2019 Top 50 Free Agents

Welcome to FanGraphs’ top-50 free-agent rankings. Dave Cameron has previously been responsible for this annual post. This year, though, I’m leading the charge, with some assistance from my colleagues.

In what follows, I’ve provided contract estimates and rankings of the winter’s top free agents, along with market-focused breakdowns for the top-25 players and one case beyond that. (As for why I’ve provided commentary on only the top 25, you can decide for yourself whether it’s because my take on No. 46 Cody Allen was too hot for the internet or if all the players just kinda seemed the same to me by that point.) Meanwhile, a combination of Craig Edwards, Jay Jaffe, Eric Longenhagen, Meg Rowley, Dan Szymborski, and (in one case) Carson Cistulli have supplied the more player-focused breakdowns designed to provide some context for each player at this current moment in his career.

Note that players are ranked in the order in which I prefer them, in terms of the overall guaranteed money I’d spend on them. Usually, this is very similar to the order of overall contract values as both the crowd and I have projected. In some instances, that’s not the case, however — notably with the first and second players on the list. I explain my rationale where relevant.

Given how slow and frustrating last offseason was for the players, the biggest storyline to follow this winter will be how the market reacts. With the Dodgers and Yankees getting under the luxury tax specifically for this winter, multiple mid-market clubs rumored to be ready to spend, and rare stars in their prime on the market, there are fewer causes for restraint. I wouldn’t expect Harper or Machado to sign quickly, as both their agents and the players union will be focused on precedent-setting across the board and they’ll need to get the lay of the land first. If you’re interested in more notes and rumors, I’ve got a corresponding post up, but I didn’t want to make you scroll any further.

Now let’s get to the list.
– Kiley McDaniel

1. Manny Machado, SS, Age 26
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 9 $31.0 M $279.0 M
Median Crowdsource 8 $32.0 M $256.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 8.6 $31.7 M $273.0 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 9.4% 15.6% .287 .356 .527 .370 134 25.3 2.6 5.0

Kiley’s Take
Has produced roughly as many career wins as Harper and is projected to produce roughly the same number in the near future, but will likely be available for less. That and ability to play shortstop place him first.

Player Notes
Machado’s baserunning antics and related comments cast him as a villain during the Dodgers’ postseason run, but they probably won’t dent his market much. Despite splitting his season between Baltimore and Los Angeles, he set or tied career bests in all three slash stats, wRC+, walk and strikeout rates (9.9% and 14.7%), and homers. Given his age, he could maintain this level for a few years. Meanwhile, playing shortstop full-time for the first time since 2012, his pre-trade metrics were brutal (-7.2 UZR, -18 DRS in 96 games), but improved markedly post-trade (0.8 UZR, 6 DRS in 51 games) thanks to a combination of better positioning by the analytically inclined Dodgers and an emphasis on better anticipating batted balls as opposed just to reacting to them. Expect him to prioritize remaining at short and to receive a massive payday. – JJ

2. Bryce Harper, RF, Age 26
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 10 $33.0 M $330.0 M
Median Crowdsource 10 $33.0 M $330.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 9.1 $33.0 M $300.1 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 17.5% 22.5% .267 .398 .526 .389 147 36.5 -9.4 4.9

Kiley’s Take
With Boras representing him, will likely wait for Machado to sign in attempt to get highest guarantee and multiple opt-outs. If he reaches February without a deal, things likely didn’t go to plan.

Player Notes
There’s been a lot of focus over the past few years on what Bryce Harper hasn’t done since his nine-win MVP campaign in 2015. And yes, he hasn’t repeated that level of greatness. After a disappointing 2016 season, however, he’s recorded a 143 wRC+, which is one of the top 10 marks in the game and tied with Mookie Betts, Paul Goldschmidt, and Giancarlo Stanton. His .401 OBP sits behind the figures produced only by Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, and Joey Votto over the last two seasons. This past season’s 3.5 WAR might look a little disappointing, but that’s due to uncharacteristically poor defensive numbers. Most free agents are on the wrong the side of 30, but Harper won’t get there until 2023. His talent, production, and age will make him one of the most sought-after free agents since Alex Rodriguez nearly two decades ago. – CE

3. Patrick Corbin, SP, Age 29
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 5 $18.0 M $90.0 M
Median Crowdsource 5 $20.0 M $100.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 5.0 $20.6 M $102.4 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
197.0 7.1% 24.4% 48.6% 3.58 3.58 3.53 3.6 3.7

Kiley’s Take
Carries plenty of risk, including a Tommy John in his past and 50% breaking-ball rate, but is also a lefty with stuff and performance. Has been durable despite arm surgery, too. Relatively young.

Player Notes
With 6.3 WAR and 11 strikeouts per game, both marks representing career highs, Corbin would have been a strong Cy Young contender in a year during which Jacob deGrom didn’t brutalize the league. Of qualifying pitchers in baseball, Corbin’s contact rate of 66.8% was behind only deGrom’s, as well. Corbin and his filthy slider enter a free-agent market in which he’s no worse than the second-best pitcher available and, in my estimation, a more alluring signing for a team than Dallas Keuchel is. – DS

4. Dallas Keuchel, SP, Age 31
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 4 $21.0 M $84.0 M
Median Crowdsource 4 $19.8 M $79.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 4.2 $19.4 M $81.0 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
193.0 7.0% 18.7% 57.1% 3.69 3.76 3.68 3.2 3.2

Kiley’s Take
Doesn’t throw hard and posted below-average strikeout rate in 2018, but has parlayed command and relative durability into mid-3.00s career ERA. May not be a playoff stopper, but a dependable, innings-eating No. 3 starter can still help a club reach the postseason. Expect deal with similar AAV to Corbin’s but for a year less.

Player Notes
Dallas Keuchel came to the majors with Houston as an extreme ground-ball pitcher, and from 2013 through 2017, his 61% ground-ball rate paced all MLB pitchers who recorded at least 500 innings during that same interval. When he managed to strike batters out at an above-average rate in 2015, he won the Cy Young Award. In 2016, shoulder issues rendered him an average pitcher. In 2017, it was a pinched nerve in his neck sidelining him for a time, though his 3.79 FIP was decently above average. In 2018, his ground-ball percentage dropped to 54%, his strikeouts down to 17.5% — 54th out of 57 qualified starters — but he did top 200 innings and put up 3.6 WAR. At 31 years old, the lefty is coming off a good season, but his numbers have declined the last few years. – CE

5. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Age 33
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $18.0 M $54.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $19.5 M $58.5 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.0 $19.5 M $57.9 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
560 14.0% 21.8% .256 .366 .484 .365 131 20.8 4.5 4.5

Kiley’s Take
Might have gotten Harper or Machado-type annual salary if calf injury hadn’t marred his 2018 season. Regained old form down the stretch, so probably clear of one-year prove-it deal. Is still 33, though, and coming off major injury.

