MLB free agency: Top 5 remaining players at each position

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Top 5 remaining MLB free agents at each position originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Before the baseball world shut down, 61 free agents signed contracts of at least $1 million. 

There were deals spanning 10 years (Corey Seager), seven (Marcus Semien), six (Javier Baez) and five (Robbie Ray, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Rodriguez).

Of those 61 contracts signed, 35 were multi-year deals and 18 were for at least three years.

Yet still, a ton of notable names remain. Last week, we examined the top 15 free-agent relievers.

Here are the top five remaining free-agent hitters at each position:

First base

  • Freddie Freeman

  • Kyle Schwarber

  • Anthony Rizzo

  • Brad Miller

  • Dan Vogelbach

The 32-year-old Freeman has won an MVP and a World Series the last two seasons while remaining one of the best hitters and leaders in all of baseball. The Phillies would love to see him exit the division after 12 years in the NL East but the Braves are the heavy favorite to re-sign him. Any team with a chance to win and a hole at first base will make the call, but it will likely take a long-term deal. Five years? Six?

Schwarber can play both outfield corners in addition to first base. The Phillies have already shown interest in him this offseason and have a big hole in left field.

Rizzo has hit .240/.343/.432 the last two seasons but is still an everyday player.

Why wouldn't Miller be looking for a platoon job somewhere rather than a bench role? The expected adoption of the DH in the National League will increase his market. The Phils paid him $3.5 million in 2021. He hit 20 home runs and slugged .453. He's a huge clubhouse favorite -- something Bryce Harper pointed out again the night he won MVP -- but they may not be able to entice him to stick around.

Second base

  • Jonathan Villar

  • Donovan Solano

  • Josh Harrison

  • Jed Lowrie

  • Marwin Gonzalez

Thin field here with Semien, Eduardo Escobar, Cesar Hernandez and Leury Garcia already off the board. Villar may be the only everyday player of the bunch.

Third base

  • Kris Bryant

  • Kyle Seager

  • Jonathan Villar

  • Matt Duffy

  • Charlie Culberson

Bryant will appear at multiple positions on this list and that's a big part of his attractiveness. Third base is the spot where he has played just under 74% of his big-league innings.

Kyle Seager, 34, is coming off a 35-homer, 101-RBI season but he hit just .212 with a .285 OBP.

(Update, Dec. 29: Seager announced his retirement.)

Culberson is a bench piece.

Shortstop

  • Carlos Correa

  • Trevor Story

  • Andrelton Simmons

  • Jose Iglesias

  • Jonathan Villar

Two of the top free agents at any position are still out there in Correa and Story. Story would be a fantastic fit here (and anywhere, with his power, speed and excellent defense), but it's hard to see the Phillies signing another contract of at least $125 million, particularly with their vacancies in two outfield spots.

The Phils were interested in Simmons in previous offseasons before going with Didi Gregorius. They still have Gregorius under contract and have an emerging infielder in Bryson Stott who they believe can stick at short. It wouldn't be surprising if they reunite with Ronald Torreyes as a backup shortstop.

Corner outfield

  • Nick Castellanos

  • Michael Conforto

  • Kyle Schwarber

  • Kris Bryant

  • Eddie Rosario/Jorge Soler

Castellanos is one of the best offensive players in baseball, on par with or more dangerous than Correa and Story at the plate. He'd look great in the spot protecting Bryce Harper but is probably going to be out of the Phillies' price range.

Conforto's eventual contract will be interesting because he was great in the shortened 2020 season, disappointing in 2021 and is still 28 years old. He and Castellanos are both represented by Scott Boras.

It will be a tough pill to swallow for Phillies fans if they don't come out of this offseason with one of Castellanos, Schwarber, Conforto, Bryant or a big trade for an outfielder.

Center field

  • Kris Bryant

  • Brett Gardner

  • Kevin Pillar

  • Odubel Herrera

  • Billy Hamilton

Slim pickings here, and Bryant isn't really a centerfielder. It's why the Phillies will likely have to trade for their starting CF.

Catcher

  • Robinson Chirinos

  • Wilson Ramos

  • Kurt Suzuki

  • Stephen Vogt

  • Luke Maile

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