The top 100 remaining MLB free agents

The Phillies brought back Aaron Nola on a seven-year, $172 million deal. The Cardinals signed Sonny Gray to a three-year, $75 million contract with a club option, after landing Kyle Gibson (as well as Lance Lynn) on a one-year deal. The Tigers inked Kenta Maeda for two years and $24 million. And that’s it, so far, in terms of signings involving players ranked on my list of the top 40 free agents. (It was published on Oct. 31, before teams and players made option decisions.)

Only four players from that initial ranking have come off the board. Sure, there has been some other free-agent news — the Reds and reliever Emilio Pagán agreed to a two-year contract Wednesday — and some trades, but overall, it’s been quiet. That figures to change soon with the Winter Meetings starting Sunday in Nashville, Tenn.

So let’s establish where things stand before the moves start coming fast and furious. I thought it would be helpful to highlight the top 100 remaining free agents. Here’s a quick look at each of those players, who are ordered by their 2023 WAR according to Baseball Reference. Note: The order does not necessarily reflect players’ future value or who will receive more lucrative contracts. But it does give us a snapshot of the free-agent field. The list also includes some international free agents such as right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who don’t have WAR numbers; I ranked those players in the general area where front offices have told me they should be placed.

bWAR is listed in parenthesis next to each player.

1. Shohei Ohtani, DH/RHP (10.0) — The most sought after-free agent on the market. He is expected to become the first half-a-billion-dollar player in MLB history.

2. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, RHP (N/A) — Yamamoto, 25, is expected to become the highest paid starting pitcher in this free-agent class not named Ohtani.

3. Blake Snell, LHP (6.0) — With his NL Cy Young Award, Snell became the seventh pitcher to capture the honor in both leagues. This year he also became the first pitcher to lead his league in both ERA and walks in the same season.

4. Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF (4.4) — Bellinger slugged .525 with 26 home runs and was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year. He is the most sought-after position player not named Ohtani in free agency. His ability to play four positions (first base, left field, center field, right field) at an above-average level increases his value.

5. Matt Chapman, 3B (4.4) — Chapman is still one of the best defensive third baseman in the sport. His career slash line of .240/.320/.461 is representative of what to expect from him (consistent power with a below-average batting average and on-base percentage).

6. Jordan Montgomery, LHP (4.1) — Montgomery’s strong postseason performance had many clubs prioritizing him over Aaron Nola and Snell. His preference is to remain with the Rangers.

7. Kevin Kiermaier, CF (3.9) — He won his fourth Gold Glove Award in center field this year while posting a 104 OPS+ over 408 plate appearances.

8. Clayton Kershaw, LHP (3.7) — Kershaw, 35, underwent surgery earlier this month to repair the glenohumeral ligaments and capsule in his left shoulder. He hopes to return to mound at some point next season. The Dodgers, Rangers, or retirement are his three most likely options.

9. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP (3.5) — Rodriguez will probably need to wait to sign until Snell and Montgomery make their decisions, but after posting a 3.30 ERA over 26 starts, he’ll fare well in free agency.

10. Mike Clevinger, RHP (3.3) — Clevinger went 9-9 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.266 WHIP over 24 starts. He allowed two runs or fewer in four of his last five starts of the year. He also has some of the best hair in the game.

11. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF (3.0) — Gurriel had the best year of his career, slugging .463 with 24 home runs and 82 RBIs.

12. Jeimer Candelario, 1B/3B (2.9) — Candelario slugged .471 with 22 home runs and 70 RBIs while playing adequate first and third base for both the Nationals and Cubs.

13. Carlos Santana, 1B/DH (2.7) — Santana continues to work counts and provide power. He hit 23 home runs this year and has 301 in his career.

14. Wade Miley, LHP (2.5) — Miley is coming off an impressive season in which he went 9-4 with a 3.14 ERA over 23 starts (120 1/3 innings). The soft-tossing lefty adds a different look to any rotation loaded with flame-throwers.

15. Hector Neris, RHP (2.5) — Neris logged a 1.71 ERA and 1.054 WHIP in 71 appearances this past season. He is one of the most sought-after middle relievers in free agency.

16. Josh Hader, LHP (2.4) — Hader is the most dominant left-handed closer in the game. He posted a 1.28 ERA with 33 saves for the Padres this year.

