It's time for a free-agency update! There are still a lot of free agents out there besides Bryce Harper and Manny Machado -- including some quality second basemen, one of the best closers of all time, some past-their-prime outfielders, some lefty starters who don't throw hard and a bunch of replacement-level relievers.
Let's look at the best available at each position and some potential fits for each player, and -- not for betting purposes! -- predict where each player will sign. Each player's 2019-season age is included, along with his projection from FanGraphs.
1. Dallas Keuchel (31, 3.69 ERA, 3.2 WAR) -- Keuchel doesn't have the ceiling of Patrick Corbin, which is why he won't approach the $140 million Corbin received, but he is reportedly seeking a five-year deal, a big ask for a pitcher who missed time in 2016 with a sore shoulder and more time in 2017 with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Best fits: Padres, Rangers, Nationals
Prediction: Padres. The Angels once seemed a possibility, but they instead went for quantity with Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill. The Rangers are desperate for starting pitching. The Phillies and Nationals aren't desperate, but have been mentioned in rumors for Keuchel (although balking at the five years). The Padres have been itching to make a big splash this offseason; maybe this will be it.
2. Gio Gonzalez (33, 4.39 ERA, 0.8 WAR) -- He has averaged 31 starts over the past nine seasons, but he had his lowest strikeout rate in that span in 2018 and his highest walk rate since 2010. Steamer forecasts some sort of injury and only 92 innings.
Best fits: Rangers, Angels, A's
Prediction: A's. How about a return to Oakland, where he debuted in 2008? The A's could use a starter who can take the mound 30 times.
3. Wade Miley (32, 4.36 ERA, 1.0 WAR) -- He had a fluky 2.57 ERA with the Brewers in 16 starts but was bad in 2016 and 2017 (5.48 ERA). He has generally been healthy (though he missed time in 2018 with a strained groin and oblique).
Best fits: A's, Giants, Mets
Prediction: Mets. New York could use a better fifth starter than Jason Vargas and is still $40 million under the luxury-tax threshold.
4. Drew Pomeranz (30, 4.73 ERA, 0.8 WAR) -- He was in line for a big payday after posting a 3.32 ERA in 2016-17 with 9.4 K's per nine innings. In fact, he outpitched Corbin those two years. In free agency, however, what you did most recently matters the most, and Pomeranz struggled through an injury-plagued 2018 and might have to take a one-year deal to rebuild some value and show he's healthy. Could be a good buy-low candidate.
Best fits: Padres, Nationals, Twins
Prediction: Nationals. Feels like a good gamble for Washington to fill the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
5. Clay Buchholz (34, 4.73 ERA, 1.0 WAR) -- He signed with the Royals in late March, was released May 1, signed with the Diamondbacks and posted a 2.01 ERA and 3.47 FIP over 16 starts and 98⅓ innings. His injury history is long, but he's sometimes good and sometimes very good. The Diamondbacks traded for Luke Weaver and signed Merrill Kelly out of South Korea (and could get Taijuan Walker back at some point), so a return engagement there is unlikely.
Best fits: A's, Brewers, Astros
Prediction: Astros. I could see Houston trying to milk 120 innings out of him, allowing the Astros to give Forrest Whitley a little extra time at Triple-A and keeping Brad Peacock in the bullpen.
Already signed: Patrick Corbin (Nationals), Nathan Eovaldi (Red Sox), Yusei Kikuchi (Mariners), J.A. Happ (Yankees), Charlie Morton (Rays), Lance Lynn (Rangers), Anibal Sanchez (Nationals), Garrett Richards (Padres), Mike Fiers (A's), Matt Harvey (Angels), Trevor Cahill (Angels), CC Sabathia (Yankees), Tyson Ross (Tigers)
1. Craig Kimbrel (31, 2.79 ERA, 1.4 WAR) -- Everybody is down on him after his shaky postseason, but he held batters to a .146 average and fanned 96 in 62⅓ innings. No, he's not as dominant as he once was -- he allowed a career-high 18 extra-base hits after seasons of four and six with the Braves earlier in his career -- but he still projects as a dominant closer, at least for the immediate future. He's not, however, going to get that nine-figure deal he was reportedly seeking at the outset of the winter.
