The 2018-19 Ultimate MLB Free-Agent Tracker

MLB columnist
Yahoo Sports

Here is the Ultimate Free-Agent Tracker for the class of 2018-19, ranked from Nos. 1 to 197. The rankings are based on a number of variables, including each player’s history, opening-day age and potential, and provide a general outline as free agency unfolds between now and spring training.

Bookmark this page in your browser or favorite it on Twitter – and return frequently. As the offseason progresses, Yahoo Sports will update it with news of signings and their impact on other free agents.

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The Bryce Harper that showed up after the All-Star break reminded people why he’s going to get $300 million-plus. (AP)
The Bryce Harper that showed up after the All-Star break reminded people why he’s going to get $300 million-plus. (AP)

1. Bryce Harper, OF: The question as to whether Harper or Manny Machado is the best free agent in this class is immaterial. Both are 26 years old. Both are MVP-caliber talents. Both have stared down this winter for years, ready to headline a class that was much better before the flaws of some were exposed. Harper’s first half was a mess, and then the player who showed up after the All-Star break – .300/.434/.538 – reminded why he’s going to get $300 million-plus. There is substance behind the flash, gravitas to go with the panache, and in the end it’s the superior plate discipline – the kind of skill that ages so well – that puts Harper in the top spot.

Manny Machado’s .297/.367/.538 line with that kind of glove is plenty good. (Getty Images)
Manny Machado’s .297/.367/.538 line with that kind of glove is plenty good. (Getty Images)

2. Manny Machado, SS/3B: There is no shame in second place here. It’s almost 1b to Harper’s 1a. Like Harper, Machado offers four years in his 20s, and for teams that are afraid to commit to 30-something players, that incentivizes the hunt for a total package that starts with a “3.” Will Machado get it like Harper? His market, some surmise, won’t be quite as ripe, even though he’s a superior fielder at a more important position. It’s not just the postseason antics, which left a sour taste with some teams. It’s more the question of just how great Machado’s bat can be. The answer: A .297/.367/.538 line with that kind of glove is plenty good.

Patrick Corbin is going to get at least five years this offseason. (Getty Images)
Patrick Corbin is going to get at least five years this offseason. (Getty Images)

3. Patrick Corbin, SP: The 29-year-old put together one of the great walk years in recent memory by striking out 246 in 200 innings of 3.15 ERA ball for Arizona. Aside from the Tommy John scar on his elbow, Corbin’s got everything. He’s left-handed. He’s incredibly athletic. He’s young. He’s smart. He throws strikes. He’s got a vicious slider. He’s going to get at least five years, and with the teams involved – big and small markets both – the price should exceed $125 million.

Atlanta Braves’ Josh Donaldson speaks during a baseball press conference Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, in Atlanta. Looking to improve on their first division title in five years, the Braves agreed to one-year contract with the former AL MVP. (AP)
Atlanta Braves’ Josh Donaldson speaks during a baseball press conference Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, in Atlanta. Looking to improve on their first division title in five years, the Braves agreed to one-year contract with the former AL MVP. (AP)

4. Josh Donaldson, 3B: Agreed to a one-year, $23 million deal with the Atlanta Braves.

A.J. Pollock will be 31 on opening day, and he hasn’t played a full season since 2015. (AP)
A.J. Pollock will be 31 on opening day, and he hasn’t played a full season since 2015. (AP)

5. A.J. Pollock, CF: Every player beyond the top three comes with a fairly significant red flag, and Pollock’s, like so many others’, is health. He’ll be 31 on opening day, and he hasn’t played a full season since 2015. Working in his favor: The crop of true center fielders in this class is nonexistent, and when Pollock does play, he’s a stellar combination of power, speed and defense. No, he hasn’t been nearly as consistent as Lorenzo Cain, the best center fielder in last year’s class. But the ceiling is right there.

The closest of Craig Kimbrel’s contemporaries were Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, each of whom got five years and $80 million-plus. (Getty Images)
The closest of Craig Kimbrel’s contemporaries were Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, each of whom got five years and $80 million-plus. (Getty Images)

6. Craig Kimbrel, RP: The bump in walks isn’t great, and the jump in home runs allowed doesn’t exactly portend well, either, but facts are facts: No reliever in baseball history was better through his age-30 season than Kimbrel. None had a better ERA than his 1.91. Or a better FIP than his 1.96. The closest of his contemporaries were Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, each of whom got five years and $80 million-plus. So even if Kimbrel was shaky in October, his stuff is still there, and the going rate should be the going rate.

