Free agency lost yet another marquee name when outfielder Marcell Ozuna signed a one-year, $18MM contract with the Braves on Tuesday. Ozuna was, of course, a prominent part of the top 50 list of free agents MLBTR put together when the offseason began in November. Since then, just about every member of that class has come off the board during what has been a much quicker-moving winter than the previous couple. To be exact, 46 of MLBTR’s top 50 have already found teams. Here’s a look at the four still out there with spring training creeping ever closer…
8. Nicholas Castellanos, OF (original prediction: four years, $58MM)
- The Rangers have been mentioned more than anyone else in connection with Castellanos lately, but the deal Ozuna inked could be a negative portent for the former’s earning power. He and Ozuna, who aren’t that different in overall value when they take the field, were projected to rake in lucrative multiyear contracts as the top two outfielders on the market. The good news for Castellanos is that he’s younger (28 in March; Ozuna’s 29) and, unlike Ozuna, not saddled with a qualifying offer.
37. Yasiel Puig, OF (original prediction: one year, $8MM)
- Puig your friend? Tell that to the teams in search of an outfielder. Interest in the former star has been scarce since he completed an underwhelming season in Ohio in 2019, and clear fits are hard to find with teams like the Braves, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Marlins and Reds having addressed their outfields this winter.
41. Brock Holt, UTIL (original prediction: two years, $8MM)
- The Holt rumor mill was silent until recently. Since last week, both the Reds and Blue Jays have sprung up as reported suitors for the former Red Sox utilityman. Considering Holt’s defensive versatility and passable offense, and the fact that he won’t cost a ton to sign, it’s not hard to see the appeal.
49. Pedro Strop, RP (original prediction: one year, $5MM)
- For the most part, Strop has been eminently effective since his career began in 2009. That said, his numbers trended downward last year. In what could go down as his final season as a Cub, he pitched to a 4.97 ERA/4.53 FIP with 4.32 walks per nine and a 93.6 mph average fastball velocity. Those figures all rank among the worst of his career. On a better note, Strop once again struck out double-digit hitters per nine and recorded another groundball rate upward of 50 percent. Still, relative to the rest of his time in the majors, it looks as if the 34-year-old Strop is a free agent at the wrong time. That doesn’t mean teams aren’t interested, though, as Strop’s said to be weighing offers from the Cubs, Marlins, Brewers and Rangers.