Baseball’s ultimate free-agent tracker
Here is the free-agent class of 2011-12, ranked from Nos. 1 to 181. The rankings are based on a number of variables, including each player’s history, age and potential, and are as much about predicted performance as market value, providing a general outline as free agency unfolds between now and spring training.
Bookmark this page and return frequently. As the offseason progresses, Yahoo! Sports will update it with news of signings and their impact on the other free agents, as well as a supplementary list of players who are non-tendered by their current teams.
2. Prince Fielder(notes), 1B: SIGNED For all the questions about how his body will age, it has done so remarkably well through his first six seasons. Hitters as accomplished as Fielder simply don’t hit free agency at 27, so it’s no surprise to see him pass Mark Teixeira’s(notes) contract with a nine-year, $214 million deal with the Tigers
3. Yu Darvish, SP: SIGNED The Japanese import’s stuff is better than Daisuke Matsuzaka’s,(notes) his work ethic is way better and his marketability – a Japanese-Iranian star – is off the charts. The Rangers thought enough of the entire package to invest $111.7 million, including the $60 million contract the sides agreed to just before the signing deadline.
4. Jose Reyes(notes), SS: SIGNED Injuries have plagued his career, but Reyes was still a hot item thanks to positional scarcity as well as his overall explosiveness. The shortstop signed a six-year, $106 million deal with the Miami Marlins. Paired with Hanley Ramirez, the Marlins now have one of the most enticing left sides of the infield in baseball.
6. Carlos Beltran(notes), OF: SIGNED Huge comeback year went even more under the radar once San Francisco dropped out of the wild-card race. While dynamism is as shot as his knees, the bat still plays, which is what the Cardinals are banking on after giving him $26 million over two years. Story
7. Roy Oswalt(notes), SP: Even if his stuff has gotten more hittable, Oswalt on a three-year deal is significantly more palatable – and cost-effective – than committing four years to Edwin Jackson(notes).
8. Jimmy Rollins(notes), SS: SIGNED His glove and speed remain plus assets, he rarely strikes out and he’s an emotional force in the clubhouse. After his market softened, Rollins agreed to a three year, $33 million deal with the Phillies with a vesting option for a fourth year.
9. Grady Sizemore(notes), OF: RE-SIGNED Nobody else will have him this high, which is fine. He’s 29, will be a year off microfracture surgery and primed to come back. The Indians want that upside and re-signed him to a one-year deal that will pay him a guaranteed $5 million with another $4 million in incentives. Cleveland turned down a $9 million option on Sizemore after the season, so if he returns to form he could make the same amount. Story
10. Aramis Ramirez(notes), 3B: SIGNED Looks and plays a lot older than 33. His defense is terrible and his baserunning even worse. Suddenly desperate for a power bat, the Brewers give him a three-year deal. Story
11. David Ortiz(notes), 1B: SIGNED The best DH since Edgar Martinez looked for love in a market that in recent years has told DHs they’re essentially worthless. In the end, he agreed to stay put with the Red Sox, agreeing to their offer for salary arbitration.
