Here is the free-agent class of 2014-15, ranked from Nos. 1 to 165. 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.
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1. Max Scherzer, SP: SIGNED To turn down a guaranteed $144 million contract, as Scherzer did last spring, takes an enormous amount of faith in self and elbow. And while Scherzer’s luck on balls in play waned a bit from his 2013 Cy Young season, his strikeout, walk and home run rates were practically identical over the last two seasons. Scherzer, 30, agreed to a seven-year deal with the Nationals.
2. Jon Lester, SP: SIGNED Every bit as good as Scherzer in 2014, Lester brings a pair of World Series rings, significant playoff experience and left-handedness to play 1A as much as 2. Lester chose the Cubs, agreeing to a six-year, $155 million contract.
3. Victor Martinez, DH: SIGNED This is no statement on designated hitters being undervalued. It’s more on the paucity of hitting in baseball today and how much better a hitter Martinez is than the rest of the class. His .409 on-base percentage led baseball last season. (Worth noting: 28 intentional walks aided it.) He whacked 32 home runs. In a strikeout-laden environment, he whiffed at the single lowest rate among those qualified for the batting title. His contract won’t be as big as the next five players’; teams are rightfully leery committing long-term to a 36-year-old. A bat like this is the exception, and the Tigers didn't want him to get away.
4. James Shields, SP: SIGNED Here’s what you get: 220-plus innings. Here’s what you don’t: an ace, like Scherzer or Lester. Here’s what you get: incredible clubhouse presence, the sort that legitimately makes the working environment better and happier. Here’s what you don’t: the changeup that once defined his arsenal, ditched for a cutter-heavy approach. Here’s what you get: fastball velocity going up, the opposite direction for a soon-to-be-33-year-old. Here’s what you don’t: any clue as to how an arm approaching 2,000 regular-season innings will stand up deep into its 30s. The Padres, finally, took the plunge, agreeing with Shields on a four-year deal.
5. Yasmany Tomas, OF: SIGNED He hit it big, and for that the 24-year-old Tomas has Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler, among many more, to thank. Tomas boasts power similar to his countrymen, and executives ignored a fringy body (he last was seen carrying 230 pounds on a 6-foot-1 frame) and focused instead on the bat and the arm that should land him in right field. He's a Diamondback after agreeing to a six-year, $68.5 million deal.
6. Hanley Ramirez, SS: SIGNED The 2013 version of Ramirez lands a $150 million deal in this day where shortstops worth much of a damn simply don’t exist. The position is barren, and it allows Ramirez – a slow-footed fielder too heavy to man the position with the sort of aplomb expected – to still sell himself as one. The move off is inevitable, and maybe it would keep him on the field. A healthy Hanley is usually a great Hanley, and over the last five years, his games-played totals read: 142, 92, 157, 86, 128. The Red Sox took the plunge, and say he'll play in left field.
7. Russell Martin, C: SIGNED Speaking of rarities, an everyday catcher with legitimate defensive chops and a .400-plus on-base percentage? In the last 63 years, just 25 have caught more than 100 games and been on 40 percent of the time. And though Martin, 31, did get a nice batting average spike due to balls in play landing with far more frequency than ever before, his 38.5 percent caught-stealing rate and pitch-framing skills might make him worth the five-year, $82 million deal the Blue Jays gave him.
8. Pablo Sandoval, 3B: SIGNED Another brilliant postseason for one of the best October hitters of this generation reinforced Sandoval’s unique skill set. Nobody swings at the pitches he does, and those who dare to cannot hit them like Sandoval. The approach also dooms him; imagine how good he’d be if he actually waited for good pitches. For now, the bat and a significantly underrated glove – plus the hose that is his right arm – make him an exciting option for teams with a middle-of-the-order hole. The Red Sox went and got him anyway.
9. Nelson Cruz, OF: SIGNED Led the major leagues with 40 home runs. In 1996, this would’ve been no big deal; 17 players hit 40-plus. Four years later, it was 16 guys. Now, power-starved baseball sees Cruz as an anomaly, one worth paying handsomely for even at 34 years old and with a steroid suspension on his record. The bargain of last winter is no longer. The Mariners gave him a four-year, $57 million deal to conquer the confines of Safeco Field.
10. Brandon McCarthy, SP: SIGNED Groundballs, strikeouts and no walks? Uh. Yes, please. The 31-year-old McCarthy put together a delightful half-season after his trade to the Yankees. It was his first fully healthy season, and the 2.89 ERA with New York spoke to his sinker-heavy formula working. Somehow McCarthy kept the ball down and allowed 25 home runs all year, so should the ball stay in the stadium this season, his ceiling is higher than the more accomplished pitchers below him. He agreed with the Dodgers on a four-year, $48 million deal.
