The eighth annual MLB Trade Rumors Top 50 Free Agents list is here! The entire list of available free agents can be found here, and you can filter by position and signing team with our free agent tracker here.
This is the third year for our free agent prediction contest, which allows you to test your prognostication abilities against those of the MLBTR writing team as well as other readers. Last year 5,239 people entered, with Josh Larabee taking home the batting title with 20 correct picks and a .400 average. I topped MLBTR writers with 16 correct. The contest is back for 2014 and is open now! You can enter your picks anytime between now and November 10th at midnight central time, and you're free to make changes up until that point (I will certainly make changes up until the end). A Facebook account is required. Once all top 50 players have signed, the winners will receive sweet prizes. Here are the top 50 free agents for which you'll be making predictions, along with my guesses. Player names are linked to our Free Agent Profiles.
1. Robinson Cano – Yankees. Cano is likely to join Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, and Prince Fielder as baseball's fifth $200MM player. Cano made news in April, dropping agent Scott Boras in favor of Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports, which will be supported by CAA's Brodie Van Wagenen in negotiations. Cano, 31, is the complete package, a durable second baseman who hits in the middle of the order and provides a .310 batting average, 30 home runs, and 100+ RBI with above average defense. He's averaged more than six wins above replacement per season for the Yankees since 2010, a level of production justifying a yearly salary north of $25MM. There was talk in September of Cano seeking ten years and $305-310MM, which would be the largest contract in baseball history by far. We think he'll fall well short of $300MM, especially with the Dodgers looking unlikely. Casting a wide net, Cano's speculative suitors aside from the Yankees could include the Rangers, Mariners, Blue Jays, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Nationals, and Cubs, though none of those teams seem like an obvious match. At any rate, it will be an ownership-level conversation for Jay Z and Van Wagenen.
2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Mariners. Ellsbury is a 30-year-old center fielder and leadoff man whose speed contributes to strong defense and big stolen base totals. His power is mostly of the doubles and triples variety, as he's only reached double digits in home runs once. That was in his 2011 season, an MVP-caliber campaign in which he hit 32 home runs and accounted for a superstar level nine WAR. Ellsbury spent significant time on the disabled list in the 2010 and '12 seasons. The first injury was cracked ribs after a collision with Adrian Beltre and the second a shoulder injury after a collision with Reid Brignac, prompting agent Scott Boras to say in July, "Jacoby Ellsbury is a very durable player. He just has to make sure that people don’t run into him." I think a goal for Boras will be to top Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142MM deal from three years ago. Boras will surely be making his pitch directly to team owners, who could green-light a huge contract even if the GM disapproves. The Mariners have money to spend and may find extra appeal in that Ellsbury is an Oregon native. Otherwise, the Red Sox could bring him back, or the Rangers, Tigers, Yankees, and Cubs could be fits.
3. Shin-Soo Choo – Tigers. Choo posted a robust .423 on-base percentage this year, leading all free agents and ranking fourth in baseball. He's another Boras leadoff man with a shot at $100MM, so you can be sure we'll hear the agent talking about how leadoff hitters are the new 40 home run hitters. Despite playing center field this year, Choo fits best in an outfield corner. There are questions about his defense and ability to hit left-handed pitching, and as with Cano, Ellsbury, McCann, Santana, and others, a team will have to forfeit its highest available draft pick to sign him. The 31-year-old South Korea native should require a contract in excess of Hunter Pence's five-year, $90MM deal, making a return to the Reds unlikely. The Tigers' interest in signing Choo to play an outfield corner is unknown, but surely Boras' relationship with owner Mike Ilitch will lead to a conversation. The Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Mariners, Cubs, and Astros are other potential matches.
4. Brian McCann – Rangers. McCann, 30 in February, is a power-hitting catcher with a middle of the order reputation. He's an above average defensive backstop as well, so he's not destined to move off the position in the immediate future. Still, with a five-year term expected, an American League team makes more sense to allow for increasing time at designated hitter as the contract winds down. Like Ellsbury, McCann bounced back from a shoulder injury to have a strong 2013, and like Choo, he hasn't been good against left-handed pitching lately. The Rangers are a natural fit, but the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Tigers, Phillies, and Dodgers could be other considerations for agent B.B. Abbott.