17. Michael Wacha, RHP (2.4) — Wacha had arguably a career-best year, going 14-4 with a 3.22 ERA over 24 starts. He has mastered his delivery to create a special downward plane.

18. Jung Hoo Lee, CF (N/A) — He is expected to be posted in early December and will immediately become the second-best center fielder on the free-agent market behind Bellinger, according to several front offices. The Giants are the front-runners to sign Lee, 25, who played seven seasons in the KBO.

19. Rhys Hoskins, 1B/DH (N/A) — He missed the entire season after tearing his left ACL in spring training but hit 30 home runs with 79 RBIs in 2022.

20. Gary Sánchez, C (2.4) — Sánchez hit .217 with 19 home runs, 47 RBIs and a 113 OPS+ over 240 at-bats while playing below-average defense behind the dish.

21. Justin Turner, 1B/3B/DH (2.1) — Turner can still flat-out hit with power as well as lead in the clubhouse. He slugged .455 with 23 homers and a 114 OPS+.

22. Teoscar Hernández, RF (2.1) — Hernández provides legit power and has hit at least 25 home runs in each of the last three years. However, he’s also a below-average defender with poor on-base skills.

23. Mitch Garver, DH/C (2.1) — Garver slugged .500 with 19 home runs en route to a 134 OPS+. He hit .344 versus lefties but all of his homers came against righties.

24. Michael Lorenzen, RHP (2.0) — Lorenzen threw a no-hitter in his second start with Philadelphia and posted a 4.18 ERA over 153 innings between the Tigers and Phillies.

25. Brandon Belt, 1B (2.0) Belt slashed .254/.369/.490 (136 OPS+) with 19 home runs and 43 RBIs. He’ll turn 36 in April.

26. J.D. Martinez, DH (1.9) — Martinez, 36, is aging like a fine bottle of Chateau Margaux. He hit 33 home runs this year with 103 RBIs and a 134 OPS+.

27. Michael A. Taylor, CF (1.9) — Taylor hit 21 home runs and stole 13 bases while playing plus defense in center field. He also struck out 130 times in 388 at-bats.

28. Seth Lugo, RHP (1.8) — Lugo proved he belonged in the rotation, posting a 3.57 ERA over 26 starts with the Padres this year.

29. Jorge Soler, RF/DH (1.8) — Soler hit 36 home runs and slugged .512 for the Marlins this year, logging a 128 OPS+. He drove in 75 runs and scored 77 too.

30. Craig Kimbrel, RHP (1.8) — Kimbrel posted a 3.26 ERA over 71 appearances and saved 23 games this year for the Phillies. He struck out 94 in 69 innings. But his inconsistency and lack of control and command are always lurking. He has 417 career saves.

31. Lucas Giolito, RHP (1.7) — Giolito posted a 3.79 ERA in 21 starts for the White Sox, a 6.89 ERA in 6 starts for the Angels and a 7.04 ERA in six starts for the Guardians, which makes his free-agency pitch tricky.

32. Adam Frazier, 2B/OF (1.7) — Frazier hit .240 with 13 home runs and a 94 OPS+ over 412 at-bats. He stole 11 bases in 15 attempts. Positional versatility helps his value.

33. Marcus Stroman, RHP (1.6) — Stroman is one of the best athletes at the pitcher position in the sport. I was surprised he opted out of his contract with the Cubs, leaving $21 million on the table.

34. Shota Imanaga, LHP (N/A) – His repertoire includes a low-90s fastball, along with a curveball, slider and changeup. He profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter.

35. Adam Duvall, OF (1.6) — Duvall hit 21 home runs with a 119 OPS+ in 320 at-bats. He’s an above-average defender in both center and left field with a plus arm, but also has a below-average hit tool.

36. Andrew McCutchen, OF (1.5) — It was nice to see Cutch back with the Pirates last season. He provided a .378 on-base percentage, a 113 OPS+, 12 home runs, 11 stolen bases, and a strong clubhouse presence.

37. Tommy Pham, LF/DH (1.5) — Pham brought his leadership skills and professionalism to the Diamondbacks after they acquired him from the Mets at the trade deadline. Overall, he hit 16 home runs and stole 22 bases last season.

