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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

15 best remaining MLB free agents

Yu Darvish Dodgers

Even as the new year looms, the free agent market in Major League Baseball hasn’t quite picked up yet. While some major players have found a home, a number of the top free agents on the market are still waiting for a satisfying offer, and it looks likely that their situations will drag into January. That means that teams shopping for help still have plenty of options on the board.

Here are 15 of the best remaining free agents that many contenders and non-contenders alike will be looking at.

15) Carlos Gonzalez, outfielder

A sub-par 2017 — with particular concerns about his production away from Coors Field — has definitely hurt Gonzalez’s market. He’s still only 32, though, and has shown himself to be a quality power bat as recently as 2016. He won’t be terribly expensive and he could be a short-term fix for a contender. Gonzalez could sign a short-term deal for 2018 in a bid to re-establish some value going forward.

14) Addison Reed, pitcher

Reed has quietly grown into a very solid setup man over the past few seasons, though he was fairly homer-prone in 2017. He was outstanding for the New York Mets the year before that, and was a massive part of the bullpen of the team that went to the World Series in 2015. While he’s not one of the very best relievers in the game, he’s certainly good enough to set up for a good team. He even has experience as a closer from his time with the Chicago White Sox and could do that for some teams.

13) Logan Morrison, first baseman

Morrison was a revelation in 2017, hitting a career-best 38 home runs for the Tampa Bay Rays. His ability is somewhat limited in scope beyond the power, but teams are always looking for home runs, and the veteran first baseman will absolutely find a soft landing spot somewhere. The Cleveland Indians were said to have interest in LoMo, but that was before they signed Yonder Alonso. Other contenders searching for a power hitting first base-designated hitter type will have him on their radar.

12) Alex Cobb, pitcher

Cobb made a solid recovery from Tommy John surgery to post a 3.66 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017. There’s a lot that is appealing about his profile. He’s only 30, won’t be as hugely expensive as some other top starter options, limits walks, and gets a whole lot of ground balls. A lot of teams are casting glances his way, but the mutual interest between Cobb and one team in particular seems to have them in pole position should they choose to pursue him.

11) Todd Frazier, third baseman

Frazier isn’t going to post a particularly high batting average, but he can still provide a good amount of power. Not only that, but he’s a capable third baseman who provided a boost to the New York Yankees after they acquired him last July. The soon-to-be 32-year-old is a good clubhouse presence and won’t be terribly expensive. He could provide a nice boost to a contender similar to how he helped the Yankees in their ALCS run last year. Even a return to the Yankees should not be ruled out.

10) Lorenzo Cain, outfielder

Cain is still an immensely valuable player, even as he’s heading toward a point in his career where the skills that have made him so good may start to erode. It didn’t matter much for him in 2017, as he posted another .300 season, adding 15 home runs and managing to stay healthy and play his customarily solid center field. Cain will be 32 in April, so there are long-term worries, but someone in need of a center fielder will be willing to take the risk.

9) Lance Lynn, pitcher

Lynn is not an ace, but he’s everything a team would want out of a No. 2 starting pitcher. He’s healthy now, and it would stand to reason that he’ll be back to throwing 200 innings in 2018 so long as he stays that way. They’ll probably be good innings, too, as Lynn posted a 3.43 ERA with the Cardinals in 2017. His career ERA is 3.38 — the mark of consistency. At 30 years old, he still has plenty of good seasons ahead of him, too.

8) Greg Holland, pitcher

Holland was going to be much higher on this list, but a terrible stretch run raised some questions about his durability and consistency going forward. He still came back healthy to lead the National League in saves and make his third All-Star team. Every team that needs a closer will be looking his way, particularly the St. Louis Cardinals, who have been linked with him since the beginning of the offseason. He certainly has the skill to solidify the back end of their bullpen — or anyone else’s.

See Nos. 7-1 on Page 2

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