11. Ervin Santana, SP: SIGNED The qualifying offer that killed his market last year shouldn’t saddle him again, even if Santana is coming off a worse season in 2014 than he was in ’13. The big question is whether the 16 home runs Santana allowed in 196 innings are an aberration or whether he’s really learning to keep the ball in the stadium, which would make him worth every penny the Twins gave the 31-year-old in a four-year, $55 million deal.
12. David Robertson, RP: SIGNED The thinking is that teams want to save on relief-pitching salaries because of the fluctuation in performance with most relievers. After four straight years of elite performance from Robertson, the White Sox are buying, giving him a four-year deal worth $46 million.
13. Andrew Miller, RP: SIGNED Just three left-handers ever have thrown at least 60 innings, struck out at least 14 batters per nine innings and allowed fewer than five hits per nine: Billy Wagner in 1999, Aroldis Chapman in 2012 and Miller last year. Whether it’s as a closer, a setup man or a multi-inning weapon, Miller got the VIP treatment this offseason rarely reserved for relief pitchers, with the Yankees giving him four years and $36 million.
14. Kenta Maeda, SP: No guarantee to arrive this year, the 26-year-old is the next in the Darvish-Tanaka line of Japanese aces, though he’s not nearly as powerful as his predecessors. Maeda’s fastball operates in the low 90s, and he relies on a number of breaking pitches. One thing scouts say he doesn’t have: the devastating split-fingered fastball that is the out pitch for Tanaka, Koji Uehara and others from Japan.
15. Hiroki Kuroda, SP: A paragon of consistency, especially after he returned from a so-so first half to finish with a 3.16 ERA kick with a .266 OBP in the second. He’s like Shields, only older and cheaper. His market is limited by his expected binary circumstances: either return to the Yankees or retire.
16. Melky Cabrera, OF: SIGNED Though he doesn’t have the power of the higher-ranked options, Cabrera is only 30, a fairly good bet to hit .300 and a strong enough glove to stay in the field for the three years he signed with White Sox.
17. Francisco Liriano, SP: SIGNED Liriano’s two seasons with the Pirates were more good than bad, but 81 walks in 162 1/3 innings last season do not inspire confidence, even when they’re buttressed by 175 strikeouts. Pittsburgh, though, is comforted by familiarity, and re-signed him for three years and $39 million.
18. Jose Fernandez, 2B: The paucity of decent middle-infield options means this left-handed-hitting Cuban should get big money once he’s eligible to sign, though that may not be until after the season starts, considering how long it often takes for players to get cleared by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Just 26, Fernandez gets on base and doesn’t strike out, the sort of profile that makes up for a lesser glove.
19. Chase Headley, 3B: SIGNED Out of the hitting Hades that is Petco Park, Headley returned his OBP to more-than-respectable levels and brought his typically fine glovework along after his trade to the Yankees. Nobody expects another 31-homer season, a la 2012. But the Yankees are expecting him to play third base, putting A-Rod in limbo.
20. Alex Rios, OF: SIGNED Rios is too big, too strong, for his power to go away like it did in 2014, when he hit four home runs in 492 at-bats. His 2.9 percent rate on home runs per flyball was less than a third of his career numbers, which primes Rios for a bounce-back season, even at 34. The Royals are testing the theory with a one-year, $11 million deal.
21. Adam LaRoche, 1B: SIGNED Circumstance led to the Nationals passing on LaRoche’s option, so the 35-year-old signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the White Sox. His power warrants as much, and he’s still smooth enough at first that he can stay there or transition to DH.
22. Michael Cuddyer, OF: SIGNED Playing in Coors Field the last three seasons juices Cuddyer’s offensive numbers, and he hasn’t played a full season since 2010, and he doesn’t play any of his myriad positions particularly well. Despite all that, he is a bat, a potentially well-above-average bat, and so he’ll fit in any number of starved-for-offense lineups. The Mets took the plunge, giving him a two-year, $21 million deal.
23. Jed Lowrie, 2B/SS: SIGNED Even though his power disappeared in 2014, Lowrie is a switch hitter who plays both middle infield positions, doesn’t strike out much and knows how to take a walk. This calls for significant interest these days. He's returning to the Astros on a three-year, $23 million deal.
24. Colby Rasmus, CF: SIGNED The Astros hope he’s the Phil Hughes of the Free-Agent Class of 2014: Underachiever who hits free agency still in his 20s and finally breaks out. The flashes from 2010 and 2013 disappeared in a monsoon of strikeouts and impatience last season, and his defense in center took a step back, too. He signed a one-year deal and if he makes good on it, he’ll hit the market at 29 and cash in.
25. Nick Markakis, OF: SIGNED The star expected upon the signing of a six-year, $66 million deal never materialized. Markakis instead grew into a reliable leadoff guy who gets on about 35 percent of the time and plays solid defense – a piece more than the piece. He agreed to a four-year deal with the Braves.