Player Notes
After five years of elite-level performance, injuries (first a shoulder, then hamstring) derailed Donaldson’s contract year so badly that Toronto traded him to Cleveland for injured relief prospect Julian Merryweather rather than risk him accepting the $17.9 million qualifying offer. His gait was noticeably compromised late in the year when he returned from the hammy issue, but in a limited September sample, the quality of his contact was quite strong. The swing change that unlocked Donaldson’s power in Toronto relies heavily on the strength and flexibility of his lower half, so his hamstring’s long term prognosis is important for his future as a run producer. Some clubs will view Donaldson as an injury risk, others as an opportunity to buy low on a recent MVP candidate. – EL

6. Michael Brantley, LF, Age 32
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $16.0 M $48.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $15.0 M $45.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.9 $14.6 M $42.3 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 8.2% 11.5% .287 .350 .449 .345 117 13.8 -9.2 2.6

Kiley’s Take
Like Donaldson and Pollock, has put up some elite seasons but is getting older and has had injury issues (shoulder). With a full season in 2018, has the least to prove of that group, but is also a corner outfielder, so the upside is lower.

Player Notes
The good news for Brantley? He had another good season at the plate, with a 124 wRC+ and 17 home runs, and an era-defying 9.5% strikeout rate. The even better news? He was finally healthy, playing 143 games, after the two seasons prior were derailed by a panoply of injuries that required surgeries to fix. One healthy season isn’t enough to fully allay the durability concerns surrounding the left fielder, but gifted a bit of breathing room from brokenness and unburdened by a qualifying offer, he should garner significant interest as a very good hitter in an outfield market that thins out after Harper and Pollock. – MR

7. A.J. Pollock, CF, Age 31
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $18.0 M $54.0 M
Median Crowdsource 4 $16.0 M $64.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.7 $16.0 M $58.7 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 7.9% 19.3% .258 .325 .444 .330 107 7.7 1.7 3.1

Kiley’s Take
Has eclipsed 500 plate appearances only once, so durability is a question. That one season was pretty great, though. Makes sense for team that would benefit from high-ceiling, shorter-term investment. A huge AAV on a two-year deal is possible, but a bigger guarantee is hard to pass up.

Player Notes
Pollock became a true five-tool player in 2014, when a swing change unlocked previously dormant in-game power. Peak Pollock was on display the following season when he was healthy and generated a whopping 6.8 WAR. But the outfielder has been plagued by injuries during four of the last five seasons and has missed about 50 games during each of the last two. The Diamondbacks have extended him a qualifying offer ($17.9 million), which sets a high bar to clear for teams that to offer Pollock an upcharged, short-term deal, as is often the case for injury-prone players. Healthy Pollock is a well-rounded All Star, not only an impact bat but also a plus defensive center fielder. – EL

8. Yasmani Grandal, C, Age 30
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $13.0 M $39.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $15.0 M $45.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.5 $14.9 M $51.7 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
544 13.4% 24.7% .237 .342 .442 .341 114 6.4 10.8 3.6

Kiley’s Take
Is likely making choice between higher annual value of $17.9 million qualifying offer or greater overall guarantee of, say, three-year deal. Has a chance for a fourth year, maybe, but I’ll bet the under after his receiving issues in tough playoffs.

Player Notes
A dreadful offensive slump and some bad breaks on balls in the dirt led Grandal to lose his starting job for the second straight October, dimming the luster of a streaky but strong season during which he hit .241/.349/.466 with 24 homers. His career-bests of 125 wRC+ and 3.6 WAR both ranked second among catchers behind J.T. Realmuto, and his pitch-framing, via Baseball Prospectus’s metrics, was an MLB-best 15.7 runs above average. His postseason to the contrary, he was slightly above average in pitch blocking and a hair above average in throwing. His switch-hitting and durability (he’s averaged 128 games since 2014) complete a package that stands out given the current state of major-league catching. – JJ

9. Jed Lowrie, 2B, Age 35
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $15.0 M $30.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $12.0 M $24.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.3 $11.9 M $26.7 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 10.5% 18.7% .253 .334 .405 .323 102 0.4 0.7 2.2

Kiley’s Take
Might seem like a high ranking for ole Jed Lowrie, but his past two years compare favorably to Ben Zobrist’s before the latter signed for four years and $56 million as a 35-year-old. Lowrie could very well get three years at same rate.

Player Notes
Lowrie is going into his age-35 season, and does have an injury history, but this was his second season in a row playing at least 153 games. His defensive numbers improved after being more permanently positioned at the keystone. He also hit 23 home runs and boasted a 122 wRC+. All combined, that equaled a 4.9-win season, his best as a pro. Lowrie should be in demand, back in Oakland and elsewhere — though at his age, perhaps not for more than a couple of years. – MR

10. Nathan Eovaldi, SP, Age 29
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $16.0 M $48.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $14.0 M $42.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.3 $13.6 M $44.5 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
160.0 6.2% 22.1% 47.1% 3.76 3.75 3.75 3.0 2.7

Kiley’s Take
Seems to be kind of pitcher for which almost every team is looking, excelling this fall as both starter and reliever, often on short rest. Also showed no ill effects of recent surgery. I could see his market getting crowded. Is also setting higher market for TJ rehab guys like Garrett Richards (No. 30 on this list).

Player Notes
Now armed with an effective cutter to augment his high-90s heat, Eovaldi returned from his second Tommy John surgery and posted career bests in strikeout rate (22.2%), K-BB% (17.4%), and ERA- (89, with an 87 FIP-) while splitting his season between the Rays and Red Sox. His selflessness during Boston’s championship run — during which he made two starts and four relief appearances (including six innings in the World Series Game Three marathon), recording 22.1 innings and a 1.61 ERA — showcased his talents and boosted his stock, though it probably also generated awareness of the risks of signing a hard-throwing, two-time TJ recipient to a long-term deal. Here’s hoping he cashes in. – JJ

11. Charlie Morton, SP, Age 35
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $16.0 M $32.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $16.0 M $32.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.1 $15.6 M $32.0 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
165.0 8.6% 26.5% 50.7% 3.50 3.49 3.46 3.3 3.2

Kiley’s Take
Lack of qualifying offer is a bit of surprise. Has discussed retirement, so two years and $30 million (give or take) feels like where this thing will end up.