38. Aroldis Chapman, LHP (1.4) — Chapman posted a 3.09 ERA over 61 appearances, striking out 103 in 58 1/3 innings. Lack of command and control is his biggest drawback.

39. Nick Martinez, RHP (1.4) — Martinez made 54 relief appearances and nine starts for the Padres, going 6-4 with a 3.43 ERA. His ability to pitch in multiple roles increases his free-agent value.

40. Naoyuki Uwasawa, RHP (N/A) — Uwasawa, who will turn 30 in February, logged a 2.96 ERA in 170 innings this year in Nippon Professional Baseball. However, he has a career 7.5 percent walk rate and 19.7 percent strikeout rate, numbers that don’t typically translate well to MLB.

41. Wandy Peralta, LHP (1.4) — Peralta made 63 appearances for the Yankees and posted a 2.83 ERA and 1.222 WHIP. Left-handed hitters batted .138 against him.

42. Travis Jankowski, OF (1.4) — Jankowski has blazing speed and plays plus defense. He stole 19 bases in 20 attempts this year and had a .357 on-base percentage. A solid backup outfielder and good teammate.

43. Randal Grichuk, OF (1.2) — Grichuk hit .267 with 16 home runs and a 103 OPS+. His best role is as a fourth or fifth outfielder.

44. Adam Ottavino, RHP (1.2) — Ottavino put up a 3.21 ERA over 66 games for the Mets. He is the only player in MLB who uses a letter instead of a number on the back of his jersey — “O” …

45. Robert Stephenson, RHP (1.1) — Stephenson appeared in 60 games combined for the Pirates and Rays, recording a 3.10 ERA and a whopping 77 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings. He is generating robust interest in free agency.

46. Eddie Rosario, LF (1.1) — Rosario batted .255 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs. He finished in the 80th percentile in outs above average (range), the best showing of his career.

47. Phil Maton, RHP (1.1) — Maton was an integral part of the Astros’ middle-relief group, with a 3.00 ERA, 1.121 WHIP, and 74 strikeouts in 66 innings.

48. James Paxton, LHP (1.1) — He was 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA in his first 10 starts of the year and 2-4 with a 6.98 ERA in his final nine starts of the year.

49. Kirby Yates, RHP (1.1) — It was great to see Yates healthy this year as he appeared in 61 games, his most since 2018. He logged a 3.28 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings for the Braves.

50. Zack Greinke, RHP (1.0) — The future Hall of Famer is just 21 strikeouts away from 3,000, and I hope he signs somewhere and gets there!

51. Keynan Middleton, RHP (1.0) — Middleton had a nice year, posting a 3.38 ERA and 1.243 WHIP in 51 appearances between the White Sox and Yankees. He struck out 64 batters in 50 2/3 innings.

52. Jordan Hicks, RHP (0.8) — Hicks is back to throwing in the triple digits. He was dealt from the Cardinals to the Blue Jays at the trade deadline and finished the year overall with a 3.29 ERA, 12 saves, and 81 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings.

53. Jack Flaherty, RHP (0.8) — Flaherty put up a 4.99 ERA and 1.580 WHIP in 144 1/3 innings between the Cardinals and Orioles.

54. Brent Suter, LHP (0.8) — The soft-tossing southpaw offers a bullpen different angles, shapes, sizes and looks than most relievers. He put up a 3.38 ERA this year over 57 appearances for the Rockies.

55. Martín Pérez, LHP (0.8) — The Rangers used Pérez in the rotation and out of the bullpen. He went 10-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 20 starts and 15 relief appearances.

56. Julio Urías, LHP (0.7) — Urías is on administrative leave and under investigation by MLB and law enforcement for alleged domestic violence. He’s expected to be suspended by the league when its investigation is completed.

57. Whit Merrifield, 2B/LF (0.7) — The three-time All-Star hit 11 home runs and stole 26 bases this year. His positional flexibility and leadership enhance his value.

58. Chase Anderson, RHP (0.7) — Anderson went 1-6 with a 5.42 ERA and 1.475 WHIP over 86 1/3 innings (17 starts, two relief appearances) for the Rockies.