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26. Jason Hammel, SP: SIGNED Cubs' Hammel is another 15 spots up. A’s Hammel is another 15 spots down. Splitting the difference is fair for the 32-year-old, who a year after getting a $6 million deal got a two-year, $18 million contract to return to the Cubs.
27. Brett Anderson, SP: SIGNED The best gamble of the 2014 offseason is Anderson, still just 26 years old, still throwing hard from the left side despite myriad injuries. Because he’s coming off back surgery, he’s a bargain worth pursuing, big markets and small, for the significant upside. One of these years, he’s going to throw a full season, and when he does, his teammates will be thrilled they’re wearing the same uniform. He signed an incentive-laden one-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers.
28. A.J. Burnett, SP: SIGNED If he’s turning down $12.75 million from the Phillies, it’s because he knows there’s a better deal out there – or he doesn’t want to suffer through the misery that’s going to be the 2015 Phillies. It turns out he doesn't want to suffer, returning to the Pirates for one year and $8.5 million. Burnett is a big strikeout guy who needs better control if he wants to avoid leading the league in walks and earned runs allowed, which he had the ignominy of doing in 2014.
29. Justin Masterson, SP: SIGNED A straight-up mess in 2014: no velocity, no control, nothing. Will go to Boston for one year and $9 million and try to rediscover himself at 30 years old, then come back on the market next season.
30. Chihiro Kaneko, SP: Beat Maeda this season for the Sawamura Award, the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young. The right-hander’s stuff doesn’t match Maeda’s, which is to say he’d better arrive with laser-guided command, or the 30-year-old could struggle.
31. Torii Hunter, OF: SIGNED About to start his 17th full season, Hunter is good ol’ reliable. You know he’ll finish around a .300 average. You know he’ll do so without walking. Like, ever. You know he’ll hit a few home runs, leg out a few doubles, make some jokes. And you know, no matter how immeasurable this may be, he'll make the clubhouse in Minnesota, where he started his career, a better place.
32. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS/2B: SIGNED Just 29, Cabrera for the past two seasons settled into a .240/.300/.400 stasis, which passes for good at shortstop these days. His forerunner in Cleveland, Jhonny Peralta, had a similar late-20s swoon before rediscovering himself, something the switch-hitting Cabrera would love to emulate. He agreed to a one-year deal with those changing Rays.
33. Jung-Ho Kang, SS: SIGNED Maybe he’s a shortstop. Maybe not. Maybe he hits for power here. Maybe not. So many questions exist about the Korean league MVP, the most important is where on the diamond he’ll end up. The history of everyday Korean players in MLB is not altogether distinguished. There’s Shin-Shoo Choo, Hee-Seop Choi and ... that’s it. The Pirates won the bidding for Kang, and signed him to a four-year, $16 million deal.
34. Edinson Volquez, SP: SIGNED His ERA was 3.04; his FIP was 4.15. His strikeout rate dipped. His walk rate was never good to begin with. Regression, thy name is Volquez. The Royals are diving in with a two-year, $20 million deal.
35. Jake Peavy, SP: SIGNED The stuff that led to a 2.17 ERA down the stretch with San Francisco disappeared in the postseason, prompting one scout to wonder whether he’d even give Peavy, 33, a one-year deal at the eight-figure salary he’s seeking. Well, the Giants know him and like him, re-signing him to a two-year, $24 million deal.
36. Michael Morse, DH/1B/OF: SIGNED Morse crushed last season at AT&T Park, one of the toughest hitting environments in baseball, and his 16 home runs didn’t reflect his true power. Keep him out of the field and he’s golden. The Marlins signed him to a two-year deal.
37. Luke Gregerson, RP: SIGNED Here’s the list of relief pitchers with ERAs of 2.75 or better for the last four full seasons: Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara and Gregerson. His consistency merits him a spot up here, and now he has a three-year, $18.5 million contract with the Astros.
38. Luke Hochevar, RP: SIGNED Was Wade Davis a year before Wade Davis. And while coming off Tommy John surgery makes him a risk, it’s one with a nice delta. The Royals re-signed him for two years and $10 million.
39. Zach Duke, RP: SIGNED In 2014, he made the best appearances by a Duke since Randolph and Mortimer turned up in “Coming to America.” His reinvention as a side-winding lefty specialist is legit, and because of that, the White Sox gave him a three-year, $15 million deal.
40. Brandon Morrow, SP/RP: SIGNED In the Brett Anderson camp of one-year breakout possibilities. Stuff played big out of the bullpen in September, too, if he prefers to go that route. Morrow signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Padres.
41. Hector Olivera, 2B: One executive loves the right-handed Olivera, another Cuban defector, and says he deserves every bit as much money as the $28 million the Dodgers gave Alex Guerrero. Another wants to see Olivera at a showcase – and gauge his health – which will determine just how bullish big-league teams are on the 29-year-old.