5. Masahiro Tanaka – Dodgers. Not technically a free agent, Tanaka is expected to be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league. MLB and NPB are closing in on an agreement for changes to the posting system, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Rangers paid $51.7MM to negotiate with Yu Darvish two years ago, and executives who spoke with Yahoo's Jeff Passan expect something like $75MM to negotiate with Tanaka. Whatever the fee, it will not count against the team's luxury tax payroll, and a contract will still have to be negotiated with Tanaka's as yet unknown agent. Tanaka is known to have a great splitter and while he doesn't project to be as good as Darvish, some reports have suggested he could step directly into a Major League rotation as a number two starter. At just 25 years old, an MLB team would get much of his prime years, making him a potential match even for teams not expected to contend in 2014. The Dodgers, Yankees, and Angels are expected to be major players, while I can see the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Twins, Royals, Mariners, Astros, Mets, Phillies, Cubs, Padres, and Rockies being involved as well.
6. Ervin Santana – Yankees. Santana is competing with Tanaka and Garza for the title of best available starting pitcher, after posting 211 innings of 3.24 ball for the Royals this year. Santana throws relatively hard, avoids walks, and doesn't turn 31 until December. He has been homer-prone at times, and some teams may balk at losing a draft pick and giving Santana our projected five-year, $75MM deal. Nonetheless, the list of suitors should be long if the Royals aren't able to retain Santana, potentially including the Yankees, Twins, Blue Jays, Nationals, Mariners, Rockies, Phillies, Dodgers, Astros, and more.
7. Matt Garza – Nationals. Limited to 259 innings over the last two seasons, our projected four-year deal in excess of $60MM would be unprecedented for a pitcher with a questionable recent health history. Once Garza recovered from a stress fracture in his elbow and a lat strain, he went on to make all 24 starts for the Cubs and Rangers this year. Since he was traded midseason, he's ineligible for a qualifying offer, adding value in comparison to Santana. Garza is a hard thrower who has consistently posted sub-4.00 ERAs, with good K/BB ratios in recent years. The Nationals figure to bring in some kind of starter, while the Phillies, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, and Yankees also seem like potential fits. The Astros are my dark horse here.
8. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees. Kuroda provided the Yankees with a 3.31 ERA over 421 innings from 2012-13, and they'd like to have him back even though he will pitch next year at age 39. MLBTR's Steve Adams describes Kuroda as a "groundball pitcher with plus command," noting that teams may be reluctant to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. Kuroda figures to be picky in free agency, but we don't know if his preference will be a return to the Yankees, California, or Japan, or to simply retire at the top of his game.
9. A.J. Burnett – Pirates. Burnett will be even more picky than Kuroda, as he's deciding between the Pirates or retirement. He has given the Bucs 393 1/3 innings of 3.41 ball from 2012-13 and would pitch next year at 37. He still misses lots of bats and keeps the ball on the ground. His decision will greatly impact the Pirates' offseason. The team chose not to make a qualifying offer, giving both sides more freedom to work out a fair deal.
10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox. Napoli, 32, is one of the top sluggers on the free agent market after hitting 21 home runs with 92 RBI in the regular season and adding a few more key hits in the postseason. A three-year, $39MM deal with the Red Sox last offseason was negotiated down to one year and $5MM when a physical revealed he has avascular necrosis (AVN) in both hips. He ended up earning the full $13MM through incentives, staying relatively healthy and strengthening his position for this offseason. Another asset: he's played in the postseason six times out of eight total seasons. On the other hand, Napoli does strike out a lot and some teams will have a hard time sacrificing a draft pick and giving him our projected three-year, $42MM contract. After missing out on Jose Dariel Abreu, we'll learn soon if the Red Sox are willing to guarantee a third year to Napoli, for real this time, fresh off a World Championship.
11. Ubaldo Jimenez – Blue Jays. From April 29th onward, Jimenez posted a 2.61 ERA and 9.7 K/9 in 165 2/3 innings, and he finished especially strong. It seems likely Jimenez will turn down the qualifying offer from the Indians and will require a new team to forfeit a draft pick, unlike Nolasco. Still, he posted an excellent 3.30 ERA this year and finished third in the NL Cy Young voting in 2010, so Jimenez has upside that Nolasco doesn't. Jimenez, 30 in January, seems to have a good shot at the Edwin Jackson contract: four years, $52MM. Suitors could include the Blue Jays, Angels, Yankees, Twins, Mariners, Astros, Nationals, Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers, Padres, and Giants.
