The 2018-19 MLB free-agent class is strong at the top and also features plenty of value in catchers and pitchers. The offseason is often unpredictable, but here's our look at where the top 50 free agents most likely will end up when all is said and done.
For years there has been speculation that Harper would receive the first $400 million contract in MLB history, and that number very well could be in his future this offseason. The Nationals could still bring him back, but they don't need to with the emergence of Juan Soto and Victor Robles. That puts other big-market teams in play such as the Dodgers, who have a deep outfield but no stars near the caliber of Harper.
Machado will almost certainly leave L.A. with Corey Seager set to return, but there are plenty of big market teams that have a need. One of them is Philadelphia, where he could play either shortstop or third base depending on the team's offseason moves. Just entering his age 26 season, Machado has many elite years ahead.
Corbin is coming off a career year, and it shouldn't surprise anyone if he ends up with his favorite team. The lefty is a native of New York state, attending high school in Syracuse. The Yankees are known to prefer lefties at Yankee Stadium, and Corbin did an excellent job keeping the ball in the park last year.
Kimbrel's playoff struggles might cost him a few dollars, but he's widely expected to be the most expensive reliever on the market. Boston has to address closer, whether it's bringing Kimbrel back or going cheaper. Kimbrel made $13 million last season and should easily exceed that salary with his new contract.
Keuchel proved he was durable again after struggling to stay healthy the previous two years, throwing 200-plus innings for the third time last season. The lefty still has a great groundball rate, making him a nice fit for a team that plays in a small park like the Yankees.
Going into his age 38 season, Cruz is almost confined to the DH spot so his options are limited. No hitter in baseball has more home runs since 2014, and the Mariners' offensive holes will be glaring if they don't find a way to bring him back.
If the Nats don't bring Bryce Harper back, other outfielders on the market, like Pollock, will be in play. Like current Nats outfielder Adam Eaton, Pollock has major durability concerns having last played a full season in 2015. Still, he's a productive five-tool outfielder who has been productive over the last two years even with missed time and would add excellent insurance for the Nationals who are employing two very young outfielders in Juan Soto and Victor Robles.
Grandal really took criticism for his defense during the playoffs and has worn down late in consecutive seasons. That said, he's an outstanding pitch framer and still one of the top offensive catchers in the game, with at least 22 home runs in three straight seasons. The Dodgers could be looking for a catcher who will take a short-term contract while they wait on top prospects Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz, so a new destination is looking likely for Grandal. The Angels have an opening after losing Martin Maldonado, and new manager (and former catcher) Brad Ausmus could have the front office prioritize the position.
Murphy was terrific after getting traded to the Cubs last season, and the front office has already stated that it'd like to have him back. With Addison Russell's future in flux, the Cubs have a need for a middle infielder, but it's a matter of if they're able to afford Murphy.
Donaldson is one of this offseason's biggest wild cards after missing most of last season to a calf injury. He's still just one year removed from hitting 33 home runs, and getting off the Toronto turf can't hurt. The Rangers should have money to spend and a void at third base, as well as an opportunity if Donaldson is willing to slide over to first base given Ronald Guzman's rough rookie campaign.
The oft-injured Brantley heads into free agency at the right time, after playing 143 games last season. He played only 11 games in 2016 and 90 games in 2017, so there is major risk. There's also big upside, considering he produced an .832 OPS last season. San Francisco doesn't currently have a general manager, but when the team gets one the outfield will almost certainly be a priority, with possibly all three spots to fill.
Matt Wieters didn't work out for the Nationals over the last two years to say the least, and they know what Ramos can provide after spending over six years with the organization. He regained the offense that he showed before tearing his ACL at the end of his time in Washington, hitting .306-15-70 between Tampa Bay and Philadelphia in 2018.
Eovaldi made himself a lot of money with his great pitching in Boston, posting a 3.33 ERA in 54 innings during the regular season and a 1.61 ERA in 22.1 innings during the playoffs. He brings elite velocity and control, though a long history of injuries is also a consideration. It's likely that most teams in the league will be in on him. Toronto is more desperate than most to add pitching this offseason and has the money if it decides to spend it after the contracts of J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, and Josh Donaldson came off the books.
Morton had mentioned the possibility of retirement over the last year, but it sounds like the 35-year-old will cash in this offseason. He's coming off two brilliant seasons in Houston, showing a major uptick in velocity and 10-plus strikeouts per nine innings for his time with the Astros. Even with a long injury history, there should be plenty of teams interested, but remaining with Houston might be where he's most comfortable.
Happ was a huge bargain for Toronto after the team signed him to a three-year deal, and he accumulated a 3.44 ERA over 88 starts during the last three seasons. His success continued into Yankee Stadium with the Bronx Bombers, which could get the lefty even more money this season. Even going on age 36, a three-year deal seems possible. Happ already has a history in Seattle, spending the start of 2015 there, and is a nice fit for Safeco Field.
Ottavino went back to the drawing board last offseason after a subpar 2017 season, renting out a Manhattan storefront and working on his secondary stuff. The result was the best season of his career, and a giant payday is ahead. Despite the lack of extending closing experience, he will probably get some looks as a finisher. The Cardinals have been burned by relievers on the free-agent market recently, like Brett Cecil, Luke Gregerson, and Greg Holland, but they still could use a closer and drafted Ottavino 30th overall in 2006.