13. Hiroki Kuroda(notes), SP: SIGNED On one hand, he’ll be 37 opening day. On the other, he’s a 200-inning horse who can generate gaudy groundball rates and walks few. He’s a perfect compliment to Michael Pineda in the Yankees’ revamped starting rotation. Story
14. Jonathan Papelbon(notes), RP: SIGNED The velocity is there. The strikeout rate is phenomenal. The walk rate plummeted last year. He brings it all to Philadelphia for four years and $50 million, with a team option for a fifth year at $13 million. Story
15. Ryan Madson(notes), RP: SIGNED One of the game’s most devastating changeups makes him the ideal sort of pitcher: a groundball-inducing, strikeout-throwing machine. That he showcased the ability to pitch in the ninth inning only increased his value, netting a one-year, $8.5 million deal from the Reds. Story
16. Michael Cuddyer(notes), 1B/OF: SIGNED The older he gets, the more contact he makes. And for a 33-year-old-to-be bat-only guy (whose time spent at second base does make him an injury-replacement possibility) that’s reason enough for Colorado to make him their first big-name free-agent signing since 2000. Story
17. Edwin Jackson, SP: SIGNED Yes, he’s an inning-eating horse. Yes, he’s got great raw stuff, from the mid-90s fastball to the 89-mph slider. And yet something about this – whether the pitch-count abuse or just how many teams have willingly dumped him – screams red flag. A one-year deal worth in the range of $9 million to $12 million puts those concerns in the hands of the Nationals. Story
18. Hisashi Iwakuma, SP: SIGNED After Oakland’s proposed deal underwhelmed him last offseason, the 30-year-old right-hander returned from Japan as a free agent and signed a one-year deal with the Mariners. Story
19. Carlos Pena, 1B: SIGNED A three-true-outcomes king, with his walk, strikeout and home run rates all well above average. Don’t let the .225 batting average last season fool you; Pena put up an excellent season. He returns to Tampa Bay for one year and $7.25 million. Story
20. Heath Bell(notes), RP: SIGNED Precipitous drop in strikeout rate could portend something bad, yet the Marlins gave him a three-year, $27 million deal with a vesting option for a fourth year at $9 million. Brown column
21. Javier Vazquez(notes), SP: The threat of retirement wouldn’t seem so silly had Vazquez not posted the third-best ERA in baseball after June 16. Only Clayton Kershaw(notes) and Cliff Lee(notes) were better than Vazquez’s 1.92.
22. Francisco Rodriguez, RP: RE-SIGNED Mellowed-out K-Rod provided the same results as angry K-Rod: hysterical innings from which he somehow managed to escape. How he gets through them still defies logic. He accepted arbitration with Milwaukee. Story
23. Josh Willingham(notes), OF: SIGNED Even in the hitters’ hell that is O.co Coliseum, Willingham managed to pop 15 home runs and slug .523. The Twins give him $21 million over three years to bring some much-needed pop to the lineup. Story
24. Jason Kubel(notes), OF: SIGNED A bum foot limited him most of the season and left him with a second-half OPS more than 100 points lower than his first half. If he heals, Kubel will be a solid left-handed power option for the Diamondbacks, who gave him a two-year deal.
25. Paul Maholm(notes), SP: SIGNED The good: high groundball rate, age (29) and left-handedness. The bad: ended the season on the DL with a shoulder strain. He stays in the NL Central after signing a one-year deal with the Cubs. Story
26. David DeJesus(notes), OF:SIGNED Lost season in Oakland after a career year in Kansas City. Excellent corner outfielder, smart baserunner and ideal No. 2 hitter became Theo Epstein’s first big acquisition with the Cubs. DeJesus agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal. Story
28. Jonathan Broxton(notes), RP: SIGNED Non-reconstructive elbow surgery should leave him ready for the beginning of the season, and after taking a hunting trip with manager Ned Yost, he signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Royals to pitch the eighth inning. Story
29. Coco Crisp(notes), CF: RE-SIGNED Pure center fielders aren’t easy to find. Ones with game-changing speed – Crisp led the AL in steals with 49 – are even tougher, so the A’s are keeping him around for another two years in spite of an OBP (.314 in 2011) that mitigates his value. Story
30. Tsuyoshi Wada, SP: SIGNED The most successful Japanese left-handers in the major leagues have been Hideki Okajima(notes), Hisanori Takahashi(notes) and Kaz Ishii. Wada would like to change that after signing a two-year deal with Baltimore. Story
32. Joel Pineiro(notes), SP: SIGNED While a shoulder injury impinged on his velocity, his sinker lost only an inch of movement. As long as his arm returns in good shape – and with the shoulder, that’s always a question – he could be an excellent buy-low depth investment for the Phillies, who gave him a minor league deal. Story
33. Aaron Hill(notes), 2B: RE-SIGNED Turns 30 in March, and after back-to-back brutal seasons, needs a good one to salvage his career. The Diamondbacks will give him the chance, signing him to a two-year, $11 million deal. Story
35. Kerry Wood(notes), RP: RE-SIGNED His reinvention as a late-inning reliever is one of the nicer stories in baseball. No more talking about what could’ve been. What he is now is pretty darn good, as the Cubs acknowledged with a $3 million deal. Story
36. Francisco Cordero(notes), RP: SIGNED Suffer because of the surfeit of relief pitching as well as his declining strikeout rate. His closing experience intrigued Toronto enough to garner a one-year, $4.5 million deal.