Player Notes
Morton turns 35 next week, but he’s coming off the two best years of his career with the Astros. His four-seam fastball averaged nearly 97 mph in 2018, and he combines that high velocity with a curve that netted him 117 of his 201 strikeouts this past season. His 29% strikeout rate ranked ninth-best in baseball in 2018. Morton doesn’t pitch deep into games — he reached the seventh inning in less than a quarter of his starts this season — and he missed time in 2017 with a strained lat and hit the disabled list last August with shoulder discomfort. Age and injury concerns are going to make Morton a high variability pitcher and limit his market. On a short deal, however, there is some upside. – CE

12. Craig Kimbrel, RP, Age 31
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 4 $14.0 M $56.0 M
Median Crowdsource 4 $16.0 M $64.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.9 $16.1 M $62.2 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 9.8% 37.2% 38.1% 2.79 2.71 2.89 2.1 1.9

Kiley’s Take
Has become more valuable due to rising importance of relievers in general but also less valuable due to personal downward trend of velocity and performance. Hard to tell which factors will be more powerful.

Player Notes
Given that only one season of his past four (2017) has been up to the standards of sheer dominance that he established from 2011 to -15, it’s fair to say Kimbrel is in decline, particularly given his career worsts in both FIP (3.13) and HR/9 (1.01), with a gaudy 12.6% walk rate to boot. His knuckle-curve remained unhittable in 2018 (20.9% swinging-strike rate, with batters “hitting” .082/.176/.098 on 68 PA ending with the pitch), but his heater — the average velocity of which slipped to 97.5 mph, his lowest mark since 2011 — was comparatively hammered (.171/.292/.388). Were his troubles related to his postseason pitch-tipping, which he corrected by setting up with his glove at his waist? Perhaps, but don’t expect any team to bet Chapman/Jansen money on it. – JJ

13. Adam Ottavino, RP, Age 33
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $15.0 M $45.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $10.0 M $30.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.6 $10.3 M $27.0 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 11.1% 29.7% 42.3% 3.63 3.57 3.69 0.7 0.7

Kiley’s Take
Matched Kimbrel’s xFIP in 2018 but has less established track record, is older, and has Tommy John on resume. His 57% breaking-ball usage could be viewed either as good fit for today’s game or another source of risk.

Player Notes
There are a great many things we should envy of major-league GMs, but the task of sussing out the authenticity of a reliever’s improved platoon numbers isn’t one of them. After a nightmarish 2017 and unconventional offseason, Ottovino was one of the best relievers in baseball despite Coors’ uncomfortable clime, managing to keep both his home and away FIP below 3.00, and being quite good against lefties in addition his usual good work against righties. Whether this version of Ottavino is the true one remains to be seen, though we don’t have to figure that out as urgently as the GM who’ll sign him. – MR

14. Yusei Kikuchi, SP, Age 27
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 4 $10.0 M $40.0 M
Median Crowdsource 4 $13.0 M $52.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 4.2 $13.8 M $57.6 M

Kiley’s Take
Could be a No. 2 if everything comes together, offering stuff, command, track record, and youth. That said, there’s some concern he may have already peaked, so bidding could also be more for bulk innings in longer-term deal. Posting fee is now just percentage of new contract, so expect something in neighborhood of four or five years at about $9-14 million per year, with another 15-20% going to the Seibu Lions.

Player Notes
At about the same time this article goes to press, the Lions are expected to announce that the 27-year-old Kikuchi will be posted and able to negotiate with Major League teams this offseason. He has amassed a 2.81 career ERA across eight seasons in hitter-friendly NPB and has mid-rotation big-league stuff. Kikuchi sits mostly 92-93, but he’ll top out around 96 during most of his starts, and he’s thrown as hard as 98. He has two plus breaking balls — a mid-80s slider and mid-70s, 12-6 curveball — that he uses much more often than a fringe-average changeup. He’s a premium athlete who fields his positions well and controls the running game with quick times to home from the stretch. General consensus among scouts/clubs with whom I spoke has Kikuchi projected as an above-average big-league starter with a shot at being a No. 2 if his command continues to develop as it has the last few years. But shoulder issues have plagued Kikuchi several times during his career in Japan, so in addition to the risk associated with a transition from NPB to MLB (slightly different balls, pitching every fifth day instead of once a week) there’s heightened injury risk here, too. A Boras client, Kikuchi is one of the younger players on the market. – EL

15. Marwin Gonzalez, 3B, Age 30
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $13.0 M $39.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $10.0 M $30.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.9 $10.1 M $29.5 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
595 8.4% 21.7% .259 .326 .426 .324 103 1.8 -4.1 1.7

Kiley’s Take
Is like positional version of Eovaldi, with flexibility that fits current trends in game. Should cash in despite coming down from career year in 2017. Could get three, maybe four, years at $10-14 million each, fueled by a wide swath of teams that could use him.

Player Notes
In 2018, Gonzalez played 533 innings in left field, 269 at shortstop, 183 at second base, 176 at first base, 19 at third, three in right, and two in center. UZR might be a touch skeptical of just how well he actually fielded all those positions, but there’s no denying the value the flexibility can bring. He wasn’t able to replicate the same success he found at the plate in 2017, but even after giving up 40 points of wRC+, he was still an above-average hitter. Teams might not buy into Scott Boras’s preferred sobriquet for Gonzalez, but as he enters his age-30 season, the combination of positional versatility and a switch-hitting bat that ranges from serviceable to really-quite-good is sure to have broad appeal, particularly as relievers take up more roster spots and the game becomes increasingly unmoored from set fielding positions. – MR

16. Andrew McCutchen, RF, Age 32
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $13.0 M $26.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $14.0 M $42.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.0 $14.3 M $43.2 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
560 12.4% 20.9% .265 .363 .461 .355 124 15.7 -8.9 2.6

Kiley’s Take
Decline has been more gentle than some feared in 2016. Looks poised to get a multi-year deal for at least $10 million per.