Teams are happily looking past Nathan Eovaldi’s prior arm issues to give him a massive free agent payday. (AP)
Teams are happily looking past Nathan Eovaldi’s prior arm issues to give him a massive free agent payday. (AP)

7. Nathan Eovaldi, SP: The notion of a player making himself money in October is typically trite and has few, if any, examples to back up its veracity. The 28-year-old Eovaldi will be the exception. An under-the-radar trade-deadline acquisition by Boston, he was a starter, reliever and reliever-who-throws-as-many-innings-as-a-starter for the Red Sox as they won a championship, and he was almost impermeable. The fear – a rightful one – is the twice-Tommy John’d-upon right elbow. That’s how good Eovaldi was in the playoffs: Teams are happily looking past that to give him a massive free-agent payday.

How long can Dallas Keuchel remain a workhorse as he approaches his 31st birthday? (Getty Images)
How long can Dallas Keuchel remain a workhorse as he approaches his 31st birthday? (Getty Images)

8. Dallas Keuchel, SP: The big question with Keuchel is how long he can remain a workhorse as he approaches his 31st birthday. He’s still a four-pitch guy, still has solid control, still generates copious groundballs. Extreme sinkerballers can age well, and Keuchel will need a good defense behind him – not to mention a stable shoulder and elbow inside him – to make the big-money deal he’s primed to get worthwhile.

Catcher Yasmani Grandal knows a big deal awaits. (Getty Images)
Catcher Yasmani Grandal knows a big deal awaits. (Getty Images)

9. Yasmani Grandal, C: The glove work in the postseason was bad. The bat work was, too. And yet Grandal’s productivity in his four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers is impossible to ignore. Outside of Buster Posey, he has consistently been the game’s best-hitting catcher. His framing work is superlative, too. Grandal, 30, turned down the qualifying offer for a reason. He knows a big deal awaits.

Nelson Cruz may be a 38-year-old DH, but he has earned this spot. (AP)
Nelson Cruz may be a 38-year-old DH, but he has earned this spot. (AP)

10. Nelson Cruz, DH: Backward though this may seem – a 38-year-old designated hitter in the top 10? – Cruz’s production warrants it. Age has barely slowed him down. Cruz went to Seattle, a hitting graveyard, and over the last four seasons whacked 163 home runs, more than anybody in baseball. His OPS+ in that time trails Mike Trout, Joey Votto, J.D. Martinez, David Ortiz and Harper. That’s it. So, yeah. He may be a 38-year-old DH, but he has earned this spot.

Michael Brantley’s outfield defense leaves something to be desired. (AP)
Michael Brantley’s outfield defense leaves something to be desired. (AP)

11. Michael Brantley, OF: Dr. Smooth reinvigorated his career after a devastating shoulder injury and looked his usual self last season. While the sentiment is that he could be had on a two-year deal, enough teams are interested that the 31-year-old could get something longer term. His outfield defense leaves something to be desired, sure, but the ability to place Brantley into the No. 2 hole and watch his contact-oriented swing go to work is awfully comforting.

J.A. Happ’s consistency is why he’s going to get paid a nice chunk of change, even at 36 years old. (AP)
J.A. Happ’s consistency is why he’s going to get paid a nice chunk of change, even at 36 years old. (AP)

12. J.A. Happ, SP: Here’s the list of players the last three years with at least 500 innings and a sub-3.50 ERA. Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Kyle Hendricks, Justin Verlander, Carlos Martinez, Carlos Carrasco, Jon Lester and Happ. Awfully good company. And that consistency is why he’s going to get paid a nice chunk of change, even at 36 years old.

Provided he’s healthy, Andrew Miller is one of the dominant relievers of his generation. (Getty Images)
Provided he’s healthy, Andrew Miller is one of the dominant relievers of his generation. (Getty Images)

13. Andrew Miller, RP: Provided he’s healthy – and teams have been told he is – Miller is one of the dominant relievers of his generation. His work during the 2016 postseason was heroic, sure, but his numbers since a full-time switch to relief in 2012 are unconscious: 2.21 ERA and 565 strikeouts in 366 innings. Is he still that guy at 33? Plenty of teams are willing to find out.

Yusei Kikuchi will be posted by the Seibu Lions on Dec. 5 and should sign with a team before the new year. (Getty Images)
Yusei Kikuchi will be posted by the Seibu Lions on Dec. 5 and should sign with a team before the new year. (Getty Images)

14. Yusei Kikuchi, SP: The youngest starter on the market at 27, Kikuchi will be posted by the Seibu Lions on Dec. 5 and should sign with a team before the new year. The left-hander brings a fastball that has hit 98 mph but backtracked a bit last season, and his best pitch is a wipeout slider that’s particularly devastating coming from a left-hander. He profiles as more of a middle-of-the-rotation starter than an ace like Shohei Ohtani, and that is fine. Plenty of teams will pay plenty of money to have him.