Best fits: Red Sox, Braves, Angels
Prediction: Red Sox. It's just money. Back-to-back flags fly forever.
2. Adam Ottavino (33, 3.63 ERA, 0.6 WAR) -- After a dominant season with the Rockies -- 2.43 ERA, 112 K's in 77⅔ innings -- I like him to beat that projection.
Best fits: Braves, Angels, Cubs
Prediction: Angels. The best projection among their current relievers is Ty Buttrey's 3.70 ERA. They need late-inning help.
3. Cody Allen (30, 3.91 ERA, 0.3 WAR) -- I'm not a fan of homer-prone closers, and Allen has allowed 28 the past three seasons, including 11 in 2018, while also coming off a career-worst 4.70 ERA. The fastball was down to 94.0, 2 mph below where it sat in 2015. Looks like a risky bet.
Best fits: Angels, Diamondbacks, Mariners
Prediction: Diamondbacks. He can't be any worse than Brad Boxberger was in 2018.
4. Ryan Madson (38, 3.68 ERA, 0.1 WAR) -- He's old and coming off a 5.47 ERA, but he was very good the three prior seasons, and his peripherals and stuff remained better than the ERA indicates. Steamer predicts an injury and just 10 innings, thus the low WAR.
Best fits: Diamondbacks, Indians, Nationals
Prediction: Indians. Cleveland doesn't have a lot of certainty behind closer Brad Hand, and Madson should be inexpensive enough for the Tribe's checkbook.
5. Brad Brach (33, 4.04 ERA, 0.1 WAR) -- He gave up a lot of hits with the Orioles -- 50 in 39 innings -- then pitched better with the Braves. I think Baltimore's defense might have had something to do with the high hit rate, although given his age and heavy workloads over the years, it's also possible the decline has started.
Best fits: Angels, Mariners, Twins
Already signed: Zach Britton (Yankees), Jeurys Familia (Mets), David Robertson (Phillies), Andrew Miller (Cardinals), Joe Kelly (Dodgers), Kelvin Herrera (White Sox), Joakim Soria (A's), Jesse Chavez (Rangers), Trevor Rosenthal (Nationals)
1. Yasmani Grandal (30, .237/.343/.444, 3.5 WAR) -- He's one of the better hitting catchers thanks to his power and walks. He's regarded as a good pitch framer and he's not old. He should be in demand given the shortage of quality catching, but his poor performance in the postseason, when he had issues with wild pitches and passed balls, might have hurt his ability to secure a long-term deal. His market might also have been affected by the J.T. Realmuto trade rumors.
Best fits: Rockies, Brewers, Dodgers
Prediction: Rockies. He could end up back with the Dodgers on a one-year deal, but he already turned down their qualifying offer. Let's go with Colorado, which made one nice addition in Daniel Murphy, and signing Grandal would add even more depth to a lineup that needs it.
2. Martin Maldonado (32, .225/.286/.362, 1.0 WAR) -- A defense-first catcher -- he won a Gold Glove with the Angels in 2017 -- who also struggled behind the plate in the postseason for the Astros. Not much value at the plate, but he's not in Jeff Mathis offensive-sinkhole territory either.
Best fits: A's, Tigers, Dodgers
Prediction: A's. Oakland has Josh Phegley, who has a .594 OPS the past two seasons and has never batted more than 243 times in a season, listed as its starting catcher.
3. Matt Wieters (33, .239/.311/.388, 1.2 WAR) -- He hasn't been a league-average offensive performer since 2015, although he did bounce back some from an awful 2017. Strictly a backup at this point.
Best fits: Brewers, A's, Rockies
Prediction: Brewers. Milwaukee rode Quad-A veteran Erik Kratz in the postseason, which tells you about its catching situation.
4. Nick Hundley (35, .232/.285/.387, 0.1 WAR) -- Still has a little pop, although his defensive metrics aren't good.
Best fits: Giants, A's, Tigers
Prediction: Giants. A return to San Francisco as Buster Posey insurance.