37. Jim Thome(notes), DH: SIGNED Gets a one-year, $1.25 million contract to pursue his first World Series title with the Phillies. At 41, is still a power threat and remains the most unfailingly positive clubhouse presence in the game. Story
38. Rich Harden(notes), SP: Still puts up a monster strikeout rate and palatable walk rate. Allowed a disproportionately high number of home runs last year, which should even out this year if his right arm agrees to postpone its inevitable falling off.
39. Casey Kotchman(notes), 1B: SIGNED Has always been a great contact hitter. Last year, the balls just happened to fall. Regression seems inevitable, though an OPS over .800 in the AL East was enough for the Indians to cough up a one-year, $3 million deal. Story
40. LaTroy Hawkins(notes), RP: SIGNED While it remains mystifying how someone can throw as hard as Hawkins and strike out so few batters, he returned after a lost 2010 to look as good as he has in nearly a decade. Getting groundballs on 62 percent of hitters certainly helped. The Angels rewarded him with a one-year deal.
43. Bartolo Colon(notes), SP: SIGNED Batters against him in the second half: .298/.338/.498. Looks like the expiration date on injecting your own stem cells is approximately three months. That’s Oakland’s problem now after they gave him a one-year deal. Story
44. Mark Ellis(notes), 2B:SIGNED Rough season notwithstanding, Ellis still has plus range and can hold his own with the bat, and the Dodgers signed him to a two-year, $8.75 million deal that includes a team option for 2014.
47. Ryan Ludwick(notes), OF: SIGNED He’s almost certainly never going to be Ludwick ’08 again. At the same time, he could give the Reds 400 bargain plate appearances after signing a one-year deal. Story
48. Takashi Saito(notes), RP: SIGNED Seven scoreless innings in the postseason. A 2.03 ERA in the regular season. All at 41. Puts off retirement to sign a one-year, $1.75 million deal with Arizona. Story
50. Chris Capuano(notes), SP: SIGNED From sidelined for two seasons to a touch-and-go comeback to nearly 200 innings with the Mets, Capuano earned a rotation spot with the Dodgers the next two years, and he’ll be paid $10 million. Story
51. Darren Oliver(notes), RP: SIGNED It’s never good when the best left-handed reliever available starts getting social security in spring training. The Blue Jays think he’s got enough left to offer a one-year deal.
52. Ryan Doumit(notes), C/OF: SIGNED Pure upside play. He can be an excellent and versatile option if he’s healthy, which he hasn’t been for most of his career. The Twins signed him to a one-year, $3 million contract. Story
53. Chad Qualls(notes), RP: SIGNED Went to Petco paradise, posted a favorable ERA, and got a $1.15 million deal from the Phillies for it despite just 43 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings. Every reliever looking to resurrect his career should offer to play for the minimum in San Diego.
