As we enter the 2021 season and get closer to spring training, the ice-cold stove should be starting to warm up as MLB free agents sign. Teams still have lots of holes on their rosters and the time to fill them is now, so January and February should bring lots of signings.
Here are the top 20 available MLB free agents, regardless of their position.
Top 20 MLB free agents still available: The cream of the crop
1. Trevor Bauer, starting pitcher
The reigning National League Cy Young award winner is hitting free agency for the first time in his career, and he’s making a big deal about it. Through his official Twitter account, he has been interacting with fans and flirting with teams all winter.
Bauer is the only bona-fide ace available in the market, and he’s going to be paid as such. However, he won’t get the $36M to $40M average annual value he is reportedly seeking. Several teams could use his services, most notably the Los Angeles Angels, the New York Mets, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the San Diego Padres, although the latter may be ready to drop from the Bauer sweepstakes after trading for Blake Snell and Yu Darvish.
Bauer’s deal may contain one or multiple opt-out clauses, as he has stated he would like to test the market again in the future.
2. George Springer, outfielder
Springer is the best MLB free agent outfielder in the market, a perfect blend of offense (134 career wRC+), defense (ranking in the 69th percentile in Outs Above Average, or OAA) and playoff pedigree. Two teams are said to be the finalists for his services: the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays.
He also offers above-average speed and phenomenal plate discipline (11.1 career BB%.) His age will likely prevent him from getting a deal beyond the $200 million threshold, but he should easily surpass $100 million.
3. J.T. Realmuto, catcher
The premier catcher in the market, Realmuto is also the best in MLB at his position. He is still in his prime, he has a phenomenal bat for a backstop (.278/.328/.455 with 95 homers and a 109 wRC+), he knows how to call a game, is a highly respected figure around the game, and his framing is elite (95th percentile.)
Any contender would be lucky to land Realmuto. The Phillies are working to re-sign him, but others are in on him, too.
4. Marcell Ozuna, outfielder
A premier bat with little defensive talent at this point, Ozuna was a monster in 2020, finishing with a 1.067 OPS and 18 home runs in 60 games. He would be an ideal designated hitter for a contending team.
So far, the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, and at least seven other teams have expressed interest in Ozuna, according to Rotoworld. He is about to become a very rich man in the next few weeks.
5. DJ LeMahieu, infielder