.45712430 011 5550 3


    Player Overview

    Despite the fact that he hit just .239/.305/.384 in 2012, the Tigers picked up their $6 million option on Jhonny Peralta for a lack of better options on the open market. He rewarded them with a bounce-back season.

    The turnaround was cut short by a 50-game PED suspension. While he came back to go 11-for-33 with six RBI in the playoffs, that suspension could still impact his market value. However, with so few shortstop options, he should manage to find everyday at-bats and perhaps a multiyear deal.

20. RP Grant Balfour

42 of 61

    2013 Stats

     65/0 1-3382.591.19748277262.2


    Player Overview

    Grant Balfour did not blow his first save of the 2013 season until July 23, rattling off a streak of 44 consecutive saves dating back to the 2012 season. He made his first All-Star team in the process.

    He sputtered down the stretch, going 10-of-12 on save chances with a 4.12 ERA in the final two months of the season, but he remains one of the top closer options on the market this offseason. He made $4.5 million this season, and will almost certainly see that figure increase in 2014.

19. CF Curtis Granderson

43 of 61

    2013 Stats

    61.229/.317/.4074913 2 7 1531 8


    Player Overview

    It was an injury-plagued 2013 for Curtis Granderson, as two separate HBP incidents resulted in a broken right forearm and left hand, limiting him to just 61 games.

    That after he hit 84 home runs and drove in 225 runs between 2011 and 2012 as one of the top power threats in the game. However, he hit just .245/.335/.495 in his four seasons with the Yankees, as he turned himself into an all-or-nothing hitter. He may have a hard time getting anyone to match the $15 million he made in 2013.

18. SP Bronson Arroyo

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    It remains to be seen how much the 36-year-old Bronson Arroyo has left in the tank, but he's shown no signs of slowing over the past two seasons, going 26-22 with a 3.76 ERA and throwing 202 innings each year.

    His chances of getting a long-term deal aren't great given his age, and he could suffer a similar fate to what Kyle Lohse did last year if the Reds opt to make him a qualifying offer and he declines. That said, he's still capable of being a front-line arm for a contender for at least a few more seasons.

17. SP Ricky Nolasco

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    A sure thing to be moved at some point heading into the season, the Marlins sent Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers at the deadline. He gave the staff a big boost down the stretch, going 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 15 starts after joining the team.

    He's not going to get Anibal Sanchez money, but he certainly didn't hurt his stock by stepping up and helping a contender down the stretch. The 31-year-old is a lock for a multiyear deal, and heads up the second tier of available starters.

16. 1B Kendrys Morales

46 of 61

    2013 Stats

    156.277/.336/.44916734 023 8064 0


    Player Overview

    He has never quite returned to the level that made him an MVP candidate in 2009, a year in which he hit .306/.355/.569 with 34 home runs and 108 RBI, but Kendrys Morales remains a plus run producer with power.

    He hit .263/.326/.410 over the final two months with just seven home runs, or his final numbers would have looked even better. The Mariners decision not to move him at the deadline is probably a good indication that they'll make a play to bring him back.

15. RP Joaquin Benoit

47 of 61

    2013 Stats

     66/0 4-1242.011.03047227367


    Player Overview

    One of the premier setup men in the the game entering the season, Joaquin Benoit eventually found himself in the closer's role in Detroit after an unsuccessful closer-by-committee experiment and the failed return of Jose Valverde.

    He converted 20-of-22 saves with a 2.08 ERA after officially taking over as closer in late June. Regardless of what role he's signed to fill, he won't come cheap. He joined the Tigers prior to the 2011 season on a three-year, $16.5 million deal, and should get even more this time around.

14. C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

48 of 61

    2013 Stats

    121.273/.338/.46611640 014 6568 4


    Player Overview

    A top prospect in the Atlanta Braves organization and a former first-round pick, Jarrod Saltalamacchia finally found an everyday job in Boston in 2011, and put together the best year of his career in 2013.