54. Brad Lidge(notes), RP: SIGNED His fastball velocity is down seven mph from its peak. Threw his slider on nearly three-quarters of his pitches last year. Could reinvent himself as an offspeed, groundball specialist with Washington as long as he can command his breaking ball. Story
55. Joe Nathan(notes), RP: SIGNED A rough April ceded to a decent rest of the season in his return from Tommy John surgery, enough to land him a two-year, $15 million deal with the Rangers that includes an option for 2014. Story
56. Andruw Jones(notes), OF/DH: SIGNED Too damn fat. Though it doesn’t matter as much now that his job is to fill in for corner outfielders and hit home runs, both of which he does well enough for the Yankees to have him stick around for another year at $2 million. Story
57. Wilson Betemit(notes), 3B: SIGNED His bat carries his awful defense, which has kept him from a full-time job. Nonetheless, he’s only 30, a switch hitter and a proven producer in back-to-back seasons. Baltimore becomes his fifth team in the last five seasons. Story
61. Jeff Francis(notes), SP: SIGNED Nursed himself back into 183-inning shape last season, and while many of them were underwhelming, Francis is young, left-handed and possesses excellent control. He may be a long shot to crack the Reds’ rotation after signing a minor league deal.
63. Freddy Garcia(notes), SP: RE-SIGNED Another case of the results not matching the reports. To have done it in New York was even more impressive. The Yankees gave him a one-year deal while scouts expect a return from orbit. Story
64. Kosuke Fukudome(notes), OF: SIGNED As miserable as he can look – his swings and misses are worse than Bieber on loop – he does have a career .361 on-base percentage. The White Sox picked up his services for a fraction of what the Cubs paid in 2008. Story
67. Clint Barmes(notes), UT: SIGNED Defensive metrics love him at shortstop. Scouts see a utilityman with a little pop in his bat. The Pirates saw an everyday shortstop and gave him a two-year, $10.5 million deal. Story
70. Raul Ibanez(notes), OF: SIGNED Hit like crazy at Citizens Bank bandbox. Stunk on the road. Crushed right-handers. Couldn’t touch lefties. In other words, give him a tiny park, platoon him and keep him away from the field, and it’s an excellent signing. The Yankees are expected to do just that. Story
73. Alex Gonzalez(notes), SS: SIGNED Outlasted the other Alex Gonzalez. Now trying to outlast his .291 lifetime on-base percentage, which the Brewers were willing to overlook to fill an offseason need. Story
74. Rafael Furcal(notes), SS: RE-SIGNED It’s a sheer delight to watch him throw. Other than that, there’s only a drop or two left in the tank. Despite a career-worst season at the plate, the Cardinals bring him back for two years at $14 million. Story
75. Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes), UT: SIGNED Plays everywhere and at a solid defensive level, posts a respectable on-base percentage and is beloved in the clubhouse. The Dodgers signed him to a back-loaded two-year, $6 million deal. Story
76. Juan Pierre(notes), OF: SIGNED At 34, could see backup duty for the first time in his career. No longer a potent stolen-base threat (caught stealing a major league-leading 17 times in 2011) and still a defensive liability. Accepted a minor league offer from the Phillies. Story
77. Livan Hernandez(notes), SP: SIGNED Proof that you can be old, fat and tied to a Puerto Rican drug lord and still be eminently employable as a professional athlete. This is America, man, where all that gets you another shot, this one with the Astros. Story
78. Kevin Millwood(notes), SP: SIGNED He spent the majority of 2011 at Triple-A and walked only eight in 54 1/3 innings with Colorado. Declining velocity may have spooked the market, as he settled for a minor league deal with Seattle. Story
79. Joel Zumaya(notes), RP: SIGNED The guy threw 104 mph. So what if his arm is made of cotton candy? It’s a far more worthwhile million-dollar gamble – actually just $850,000, which is what he gets from the Twins for one year – than most of the places free-agent money goes. Story
80. Mike Gonzalez, RP: The second-best left-handed reliever on the market is Mike Gonzalez. That is all.
81. Kevin Kouzmanoff(notes), 3B: SIGNED Came up as a slugging, mediocre-glove third baseman. May survive as a great-glove, mediocre-bat third baseman after getting a minor league deal from Kansas City. Story
82. Ramon Santiago(notes), UT:RE-SIGNED The Tigers appreciated his good glovework at all the infield positions and a bat that is fine in limited use, re-signing Santiago to a two-year, $4.2 million deal. Story
83. Endy Chavez(notes), OF: SIGNED Excellent defensive replacement at all three outfield positions, serviceable bat and good wheels. Baltimore gets a bargain fourth outfielder after signing him to a one-year deal. Story
84. Nick Punto(notes), UT: SIGNED Set a career high with a .388 on-base percentage in 166 plate appearances. If he’s even within 40 points of that next season, he’ll be a good addition for the Red Sox, who signed him to replace Jed Lowrie.