59. Alex Wood, LHP (0.7) — Wood went 5-5 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.433 WHIP in 12 starts and 17 relief appearances.

60. Harrison Bader, CF (0.6) — Bader is an above-average defender and base runner who plays with intensity. He’s a below-average hitter with 12-15 home run power but is injury-prone.

61. David Peralta, LF (0.6) — Peralta provides leadership and some pop and is best used as either a platoon or extra outfielder at this point in his career.

62. Joc Pederson, DH/LF (0.6) — He hit 15 home runs with 51 RBIs and a 111 OPS+ in 358 at-bats. He remains a strong fantasy football player, doing whatever it takes to win.

63. Carl Edwards Jr., RHP (0.6) — Edwards logged a 3.69 ERA and an inflated 1.516 WHIP in 32 appearances for the Nationals.

64. Elvis Andrus, SS (0.6) — Andrus still plays with high energy although he’s an extra infielder at this stage of his career. He hit .251 with 20 doubles and six homers in 374 at-bats this year. He also stole 12 bases.

65. Evan Longoria, 3B (0.5) — Longoria hit .223 with 11 home runs over 211 at-bats. He could still help a team off the bench if he wants to play one more season.

66. C.J. Cron, 1B (-0.5) — After belting 57 home runs the previous two years combined, Cron hit just 12 this year in 258 at-bats and registered an 87 OPS+ as he dealt with a back injury.

67. Joey Gallo, 1B (0.5) — Gallo hit .177 last season with 21 home runs over 282 at-bats. He can play first base, third base and the corner outfield positions. He’s always a threat to hit a homer, but also strikes out at ridiculous rates.

68. Chris Stratton, RHP (0.5) — Stratton finished with a 3.92 ERA overall and 81 strikeouts in 82 2/3 innings of middle-relief work. His numbers improved after he was traded with Montgomery from the Cardinals to the Rangers at the deadline.

69. Hyun Jin Ryu, LHP (0.4) — Ryu impressed this year in his return from Tommy John surgery, posting a 3.46 ERA and 1.288 WHIP over 11 starts in the second half.

70. Aaron Hicks, LF (0.4) — He was released by the Yankees after hitting .188 with one home run in 69 at-bats, but then signed with the Orioles and turned it around, hitting .275 with a .381 on-base percentage and seven home runs the rest of the way.

71. Brad Keller, RHP (0.4) — Keller posted a 5.39 ERA in 2021, a 5.09 in 2022 and was injured for most of 2023 with a right lat strain. He pitched only 45 1/3 innings this year and had a 4.57 ERA.

72. Sean Manaea, LHP (0.3) — Manaea went 7-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 10 starts and 27 relief appearances with the Giants this year. He struck out 128 in 117 2/3 innings.

73. Will Smith, LHP (0.3) — This is not the actor and not the Dodgers’ catcher. He’s the left-handed reliever who had a 4.40 ERA and 22 saves for the Rangers this year. Smith has played for the past three World Series winners – sign him now!

74. Ryne Stanek, RHP (0.3) — Stanek had a 4.09 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings for the Astros. He ranked in the 96th percentile in fastball velocity.

75. Dominic Leone, RHP (0.3) — Leone pitched for the Mets, Angels and Mariners this year, making 51 appearances. He had a 4.67 ERA and 1.426 WHIP. He also saved a game.

76. Martín Maldonado, C (0.2) — He’s one of the best game-callers in baseball but hit .191 this year with a 66 OPS+. He’s been an integral part of the Astros’ success since joining the team in 2019.

77. Jake Diekman, LHP (0.2) — Diekman put up a 3.34 ERA over 63 games, striking out 64 in 56 2/3 innings of work. He had reverse splits: Right-handed hitters hit .151 against him, lefties hit .229 against him.

78. Michael Brantley, LF (0.1) — When he is healthy, there’s not a more professional hitter in the game. He’s also a great teammate.

79. Frankie Montas, RHP (0.1) — Montas made $7.5 million this year and pitched only 1 1/3 innings for the Yankees because of shoulder issues. His best year was in 2021 when he went 13-9 with a 3.37 ERA in 32 starts.

80. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, SS (0.1) — Overall, Kiner-Falefa is an above-average defender on the left side of the infield. He’s just never going to hit enough to be more than a defensive utility player.