12. Carlos Beltran – Yankees. Beltran is a middle of the order bat who can likely be had on a two-year deal because he'll turn 37 in April. He's a 25 home run switch-hitter with a strong October reputation, though his market will be hurt by receiving a qualifying offer. An American League team might be wise, given the chance of Beltran picking up some DH at-bats. He's had interest in the Yankees for a decade now, and this might finally be the year it happens. The Royals, Rangers, Orioles, and Pirates are other potential fits if Beltran doesn't re-sign with the Cardinals.
13. Curtis Granderson - Mets. After a pair of 40 home run seasons, Granderson lost most of 2013 to separate incidents in which a pitch broke a bone (his forearm and a finger). Granderson is "widely regarded as one of the most amiable players in the game," noted MLBTR's Steve Adams, who predicted a three-year, $45MM contract. Aside from the fact that he'll play next year at age 33, one factor that will hurt Granderson's market value is the qualifying offer he received from the Yankees. According to Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News prior to the offer, agent Matt Brown said it's possible they could accept. If Granderson does hit the market, the Mets have to come away with some kind of decent outfielder, and Granderson is capable of playing all three positions. Granderson is a Chicago guy, and the Cubs or Sox could make it work.
14. Stephen Drew – Mets. Drew signed a one-year, $9.5MM make-good contract with the Red Sox last December, and for the most part he did just that. Drew, 31 in March, played in 120+ games for the first time since 2010 despite enduring a hamstring injury. Though he weathered a postseason slump, Drew has an above-average bat for a shortstop. He excelled defensively during the regular season and on the big stage in the playoffs. Drew will be dragging a qualifying offer around, but his competition is light on the shortstop market. Agent Scott Boras has a shot at four years at more than $10MM annually. The Red Sox may feel they have a ready replacement in Xander Bogaerts, so the Mets, Cardinals, and Pirates are Drew's most likely suitors.
15. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – White Sox. Salty had the best overall year of any free agent catcher, and he won't turn 29 until May. He's a switch-hitter with good power. Drawbacks include a poor line against southpaws and lots of strikeouts. Saltalamacchia was benched by the Red Sox in the World Series in favor of David Ross. He was able to avoid a qualifying offer, which will be to his advantage in the marketplace and could allow him to top my predicted four-year, $36MM deal. I don't love the White Sox prediction, so other possibilities include the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rangers, Phillies, and, to think outside the box, the Angels and Marlins.
16. Scott Kazmir - Twins. The lefty signed a minor league deal with the Indians before the season, and 29 strong starts later he's back on the radar as a top 20 free agent. Just 30 in January, Kazmir has never been an innings guy, but he does flash front of the rotation stuff. I've predicted a two-year, $16MM deal. With the reasonable price, upside, and no draft pick compensation, Kazmir could wind up with a dozen suitors.
17. Nelson Cruz – Phillies. Cruz is one of the better power bats on the free agent market, but he's 33 years old, limited defensively, and was suspended 50 games this year for his connection to Biogenesis. The Rangers made Cruz a qualifying offer, and he's yet another player whose market will be hurt by draft pick compensation. With power in short supply, it's possible Cruz could top Beltran and receive a three-year deal. The Phillies, in search of right-handed outfield power, could be a nice match if the Rangers don't retain him. The Royals, Mets, Pirates, and Diamondbacks could be other considerations.
18. Omar Infante - Tigers. One of the ten best second basemen in the game, Infante doesn't strike out much and is solid defensively, and he didn't receive a qualifying offer. I think he can find a three-year deal in the $25MM range, maybe to stay with the Tigers. The Cubs, Yankees, Orioles, and Royals are other possibilities.
19. Joe Nathan - Tigers. With the Rangers seemingly willing to let their closer walk, Nathan will be seeking a win-now team willing to overpay to solidify the ninth inning with the legendary but aging righty on a two-year deal for around $26MM. The Tigers could replace Joaquin Benoit with Nathan, while the Yankees and Angels are other possibilities.
20. Ricky Nolasco – Phillies. Nolasco, 31 in December, saw his stock rise after joining the Dodgers in a July trade and posting a 3.52 ERA in 87 innings. Three rough outings in September took some of the shine off, but even innings eaters make good money these days. And unlike Ervin Santana, Nolasco is ineligible to receive a qualifying offer. I've come around to the idea that Nolasco should be able to find Edwin Jackson's four-year, $52MM deal. He could solidify the Phillies' rotation, and may also be an option for the Twins, Giants, Angels, Rockies, or Mariners if the Dodgers don't retain him.