Player Notes
If McCutchen had become a free agent back after the 2015 season when he hit six years of service time, he might have gotten a guarantee of $200 million or more. The team-friendly deal he signed with the Pirates back in 2012 delayed his free agency by three years, however, and at 32 years old, his market has thinned. McCutchen still has a solid bat, having recorded 48 homers and a 121 wRC+ the last two years. His raw power numbers were down in 2018, but that has more to do with playing a lot of home games in San Francisco than McCutchen’s power itself. While he’s no longer a center fielder, McCutchen should still provide solid defense in an outfield corner. – CE

17. Wilson Ramos, C, Age 31
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $12.0 M $36.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $12.0 M $36.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.0 $12.0 M $35.7 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
480 6.6% 17.6% .270 .320 .450 .329 107 0.3 11.4 2.8

Kiley’s Take
Has obvious risk factors: size, torn ACL in recent past, age. That said, has proven offensive outburst in 2016 wasn’t fluke. May suffer if clubs aren’t convinced he can still catch often.

Player Notes
While Ramos has been a slightly better hitter than Grandal over the past three seasons (120 wRC+ to Grandal’s 116), he’s 15 months older. What’s more, he’s been less durable, making about 300 fewer plate appearances over that span (102 fewer in 2018 alone) due to reconstructive surgery on his right ACL (2016) and a left hamstring strain (2018) — injuries that have recurred during the course of his nine-year career. He’s also not nearly in Grandal’s class as a defender, either. Baseball Prospectus’s framing-inclusive metrics have him 6.1 runs above average over the past three seasons compared to Grandal’s mark of 79 runs above average. In short, he’s probably best paired with a competent second catcher. – JJ

18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, Age 32
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $18.0 M $18.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $13.5 M $40.5 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.6 $13.5 M $35.5 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
153.0 6.8% 22.2% 44.6% 3.97 3.96 3.94 2.2 2.2

Kiley’s Take
Will take qualifying offer, I think, because AAV on multi-year deals likely to be more modest for clubs wary of his health. If largest possible guarantee is his preference, three years at $10-13 million each, with an option, is possible.

Player Notes
It’s difficult to figure out what to make of a pitcher who’s made just 40 starts over the past four seasons due to shoulder (labrum) and elbow (debridement) surgeries and a severe groin strain. The last of those limited Ryu to just 15 starts in 2018, but Ryu nonetheless posted eye-opening career bests (1.97 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 27.5% K, 4.6% BB). His newfound cutter — which replaced the slider in his repertoire — is hardly unhittable (batters have recorded a 99 wRC+ against it over the past two seasons), but his four-pitch mix is unpredictable enough to give batters fits. In a pitching-desperate market, somebody will take the risk. – JJ

19. David Robertson, RP, Age 34
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $13.0 M $26.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.4 $11.0 M $26.3 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 9.1% 30.0% 44.0% 3.32 3.26 3.35 1.2 1.2

Kiley’s Take
Longevity is obvious concern for undersized righty reliever entering age-34 season, but Robertson has already put together quite a career. Two years at $12-14 million seems like best he can do. Is representing himself this offseason.

Player Notes
Consistency is hard to find in a reliever, but David Robertson has been very consistent over his entire career. After a breakout 2011 season that included a sub-2.00 FIP and 1.08 ERA, Robertson settled in as a very good, if not elite, reliever. Over the last seven years, he’s recorded at least 0.9 WAR in every year, but also never more than 1.9. His 2018 campaign with the Yankees — which which he produced 1.5 WAR — was no exception. Robertson will be 33 years old in April and he’s a reliever so you never know when he’s going to stop being effective, but he was worth the four years and $46 million he got on his last contract. – CE

20. Nelson Cruz, DH, Age 38
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $14.0 M $28.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $15.5 M $31.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.8 $16.1 M $28.2 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 9.7% 22.3% .271 .352 .512 .367 132 21.0 -15.8 2.6

Kiley’s Take
Is 38-year-old DH whose numbers have declined each of past three seasons, so two-year deal seems like max. That said, previous contract seemed like bad idea at time and quietly become one of best free-agent deals in recent years (15.7 WAR for four years, $58 million).

Player Notes
Perversely, being 38 years old may actually be a benefit for Cruz this offseason, all parties recognizing that there’s no way the Mariner slugger will be holding out for some crazy five-year deal. Cruz has aged gracefully in Seattle, even if Safeco doesn’t seem ideally suited to his talents, but he has also definitely aged, recording wRC+ marks of 158, 148, 147, and then 134 since 2015. While he’s not as bad a defensive outfielder as his reputation might suggest, he’s almost certainly going to an American League team as a DH, probably on a one-year deal for a good chunk of money to be the veteran sphere-clubber — not unlike like Carlos Beltran towards the end of his run. – DS

21. J.A. Happ, SP, Age 36
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $14.0 M $28.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $15.0 M $30.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.2 $14.7 M $32.6 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
187.0 7.3% 24.3% 42.9% 3.82 3.81 3.84 3.4 3.0

Kiley’s Take
At 36, has never been big stuff guy, but has also experienced no velo decline over past four seasons. Like Cruz, two-year deal with high AAV is likely. On other hand, these stories often end abruptly, as aging process is (checks notes) still undefeated.

Player Notes
Last season, Happ became a first-time All-Star at age 35. Greater use of a sinker to complement his changeup has facilitated his ascent from 1.0 WAR back-end starter to 3.0 WAR mid-rotation innings-eater. Happ’s size and length create discomfort for opposing lefties, and he has been able to dominate them (left-handed opponents slashed .171/.239/.248 against Happ last year) without a good breaking ball. Instead, Happ makes unusually frequent use of his fastball (throwing 73% of the time, roughly 20 points higher than the league-average mark for starters), which is firmer now than it was in his mid-20s. Players almost always start to show signs of decline after age 35, but Happ has shown some ability to make pitch adjustments thus far, so there’s reason to believe his will be gentle and gradual. – EL

22. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Age 30
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $12.0 M $36.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.8 $12.2 M $34.2 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 7.5% 16.7% .256 .317 .472 .335 110 5.6 1.0 2.8

Kiley’s Take
A tough case after last offseason. Is essentially same player, just a year older. Seems like this winter might be more generous, offering a multi-year deal at $10-13 million per. If teams have questions about defense or platoon splits, under is more likely.