5. Devin Mesoraco (31, .232/.313/.414, 0.3 WAR) -- Injuries ruined what was once a promising career. Hit 10 home runs in 203 at-bats with the Mets. Could be a guy a lower-tier team signs and then flips if he plays well.
Best fits: Tigers, Marlins, Rockies
Prediction: Tigers. The Marlins will need a catcher if they end up trading Realmuto, but let's put Mesoraco in Detroit.
1. Manny Machado (26, .288/.356/.529, 5.2 WAR) -- We don't know if he'll be playing third base, shortstop or a combination of both, but we know he's good and we know he's going to get paid.
Best fits: Phillies, Yankees, White Sox
Prediction: Phillies. Multiple reports indicate the Yankees just haven't been that aggressive in their pursuit of Machado and have yet to make a formal offer. Plus, with Giancarlo Stanton on his megadeal, coupled with the need to sign Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Gleyber Torres down the road, it seems likely the Phillies will outbid the Yankees (and the White Sox, who have attempted to persuade Machado by trading for brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and signing pal Jon Jay).
2. Marwin Gonzalez (30, .260/.327/.428, 1.6 WAR) -- He fell off from his big 2017 season but still produced a 2.5-WAR season, and I feel like that projection is a little light. He's a superutility guy, of course, who played primarily left field for the Astros in 2018 but also filled in at shortstop when Carlos Correa was injured.
Best fits: White Sox, Rangers, Angels
Prediction: Angels. With his flexibility, he fits in with pretty much any team. The White Sox need a third baseman and outfielders, while the Rangers need a third baseman. The Brewers could make him their regular second baseman as well. The Angels are still well under the luxury tax, however, and they have Zack Cozart (injured in 2018) for third base and David Fletcher (good glove, no power) at second. Gonzalez gives them depth there and also in the outfield if Kole Calhoun stinks again.
3. Mike Moustakas (30, .257/.317/.474, 2.8 WAR) -- He didn't get a big deal last offseason, and it doesn't look like he'll get one this winter, either.
Best fits: White Sox, Royals, Rangers
Prediction: White Sox. Once they lose out on Machado, they might be the one team willing to give Moustakas a multiyear deal.
4. Tim Beckham (29, .241/.293/.397, 0.5 WAR) -- He can play short or third and had a nice 50-game run with the Orioles in 2017 (.871 OPS) before sliding back into mediocrity in 2018.
Best fits: Tigers, Diamondbacks, Mariners
5. Wilmer Flores (27, .274/.325/.467, 1.0 WAR) -- He can mash lefties, but his lack of range mostly limits him to first and third base, hurting his value as a utility guy.
Best fits: Marlins, Rangers, Indians
Prediction: Rangers. Could platoon at first base with Ronald Guzman or fill in at third.
1. Jed Lowrie (35, .254/.335/.407, 2.3 WAR) -- He's up there in age but also coming off a career-high 4.8-WAR season (and 8.8 over the past two). The A's acquired Jurickson Profar from the Rangers, ruling out a return to Oakland.
Best fits: Brewers, Dodgers, Nationals
Prediction: Brewers. If the Dodgers don't land Bryce Harper, they're a strong possibility (with Chris Taylor moving to the outfield). The Brewers feel like the perfect fit, however, as FanGraphs currently projects their second basemen next-to-worst in the majors.
2. DJ LeMahieu (30, .273/.336/.390, 2.5 WAR) -- A solid defender coming off a career-high 15-homer season, though concerns about how he'll hit away from Coors Field have minimized interest in him.
Best fits: Brewers, Dodgers, Nationals
Prediction: One problem this crop of second basemen is running into is that several of the teams that need one aren't in contending mode (Orioles, Tigers, Blue Jays) or are too cheap to upgrade (Pirates, Indians). LeMahieu doesn't have the positional flexibility the Dodgers love, but he fits the bill if Harper doesn't sign with L.A., and there's always the chance a team like the Tigers or Blue Jays decides to spend a little money.
3. Brian Dozier (32, .235/.322/.427, 2.6 WAR) -- He had a terrible free-agent season, hitting .215 and plummeting from 4.5 WAR to 1.0. The projection splits the difference and expects a better 2019.