21. Jhonny Peralta – Cardinals. Peralta, who will play most of next season at age 32, is a strong hitter for a shortstop. Defensively, he's considered to have strong hands but limited range, so some teams may view him as a third baseman. His stock will be hurt by this year's 50-game Biogenesis suspension, which prompted the Tigers to acquire his successor in Jose Iglesias. Peralta still may manage a three-year deal in the $30MM range, given the limited market at his position. The Cardinals could plug their shortstop hole with Peralta, while other potential matches include the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Pirates.
22. Bartolo Colon – Indians. Colon, 41 in May, resurrected his career by getting bone marrow and fat stem calls injected into his elbow and shoulder in 2010. Returning to the Majors in 2011, Colon started pitching increasingly well, at least in terms of ERA, and his 2.65 mark in 190 1/3 innings this year ranked second in the American League. Colon tested positive for testosterone in August 2012, earning a 50-game suspension and keeping his price down for the A's for 2013. The testosterone use was later found to be tied to Biogenesis, and Colon did not get a second suspension for his involvement. Colon's age and health/PED profile makes a qualifying offer unlikely, but his performance this year could merit $10MM or more on a one-year deal. I'm not sure if the Indians would be open to a reunion with Colon if the A's are not able to retain him. Most teams could find room for the righty on a one-year deal.
23. Bronson Arroyo – Mets. Arroyo is the only pitcher in baseball to make at least 32 starts per year from 2005-13. Arroyo, 37 in February, is the game's most consistent innings-eater. It appears he'll move on from the Reds after eight seasons, and he didn't receive a potentially budget-busting qualifying offer. I've pegged Arroyo at two years and $24MM, which could be palatable for the Mets, Twins, Giants, and several other teams looking to solidify the backend of their rotation.
24. Marlon Byrd – Pirates. Byrd, 36, hit a career low with a PED suspension in June 2012. The outfielder signed a minor league deal with the Mets and improbably became their starting right fielder. He hit five home runs in May and didn't look back, mashing 24 overall between the Mets and Pirates. A two-year deal in the $15MM range seems possible. If a contract can't be hammered out with the Pirates, the Royals, Orioles, Mariners, Phillies, Rockies, or Giants could make sense.
25. Grant Balfour – Yankees. After saving 62 games over the 2012-13 seasons, Balfour will likely be seeking a closer gig in free agency. The Aussie, 36 in December, could get something like $18MM over two years. As with Joe Nathan, the Yankees, Angels, and Tigers make sense, but with more than a half-dozen closer types on the market, a few of them will need to settle for set-up jobs.
26. Joaquin Benoit – Cubs. MLBTR readers prefer Balfour to Benoit, though they're both quality late-inning options who will get multiyear deals. Benoit, 36, set the market for setup men three years ago with a three-year, $16.5MM deal, and with 24 saves under his belt in 2013 he could earn that much or more for two years. The Cubs figure to add relief help of some sort, while the Tigers, Yankees, Indians, Angels, Mariners, Astros, Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers, and Rockies will also be in the market.
27. Scott Feldman – Orioles. The Cubs' one-year, $6MM investment in Feldman a year ago paid off, as he provided 15 solid starts for them before being flipped to the Orioles in a trade for controllable players. The Orioles were happy with the results and Feldman could continue to stabilize their rotation on a new two-year deal. The Twins, Yankees, Blue Jays, Indians, Royals, Angels, Mariners, Astros, Nationals, Mets, Phillies, Brewers, Giants, Padres, and Rockies could fit on guys like this, basically half of baseball.
28. Kendrys Morales – Mariners. Morales is a 30-year-old switch-hitter with no major flaws offensively, and even a guy you could dream on for 30 home run potential outside of Safeco. Many factors will conspire to hold down interest, however: he's mostly a designated hitter, he'll come with draft pick compensation attached, and agent Scott Boras has aggressive asking prices. The Mariners might be the only team that values Morales at two years and $28MM, though the Yankees, Orioles, Indians, Twins, Rangers, Mariners, and Astros might be interested if not for the draft pick cost. Some feel Morales could accept the qualifying offer, but that's not a typical Boras move.
29. Carlos Ruiz – Phillies. Chooch had an off year, beginning with a suspension for using Adderall and also missing time with a hamstring strain. He was quietly one of the game's top offensive catchers from 2010-12, which should be enough to get him a two-year, $14MM deal. Ruiz, 35 in January, could draw interest from the Rays, Yankees, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Rangers if he can't find common ground to remain in Philadelphia.
