The 20 best remaining free agents

The expiration of the collective bargaining agreement brought about a November flurry of free-agent signings well beyond anything we’ve seen before.  We published our Top 50 MLB Free Agents list on Nov. 8, and at this point 20 players from that list remain unsigned. Let’s take a look at who will still be out there when the lockout ends.

1.  Carlos Correa.  The Rangers committed $500M to Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, while the Tigers signed Javier Baez. The Tigers doubling up on one of the big five free agent shortstops should, in theory, be a good thing for Correa. As our top free agent of the winter, we still believe Correa’s agent will find a way to get his client paid. However, if teams like the Yankees, Astros, Angels, and Phillies truly won’t get near Correa’s assumed asking price (north of Seager’s $325M), he lacks a contending big market team in need of a shortstop.

3.  Freddie Freeman.  Most observers still consider the Braves the favorite for Freeman. Last week, I ran through potential matches if the Braves can’t get it done. MLBTR readers saw the Yankees and Dodgers as clear favorites in that case. For what it’s worth, I don’t agree with that.

4.  Kris Bryant.  Hours prior to the expiration of the CBA, Jon Heyman mentioned that the Mets, Angels, and Padres had shown interest in Bryant, while the Mariners, Phillies, Rockies and Astros are among the other teams who have “checked in.” Bryant’s expected market prior to the lockout remains mostly intact, but the Rangers have committed $561.2M to free agents and the Mets are in for $254.5M. That probably decreased the willingness of those teams to go big on Bryant.

8.  Trevor Story.  Story could serve as the more affordable alternative to Correa, with Baez’s six-year, $140M deal likely serving as a benchmark. Story doesn’t have an obvious shortstop-needy team with $100M+ burning a hole in its pocket, however.

10.  Nick Castellanos.  Castellanos was one of the top available bats at the opening of free agency, and he figures to be easier for a new team to sign than Freeman. Still, Castellanos is a player with some wide error bars on contract predictions.  MLBTR said $115M over five years, but outlets like ESPN and FanGraphs were at three years and $54M-63M.

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