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#pounditThursday, September 29, 2022

15 best remaining MLB free agents

Jay Bruce

7) Jay Bruce, outfielder

After his reputation slid a bit in his last few years with the Cincinnati Reds, Bruce re-established himself in 2017 as a power hitter to be feared. He hit 36 home runs between the New York Mets and Cleveland Indians, including some very big ones down the stretch for the Tribe. Any team in need of a power-hitting outfielder who’s still only 30 years old will definitely want to look his way. According to reports, the San Francisco Giants already have.

6) Mike Moustakas, third baseman

There is so much to like about Moustakas if you’re a team in need of a third baseman and/or a power bat. He returned to full health in 2017 and did not disappoint in his contract year, hitting .272 and slugging a career-best 38 home runs. He plays a very strong third base, too, and he only just turned 29. All of this ensures that Moustakas is going to be an expensive proposition for any interested team, but he could also be a huge boon to whoever lands him.

5) Wade Davis, pitcher

He’s not exactly the machine he was when he was with the Kansas City Royals, but Davis is still the best relief pitcher on the market. His walks jumped in 2017, but his strikeouts remained high and he got the job done for the Chicago Cubs. He’s 32 years old now, but he still seems to have a good bit left in the tank. Any team in need of a permanent closer would feel great if they could land him. There’s always a market for relief pitching, even if it hasn’t quite developed yet.

4) Jake Arrieta, pitcher

Arrieta probably wishes he could’ve hit free agency two years ago, but he’ll still get a hefty payday once the starting pitching market kicks into high gear. His 3.53 ERA was his worst over a full season since joining the Chicago Cubs, but a lot of that was due to a bad start to the season. From July onward, Arrieta posted a 2.26 mark over his final 14 regular season starts. He was the only Chicago starter who managed to slow the Dodgers in the NLCS.

3) Eric Hosmer, first baseman

Hosmer fits the ideal profile of a long-term contract. He’s only 28 years old, he’s shown himself to be very durable, he’s a plus defender at first base, and he hit .318 with 25 home runs last season. He’s just now entering his physical prime. One would think teams would be lining up for his services, but he’s going to be very expensive, and his market hasn’t developed as anticipated. He may have to take less money to stay with Kansas City — or settle for a non-contender.

2) J.D. Martinez, outfielder

The 30-year-old outfielder is the single best power hitter to hit the market this winter. He’s still in his physical prime and he’s coming off a 45 home run season. In Detroit and Arizona, he has frequently showcased his ability to hit all pitches with power to all fields, and there’s no sign that he’s slowing down anytime soon. So what if he’s a weak defender? Even with the pluses, he may have to bring that asking price down if he wants to find a new home soon.

1) Yu Darvish, pitcher

Yes, Darvish had a bad season. No, it ultimately won’t affect his free agency too much. Even with a history of injuries and an underwhelming 3.86 ERA in 2017, teams know what this guy can do on the mound and are more than happy to bet on him looking more like he did in 2013 and 2014, when he was dominant for the Texas Rangers. Even the team that beat up on him during the World Series is interested in his services. He’ll get a big contract, and he’ll probably fix his issues. The track record is there, and so too is the talent.

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