30. Josh Johnson – Royals. Johnson, 30 in January, was limited to 15 starts this year for Toronto due to triceps and forearm injuries, culminating in October elbow surgery. With a 3.14 ERA from 2006-12, the oft-injured, hard-throwing righty will entice many teams on a one-year deal in the $8-10MM range. The Blue Jays didn't spring for a qualifying offer, but should have interest in bringing Johnson back. Otherwise, it's easy to picture the Royals, Phillies, Rays, Indians, Astros, Nationals, Pirates, and Cubs entering the fray.
31. Tim Hudson – Braves. A fractured ankle ended Hudson's season in July, so the 38-year-old groundballer seems in line for a one-year deal this winter. However, agent Paul Cohen told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca the pitcher seeks a multiyear deal. The Braves may require a discount, but they're likely Hudson's first choice. Otherwise, teams such as the Yankees, Nationals, Phillies, and Pirates could get involved, and the Angels and Giants if he's amenable to the West Coast.
32. Fernando Rodney – Astros. Rodney resurrected his career with the Rays in 2012, allowing a ridiculous five earned runs in 74 2/3 innings while saving 48 games. He saved another 37 this year, though his walk rate spiked back to its previous, dangerous rate of nearly five per nine innings. Since Rodney will turn 37 in March, he's probably limited to a two-year deal, perhaps in the $16MM range. That seems likely to be out of the Rays' range. The Tigers and Angels are contenders with potentially available closing jobs, but they may not seek a reunion with Rodney. That could leave the Yankees, plus the Indians and Rangers if they don't fill their openings internally or more affordably. Rodney could expand his market by considering closing for non-contenders like the Astros or Cubs, or by taking on a setup job for teams like the Phillies or Rockies.
33. A.J. Pierzynski – Yankees. At age 37 in December, Pierzynski might not be many teams' first choice at catcher, but he's still a durable player who makes good contact and hits for power. Teams that balk at the multiyear demands of McCann and Saltalamacchia could go for Pierzynski, including the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Marlins, Phillies, or even the Rangers or White Sox again.
34. Dan Haren – Giants. Haren, 33, had strong peripheral stats this year but posted his highest ERA in many years with a 4.67 mark. He put together a 3.29 ERA in the second half, giving hope for mid-rotation potential in 2014. The California native would be a good fit for the Giants, Athletics, or Padres on a one-year deal, while a dozen other teams could show interest.
35. Jason Vargas – Angels. Vargas came to the Angels a year ago in a trade for #28 on this list, Kendrys Morales. The southpaw did respectable work until a blood clot in his left armpit knocked him out for nearly two months. With a strong track record as an innings eater, Vargas may get a three-year deal. The Halos would like to hang onto him, though the Orioles, Royals, Phillies, and any of the other teams named in Scott Feldman's blurb would make sense.
36. Suk-min Yoon - Royals. Public information is light on Yoon, a 27-year-old righty who intends to jump from the Korea Baseball Organization to MLB this winter, as Hyun-jin Ryu did last year. Yoon isn't as good as Ryu, and may not even profile as a starter for some teams. The Boras client could still be a bargain on a modest two-year deal if he does profile as a mid-rotation arm.
37. James Loney – Twins. Loney, 30 in May, resurrected his career in Tampa Bay as several other first basemen have before him. A one-year deal seems likely for Loney, who doesn't have the typical power profile for his position but is regarded as a slick fielder. I haven't found a great fit for Loney, though the Twins could work. The Brewers could be a fit if they don't re-sign Corey Hart.
38. Phil Hughes – Padres. Hughes will pitch next year at 28, so he's the youngest domestic free agent starter. The former first rounder throws relatively hard and has put together some solid K/BB ratios, but was crushed at Yankee Stadium and is homer-prone in general as a flyball pitcher. On a one-year deal, he could have some upside for a pitcher-friendly NL team like the Padres.
39. Corey Hart - Brewers. Recovery from offseason surgery on one knee bled into Hart injuring his other knee and requiring surgery on it as well. Now he enters free agency after missing all of 2013. He's said he'll take a discount to remain with the Brewers, the only organization he's ever known, and the team still has a need at first base. The Rockies and Twins are other possibilities.
40. Edward Mujica – Phillies. Though we once pegged Mujica for three years and $21MM, that's feeling steep in light of the Cardinals' decision to avoid him entirely in six World Series games. Despite the poor finish to his season, there's still plenty in Mujica's favor: he doesn't turn 30 until May, he made the All-Star team, and he saved 37 games in 41 tries with immaculate control. He still has a shot at three years, but maybe something in the $15-18MM range. Though the saves in 2013 boost his earning potential, Mujica may still be open to set-up work, so he could work for many teams. The Phillies are one potential fit, though it may be unreasonable to suggest they'll add $40MM in free agent salaries for 2014 as projected on this list.