42. Kendrys Morales, DH/1B: SIGNED Someone could hit a jackpot here with depressed DH salaries and Morales coming off a bad year. Still just 31, and with the right team in the right ballpark, he’s a solid run producer. The Royals are willing to find out with a two-year, $17 million deal.
43. Casey Janssen, RP: SIGNED Model of strike-throwing consistency shouldn’t be penalized because of a bad second half last season. Still, he’ll return to form only if he reverses a trend that saw his groundball rate crater nearly 13 percent below his career average to an unacceptable 34.4 percent. He signed a one-year deal with the Nationals.
44. Billy Butler, DH: SIGNED Limited market because of his defensive shortcomings – even if he’s not as bad at first base as people think, nobody’s going to give him an everyday job there – but the bat ticked up to respectable in the second half. The A's jumped in with surprising deal.
45. Rafael Soriano, RP: Spent the first half with an ERA in the low 1.00s, went through a dead-arm period in the second half that nearly tripled it and ended with the Nationals declining an option on him. A classic will-sign-somewhere-as-an-eighth-inning-guy-and-have-the-closer’s-job-by-May situation.
46. Aaron Harang, SP: SIGNED First five starts: 31 2/3 innings, 0.85 ERA. Last 28 starts: 172 2/3 innings, 4.07 ERA. He’s gonna cost more than the $1 million the Braves paid last season, and for a 36-year-old coming off his best season since 2007, it’s gonna be an overpay. So of course the Phillies jump in with a one-year, $5 million deal.
47. Pat Neshek, RP: SIGNED First full season since 2007 was tremendous. Question is: How many years and dollars will teams commit to that delivery and that relative lack of history? The answer: Two years and $12.5 million from the Astros.
48. Stephen Drew, SS: SIGNED As bad as he was last year – his .162 batting average was the single worst in history for a shortstop with at least 300 plate appearances and more than half his games at the position – he’s still an everyday guy at a position that needs ’em. He signed with the Yankees for one year and $5 million.
49. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B/OF: SIGNED Plays every position but first base and catcher. The frailty of human bodies makes a Swiss Army knife like Bonifacio more valuable than his numbers would suggest. The revamped White Sox nabbed him for one year and $4 million.
50. Ryan Vogelsong, SP: SIGNED At that point in the list where consistent 180-inning guys become eminently valuable. The Giants retained him on a one-year deal.
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51. Kyle Kendrick, SP: SIGNED Consistent 180-inning guy. Too bad it will be for the Rockies for one-year and $5.5 million.
52. Nori Aoki, OF: SIGNED Solid, contact-oriented leadoff possibility who’s even better if he can find the power that disappeared this year. Went from 10 home runs his rookie year to eight his second to one this past season. He signed a one-year deal with the Giants for $4 million.
53. Sergio Romo, RP: SIGNED Lots of sliders. Lots of flyballs. Lots of home runs. Lots of fastballs that don’t come close to 90 mph. The Giants stick with a known quantity for two years and $15 million.
54. Gavin Floyd, SP: SIGNED Pitched great before his broken elbow. Which came after Tommy John surgery. Gulp. Back-to-back arm injuries usually are not a good thing. The Indians take a flyer with a one-year deal for $4 million.
55. Chad Billingsley, SP: SIGNED Tore flexor tendon. Then had Tommy John surgery. Has pitched 12 innings since 2012. Gulp. Like Floyd, the upside on a one-year deal is significant enough to merit a spot this high. The Phillies are giving him a shot.
56. Chris Young, SP: Should re-sign with Seattle, if only because whatever shaman there conjured the spirits to let him pitch a full, healthy season must be revisited.
57. Burke Badenhop, RP: Sneaky-excellent reliever who induced 61 percent groundballs last season and gave up one home run in more than 70 innings. His fastball rarely cracks 90, but it’s a bowling ball, and Badenhop will join traded-for-Miguel Cabrera-mate Andrew Miller as two of the most sought-after relievers this year.
58. Geovany Soto, C: SIGNED The legitimate, everyday catcher options end here. Yes, this list is about to go to grim places. Soto signed a minor-league deal with the White Sox.
59. Carlos Villanueva, SP/RP: SIGNED Can start or relieve. Excellent strikeout and walk numbers. Skimpy with the home runs. Only a bad average on balls in play kept Villanueva short of a very good walk-year ERA. Will be a favorite target of the sabermetrically inclined teams. Signed a minor-league deal with the Cardinals.
60. Josh Johnson, SP: SIGNED Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me infinity times, shame on Josh Johnson’s arm. Still can’t put him any lower, because when he’s healthy, he’s really good. He agreed to an incentive-laden, one-year deal with the Padres.
61. Jonny Gomes, OF: SIGNED Against left-handed pitching last season: .276/.373/.371. Against left-handed pitching for his career: .277/.376/.485. The Braves are paying him – a one-year deal with a vesting option – to kill lefties and nothing else.
