The moment after Brian Wilson threw the final pitch of the 2010 World Series, 142 Major League Baseball players officially became free agents.
The first champagne cork hadn’t been popped in the San Francisco Giants locker room when approximately 19 percent of opening-day rosters didn’t have a contractual agreement for the 2011 season.
Welcome to the MLB Hot Stove season.
We would wait for the Giants to fly back home to San Francisco and hold their championship parade, but we simply don’t have time to do that.
Clubs have five days to exclusively negotiate with their own free agents before the bidding is opened up to the rest of the league.
What does that mean precisely?
When Monday morning arrives next week, Cliff Lee can officially bolt Texas if he chooses to do so.
To prepare for the free agent bonanza that will be upon us shortly, Bleacher Report will take a look at many of the names that could be on the move.
Today, we look at 20 of the top hitters on the free-agent market.
There’s one distinction in play: This is a list of names, not a ranking, which is why they will not be numbered from 1-20.
Yes, rankings are fun. Debating who’s the best at anything provides a great conversation point.
But presenting this discussion in that form would simply be an insult to your intelligence. Why?
Well, let’s say that the free-agent market this year is rather feeble, at best.
There’s a handful of intriguing names, and then it drops off rather quickly. Getting to 20 quality names on this year’s list wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Therefore, I think you’ll be able to discern rather quickly who is potentially an impact bat and who isn’t.
With that in mind, here are 20 hitters who are (or could be) free agents this winter.