Ryu has overcome a major shoulder injury to get back to the top of his game, posting a 1.97 ERA in 15 starts with the Dodgers last season. With the best strikeout rate of his career, Ryu is set for a huge contract. There is risk given the injury history, but a team like Philadelphia, which needs pitching and is looking to get over the hump, can't afford to stand pat.
McCutchen isn't nearly the player he was in his prime years with Pittsburgh, but he's still been productive recently. He's hit 20-plus home runs in eight straight seasons and still posted an on-base percentage above .360 in two straight years. Seattle is in need of at least one outfielder and possibly two, depending on where they decide to play Dee Gordon in 2019.
Jones refused a trade out of Baltimore last year, where he's spent the last 11 seasons. The rebuilding Orioles seem likely to move on, and Jones isn't leaving on a high note after hitting only 15 home runs last season. He's still only 33 and had been one of the most consistent center fielders in the game until last season. With the possibility of a discount, an outfield-needy team like the Giants should be interested.
Robertson has decided to represent himself in free agency this time around, and his phone should be busy. He had another great year last season, with a 3.23 ERA and 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings while mostly setting up for Aroldis Chapman in New York. With some questions about Brandon Morrow's health, the Cubs could opt to bring in another relief pitcher with closing experience. Robertson knows Chicago well, signing with the crosstown White Sox in 2015.
Miller was arguably the top relief pitcher in baseball before struggling through knee problems last year. He finished with a 4.24 ERA in 37 appearances, and there has to be some concern that his huge frame is breaking down in his mid-30s. Oakland is known to take affordable upside risks, and Miller could be in that category.
Kikuchi is set to be posted by the Seibu Lions after finishing with a 3.08 ERA last season. Texas has been active on the Pacific front, signing Yu Darvish and Tony Barnette in the past. The Rangers currently have only two starters slotted in for 2019.
Britton would probably prefer to resume closing, but money talks. The lefty had a 2.88 ERA in 25 appearances with the Yankees last season and is a great fit for the team as a left-handed groundball specialist. New York probably would like to retain at least one of Britton or David Robertson.
The Cardinals would like to address a corner infield spot and also improve their defense this winter. Moustakas should be able to kill two birds with one stone, hitting 66 home runs over the last two seasons and playing at least average defense at the hot corner. His addition would move the aging Matt Carpenter to first base permanently.
Suzuki wasn't quite able to match his brilliant 2017 campaign, but he still hit .271-12-50 in 105 games for the Braves last season. The Dodgers are in the market for a catcher with Yasmani Grandal currently a free agent, and they'd probably like a cheaper placeholder while their top catching prospects continue to develop.
Whether Beltre will continue his career into 2019 is very much a question mark. He's struggled to stay on the field over the last two seasons, and his bat finally started to wane last year. Texas would almost certainly like to have him back, even at age 40, and have the depth to give him more sporadic playing time, if needed.
Sabathia has said that he'd like to continue his career for at least one more season, and there's no reason to think the Yankees wouldn't want him back. The big lefty has been in New York since 2009 and has posted a sub-4.00 ERA in three consecutive seasons. The match is still there if the two sides can agree on salary.
Markakis' bat picked up at the right time, posting an .806 OPS in his walk year. It was his best OPS since 2012, and he continues to play quality defense. However, the Braves might be aiming higher, as they try to win back-to-back NL East titles. Cincinnati has a potential need after trading Adam Duvall last year, especially if they finally cut the cord on Billy Hamilton.
Lowrie was drafted by the Red Sox in 2005, but he's never played better offensively than what we've seen the last two seasons. He had a career-high 23 home runs and 99 RBI in 2018, but those numbers might price him out of Oakland's range. Dustin Pedroia's future is still in doubt after major knee surgery last year, so Lowrie could be an excellent fallback for Boston.
Still very productive offensively into his early 30s, Cabrera has hit at least 14 home runs in eight straight seasons. He remains a versatile, veteran presence, though his defense has seen better days. The Tigers have a need at both middle infield spots and potentially money to spend, following several veteran departures.
Familia got back on track last year between the Mets and Oakland, posting a 3.13 ERA in 70 appearances. He was one of baseball's most dominant closers as recently as 2016, and Oakland has some money to burn after potentially losing Jed Lowrie and Trevor Cahill, among others. The team's super bullpen plan worked well last year, and it'd certainly love to have a pitcher of Familia's ilk setting up Blake Treinen again.
Herrera would probably like to forget 2018 due to his injuries, but he had a good year when on the mound. The former Royals closer finished with a 2.44 ERA in 48 appearances, though his strikeout rate did continue to regress slightly. The Mets are in need of a new closer after trading Jeurys Familia last year, and Herrera would be a good fit.
Dozier was having a down year when the Twins traded him in July to the Dodgers. His stats completely went down in flames with his name team, hitting only .182-5-20 in 170 plate appearances, so it's possible he will settle for a one-year deal this offseason to rebuild his value. No team knows him better than Minnesota, where he hit 76 home runs combined in 2016-17, and the team certainly has a need going into the offseason.