62. Jason Grilli, RP: SIGNED Promising end of the season during which he regained most of the fastball velocity lost earlier in the year. The 38-year-old signed a two-year deal with the Braves.
63. Rickie Weeks, 2B: SIGNED Pummeled left-handed pitchers last season and thrived in the second half (.302/.400/.538) after Milwaukee started using him properly. While he’s not an everyday player, he is a weapon when deployed by the right manager. The Mariners signed Weeks to a one-year deal. We'll see how Lloyd McClendon uses him.
64. Francisco Rodriguez, RP: SIGNED K-Rod from opening day to May 10: 19 appearances, 0.00 ERA. K-Rod from May 11 to Sept. 27: 50 appearances, 4.22 ERA. The problem with Rodriguez isn’t just effectiveness; it’s the expectation that he’ll close and the money that comes with it. He re-signed with the Brewers on a two-year deal.
65. Alberto Callaspo, 2B/3B: SIGNED Between the multiple infield positions and the minuscule strikeout rate, he’s a great bench option. The Braves signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal.
66. Joba Chamberlain, RP: SIGNED Hopefully he will restore the Baratheon name by shaving that fetid monstrosity that squatted in his pores last season. He re-signed with the Tigers on a one-year deal.
67. Chris Young, OF: SIGNED Cross-borough move to the Bronx reminded everyone that the Mets thought he was worth $7.25 million. He came cheaper this time around – one year, $2.5 million – and should be a nice value signing for the Yankees.
68. Mike Adams, RP: SIGNED Strong market for a one-year deal, which is all he’ll get because his injury history is riddled. Make that a minor-league deal, which he signed with the Dodgers.
69. Jason Motte, RP: SIGNED The fastball looked nothing like his pre-Tommy John zoom ball. This year is the real test, and one that could send him back into free agency next year in a far stronger negotiating position. He signed with the Cubs for $4.5 million for one year.
70. Delmon Young, DH: SIGNED Like Gomes, only five years younger and without quite the track record. Re-signed with the Orioles for one-year and $2.25 million deal because he hits lefties so well.
71. Kelly Johnson, 2B/3B/OF: SIGNED Not flashy. Never great. Just flexible and resourceful, and every team could use one of those. He signed a minor-league deal with the Braves.
72. Jason Frasor, RP: SIGNED Classic yeoman’s reliever who can do early innings, late innings or in between. The rare manages-to-get-strikeouts-with-middling-stuff sort whose success confounds. Frasor re-signed with the Royals for one year.
73. Josh Willingham, DH/OF: RETIRED Another lefty masher who could play bat bench for another five years but he opted for retirement.
74. Tim Stauffer, RP: SIGNED Good peripherals. Low home run rate. A lot to like, though the Petco effect lingers in the minds of the wary. The Twins signed him to a one-year deal.
75. Neal Cotts, RP: SIGNED A lot of games and a lot of innings on a bad team wears on a reliever. And the fear is that Cotts is more his 2014 self (the overworked, 4.32 ERA one) than his 2013 self (with the skinniest ERA possible: 1.11). The Brewers are willing to find out.
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76. Corey Hart, OF/DH: SIGNED Can’t stay healthy. If he were anywhere close to it, he’d be a top-20 guy, because the power was real and spectacular. The Pirates are taking a shot with Hart, giving him a one year, $2.5 million deal.
77. Tom Gorzelanny, RP: SIGNED Despite a crazy reverse platoon split last season – lefties hit .324/.439/.353 off him – Gorzelanny pitched well for a third straight year in a bullpen role. The Tigers signed him to a one-year, $1 million deal.
78. Jamey Wright, RP: SIGNED Turns 40 in December and will pitch in his 20th big league season in 2015. With just three homers allowed in more than 70 innings, teams will gladly take him in the fifth and sixth innings.
79. Craig Breslow, RP: SIGNED Terrible 2014 season chased a half-decade of good ones. Finding the missing mile and a half on his fastball will make Breslow one of the potential bargains of the winter.
80. Ichiro Suzuki, OF: SIGNED If he can stick around for two more seasons, he has a halfway decent shot at 3,000 hits. For now, he'll be a perfectly good fourth outfielder with the Marlins.
81. Joe Thatcher, RP: SIGNED His job: Get lefties out. Lefties last year against him slugged .447. One positive sign: Thatcher struck out 18 of them and walked just one, so hope exists. The Astros signed him to a minor-league deal.
82. Jose Veras, RP: SIGNED Revitalized by a return to Houston after an awful dozen games with the Cubs, Veras is a perfectly tolerable middle-of-the-bullpen guy for a team that can stomach his excessive walks.
