After a record spending spree before the New Year, baseball's free-agent inventory is unusually depleted for this time of year.
Still, there remains a number of useful players available to contenders and clubs looking to fill voids. We take a look at some of the most intriguing remaining free agents and where they best fit.
Sanchez is a flawed player, no doubt. His struggles at blocking pitches and making contact are well known, and they are why the former New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins catcher is still available despite his prodigious raw power.
But his defensive liabilities are overstated. Yankees catching director Tanner Swanson helped turn Sanchez from a poor pitch framer into an adequate one. Sanchez hit a paltry .204 and .205 the last two seasons, but he's also mashed 39 combined home runs and ranks as the 16th-best offensive catcher in that span despite those low batting averages. He's an above-average offensive producer (109 wRC+) for his career.
Just as he improved his framing, there's a chance his raw power can be better transformed into more consistent game power. He's still just 30, and no club has ever been able to buy lower on Sanchez.
Few clubs have unearthed more value out of players in recent years than the San Francisco Giants, which have question marks at catcher with former No. 2 overall pick Joey Bart and Blake Sabol, a Rule 5 pick via the Pittsburgh Pirates, atop their depth chart.
After an excellent 2021 (.319 batting average, 132 wRC+), Gurriel fell off a performance cliff last season (.242 batting average, 85 wRC+). But his underlying skills didn't crater. His walk rate and low strikeouts were in line with his career averages. In an era of record strikeout rates, Gurriel makes an unusual amount of contact.
Part of his performance is dependent on whether the ball is lively or dead. He posted a 16% HR/FB rate in 2019, a juicy ball year, but that rate declined to a career-low 4% last year. He's 38, so he might be on his last professional legs, but he can still put the ball in play and can at least be a useful platoon bat against left-handed pitching (career 108 wRC+ versus lefties, 74 versus right-handed pitching).
The Cleveland Guardians are seeking to put right fielder Josh Naylor in a platoon at first base/DH and have prioritized high-contact hitters. If added, Gurriel might guarantee that the Guardians are the most difficult club to strike out in the majors.