    His 55 home runs since the start of the 2011 season rank as the fifth-highest total among catchers, and he posted career highs in all three triple-slash categories in 2013. Aside from the offensive game though, he also does a great job handling the staff and has turned into a solid defensive catcher.

13. RF Nelson Cruz

49 of 61

    2013 Stats

    109.266/.327/.50611018 027 7649 5


    Player Overview

    Despite playing in just 109 games, Nelson Cruz managed to finish tied for 14th in the AL in home runs with 27. He was on his way to the best season of his career before getting slapped with a 50-game suspension for his ties to the Biogenesis case.

    His 135 home runs since the start of 2009 are good for 17th in baseball, and he remains one of the top power threats in the game. However, the questions surrounding his ability to produce post-PED remain, and that could certainly cut into his free-agent value.

12. SP Hiroki Kuroda

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    The 38-year-old Hiroki Kuroda looked like a legitimate Cy Young candidate in the American League before falling off down the stretch, as he was 11-7 with a 2.33 ERA on Aug. 12, but went 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA in his final eight starts.

    Chances are he won't play for anyone other than the Yankees or Dodgers next season, and he has stated before that he'd like to finish up his professional career in Japan, according to the New York Post. He made $15 million last season on a one-year deal, and he should be able to at least match that this coming year if he opts to stay in the states.

11. 1B/DH Mike Napoli

51 of 61

    2013 Stats

    139.259/.360/.48212938 223 9279 1


    Player Overview

    Originally signed to a three-year, $39 million deal last offseason, Mike Napoli wound up failing his physical when he was diagnosed with a hip condition, and he settled on a one-year, $5 million deal that could earn him up to $13 million with incentives.

    He manged to avoid the DL, and wound up earning the full $13 million. Now he may well be in position to get a similar multiyear deal this coming offseason. He finished second to David Ortiz in home runs and RBI, and while his days as a catcher may be over, he proved to be a plus defensive first baseman and more than capable offensive producer at the position.


10. SP Bartolo Colon

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    Out of baseball altogether in 2010, Bartolo Colon returned to pitch a season for the Yankees in 2011 before joining the A's prior to the 2012 season and seemingly finding the fountain of youth.

    The 40-year-old was 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 2012, but saw his season end prematurely with a PED suspension. As a result, the A's were able to bring him back on a one-year, $3 million deal for 2013. He rewarded them with a Cy Young-caliber season. While he may have to settle for a one-year deal given his age, he should be in for a substantial raise in 2014.

9. RP Joe Nathan

53 of 61

    2013 Stats

     67/0 6-2431.39 0.89736227364.2


    Player Overview

    While he's not officially a free agent, chances are Joe Nathan will void the $9.5 million option the Rangers hold on him for next season in search of a raise and a few more guaranteed years.

    With Mariano Rivera retired, Nathan is now the active saves leader with 341 over the course of his 13-year career. The 38-year-old turned in one of the best seasons of his career in 2013. The Rangers have internal options to replace him in Joakim Soria, Neftali Feliz and Tanner Scheppers, as T.R. Sullivan of points out, so he could very well be pitching elsewhere in 2014.

8. SP Matt Garza

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    Viewed as the prize of the 2013 trade deadline, Matt Garza was 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts with the Cubs before being dealt to the Rangers in July for a loaded package of prospects.

    The Rangers fell short of the postseason, and Garza went just 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 13 starts after joining the team, but he remains one of the top arms on the market this winter. The 29-year-old earned $10.25 million in 2013, and he'll no doubt demand one of the top salaries of the offseason—even after his poor finish to the season.

7. RF Carlos Beltran

55 of 61

    2013 Stats

    145.296/.339/.49116430 324 8479 2


    Player Overview

    The two-year, $26 million deal the Cardinals gave Carlos Beltran prior to the 2012 season wound up being a terrific move, as the switch-hitter posted a .282/.343/.493 line with 56 home runs and 181 RBI in his two seasons with the team.