Best fits: Brewers, Dodgers, Nationals
Prediction: Nationals. Dozier would be fun at Coors, but the Rockies seem committed to Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson until Brendan Rodgers arrives. The Nationals have Howie Kendrick (who can still hit some but can't stay healthy and hasn't played much second in recent years) and Wilmer Difo (who didn't hit in 2018). So the Nationals make sense here.
4. Asdrubal Cabrera (33, .264/.323/.436, 2.0 WAR) -- He's coming off a 23-homer season and has produced an above-average OPS+ four consecutive seasons. The defensive metrics continue to slide from "below average" to "terrible," even at second base.
Best fits: Diamondbacks, Pirates, Yankees
Prediction: Diamondbacks. If you don't completely buy the idea of Troy Tulowitzki coming back -- I don't -- to play shortstop for the Yankees, how about signing Cabrera to play second, with Torres sliding over to shortstop until Didi Gregorius returns? Consider that a possibility, but let's put him on the D-backs to back up Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte up the middle.
5. Freddy Galvis (29, .244/.295/.370, 0.3 WAR) -- Aside from Machado, it's a weak group of shortstops, with Jose Iglesias and Adeiny Hechavarria providing OK defensive options and inept hitting.
Best fits: Pirates, Orioles, Mariners
Prediction: Mariners. Jerry Dipoto just said Seattle is looking to sign another infielder, probably a shortstop to potentially give J.P. Crawford some time at Triple-A.
1. Bryce Harper (26, .267/.399/.528, 4.9 WAR) -- Have bat, will sign for big money.
Best fits: Dodgers, Nationals, Phillies
Prediction: Dodgers. Los Angeles traded Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, seemingly to make room for Harper in the outfield. On the other hand, there was also a Los Angeles Times report earlier this offseason that a "sale book" provided to potential investors -- the Dodgers have been looking to sell a minority stake in the franchise for several years -- showed that the franchise plans to remain under the luxury tax through 2022. Hmm. According to Cot's Contracts, the Dodgers are currently an estimated $24 million under. Of course, they could go slightly over without earning a big tax hit. Meanwhile, the Nationals have reportedly upped their offer. I'll still go with the Dodgers, but it feels more like a 50-50 bet right now.
2. A.J. Pollock (31, .259/.326/.446, 3.1 WAR) -- He was maybe the best player in the National League in April before getting injured again. He's good when healthy, but does have a big home/road split in his career, and now he's 31. He's also the only good center fielder on the market.
Best fits: Giants, White Sox, Reds
Prediction: Giants. The Mets might be out of the running after trading for Keon Broxton (to go with Juan Lagares). The White Sox have Adam Engel, kind of a poor man's Billy Hamilton. Pollock is probably too expensive to return to the Diamondbacks, but they need a center fielder. We don't know what direction the Giants are going, but the current outfield is a disaster.
3. Nick Markakis (35, .271/.349/.399, 1.1 WAR) -- In his 13th season, he made his first All-Star team, although he faded in the second half of 2018 (playing every game probably didn't help).
Best fits: Braves, Giants, Indians
Prediction: Braves. This would feel like a classic Giants signing under the old regime, but Farhan Zaidi is too smart to sign a 35-year-old outfielder. Going back to Atlanta makes sense, as Markakis can platoon with Adam Duvall and the club won't have to shoehorn Johan Camargo into the outfield.
4. Adam Jones (33, .266/.307/.429, 1.2 WAR) -- He shouldn't be viewed as a center fielder anymore, and his power numbers dropped off last year. He might have to accept a role as a part-time player.
Best fits: Indians, Rockies, Orioles
4. Denard Span (35, .258/.328/.405, 0.6 WAR) -- He had a pretty good year in 2018 (1.9 WAR), although, like Jones, he should be viewed strictly as a corner guy these days. He would make for a solid fourth outfielder on a good team.
Best fits: Rockies, Giants, White Sox
5. Carlos Gonzalez (33, .250/.314/.434, 1.2 WAR) -- He can still hit righties, although teams will be wary of the .663 road OPS he put up in 2018.
Best fits: Giants, Indians, White Sox
Prediction: White Sox