Player Notes
Mike Moustakas turned down his side of his mutual player option with the Brewers, worth $15 million for 2019, likely on the idea that he’ll see a brighter market this winter without the qualifying offer holding down his value. Eduardo Escobar’s three-year, $21 million deal ought to worry Moose’s camp a bit, the two players nearly the same age and with the same performance over the last three seasons (5.0 WAR for Escobar, 5.2 WAR for Moustakas). Moustakas’s record is a bit longer than Escobar’s, but the latter compensates quite a bit by at least having the capacity to credibly fake shortstop. In a market that might feature Josh Donaldson and Marwin Gonzalez likely in roughly the same price range for the few teams that need a third baseman, Moustakas might end up disappointed again. – DS

23. DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Age 30
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $12.0 M $36.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.3 $12.4 M $41.0 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 8.2% 14.6% .272 .336 .389 .317 99 -1.6 4.4 2.4

Kiley’s Take
Another tough infielder to figure. On one hand, is only 30 and has been solid starter for four straight years. On other, three of those seasons were ordinary and the fourth (4.4 WAR in 2016) is looking more like fluke.

Player Notes
While he’s not likely to hit .348 again, even in a return to Coors Field — which appears extremely unlikely — LeMahieu’s glove has made him at least a league-average player, the exact separation between him and average depending on whether you prefer his good UZR numbers or his even sunnier BIS ones. While I’m not surprised that the Rockies didn’t issue a qualifying offer to LeMahieu, I think it could have been justified by his solid average-plus status, Colorado’s competitiveness, and their stubbornness at integrating their minor-league hitting prospects into the lineup. (They do a better job with the pitching in this respect.) It’s a similar situation to Zack Cozart’s from last year. – DS

24. Lance Lynn, SP, Age 32
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $9.0 M $18.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $12.0 M $24.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.2 $12.2 M $27.3 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
125.0 9.7% 22.1% 46.2% 4.12 4.19 4.22 1.5 1.6

Kiley’s Take
Has recorded 343 innings in two seasons since return from Tommy John surgery, but is more of solid regular-season piece than asset in high-leverage postseason innings. Years and AAV depressed a bit because of that.

Player Notes
Unsurprisingly, Lance Lynn’s 4.77 ERA this past season more closely matched 2017’s 4.82 FIP than the 3.43 ERA he recorded that same year, amassed in large part due to the .244 BABIP that he, luck, and the Cardinal defense conspired to produce in 2017. But in one of those poetic twists of fate, his peripherals were actually considerably better in 2018, Lynn’s strikeout rate cresting the batter-per-inning mark for the first time in years and matched by a similar bump in velocity. I think that if a team lands him for Kiley’s two-year, $18 million estimate, they’ll actually be quite happy with the results. – DS

25. Jeurys Familia, RP, Age 29
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $10.0 M $30.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.2 $10.4 M $33.0 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 9.4% 25.5% 50.5% 3.48 3.49 3.59 0.7 0.6

Kiley’s Take
Has racked up nearly 7 WAR over past five seasons while throwing fastball roughly 70% of time. Could be target for progressive team that sees possible leap from throwing slider more often. I’m leaning conservative, but three years and $35 million is also possible.

Player Notes
Familia was traded to Oakland in July, after which he seems to have leaned on his four-seamer and slider a bit more, his sinker a bit less. The result: a five-point increase in strikeout rate despite the move to the harder league. Familia’s on the right side of 30, throws a four-seam fastball in the high 90s, and has prior closer experience with the Mets, if you care about such things. Familia served a suspension under the league’s domestic policy in 2017 and also missed time that season after a blood clot in his shoulder required surgery. He’s younger than a few of the other reliever options on this list, even if not resoundingly better than all of them, all of which is likely to be reflected in his next contract. – MR

26. Andrew Miller, RP, Age 34
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.3 $11.1 M $26.0 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 8.5% 31.0% 46.2% 3.07 3.06 3.14 0.7 0.8

Player Notes
You have to feel for Miller. After a brilliant 2016 — one, that is, during which he posted a 1.45 ERA and a 1.68 FIP, led all qualified relievers in K%, and inspired all kinds of jibber jabber about the changing structure of major-league bullpens — and a 2017 almost as sterling, the spindly left-hander’s free agency could not have been more poorly timed. Miller’s 2018’s campaign was marred by an early hamstring strain, a nagging knee injury, and a late-season shoulder impingement. Ultimately, Miller spent 96 days on the disabled list and threw just 34.1 innings. His production when healthy wasn’t up to his usual standard, either: he recorded a rather pedestrian 4.34 ERA and a 3.51 FIP. His strikeout rate slumped and his walk rate climbed. His postseason could have gone better. Still, he was one of the very best relievers in baseball very recently, and while he’s unlikely to garner the same sort of deal he might have had he been less hurt, more effective, or not about to enter his age-34 season — his versatility and track record, especially with an offseason to be less recently broken — are still likely to appeal to clubs looking to the bolster their bullpens (read: most of them). – MR

27. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B, Age 33
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $8.0 M $16.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $9.0 M $18.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.1 $9.6 M $20.4 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
490 7.4% 18.6% .263 .323 .435 .326 105 1.3 1.8 1.9

Player Notes
The advent of fluid defensive positioning has enabled aging infielders to stay at shortstop longer, and Cabrera, who has plus hands and arm strength but quickly dwindling lateral range, is among them. Fold in a resilient, well-rounded offensive profile, and Cabrera still has value as a multi-positional infielder despite some clear deficiencies. He’s amassed about 2.5 annual WAR during the last half-decade and will continue getting short-term deals until his bat declines beneath playability. – EL

28. Zach Britton, RP, Age 31
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $10.0 M $30.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $12.0 M $36.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.8 $11.5 M $31.8 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 9.6% 23.0% 64.3% 3.01 3.24 3.24 0.2 0.2

Player Notes
Britton showed that he was healthy and could still induce 1.3 bazillion ground balls per metric hour, which is a good start. He still throws his fastball at 93-96 mph, but hitters have been laying off the low sinkers — pitches with which they’re they’re able to do little anyway — more often than during his 2014-16 peak. Over that three-year period, batters swung at 72% of Britton’s sinkers in the bottom third of the zone and 56% sinkers below the zone. In 2017-18, that’s dropped to 63% and 45%, respectively. The upwards crawl of his walk rate is enough to drop him out of the first tier of MLB closers. – DS