83. Ryan Ludwick, OF: SIGNED No big platoon split to prey on pitchers. No great skill that holds up over time. Just a 36-year-old nearing his last legs, trying to get something productive out of them. He signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers.
84. Misael Siverio, RP: SIGNED While the soft-tossing left-hander from Cuba is likelier to carve out a role in the bullpen rather than a rotation slot, he could backdoor his way in with pure funk, like Odrisamer Despaigne did in San Diego. He signed a minor-league deal with Seattle.
85. David Ross, C: SIGNED Great presence. Decent pop. Happy to be a backup. He’ll be able to play for as long as he wants. Ross joined his pal, Jon Lester, with the Cubs, agreeing to a two-year, $5 million deal.
86. Chris Denorfia, OF: SIGNED Not quite the offensive salve that the Mariners sought at the trade deadline, but can play center field in a pinch and runs the bases well. A useful backup who agreed with the Cubs for one year and $2.6 million.
87. Roberto Hernandez, SP: Like the 180-inning guys previously mentioned, only not as good.
88. Chris Capuano, SP/RP: SIGNED Decent out of the bullpen for Boston. Solid out of the rotation for the Yankees, who re-signed him to a one-year deal.
89. Kevin Correia, SP: SIGNED The archetypal fifth starter. Not really good enough to hang around. Lasts more than 10 full years in the big leagues anyway. He signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners.
90. Takashi Toritani, SS: Patient at the plate and could have the glove to play shortstop, even at 33. Clubs leery of Japanese middle infielders after failures of Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Hiroyuki Nakajima, plus the overhyped Kaz Matsui and Aki Iwamura.
91. Jared Burton, RP: SIGNED Effective reliever whose effectiveness wasn’t quite enough to prompt Minnesota to pick up his option. Could be a good one-year option for a team in need of a middle-innings sort.
92. Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B: SIGNED A .200/.300/.400 guy who will hit 20 home runs if given enough at-bats. Though if you’re giving at-bats to Mark Reynolds, your season probably isn’t going well. He signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals.
93. Matt Belisle, RP: SIGNED True workhorse reliever whose appearances – in the Colorado altitude no less – caught up with him. Put him in the right place with a manager who won’t milk his arm dry and he ought to return to form.
94. Nate Schierholtz, OF: SIGNED Return to form in 2013 gave way to an awful 2014. Still young enough (30) and skilled enough to snag a fourth-outfielder job somewhere.
95. Paul Maholm, SP: SIGNED Strikeouts nosedived, walks jumped and effectiveness ceased. Because he’s still young (32) and throws with the proper hand (left), he’ll get a crack at a rotation somewhere.
96. Nick Hundley, C: SIGNED Perfectly serviceable backup catcher who can step in and start in a pinch, though three consecutive years of sub-.290 OBPs and a 13.9 percent caught-stealing rate may keep him from a full-time gig. The Rockies signed him to a two-year deal worth more the $6 million.
97. J.P. Arencibia, C/1B: SIGNED Under .200 for two straight years, and is really more of an emergency catcher, but pummels lefties (.452 career SLG, .537 last year). With the right manager, he could be a decent 25th man.
98. Ernesto Frieri, RP: SIGNED Only Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, Greg Holland, Rob Dibble and Robertson have higher career strikeout rates over 270-plus innings than Frieri’s 11.97. His problem? Longballs. Giving up 11 in 41 2/3 innings, as he did last year, will ruin anyone’s season.
99. Rafael Betancourt, RP: SIGNED Shaky in his comeback from Tommy John surgery last season, as plenty of returnees are. Could be a bargain relief option.
100. Chris Perez, RP: SIGNEDThree Chris Perez Facts. 1) Fastball velocity upticked to over 94 mph last season. 2) Since being arrested for mailing marijuana to his dog, Perez’s ERA is 4.30; prior to the arrest, it was 3.29. 3) His middle name is Ralph.
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101. Matt Lindstrom, RP: SIGNEDAlways good enough to get a major league job. Never good enough to do much of anything with it.
102. Joel Hanrahan, RP: Never made it back from Tommy John surgery in early 2013 and now is staring at nearly two years gone.
103. Andrew Bailey, RP: SIGNEDSince a brilliant rookie season, his innings totals look like this: 49, 41 2/3, 15 1/3, 28 2/3, 0. At 30 years old, coming off shoulder surgery, this may be his last good shot.
104. John Axford, RP: SIGNED Still just 31. Still has big stuff. If he can figure out how to harness it, still can be elite. The Rockies signed him to a minor-league deal.
105. A.J. Pierzynski, C: SIGNED As 2014 proved, his days as a full-time catcher deserve a mercy killing. Alas, the Braves signed him to a one-year deal.
