MLB hot stove: Ranking the top 79 free agents available in 2018-19 offseason

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This offseason promises to be fascinating.

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the top free agents on the market — both superstars and both only 26 years old — and rumors of their potential landing spots will not be in short supply. And you know there will be plenty of trades and trade whispers floating around. 

But equally as interesting, if not more so, is how this offseason unfolds. Last year, you remember, was unlike any offseason in recent memory. A couple of players signed early, but for the most part free agents stayed free until the start of spring training, or even later. Several very good players had to settle for one-year deals. The players were clearly caught off-guard by this development.

Will it happen again this offseason, or will signings — and the money accompanying those signings — be back at a more “normal” level this year? Nobody really knows.

Anyway, here’s a ranking of the 79 best free agents on the market this offseason. Why 79? Why not? It’s just as random as 50 or 100 or whatever number usually is attached to a list like this. We’ll update as signings happen, so check back often (if things are back to normal).

1. Bryce Harper, 26, OF

It’s hard to decide which element is more compelling: Where Bryce winds up or how much money he gets.

2. Manny Machado, 26, SS

Manny heard a few boos in the postseason, but don’t fool yourself: Every team wants a 26-year-old shortstop coming off a 37-homer, 5.7 bWAR season.

3. Patrick Corbin, 29, SP

A 29-year-old left-hander coming off a season with 11.1 strikeouts per nine and a 2.47 FIP? The line is long, folks. 

Update: The Nationals landed Corbin with a six-year, $140 million deal on Dec. 6. 

4. Josh Donaldson, 33, 3B

Maybe this is a bit high for a guy with injury issues the past couple of years, but he’s worth the risk on a short-term (if he’s betting on himself) or incentive-laden contract.

Update: Clearly the Braves felt he was worh it, signing Donaldson to a one-year, $23 million deal on Nov. 26.

5. Nathan Eovaldi, 29, SP

Eovaldi isn’t just here because of his stellar World Series. He had similar dominant stretches in the regular season, and that type of triple-digit mph late in starts is intoxicating. And, like Corbin, he’s only 29.

Update: Eovaldi has secured the bag, getting a four-year, $68 million deal from the Red Sox.

6. Dallas Keuchel, 31, SP

Keuchel probably isn’t a No. 1 on a World Series contender at this point, but he’s as reliable as any free-agent starter on the market. 

7. Craig Kimbrel, 30, RP

The 2018 campaign was far from his best season, but he still allowed just 4.5 hits per nine, struck out 13.9 per nine, saved 42 games and had a WHIP under 1.000.

8. Michael Brantley, 31, OF

After two years disrupted by injuries, Brantley came back and was the same reliable force he has been his entire Cleveland career when healthy. The fact he’s not attached to a draft pick is a big bonus for his free-agent prospects.

Update: Brantley signed a two-year deal with the Astros.

9. A.J. Pollock, 31, CF

Very, very talented, but he has played more than 113 games just twice in his six full big league seasons and he has draft-pick compensation attached. Will someone roll the dice? 

10. Marwin González, 30, UT 

Maybe this is a bit high for Gonzalez, but he can play pretty much any position with an above-average glove, and after a very slow start to 2018 he hit .285 with 10 homers and an .875 OPS in the season’s final two months. 

11. Yasmani Grandal, 30, C
12. J.A. Happ, 36, SP — Re-signed with Yankees for two years.
13. Joe Kelly, 30, RP — Signed a three-year deal with Dodgers.
14. David Robertson, 33, RP — Signed a two-year deal with Phillies.
15. Adam Ottavino, 33, RP
16. Andrew McCutchen, 32, OF — Signed a three-year deal with Phillies.
17. Zach Britton, 31, RP — Re-signed with Yankees for three years, per reports.
18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, 32, SP
19. Wilson Ramos, 31, C — Signed a two-year deal with Mets.
20. Charlie Morton, 35, SP — Signed a two-year deal with Rays.
21. DJ LeMahieu, 30, 2B
22. Jed Lowrie, 34, MI
23. Mike Moustakas, 30, 3B
24. Nelson Cruz, 38, DH — Signed a one-year deal with Twins.
25. Andrew Miller, 33, RP — Signed a two-year deal with Cardinals.
26. Adam Jones, 33, OF
27. Matt Harvey, 30, SP — Signed a one-year deal with Angels.
28. Jeurys Familia, 29, RP — Signed a three-year deal with Mets.
29. Asdrúbal Cabrera, 33, INF
30. Daniel Murphy, 34, 2B — Signed a two-year deal with Rockies.
31. Kelvin Herrera, 29, RP
32. Cody Allen, 30, RP
33. Steve Pearce, 35, 1B — Re-signed with Red Sox for one year.
34. Brad Brach, 32, RP
35. Brian Dozier, 31, 2B
36. Wade Miley, 32, SP
37. Lance Lynn, 31, SP — Signed a three-year deal with Rangers.
38. Josh Harrison, 31, UT
39. Aníbal Sánchez, 35, SP — Signed a two-year deal with Nationals.
40. Gio González, 33, SP
41. Jonathan Lucroy, 32, C — Signed a one-year deal with Angels.
42. Martín Maldonado, 32, C
43. Adam Warren, 31, RP
44. Jeremy Hellickson, 31, SP
45. Greg Holland, 33, RP
46. Shawn Kelley, 34, RP
47. Trevor Cahill, 31, SP — Signed a one-year deal with Angels.
48. Matt Adams, 30, 1B — Re-signed with Nationals for one year.
49. Tyson Ross, 31, SP — Signed a one-year deal with Tigers.
50. Ervin Santana, 36, SP
51. Adrian Beltré, 39, 3B — Announced retirement.
52. Freddy Galvis, 29, SS
53. Clay Buchholz, 34, SP
54. Bud Norris, 34, RP
55. Justin Wilson, 31, RP
56. Jesse Chavez, 35, RP — Signed a two-year deal with Rangers.
57. Joakim Soria, 34, RP — Signed a two-year deal with Athletics.
58. Carlos González, 33, OF
59. Nick Markakis, 35, OF
60. Ian Kinsler, 36, 2B — Signed a two-year deal with Padres.
61. CC Sabathia, 38, SP — Signed a one-year deal with Yankees.
62. Sergio Romo, 36, RP
63. Ryan Madson, 38, RP
64. José Iglesias, 29, SS
65. Neil Walker, 33, INF
66. Tyler Clippard, 34, RP
67. Edwin Jackson, 35, SP
68. Derek Holland, 32, SP
69. Curtis Granderson, 38, OF
70. Jung-ho Kang*, 31, 3B — Re-signed with Pirates.
71. Brad Ziegler, 39, RP — Announced retirement.
72. Drew Pomeranz, 30, SP
73. Lonnie Chisenhall, 30, OF — Signed a one-year deal with Pirates.
74. Óliver Pérez, 37, RP
75. James Shields, 37, SP
76. Kurt Suzuki, 35, C — Signed a two-year deal with Nationals.
77. Evan Gattis, 32, DH
78. Gerardo Parra, 31, OF
79. Francisco Liriano, 35, SP