The versatile Gonzalez appeared at every position except catcher last season, and that flexibility should help add money to his pocket. Teams have also seen an elite offensive player in 2017, when he hit .303-23-90. The Braves have several more prospects coming, and Gonzalez's versatility should help in the meantime at third base, shortstop and the outfield.
Cahill hasn't been very durable since going back to the rotation in 2017, but he has thrown some quality innings. He finished last season with a 3.76 ERA in 110 innings with Oakland, and the groundball rate is especially attractive to a team playing in a small ballpark like Texas.
CarGo stayed on the block until spring training last year, re-signing with Colorado on a one-year deal. The Rockies have enough outfielders for 2019 already but would probably like to add some depth, with Gerardo Parra a free agent as well. Gonzalez has a sub-.800 OPS in each of the last two seasons, which is mediocre for a corner outfield in Colorado, but the Rox proved last year their affection for him.
What a time to be a free agent. Sanchez had his best season in years and might have saved his career after joining Atlanta on March 16. He posted an ERA below 4.99 for the first time since 2014. Sanchez is a lottery ticket in free agency after his great 2018 season and just the type of ticket the Angels will need to take a shot on with Shohei Ohtani unable to pitch for a year.
Holland had quite a comeback with the Giants last season after posting a 6.20 ERA for the White Sox in 2017. He finished with a career-high 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings, and it would seem logical that the team would want that player to stick around. The Giants need to find a front-office decision maker first.
Soria has spent his best years in Kansas City and even returned to the team for 2016-2017. The Royals are far away from competing again, but they could use several capable bullpen arms for next season. The team would almost certainly welcome Soria closing for them again.
Gonzalez's performance has been subpar in two of the last three seasons, including last year. The lefty finished with a 4.21 ERA between Washington and Milwaukee, but he's just one year removed from a 2.96 ERA and 15 wins. Gonzalez is also durable, starting at least 31 games in eight of the last nine seasons. That upside in durability is important for the White Sox, as they work their youngsters into the rotation.
Lynn approaches free agency for the second straight year after settling for a one-year deal in spring training with Minnesota last season. Judging by his early-season struggles, he waited too long, but there were positive signs after he was traded to the Yankees. Lynn had a 4.14 ERA in 54.1 innings with an outstanding 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. He could be a major bargain on another one-year deal, as he tries to rebuild his value.
Richards is unlikely to pitch in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in 2018. He's started only 28 games total over the last three seasons due to injuries, but since 2014 he has a 3.15 ERA. Richards is likely to get at least a two-year contract with a team hoping the short-term investment helps in 2020. The Dodgers would welcome Richards' upside, and he wouldn't have to move after spending his first eight seasons with the Angels.
LeMahieu failed to hit .300 in 2018 for the first time since 2014, though he did hit a career-high 15 home runs. There are questions about his offense outside of Coors Field with just a .673 OPS on the road, but he's an elite defender at second base and could make quite the double-play tandem next to Andrelton Simmons in Anaheim.
Formerly an outstanding hitter at catcher, Lucroy's bat has crashed over the last two years. That will limit his market, but he remains one of the best handlers of pitchers, as Oakland witnessed last year. With the A's in need of a catcher, Lucroy is a good fit to return at a reasonable price.
Kelly was a workhorse for Boston last season despite a 4.39 ERA, and his 3.57 FIP showed a better pitcher than the end result. He still brings high-90s velocity and could grow into more high-leverage innings if he can fix his control. Houston could be in the market for at least one bullpen arm this offseason, and Kelly's upside should be attractive.
Hellickson had to take a one-year deal last season after posting a 5.43 ERA in 2017, and he did good work for Washington. He carried a 3.45 ERA through 19 starts, showing the best control of his career. Miami is one of many rebuilding teams that needs innings, and Hellickson is a viable option after averaging 166 innings per year from 2015-2017.
A finger injury limited Santana to only five starts last year, but he was one of the most consistent pitchers in the game up to that point. Going on age 36, it's possible that we've seen the last of Santana, but a rebuilding team like the Reds would be well-served to take a flier and find out.
We know Harvey isn't going back to New York, but the former Met really showed flashes after getting traded to Cincinnati last year. He regained some of the velocity he lost following thoracic outlet surgery and had a strikeout-to-walk ratio near 4.00. A team looking for upside and that plays in a larger park, like the Padres, could take a chance on him.
Span isn't the excellent defender that he was early in his career, but he can still play adequate outfield defense and produce average offense. His OPS over the last two years has been better than his career .745 OPS, and he's done so in some not so favorable pitcher's parks. He looks like a nice fourth outfielder for a team like the Pirates, who will be without Gregory Polanco to start the year after his shoulder surgery.
Buchholz had an unbelievable resurgence with the Diamondbacks last season, finishing with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts before suffering a flexor strain. His long history of injuries will likely limit him to a one-year deal, but there should still be plenty of suitors after how well he pitched last season. The Royals were actually the first team to sign Buchholz last year before releasing him on May 1, and they could use more pitching this offseason.