106. Kyuji Fujikawa, RP: SIGNED Sleeper alert. Struck out 17 in 13 innings upon his return from Tommy John surgery, and his splitter can be a devastating complement to a fastball that isn’t quite as fast as it was pre-surgery. He signed with the Rangers for one year and $1 million
107. Joe Beimel, RP: SIGNEDJust 25 strikeouts in 45 innings are not the things of which dominant relievers are made. Between that and a low average on balls in play, a step back in 2015 is due.
108. Clint Barmes, SS: SIGNED As long as he can still field – and he certainly can – he’ll have a job as a backup shortstop. He signed with the Padres.
109. Phil Coke, RP: SIGNED He signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs. Manager Joe Maddon will likely have more sense than Brad Ausmus, who put Coke in against right-handers this season and watched them hit .333/.394/.476. His career splits vs. righties are similarly ugly.
110. Dustin McGowan, RP: SIGNED The stuff can be really good if he stays in the bullpen, where he’s belonged for years. The Dodgers signed him to a one-year deal.
111. Ramon Santiago, SS/2B: SIGNED Has played 13 seasons (!) and here’s why: played second, shortstop, third and left field last year. Versatility = employment. He signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays.
112. Endy Chavez, OF: SIGNED Another employment tip: Learn to catch the ball, kids. It can get you a 13-year major league career like it has Chavez.
113. Ryan Doumit, C/OF: Bat disappeared last year amid sparse playing time. The problem: He’s grim behind the plate, and his stick doesn’t merit regular outfield, first base or DH duty.
114. Scott Baker, SP: His arsenal still isn’t back to pre-Tommy John levels, and a 25.3 percent groundball rate simply cannot play long-term in the big leagues. Especially when more than 10 percent of those balls are flying out of the stadium.
115. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B: Back surgery cut short his resurgence with the Rangers. If he’s healthy, he’s an excellent bench bat.
116. Kwang-Hyun Kim, SP: Fringy stuff from a left-hander who pre-injury was dominant in Korea. Too much of a risk to be much more than a reliever at this point, and his Korean club, SK Wyverns, may want more for his rights than a major league team is willing to pony up through a posting fee.
117. Yozzen Cuesta, 1B: First basemen need to hit, and there’s no sign this Cuban can do much beyond hit far. The power is there. The rest not so much.
118. Todd Coffey, RP: Last pitched in the big leagues in 2012. Could sneak onto a roster out of spring training after posting a sub-2.00 ERA in return at Triple-A in 2014.
119. Colby Lewis, SP: SIGNED ERA was worse than his peripherals, but he allows a crazy number of home runs and his fastball sits in the 80s. At 35, he’s quickly turning into a pumpkin, but the Rangers show their loyalty with a one-year deal for $4 million.
120. Daisuke Matsuzaka, RP: The CIA makes prisoners watch his games. They ask to be waterboarded instead.
121. Franklin Morales, RP: SIGNED Teach him a new arm slot. Give him a different role. Do something. A left-handed arm that throws a 92-mph fastball and 87-mph slider should be better than this. The Royals will try to figure it all out, signing Morales to a minor-league deal.
122. Diosdany Castillo, RP: Big season as a closer for Villa Clara in Cuba two years ago yielded to him getting booted last year for defection attempt. Made it to Mexico, where he was stationed as of September.
123. Jeanmar Gomez, RP: SIGNED Very hittable stuff, and the groundball rate plummeted last year. He signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies.
124. Jim Johnson, RP: SIGNED Currently has a Craigslist missed connection ad wondering where his strike zone went. The Braves signed him to a one-year deal to see if he can find it.
125. Scott Hairston, OF: Usually finds his way onto the back of a roster somewhere.
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126. Mike Carp, 1B/OF: After he requested a trade out of Boston – yes, Mike Carp requested a trade – he hit .125 in 40 at-bats without an extra-base hit.
127. Jesse Crain, RP: Could sign with his fourth team since last throwing a pitch, which has to be some kind of record.
128. Matt Albers, RP: SIGNED The only things as bad as the Astros’ TV deal with Comcast were their major-league deals with Crain and Albers. Albers signed a minor-league deal with the White Sox.
129. Mark Ellis, 2B: All right. Who’s in the market for a 37-year-old second baseman? Hello? Hello?
130. Josh Outman, RP: Someone really should let him throw like he wants to. No harm seeing as he’ll be on a minor league deal.
131. Sergio Santos, RP: Rather than pay him $6 million this season, Toronto bought out his option for $750,000. Chances are, it’s more than Santos will make as a salary this season, no matter where he signs.
132. Rich Hill, RP: If ever he threw strikes, he’d be Andrew Miller. Unfortunately, he’s 34, and it’s probably too late for that.
133. Alfonso Soriano, DH/OF: RETIRED Walked six times and struck out 71 last season. Of all the players ever with six or fewer walks in a season, Soriano’s 71 strikeouts are tied for the most with Brandon Wood. Now he's walking off into the sunset.
