Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon are generational stars. Stephen Strasburg is right there as well. Likewise, Josh Donaldson and Zack Wheeler breathe the same rarified free-agent air. This offseason will largely revolve around them.
Here’s the thing: We’re so focused on the top of the free-agent market that it’s easy to overlook how many really good players get overlooked by a lot of us. We’re here to help.
Check out eight free agents who might be better than you think in 2019:
1) Howie Kendrick, UTIL, Nationals
Overlooked? He hit the biggest home run in the 2019 World Series and was one of the Nationals' best offensive players. He’s also 36 years old and profiles best as a designated hitter at this point in his career. But he’s an elite offensive player. Do you realize he hit .344/.395/.572 in 370 plate appearances this year? And his .400 wOBA was higher than teammate Juan Soto’s! Sign this man.
2) Marcell Ozuna, OF, Cardinals
He’s one of the more interesting free agents, because the market may not be kind to a 29-year-old with the 77th-best wOBA (.337) out of 135 batting title-qualified Major Leaguers, via Fangraphs. But he’s also one of the 10 best position players in this free-agent class after a nice bounce-back season for a division champion. He finished seventh in MLB in hard-hit rate among the 225 players who had at least 250 balls in play.
3) Rich Hill, LHP, Dodgers
There might not be a more interesting free agent in this market. At 39, he’s still effective when he’s healthy enough to take the mound, posting a 2.45 ERA in 58 2/3 innings last year. But durability is the big issue after a season in which he made just 13 starts and was on the mound for 6 2/3 innings after June 14. That season could be an outlier because he made 49 starts in 2017-18, and while he may not get deep into games, there should be a role for him somewhere.