85. Dontrelle Willis(notes), SP/RP: SIGNED How does .100/.169/.200 sound? Those are Willis’ splits in 60 tries against left-handed hitters last year. Give up on the starting dream, convert him to a lefty specialist, thank me later. The Phillies may do just that after giving Willis a one-year, $1 million deal. Story
86. Rod Barajas(notes), C: SIGNED Power and decent-enough receiving ability make him stand out in this catching crop drier than a Barolo. The Pirates gave him a one-year, $4 million deal with a club option for 2013 at $3.5 million. Story
87. Jon Rauch(notes), RP: SIGNED Struggled in Toronto, particularly in the second half when opponents hit .317/.349/.617 off him as he hit the DL with appendicitis and torn cartilage in his knee. He gets a one year, $3.5 million deal from the Mets. Story
89. Willie Bloomquist(notes), UT: SIGNED Still doesn’t have a season with an OPS+ over 86, but the Diamondbacks resigned him for two years and $3.8 million. He filled in nicely for the injured Stephen Drew down the stretch. Story
90. Octavio Dotel(notes), RP: SIGNED The Brewers should have signed him specifically so Ryan Braun(notes) wouldn’t have to face him. At least he’s safe for most of the season after Dotel agreed to a one-year deal with Detroit. Story
91. Dan Wheeler(notes), RP: SIGNED One of the many relievers whose reinvention via the cut fastball could add years of life onto his career. Could win a role in Cleveland’s bullpen after inking a minor league deal. Story
93. Reed Johnson(notes), OF: RE-SIGNED On one hand, his .309/.348/.467 showing represented a career renaissance, one the Cubs rewarded with a one-year, $1.15-million deal. On the other, he struck out 63 times and walked five. Those are not typos. Story
97. Mike MacDougal(notes), RP: RE-SIGNED Finished last season with a 2.05 ERA. Full name is Robert Meiklejohn MacDougal. Not sure which is a less-known fact, nor which is cooler. The Dodgers likely shelled out another $1 million for the ERA. Story
99. Aaron Cook(notes), SP: SIGNED Disastrous back-to-back seasons for a sinkerballer who has lost a couple inches of movement over the last few years as a broken leg and broken finger sidelined him. A minor league deal with Boston gives him a shot at earning a rotation spot. Story
101. Andrew Brackman(notes), SP: SIGNED The 6-foot-10 right-hander lost his command at Triple-A last season and ended up cut by the Yankees. Huge potential earns him a one-year deal with the Reds. Story
104. Chien-Ming Wang(notes), SP: RE-SIGNED Gets a one-year deal to stick with the Nationals, who hope he can offset an infinitesimal strikeout rate by keeping his groundballs above 55 percent and his walks around two per nine. Story
107. George Sherrill(notes), RP: SIGNED One year removed from disaster with the Dodgers, he was solid, if hittable in ’11. He gets a one-year deal to return to Seattle, where he began his career in 2004.
112. Lyle Overbay(notes), 1B: RE-SIGNED When the Pirates were winning, he was in the lineup. When they started losing, he wasn’t. Coincidence? Of course. Gets a one-year deal from Arizona after finishing 2011 as a reserve for the D’backs. Story
113. Eric Chavez(notes), 3B/1B: RE-SIGNED All the power is gone. So is the Gold Glove defense at third base. At 27, he was on his way to the Hall of Fame. Crazy – and sad – to think of how injuries can ruin careers. Retirement was on the table before the Yankees threw a lifeline. Story
117. Mark DeRosa(notes) UT: SIGNED For $12 million, the Giants got 42 hits, one home run, 18 runs, 22 RBIs, 17 walks, one stolen base, three caught stealing and 34 strikeouts in 201 plate appearances. The Nats are hoping for better return on their free-agent dollar after giving DeRosa a one-year deal.