Charlie Morton’s two-year star turn in Houston won him a World Series ring and plenty of fans around the game. (Getty Images)
Charlie Morton’s two-year star turn in Houston won him a World Series ring and plenty of fans around the game. (Getty Images)

15. Charlie Morton, SP: His stuff is great. His performance keeps getting better. Morton’s two-year star turn in Houston won him a World Series ring and plenty of fans around the game, who appreciate that at 35 he’s not going to demand the sort of long-term deal teams have come to loathe. They’ll take into account his long injury history while recognizing that the upside makes him plenty worthwhile.

Versatile teams love nothing more than a player like Marwin González. (AP)
Versatile teams love nothing more than a player like Marwin González. (AP)

16. Marwin González, UT: A career year in 2017 gave way to a miserable first half. Then the switch-hitting González found his power source in the second half and reminded the Astros why he was so valuable: He played first base, second base, third base and shortstop, plus left, center and right field. Versatile teams love nothing more than a player like González, and González may best of that kind of player there is.

Garrett Richards’ raw stuff is elite and his spin rate the best in the game.(AP)
Garrett Richards’ raw stuff is elite and his spin rate the best in the game.(AP)

17. Garrett Richards, SP: Had he not undergone elbow surgery, Richards would be an easy top-10 player in the class and perhaps the recipient of a nine-figure deal. As it stands, he’s the sort of player who could upend the typical Tommy John contract of two years – the first to recover, the second to pitch – at around $10 million. His raw stuff is elite and his spin rate the best in the game, and teams know the upside of Richards is greater than anyone on the market, Corbin included.

Adam Ottavino’s right-handed frisbee is positively unfair at times. (AP)
Adam Ottavino’s right-handed frisbee is positively unfair at times. (AP)

18. Adam Ottavino, RP: Speaking of vicious sliders, Ottavino’s right-handed frisbee is positively unfair at times, and pairing it with a 94-mph fastball and 88-mph cutter held hitters to a .154/.270/.238 line with 112 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings. Even without a changeup to keep left-handed hitters honest, Ottavino didn’t have an awful platoon split. The raw material is so good it doesn’t matter if you’re a righty, a lefty or both.

Zach Britton still has a 95-mph sinker that can be used to devastating ends. (Getty Images)
Zach Britton still has a 95-mph sinker that can be used to devastating ends. (Getty Images)

19. Zach Britton, RP: Yes, the stuff has ticked backward. Just because a Corvette isn’t a Ferrari doesn’t make it great. And that’s Britton: He’s still got a 95-mph sinker that can be used to devastating ends. Even if it isn’t the pitch it was two years ago, it’s still the kind that will thrive at the back end of a bullpen. Nobody in baseball generates groundballs like Britton, and a smart team will jump on him.

Because he’s a smooth-fielding second baseman and a batting champ and is just 30, D.J. LeMahieu will get paid. (AP)
Because he’s a smooth-fielding second baseman and a batting champ and is just 30, D.J. LeMahieu will get paid. (AP)

20. D.J. LeMahieu, 2B: As is the case with every Rockies hitter who reaches free agency, there is the matter of the splits. LeMahieu in 2018: .317/.360/.433 at Coors Field, .229/.277/.422 elsewhere. LeMahieu for his career, including a cup of coffee with the Cubs: .330/.387/.448 at home, .264/.311/.362 on the road. Because he’s a smooth-fielding second baseman and a batting champ and is just 30, LeMahieu will get paid. Priced into that deal will be the risk that accompanies all Colorado hitters who leave.

Andrew McCutchen showcased his superlative batting eye and enough of a power-speed combination to warrant a solid multiyear deal. (Getty Images)
Andrew McCutchen showcased his superlative batting eye and enough of a power-speed combination to warrant a solid multiyear deal. (Getty Images)

21. Andrew McCutchen, OF: While he is not going to get the $80 million one executive was told he’s seeking, McCutchen showcased his superlative batting eye and enough of a power-speed combination to warrant a solid multiyear deal, even at 32. Because he’s limited to a corner-outfield spot, though, the Cain money simply is not going to be there.