134. Dan Uggla, 2B: SIGNED Best 2015 ever. Will collect $13 million from Atlanta even if he doesn’t play and a World Series ring from the Giants after going 0 for 11. He signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals.
135. Wil Nieves, C: SIGNED Struck out 34 times last season. Walked once. Only five position players in history had more strikeouts with one or fewer walks in a season. He signed a minor-league deal with the Padres.
136. Felipe Paulino, SP: Fetched a guaranteed $1.75 million from the White Sox coming off Tommy John surgery. Made nearly half a million bucks a start. He will not be getting another major league deal.
137. Matt Guerrier, RP: One of those classic doesn’t-strike-guys-out-or-induce-many-groundballs-but-gets-guys-out-anyway relievers. Can’t hurt to bring him in during the spring and see what’s left in the tank.
138. J.J. Putz, RP: RETIRED One season removed from a four-year stretch in which he threw 200 innings at a 2.56 ERA. Aging is the worst.
139. Erik Bedard, SP/RP: SIGNED Soon will need a transplant for all the duct tape holding him together.
140. Juan Oviedo, RP: SIGNED Solid depth option, though Tommy John surgery stole 2 mph from his fastball and made him far more dependent on his changeup.
141. Nick Masset, RP: SIGNED Great story of perseverance after returning following two missed seasons due to arm injuries. Would be well-served to get out of Colorado.
142. Wandy Rodriguez, SP: SIGNED Stuff went south early in the season and never came back. He is a lefty, so anything is possible. Rodriguez, 36, agreed to a minor-league deal with the Braves.
143. Rafael Furcal, SS/2B: Got $3.5 million from the Marlins last season for nine games. A Robin Hood effort.
144. Gerald Laird, C: SIGNED Being a backup catcher is just the best. Laird has made nearly $15 million in his career on the strength of being a good dude. He signed a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks.
145. John Buck, C: His name is Buck, and he’s here to ... catch.
146. Johan Santana, SP: A brilliant, Hall of Fame-caliber peak yielded to the sadness the arm can wreak. Just 117 innings since 2010 and an even more grueling rehab for the 35-year-old now after he tore an Achilles’ tendon last year in his latest comeback attempt. Should start throwing soon.
147. Raul Ibanez, DH: Can’t hit much anymore but a trove of knowledge to which teammates truly respond. Possible value on a minor league deal for a team with young players that could use a left-handed-hitting 25th man.
148. Mark Lowe, RP: Live arm that never could throw enough strikes to maintain success.
149. Reed Johnson, OF: Struck out 37 times last season. Walked once. Anyone who makes Wil Nieves look patient by comparison is doing something special.
150. Bruce Chen, SP/RP: SIGNED Lefty, pulse, etc. He signed a minor-league deal with the Indians.
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151. Nolan Reimold, OF: Ergot is a fungus that can grow on rye and contains an ingredient that helps synthesize LSD. The drug exists only because of the powers of rye mold. The power of Reimold will land him a minor league deal, likely with a team of talking bunnies floating in an infinite space.
152. Alexi Casilla, SS/2B: Teams always need utility depth. He’ll have a job somewhere, be it in the International League or Pacific Coast League.
153. Jason Marquis, SP: SIGNED Yup, he’s still around. Coming back from Tommy John surgery and got eight Triple-A seasoning starts last year. He signed a minor-league deal with the Reds.
154. Jason Giambi, DH/1B: The last two position players to be in the big leagues at this age were Julio Franco and Methuselah.
155. Humberto Quintero, C: Every year, good ol’ reliable does it the absolute same: Start off in the minor leagues, wait for injury, arrive, get a shot at a backup job, savor it like it’s slathered in butter. The recipe is foolproof, the 12-year career delicious.
156. Kevin Gregg, RP: ERAs that begin with two numbers before the decimal, as Gregg’s did last season, do not portend well.
157. Scott Downs, RP: Career trajectory following the path of surname.
158. Carlos Pena, DH/1B: Yup. Still around.
159. Chone Figgins, 3B: Yup. Him, too.
160. John McDonald, SS: Uh-huh. And him.
161. Sean Burnett, RP: Won’t be available until at least June because of Tommy John surgery. Getting back to full strength in 2015 even unlikelier.
162. Koyie Hill, C: What’s the ie for if it’s just pronounced Koy? Was he being made an example of?
163. Jack Hannahan, 3B: SIGNED Not much room for third base-only backups on rosters with just 13 position players. Headed to Korea.
164. Franklin Gutierrez, CF: SIGNED Just 658 plate appearances since 2010 and didn’t play in 2014 because of a chronic disease that can cause the spine to fuse together. Return in serious question.
165. Hiroyuki Nakajima, SS: Highlight of his career was saying he signed with the A’s because Billy Beane was “extremely sexy and cool.” Hit .266/.337/.367 last year. At Double-A.