120. Jack Wilson(notes), IF: RE-SIGNED In two stops this season, came remarkably close to the rare SLG-lower-than-OBP-when-both-under-.300 trick, something reserved for the very finest in offensive ineptitude. Thank goodness he owns a glove. He gets a scaled-down deal to stay with Atlanta. Story
121. Fernando Rodney(notes), RP: SIGNED Lost his closing job, his command and his manager’s confidence in Los Angeles. Next on the list is his career, which he has a chance to revive after signing a one-year deal with the Rays. Story
123. Kelly Shoppach(notes), C: SIGNED Plenty of power, as he showed during the postseason. Enough to get him a backup job – the Red Sox gave him a $1.35 million, one-year contract – and make up for all his other deficiencies.
125. Nate McLouth(notes), OF: SIGNED No longer an All-Star. No longer an everyday player. He returns to the Pirates, who figure he can’t be the disaster he has been the last two seasons, not just as he turns 30. Story
126. Brad Penny(notes), SP: The moral of his last two seasons: Just because you throw hard doesn’t make you infallible. Penny never adjusted or learned how to pitch, his stuff faded and now he’s little more than a live arm that could and should be something but isn’t.
129. Brian Sanches(notes), RP: SIGNED The Marlins absolutely abused him, which is a shame considering he was among their most valuable relievers for the last three years. He signed a minor league deal with the Phillies.
131. J.C. Romero(notes), RP: SIGNED Never really learned to throw the ball over the plate. How he has survived 13 years in the big leagues is a testament to resourcefulness and luck. He joins his sixth team after signing a one-year deal with St. Louis. Story
133. Russell Branyan(notes), DH/1B: SIGNED Sign him and Wily Mo, open up batting practice for the masses and hold a daily home run derby. People would buy tickets to see this. Seriously. OK, maybe not at Yankee Stadium prices. Story
136. Greg Dobbs(notes), 3B: RE-SIGNED Hit .370 as a pinch-hitter in 2011, which is probably why the Marlins are bringing him back as he certainly won’t start 84 games at third base with Hanley Ramirez sliding over to man the position. Story
142. Vicente Padilla(notes), SP/RP: SIGNED Won the ESPY for injury imitating life last year following surgery for a pain in his neck. He’s now part of a crowded field vying for the right to be Boston’s fifth starter. Story
144. Jose Molina(notes), C: SIGNED Hit a dozen doubles last season. Took a dozen minutes to reach second base on each. Good thing catchers don’t need speed: Molina signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Rays that includes an option for 2013 with a buyout of $300,000. Story
155. Sergio Mitre(notes), RP: Fun fact: Among pitchers with at least 60 games started and at least 140 total, Mitre has by far the fewest wins – just 13, compared to the next worst, Dick Kelley, who had 18.
161. Brian Schneider(notes), C: SIGNED This is the backup-catcher portion of the program, where everyone is pretty much interchangeable. Schneider will return to the Phillies on a one-year, $800,000 deal. Story
162. Josh Bard(notes), C: SIGNED The Bard: “To be or not to be; that is the question.” Josh Bard: “To hit or not to hit; not to hit.” His .254 career average is now property of the Dodgers organization.
167. Corey Patterson(notes), OF: SIGNED Remember when he was logging significant playing time for the Cardinals in September? That La Russa was a genius. Patterson is now property of Milwaukee via a minor league contract. Story
168. Cesar Izturis(notes), UT: SIGNED Hitting .087 in winter ball. That translates to -.035 in the major leagues, which would be some sort of a record. He signed a minor league deal with the Brewers. Story
174. Chris Snyder(notes), C: SIGNED Last we heard, Snyder couldn’t protect his wife in a road-rage attack because of back surgery. The Astros hope he’s well enough to at least block the plate after handing him a one-year deal. Story