Mike Moustakas is just 30. He’s good at third. He’ll hit 30 home runs. (AP)
Mike Moustakas is just 30. He’s good at third. He’ll hit 30 home runs. (AP)

22. Mike Moustakas, 3B: More or less the same guy he was when the market crashed on him last winter, Moustakas this time is not saddled with the qualifying offer and should be in line for multiple years. He’s just 30. He’s good at third. He’ll hit 30 home runs. And though his career playoff OPS is far worse than his regular-season number, his reputation for making big plays in the postseason and being part of winning teams doesn’t hurt.

Hyun-jin Ryu is staying with the Los Angeles Dodgers. (AP)
Hyun-jin Ryu is staying with the Los Angeles Dodgers. (AP)

23. Hyun-jin Ryu, SP: Accepted the $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The big payday catcher Wilson Ramos sought two years ago went away with a blown-out knee. (AP)
The big payday catcher Wilson Ramos sought two years ago went away with a blown-out knee. (AP)

24. Wilson Ramos, C: The big payday Ramos sought two years ago went away with a blown-out knee. After revitalizing himself with Tampa Bay and Philadelphia last season, the 31-year-old Ramos should have plenty of interest this winter, even with the catching market flooded.

Daniel Murphy is probably best suited for a role that limits him to first base. (AP)
Daniel Murphy is probably best suited for a role that limits him to first base. (AP)

25. Daniel Murphy, 2B/1B: At this point, Murphy is probably best suited for a role that limits him to first base. That said, his bat is plenty sufficient for it. Whether in a leadoff spot or the middle of the lineup, Murphy, who will turn 34 just after opening day, offers that ever-desirable combination of contact and pop.

Second baseman Brian Dozier was not himself in 2018. (AP)
Second baseman Brian Dozier was not himself in 2018. (AP)

26. Brian Dozier, 2B: After back-to-back downballot-MVP-vote-getting seasons, Dozier simply wasn’t himself in 2018. He struggled with the Minnesota Twins, then practically disappeared after a midseason trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers. At 31, he’s a perfect candidate for a make-good deal.

27. Joe Kelly, RP
28. Jed Lowrie, 2B
29. Wade Miley, SP
30. Jeurys Familia, RP
31. Kelvin Herrera, RP
32. Nick Markakis, OF
33. Gio Gonzalez, SP
34. CC Sabathia, SP: Signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the New York Yankees in what will be his 19th and final major league season.
35. David Robertson, RP
36. Trevor Rosenthal, RP: Signed a one-year, $7 million deal with the Washington Nationals that includes a $14 million vesting player option.
37. Steve Pearce, UT: Signed a one-year, $6.25 million deal with the Boston Red Sox after a winning World Series MVP for them in October.
38. Cody Allen, RP
39. Trevor Cahill, SP/RP
40. Jesse Chávez, SP/RP: Signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
41. Ervin Santana, SP
42. Joakim Soria, RP
43. Adam Jones, OF
44. Asdrúbal Cabrera, UT
45. Anibal Sánchez, SP
46. Josh Harrison, UT
47. Matt Harvey, SP
48. Brad Brach, RP
49. Martin Maldonado, C

Lance Lynn delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Orioles in September. (AP)
Lance Lynn delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Orioles in September. (AP)

50. Lance Lynn, SP
51. Robinson Chirinos, C
52. Daniel Descalso, UT
53. Clay Buchholz, SP
54. Jeremy Hellickson, SP
55. Derek Holland, SP
56. Jung-ho Kang, 3B: Signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
57. David Freese, 1B/3B: Signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
58. Drew Pomeranz, SP
59. Evan Gattis, C/DH
60. Carlos González, OF
61. Justin Wilson, RP
62. José Iglesias, SS
63. Denard Span, OF
64. Freddy Galvis, SS
65. Kurt Suzuki, C: Signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Washington Nationals.
66. Oliver Pérez, RP
67. Lonnie Chisenhall, OF: Signed a one-year, $2.75 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
68. Shawn Kelley, RP
69. Curtis Granderson, OF
70. Merrill Kelly, SP/RP
71. Brian McCann, C: Signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Atlanta Braves.
72. Matt Wieters, C
73. Sergio Romo, RP
74. Gerardo Parra, OF
75. Brett Anderson, SP
76. Neil Walker, UT
77. Matt Adams, 1B
78. Tyler Clippard, RP
79. Ryan Madson, RP
80. Devin Mesoraco, C
81. Ian Kinsler, 2B
82. Jonathan Lucroy, C
83. David Phelps, RP
84. Logan Morrison, 1B
85. Jon Jay, OF
86. Bud Norris, RP
87. Greg Holland, RP
88. Jerry Blevins, RP
89. Jeff Mathis, C: Signed a two-year, $6.25 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
90. Matt Moore, SP: Signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.
91. Martín Pérez, SP
92. Adam Warren, RP
93. Tony Sipp, RP
94. Francisco Liriano, SP/RP
95. Jake Diekman, RP
96. Adeiny Hechavarria, UT
97. Mark Reynolds, 1B
98. Jordy Mercer, SS
99. Tyson Ross, SP