29. Joe Kelly, RP, Age 31
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 3 $8.0 M $24.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $7.0 M $14.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.3 $6.9 M $16.1 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 9.5% 26.0% 50.0% 3.48 3.53 3.59 0.2 0.1

Player Notes
Coming off a postseason during which he struck out 13 of the 44 batters he faced, Kelly might look like a high-end reliever with his 100 mph fastball. Regular-season Joe Kelly is the more likely scenario, however. His high-90s fastball has a relatively low spin rate, so it gets ground balls but few whiffs. He relies on the curve, slider, and change out of the zone for strikeouts, and over the last three years, he’s put up a 23% strikeout rate, 11% walk rate, a 3.53 FIP, and a 3.64 ERA. He’s solid, but not great. – CE

30. Garrett Richards, SP, Age 31
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $8.0 M $16.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $9.0 M $18.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.8 $9.4 M $17.4 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
19.0 8.8% 24.7% 50.0% 3.63 3.61 3.63 0.4 0.4

Kiley’s Long Take
Richards is the guy outside of the top 25 who’s most interesting to me. Richards is following in the footsteps of Nathan Eovaldi, where a team will pay for one year of rehab Tommy John rehab, get a second year where he’ll pitch and, given Eovaldi’s success, likely throw in a club option for a third year in case he’s really good in year two. Richards is also a spin-rate fastball/curveball dynamo in the mold of Lance McCullers, but also a scouting favorite due to his insane stuff/upside, and he won’t require a huge guarantee, so every sort of team will have some level of interest.

It would be reasonable to pay about $10-12 million guaranteed on a two-year deal (with incentives) to get the one healthy year on the mound, particularly for non-contending clubs looking to turn 2019 payroll into potential 2020 trade value (normally manifested in veteran relievers who have increased value to contenders at the trade deadline). That said, there’s likely to be lots of interest at that number, so guaranteeing more money to get a third-year club option with a solid buyout (or guaranteeing a third year) will be the price. The 2+1 option seems most likely, at around $15 million guaranteed with potential to turn into a three-year deal worth $25-30 million. If the right number doesn’t materialize for whatever reason, Richards could pay for his own rehab and hit the market again at full health, possibly due for an Eovaldi-level contract, depending on how much he can show teams.

Player Notes
Here’s a brief review of Richards’ injury history: knee surgery in 2014, torn UCL in 2016 (PRP injection and rehab, no Tommy John), a biceps nerve issue in 2017, strained hamstring and torn UCL in 2018 (diagnosed in July). He won’t be back until 2020 due to the timing of that final injury, so whatever team signs Richards is doing so with patience. When healthy, he has some of the planet’s nastiest stuff, with each pitch in his repertoire exhibiting rare velocity/spin combinations. He’s a high-risk, high-reward flier. – EL

31. Joakim Soria, RP, Age 35
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $8.0 M $16.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $8.0 M $16.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.7 $8.5 M $14.8 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 8.3% 25.4% 45.2% 3.58 3.63 3.72 0.5 0.4

Player Notes
The grim reaper still hasn’t come for Soria’s stuff. His 2018 strikeout rate (29%) represented his highest mark since 2009, and his fastball is harder now (92 mph) than it was then (90 mph). A rare four-pitch reliever, Soria’s pitch usage has fluctuated significantly year-to-year. After a changeup-heavy 2017, Soria returned to more frequent fastball use in 2018. All of his secondary pitches are plus, and Soria may still have a late-career junkballing phase ahead of him if the velocity ever starts going away. Despite his age, one could argue Soria’s track record and repertoire merit a multi-year deal. – EL

32. Daniel Murphy, 2B, Age 34
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $9.0 M $18.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $14.0 M $28.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.2 $13.5 M $29.6 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 6.7% 12.6% .286 .338 .463 .340 114 10.0 -6.1 2.5

Player Notes
An injury and a hideous start to his season in June hurt Murphy’s season numbers, but he put up a 125 wRC+ in the second half with the Nationals and Cubs. He was never a particularly good second baseman, and it seems doubtful that knee surgery is going to help him at 34 years old. As the strong side of a platoon at first base or designated hitter, he should still be a decent contributor.– CE

33. Gio Gonzalez, SP, Age 33
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $12.0 M $24.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.3 $11.6 M $26.5 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
92.0 9.5% 19.7% 45.1% 4.39 4.43 4.52 0.9 0.9

Player Notes
Gio Gonzalez has averaged 32.3 starts per season over the last nine years, including the postseason. In eight of those nine seasons, he put up at least three wins. In 2018, his strikeout rate dipped below 20% and his walk rate edged up to double digits, but he still put up a two-win season. Even at 33 years old, he should be good for another 30 starts at an average level.– CE

34. Adrian Beltre, 3B, Age 40
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $12.0 M $12.0 M
Median Crowdsource 1 $12.0 M $12.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.1 $12.2 M $13.6 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
560 7.3% 19.1% .259 .320 .419 .319 100 -1.8 5.8 2.3

Player Notes
Please, please, please may 2018 not be the final season of Adrian Beltre’s career! Still a solidly league-average player, Beltre’s given signs that he’s not quite sure he wants to continue playing. If he does, though, he’s still competent enough with the bat — and as good a defensive third baseman as anyone pushing 40 has the right to be. An American League home would be best, as Beltre needs more defensive days off than in the past, ideally with a team that has some positional versatility to make this an easier roster pill to swallow. Also, if he holds out for a little longer, I’ll have enough years to be able to cast a vote to get him into Cooperstown, which I really want to do! – DS

35. Nick Markakis, RF, Age 35
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $10.0 M $20.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.9 $10.8 M $19.9 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 10.2% 14.5% .271 .348 .398 .324 103 0.5 -9.5 1.2

Player Notes
It’d be easy to dismiss Markakis’s All-Star age-34 season as a fluke — and he was the same sub-.400 slugger he has been since 2011 after the All-Star break — but it’s worth considering the idea that flat-planed swings that live in the upper-third of the strike zone (like Markakis’s) are well-positioned to hit right now, as more pitchers work up in the zone with fastballs. Despite his lack of power, Markakis continues to post above-average OBPs annually. He has excellent feel for the strike zone, a skill that ages well. He’s a stopgap below-average regular in an OF corner. – EL

36. Brian Dozier, 2B, Age 32
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $9.0 M $9.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $12.0 M $36.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.7 $11.9 M $31.9 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 10.5% 20.7% .234 .322 .426 .323 103 3.9 -0.5 2.4