41. Nate McLouth – Orioles. This year McLouth played in more than 130 games for the first time since his banner 2008 season with the Pirates. He seemed stretched a little thin as an everyday left fielder, hitting .243/.306/.380 from May onward. McLouth still provides quiet value, especially against right-handed pitching, and it should be enough to get him a Jonny Gomes type of contract. If a return to Baltimore doesn't work out, teams like the Mets and Astros have outfield openings McLouth could help fill at a reasonable cost.
42. Juan Uribe – Marlins. Uribe quietly ranked sixth among all free agent position players in FanGraphs wins above replacement this year with 5.1, outpacing names like Mike Napoli, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran. He was the Uribe of his Giants years, with a workable OBP and solid pop. He's played the middle infield in his career, but spent most of 2013 at the hot corner, amassing stellar fielding numbers that account for much of that WAR. While Uribe has always posted strong defensive numbers at third base, those heights are not likely repeatable. More detrimental to his market value is his replacement level play for the first two years of his Dodgers contract, from 2011-12. The 34-year-old is probably looking at a one-year deal, though a modest two-year pact is possible. It's difficult to place any decent free agent in Miami these days, but they could offer Uribe a nice opportunity. The Yankees, White Sox, and Cubs could be other options.
43. Paul Maholm – Brewers. Maholm is a groundballing 31-year-old southpaw who fits in the back of a team's rotation, most likely on a one-year deal. Teams seeking a lefty can look at Maholm, Scott Kazmir, Jason Vargas, and Chris Capuano.
44. Joe Smith – Rockies. Smith, 30 in March, is a sidearming righty reliever with a 2.42 ERA over 197 innings dating back to 2011. He's posted strong groundball rates, especially in 2011-12 at over 56%. Smith isn't amazing in terms of missing bats or avoiding free passes, but he's proven to be tough to hit with 7.6 per nine innings allowed in his career. The Rockies, Tigers, Astros, Phillies, and Brewers could be among his suitors if the Indians don't re-sign him.
45. Justin Morneau – Rays. Morneau hasn't been the same elite hitter since suffering a severe concussion in 2010. 33 in May, he's hit .263/.328/.424 over the past two seasons. If baseball card stats matter to any teams, Morneau looks a bit better, since he approached 20 home runs and 80 RBI in each of the last two seasons. Someone will be willing to throw him a one-year deal to see if he can rediscover the magic or at least be a decent complementary piece. Morneau values playing for a contender, so if he doesn't return to the Pirates, the Rays could make sense.
46. Jesse Crain – Astros. Crain's fantastic first half resulted in an All-Star selection, but he didn't pitch after June 29th due to a shoulder injury. The 32-year-old reliever should come on an affordable one-year deal with incentives due to the health concern. Crain has ties to Colorado and Houston, and both clubs are seeking relief help.
47. Brian Wilson – Angels. The Beard had a successful Tommy John comeback with the Dodgers, though it was still less than 20 innings including the postseason. He's likely to sign a one-year deal. The Angels are a potential match, as they could push Ernesto Frieri to a setup role.
48. Jason Hammel – Mariners. Hammel was surprisingly good for the 2012 Orioles, though his season was shortened by knee surgery. His strikeout and groundball rates came crashing down in 2013, and he spent significant time on the DL for inflammation of his ulnar nerve. The 31-year-old does throw hard, averaging around 93 miles per hour on his fastball, and could provide 170 decent innings on a one-year deal. The Mariners could use the depth, plus Hammel is semi-local.
49. Roy Halladay – Mets. Halladay, 37 in May, had a brutal 2013. He had shoulder surgery in May, coming back for six starts toward the end of the season. His final outing was particularly bad, as he topped out at 83 miles per hour before being pulled. The former ace is a complete unknown for 2014, but a one-year deal is the only possibility. I think a team with Spring Training in Florida could be a factor for Halladay. Doc could wait to sign during the season, to ensure his health is where it needs to be.
50. Chris Young – Cubs. Young, 30, joined the Athletics via trade a year ago but had a lost season that included a DL stint for a quad strain. He should be able to serve as a lefty-mashing quality fourth outfielder who can handle all three positions, with the upside to play himself back into regular duty. He could join Ryan Sweeney in a platoon with the Cubs, while the Mariners and Phillies could also work.