James Shields pitches against the Indians in September in Cleveland. (Getty Images)
James Shields pitches against the Indians in September in Cleveland. (Getty Images)

100. James Shields, SP
101. Matt Holliday, OF
102. José Bautista, OF
103. Carlos Gómez, OF
104. Marco Estrada, SP
105. Hanley Ramírez, DH
106. Edwin Jackson, SP
107. Brad Miller, UT
108. Cory Spangenberg, UT
109. Chris Young, OF
110. Lucas Duda, 1B/DH
111. Jordan Lyles, SP/RP
112. Aaron Loup, RP
113. Daniel Hudson, RP
114. Tony Barnette, RP
115. Zach Duke, RP
116. Cameron Maybin, OF
117. Jorge De La Rosa, RP
118. Carson Smith, RP
119. Matt Joyce, OF

Logan Forsythe watches his RBI double against the Indians in August in Cleveland. (AP)
Logan Forsythe watches his RBI double against the Indians in August in Cleveland. (AP)

120. Logan Forsythe, 2B
121. Doug Fister, SP
122. Adam Liberatore, RP
123. Randall Delgado, RP
124. Sean Rodriguez, UT
125. Jenrry Mejía, RP
126. Nathan Karns, SP/RP
127. Jim Johnson, RP
128. Danny Valencia, UT
129. Melky Cabrera, OF
130. Nick Hundley, C
131. Austin Jackson, OF
132. Hector Santiago, SP/RP
133. Brandon Maurer, RP
134. John Axford, RP
135. Rajai Davis, OF
136. Santiago Casilla, RP
137. Erik Goeddel, RP
138. Luis Valbuena, UT
139. Craig Gentry, OF

Hunter Pence salutes the crowd before his first at-bat against the Dodgers on Sept. 30, 2018, in San Francisco. (Getty Images)
Hunter Pence salutes the crowd before his first at-bat against the Dodgers on Sept. 30, 2018, in San Francisco. (Getty Images)

140. Hunter Pence, OF
141. Marc Rzepczynski, RP
142. Alcides Escobar, SS
143. Chase Headley, 3B
144. Alex Meyer, SP
145. Abraham Almonte, OF
146. Phil Hughes, SP/RP
147. Jaime Garcia, SP/RP
148. Tom Koehler, RP
149. A.J. Ramos, RP
150. George Kontos, RP
151. Chris Hatcher, RP
152. Fernando Salas, RP
153. Eric Sogard, UT
154. Zach McAllister, RP
155. Zac Rosscup, RP
156. Boone Logan, RP
157. Josh Tomlin, SP
158. Bobby Wilson, C
159. Jose M. Fernández, UT
160. Adam Rosales, UT
161. Drew Butera, C
162. Tim Collins, RP
163. Eddie Butler, RP
164. Chris Tillman, SP
165. Junichi Tazawa, RP
166. Tommy Milone, SP
167. Peter Moylan, RP
168. Eric Young Jr., OF
169. Ryan Schimpf, UT
170. José Reyes, UT
171. Bartolo Colon, SP
172. Jason Hammel, SP
173. Jeanmar Gómez, RP
174. Jose Lobaton, C
175. Justin Grimm, RP
176. Jandel Gustave, RP
177. Brandon Guyer, OF
178. Josh Smoker, RP

Chris Volstad pitches against the Indians in May in Cleveland. (Getty Images)
Chris Volstad pitches against the Indians in May in Cleveland. (Getty Images)

179. Chris Volstad, RP
180. Andrew Romine, UT
181. Brandon Phillips, 2B
182. Yovani Gallardo, SP
183. Ryan Flaherty, UT
184. A.J. Ellis, C
185. Matt Belisle, RP
186. René Rivera, C
187. Gregor Blanco, OF
188. Adrian González, 1B
189. Chris Stewart, C
190. Tony Cruz, C
191. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
192. Gordon Beckham, UT
193. Blaine Boyer, RP
194. Miguel González, SP
195. Blake Wood, RP
196. Joaquin Benoit, RP
197. Colby Rasmus, OF

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