Player Notes
He didn’t miss any time due to the injury (and has still never been on the DL), but Dozier has acknowledged to the media that a right knee bone bruise — and the manner in which he compensated for it, mechanically — impacted his 2018 production. Dozier had the worst full big-league season of his career, slashing .215/.305/.391 and playing sluggish defense. The league-average line at second base in 2018 was just .254/.317/.395, so if there’s any dead-cat bounce in Dozier at all, he’s probably still an average regular going forward. Obviously, though, a return close to what he has shown for the last four years means he has a chance to be an All Star. – EL

37. Joe Mauer, 1B, Age 36
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $9.0 M $9.0 M
Median Crowdsource 1 $7.0 M $7.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.3 $7.2 M $9.0 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
560 10.6% 16.6% .269 .350 .392 .324 103 0.2 -7.5 1.1

Player Notes
With his catching days behind him, Mauer has settled in over the last five years as an average major-league hitter. As a first baseman or designated hitter, that’s below average, and he doesn’t really have a significant split that would make him useful as a platoon option. He’ll be 36 years old next season, and if he comes back, he can still contribute as a below-average regular or above-average bench bat.– CE

38. Steve Pearce, 1B, Age 36
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $9.0 M $9.0 M
Median Crowdsource 1 $7.0 M $7.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.5 $7.0 M $10.5 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
350 9.5% 19.2% .258 .337 .459 .343 116 6.3 -5.3 1.3

Player Notes
Now that the World Series champagne has dried, a sober look suggests that its MVP remains the same player as before: an outstanding, disciplined lefty-masher (.277/.369/.539 for a 153 wRC+ over the past three seasons) who’s hardly a lost cause against righties (.271/.346/.443, 113 wRC+ in that same span), and a competent first baseman who can spot in either outfield corner — or, in a pinch, even second or third base. That’s a handy player to have, one who won’t break the bank, or, in a worst-case scenario, be difficult to move to a contender for the stretch run. – JJ

39. CC Sabathia, SP, Age 38
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $9.0 M $9.0 M
Median Crowdsource 1 $10.0 M $10.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.1 $10.0 M $10.7 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
135.0 7.8% 20.2% 47.5% 4.25 4.25 4.17 1.7 1.5

Player Notes
Sabathia is no longer a workhorse, but between sobriety, a brace for his oft-repaired right knee, and a shift to a cut fastball, he’s reinvented himself as a crafty lefty. Over the past three seasons — a period that captures all of those changes (the knee brace arrived in late-2015) — he’s averaged 160 innings with a 3.76 ERA (87 ERA-), 4.31 FIP (96 FIP-), and 2.4 WAR. On the verge of some significant milestones (four wins shy of 250, 14 strikeouts shy of 3,000), he could stay in the Bronx, where he’s beloved, or opt for a more pitcher-friendly environment closer to his Bay Area roots. – JJ

40. Kurt Suzuki, C, Age 35
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $7.0 M $7.0 M
Median Crowdsource 1 $6.0 M $6.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.6 $6.5 M $10.1 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
320 5.8% 13.6% .256 .314 .416 .317 98 -2.0 4.7 1.3

Player Notes
The catcher market is… bad. The trade market, the free-agent market, the farmer’s market: substandard produce, er, production abounds. Suzuki can at least hit; if you lower the PA minimum to 350, his 108 wRC+ was the fifth best among catchers in 2018. The story gets worse when you consider the catching part of his job. Suzuki has never been a particularly adept receiver, and 2018 was no exception; he was worth -7.5 framing runs by Baseball Prospectus’s framing stats. He’s a bat-first option but also has the benefit of being one of the only options — and a cheaper one than Grandal or Ramos. Then again, there’s a reason for that. – MR

41. Adam Jones, RF, Age 33
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $8.0 M $8.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $10.0 M $20.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.9 $10.0 M $18.7 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
630 4.8% 17.4% .266 .306 .428 .315 97 -1.8 -7.7 1.1

Player Notes
Practically the only veteran with trade value who did not get dealt by the Orioles, Jones decided to stay in Baltimore for the final gasp of the 2018 season, ceding center field to Cedric Mullins. Jones may not be in center field again — the Orioles were probably one of the last teams who would have been willing not to move him to a corner — but as a safe, fourth-outfielder type on a contending team, he still brings some value to the table. He’s not a well-rounded hitter, however, and if 2018 is just the beginning of his loss in power, he may be out of the league in a couple of years. – DS

42. Ian Kinsler, 2B, Age 37
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $6.0 M $6.0 M
Median Crowdsource 1 $8.0 M $8.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.4 $8.8 M $11.8 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
490 7.6% 14.4% .251 .317 .398 .312 95 -2.4 4.1 1.8

Player Notes
If Eovaldi’s postseason run boosted his free-agent stock, Kinsler’s (.206/.229/.294 with 14 strikeouts in 35 PA, not to mention high-profile baserunning and fielding gaffes) lowered his. Still a very competent defender (+17.5 UZR and +16 DRS over the past two seasons), he’s clearly in decline with the bat (.238/.308/.397, 90 wRC+ over that same span). Per Baseball Savant, his 85.3 mph average exit velocity ranked in the bottom 8% of the league, and his xwOBACON plummeted from .350 in 2017 to .303 in 2018. The end may be nigh, at least with regards to his time as an everyday player on a team that expects to contend. – JJ

43. Martin Maldonado, C, Age 32
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $6.0 M $12.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $5.0 M $10.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.8 $5.9 M $10.7 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
320 5.7% 24.1% .224 .286 .360 .282 75 -10.5 9.5 1.0

Player Notes
Martin Maldonado spent the end of the 2018 season with the Astros after a couple years with the Angels. He’s considered a good framer, but he can’t really hit. He’s got a career 72 wRC+ including 2018’s 74 mark. At 32, he might not be an everyday catcher, but he should still find a decent role somewhere. – CE

44. Trevor Cahill, SP, Age 31
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $7.0 M $14.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $7.1 M $14.3 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.9 $7.6 M $14.5 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
107.0 9.9% 21.7% 52.2% 4.18 4.12 4.00 1.3 1.2