81. Brad Hand, LHP (0.0) — Hand is the only free agent with a bWar of 0.0. Let that marinade for a minute or two. He went from a 2.80 ERA in 2022 with the Phillies to a 5.53 ERA in 2023 with the Rockies and Braves.

82. Joey Votto, 1B/DH (-0.1) — If Votto decides to play one more year, it will be in a bench role and should either be with the Reds, the one team he’s played for, or with the Blue Jays, his hometown team. When he’s done playing, a hitting coach, comedy show or broadcasting job will be awaiting him, and he’ll excel in any of those roles.

83. Kiké Hernández, INF/OF (-0.1) — Hernández has always been a dead fastball hitter with power. He can play in the infield and the outfield and brings a lot of energy to every clubhouse he joins.

84. Robbie Grossman, OF (-0.1) — He can work a count and get on-base as well as any fourth or fifth outfielder in the game. He even hit third in the Rangers’ lineup for some of their postseason games.

85. Liam Hendriks, RHP (-0.1) — Hendricks was named the AL Comeback Player of the Year after his return to the game following treatment for Stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He underwent Tommy John surgery in August, and we’re all hoping for good health and his eventual return to the mound.

86. Joe Kelly, RHP (-0.1) — Kelly brings high velocity and intensity to every outing. He logged a 4.12 ERA in 39 1/3 innings this year between the White Sox and Dodgers, and struck out a whopping 60 batters over that span.

87. Brad Boxberger, RHP (0.1) — He still has never had a hamburger or cheeseburger named after him, which baffles me. He had a 4.95 ERA and two saves in 22 appearances this year for the Cubs.

88. Mike Moustakas, INF (-0.1) — Moustakas hit .247 with 12 home runs between the Rockies and Angels. He’s a strong clubhouse presence.

89. Kevin Pillar, OF (-0.1) — He’s still a solid defensive outfielder who can play left, center and right field at an above-average level.

90. Andrew Chafin, LHP (-0.2) — Chafin posted a 4.73 ERA and 1.422 WHIP over 63 games this year. But every team needs left-handed relievers …

91. Joely Rodríguez, LHP (-0.2) — Did I mention there will always be demand for lefty relievers? There just aren’t enough to go around.

92. Joey Wendle, INF (-0.2) — He can play second base, shortstop and third base and is an excellent clubhouse leader. However, he hit just .212 this year with two home runs in 297 at-bats.

93. Ji Man Choi, 1B (-0.4) — In 2022 with the Rays, Choi had a .341 on-base percentage and hit 11 home runs with 52 RBIs. This year with the Pirates and Padres, he hit a combined .163 with six home runs and 13 RBIs. It was ugly.

94. Aaron Loup, LHP (-0.6) — Loup had a 6.10 ERA and 1.747 WHIP in 55 games last season.

95. Rich Hill, LHP (-0.6) — Hill will turn 44 years old on March 11. Tom Brady retired at 45 — can Hill catch the GOAT? I’m not sure, but I’m rooting for him. If he returns, it’ll be his 20th season. He throws from so many different angles, and with various shapes and sizes; it’s a blast to watch.

96. Yasmani Grandal, C/DH ( -0.7) – Grandal hit .234 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs in 363 at-bats. He is a below-average defender behind the plate.

97. Chris Flexen, RHP (-1.0) —Flexen posted a 6.86 ERA in 102 1/3 innings over 16 starts and 13 relief appearances combined for the Mariners and Rockies.

98. Carlos Carrasco, RHP (-1.3) — Carrasco made 20 starts for the Mets, going 3-8 with a 6.80 ERA, striking out only 66 batters in 90 innings. Ouch!

99. Luis Severino, RHP (-1.5) — Severino never looked like himself this year, logging a 6.65 ERA over 18 starts and one relief appearance with just 79 strikeouts in 89 1/3 innings.

100. Tim Anderson, SS (-2.0) — No free agent lost more value in 2023 than Anderson, who posted a .286 on-base percentage with just one home run in 493 at-bats.

(Top photo of Yoshinobu Yamamoto: Megan Briggs / Getty Images; Photo of Cody Bellinger: Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images; Photo of Shohei Ohtani: Ron Jenkins / Getty Images)

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