    A potential Hall of Famer once he finally decides to hang it up, Beltran has added to his already stellar postseason resume this October, and he looks to have plenty left in his bat at age 36. With top prospect Oscar Taveras on the cusp of making a big league impact, it remains to be seen if the Cardinals will make a serious play to re-sign him, but he should be able to help a contender in 2014.

6. SP Ervin Santana

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    This past offseason, the Angels exercised their $13 million option on Ervin Santana, but then flipped him to the Royals along with $1 million for prospect Brandon Sisk. The right-hander was just 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA in 2012, so it looked to be a desperation move by the Royals at the time, but wound up being a great pickup.

    With two 16-win seasons and a 17-win season under his belt already, Santana has shown plus stuff in the past, but his peripherals in 2013 suggest it was the best season of his career to this point. The Royals held on to the 30-year-old at the deadline and made a serious run at the playoffs, and now he looks like a legitimate candidate for a qualifying offer.

5. SP Ubaldo Jimenez

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    2013 Stats



    Player Overview

    A huge disappointment in his first season and a half with the Indians, Ubaldo Jimenez was coming of a 2012 season that saw him go 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA as one of the worst starters in the American League.

    He didn't quite return to the 2010 form that saw him go 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA, but he was downright filthy in the second half, going 6-5 with a 1.82 ERA and 10.7 K/9. That should be enough to earn him one of the biggest paydays of the 2014 offseason. He may well wind up being the highest-paid pitcher of the winter.


4. C Brian McCann

58 of 61

    2013 Stats

    102.256/.336/.4619113 020 5743 0


    Player Overview

    His season didn't start until May 6, as he continued to recover from offseason knee surgery, but Brian McCann still managed to turn in one of the better offensive seasons among backstops.

    He finished tied for fourth at the position in home runs with 20, and fifth in OPS among catcher with at least 350 at-bats at .796. A career .277/.350/.473 hitter over his nine seasons in the big leagues, the 29-year-old will command top dollar this offseason and could wind up in the American League, where he could DH over the second half of his contract.

3. CF Jacoby Ellsbury

59 of 61

    2013 Stats

    134.298/.355/.42617231 8 9 539252


    Player Overview

    Jacoby Ellsbury may never again put up the numbers he did in 2011 (.928 OPS, 32 HR, 39 SB), but he proved once again this season to be one of the most dynamic leadoff men in the game, and a solid postseason performance should only help his free-agent stock.

    He's one of the premier base stealers in the game, a plus defender in center field and has some solid extra-base pop even if he never again approaches 30 home runs. A contract north of $100 million is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. With Jackie Bradley waiting in the wings, it may not come from the Red Sox.

2. CF Shin-Soo Choo

60 of 61

    2013 Stats

    154.285/.423/.46216234 221 5410720


    Player Overview

    He may wind up signing for less money than Jacoby Ellsbury, but in my opinion Shin-Soo Choo is the better free-agent option among outfielders. His .423 OBP is a big reason why.

    That mark ranked second in the NL to teammate Joey Votto. Choo gave the Reds exactly what they needed in a high on-base leadoff hitter. A return to right field could improve his value, as he was average at best defensively in center field. Either way, he's a dynamic table-setter for whatever team winds up signing him this offseason.

1. 2B Robinson Cano

61 of 61

    2013 Stats

    160.314/.383/.51619041 02710781 7


    Player Overview

    There's little question who the top name is in this year's free-agent class. Robinson Cano is the premier second baseman of his generation and is still very much in the prime of his career at age 31.

    He turned in another elite season in 2013, despite the lineup around him being decimated by injury, and the Yankees will no doubt do whatever they can to bring him back. Early reports had Cano seeking a $300 million deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports, but he'll likely have to settle for something substantially lower when all is said and done. Still, something like $25 million per season is well within reason.