Player Notes
Cahill’s ability to miss bats and induce ground balls is uncommon. For example, among the 140 pitchers who recorded at last 100 innings in 2018, he posted the 33rd-best swinging-strike rate and ninth-best ground-ball rate. Typically what’s undone Cahill, though, is either a lack of command or a lack of health or both. In 2018, both factors undid him a little less than usual. The result: two wins in 110.0 innings. There’s always the sense of possible upside with Cahill, but he could be completely useful just by copying his 2018 campaign. With experience both as a starter and reliever, he might have some appeal to clubs willing to experiment a bit with role. – CC

45. Wade Miley, SP, Age 32
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $7.0 M $14.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $8.0 M $16.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.9 $8.5 M $15.9 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
94.0 8.7% 17.8% 50.5% 4.36 4.46 4.37 0.8 0.8

Player Notes
ZiPS projected Wade Miley to record a better ERA than Andrew Cashner for the Orioles in 2018, a troubling forecast given that Cashner was signed for $8 million a year and Miley signed for a one-year, $2.5 million contract with a boatload of incentives. ZiPS was kinda correct in a weird way, Miley having a better ERA than Cashner, but at 2.57, his actual ERA obliterated any expectations. There’s some smoke-and-mirrors involved, but a 3.59 FIP/4.30 xFIP for Milwaukee still isn’t bad and will get him a raise for 2019. – DS

46. Cody Allen, RP, Age 30
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $8.0 M $8.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $9.0 M $18.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.3 $9.0 M $20.6 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 9.5% 26.9% 37.1% 3.91 3.92 4.04 0.2 0.2

Player Notes
If you were to ask Allen when he would have preferred to hit free agency, I’m sure he would say last year, when he struck out almost 33% of batters for Cleveland’s bullpen, or in 2016, when his presence and strong performance was an integral part of Andrew Miller’s ability to do Andrew Miller things, or in 2015, when he led baseball in reliever WAR. The 2018 version of Cody Allen struck out fewer batters and walked more of them, and was just generally less effective. Which isn’t to say that he won’t be effective again, but with a FIP in the fours and a four-seamer that has lost a few ticks, the case would have been easier in years past. Not that there is ever a good time to move. – MR

47. Jose Iglesias, SS, Age 29
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 2 $6.0 M $12.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $9.0 M $27.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.8 $9.1 M $25.6 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
525 5.1% 12.2% .263 .307 .370 .296 84 -9.7 8.8 1.7

Player Notes
Glove-only shortstops are an endangered species, but this might be the best one of those. Iglesias is one this century’s flashiest defensive players, and his glove has helped him produce like an average regular each year dating back to 2013 (except for 2014, when he missed the entire season with shin fractures) despite tepid offensive ability. He’ll continue to be a low-end regular at shortstop (maybe better than that on a team with several sinkerballers) until he loses a step defensively.– EL

48. Kelvin Herrera, RP, Age 29
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $9.0 M $9.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $9.0 M $27.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.7 $9.3 M $24.8 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
65.0 7.6% 23.4% 44.4% 3.87 3.81 3.90 0.1 0.1

Player Notes
While Herrera’s 2.44 ERA represented a bounceback to his 2015-16 levels with the Royals, his strikeout rate continued to fade from his 2016 heights, dropping under eight per game in 2018. While that’s not a fatal flaw — Herrera once produced a 1.41 ERA/2.69 FIP campaign while striking out 7.6 per nine innings — he’s also become a pitcher far easier for hitters to take yard than in the past. The increased homer rate (he was at 1.22 and 1.37 in the last two seasons, compared to 0.78 for his careers) isn’t a volatility fluke, as his GB/FB ratio has declined from 2.07 in 2014 to 0.82 this year. The 16-degree launch angle against was also his highest since Statcast has been keeping track of it. Herrera missed the end of the season with ligament surgery in his left foot, and while he’s expected to be fine for the spring, it also adds an extra bit of uncertainty. I’d be surprised if he gets a multi-year deal. – DS

49. Matt Harvey, RP, Age 30
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $8.0 M $8.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $8.0 M $16.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.7 $8.6 M $14.7 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
141.0 6.8% 18.0% 41.6% 4.78 4.73 4.60 1.0 0.8

Player Notes
There are several things Harvey’s tenure with the Reds proved: that he could pitch more effectively than he had during 27 early-season innings with the Mets; that he was capable of throwing something resembling starter innings following surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome; and that he was, at least in 2018, more valuable than the catcher for whom he was traded. But there were also questions left unanswered: is a mid-4.00s FIP Harvey’s new normal? Is the uptick in his fastball velocity sustainable? Is his health? Any return to form from thoracic outlet syndrome is impressive, and this version of Harvey is still useful in a big-league rotation, even if his durability remains a concern. He seems sure to garner interest. It’s just unlikely to be as enriching or for as long as it might once have been. – MR

50. Jesse Chavez, RP, Age 35
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Kiley McDaniel 1 $8.0 M $8.0 M
Median Crowdsource 1 $5.0 M $5.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 1.4 $5.3 M $7.5 M
2019 Steamer Forecast
IP BB% K% GB% ERA FIP xFIP WAR RA9-WAR
50.0 6.4% 23.4% 43.5% 3.85 3.86 3.80 0.1 0.1

Player Notes
With 95.1 innings between the Rangers and the Cubs in 2018, Jesse Chavez led all traditional relievers (sorry Ryan Yarborough) in innings last season. With the Rangers, he was a multi-inning pitcher with 18 of his 30 appearances lasting at least four outs. With the Cubs, he was used more traditionally, 22 of his 32 appearances lasting for an inning or less. Shorter outings seemed to suit him: he produced a 29% strikeout rate, 4% walk rate, 2.39 FIP, and 1.15 ERA in 39 innings for the Cubs. – CE

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TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC

Thanks for all this work. I’m not surprised at all that the crowd sourcing agrees with Fangraphs more or less 90% of the time. The crowd seems to be more likely to think older used-to-be-stars will get more money and years.

Two questions:
1. How did Dallas Keuchel end up with a crowd sourced median of $19.8 million AAV? That seems impossible since you had to enter even numbers for that.
2. Did you determine the median total contract by the crowd independent of just multiplying the median years and median AAV? Though it would never be surprising for those numbers to be the same in any one instance, it is a bit surprising that it always is the same.

Sean Dolinar
Admin
Member

AAV didn’t have to be an integer. The median fell between a 19.5 and 20 value. And yes, we just multiplied them together.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC

Ah, yes, I remember now. You could type in a number. I guess I just never thought to do anything other than a whole number. Thanks.