Late in the evening of Tuesday, December 13, the San Francisco Giants put all their chips on the table, signing Carlos Correa to a 13-year, $350 million mega-contract. It was the seventh nine-figure deal given out this offseason, and the second-largest in terms of total guaranteed money. Only Aaron Judge has earned more, taking home $360 million on a nine-year pact with the Yankees.
With Correa off the board, only two of the top ten free agents from our offseason ranking are left on the open market: Carlos Rodón and Dansby Swanson. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of impact bats and arms waiting for the right team to scoop them up. With ten days left before Christmas, 17 of our top free agents are still up for grabs.
Here’s a closer look at the top players still available in free agency.
1. Carlos Rodón – 6.2 fWAR
2022 Traditional Stats: 14-8, 178 IP, 2.88 ERA, 237 K
2022 Advanced Stats: 11.98 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9, 2.25 FIP, 2.64 xERA
Carlos Rodón is an ace, and he’s going to get paid as such. Over the past two seasons, he has the highest strikeout rate and the lowest FIP among all pitchers (min. 300 IP), and he’s largely put his injury concerns behind him.
2. Dansby Swanson – 6.4 fWAR
2022 Traditional Stats: 162 G, 696 PA, .277/.329/.447, 25 HR, 58 XBH, 96 RBI, 18 SB
2022 Advanced Stats: 116 wRC+, 7% BB%, 26% K%, .170 ISO, .337 wOBA, 21 OAA
With Turner, Bogaerts, and Correa spoken for, things should heat up for Swanson. He won’t command quite as much as the other star shortstop free agents, but he should have some extra leverage now – he’s the best position player still up for grabs.
3. Nathan Eovaldi – 1.0 fWAR
2022 Traditional Stats: 6-3, 109.1 IP, 3.87 ERA, 103 K
2022 Advanced Stats: 8.48 K/9, 1.65 BB/9, 1.73 HR/9, 4.30 FIP, 4.31 xERA
With all due respect to Nathan Eovaldi, there’s a world of difference between the top two names on this list and the other eight. Eovaldi isn’t a star, but he should be a solid and reliable starting pitcher next season – the kind of player almost every team can use. He’ll have a healthy market of suitors among teams that don’t want to commit big money to Carlos Rodón.
4. Andrew Benintendi – 2.8 fWAR
2022 Traditional Stats: 126 G, 521 PA, .304/.373/.399, 5 HR, 31 XBH, 51 RBI, 8 SB
2022 Advanced Stats: 122 wRC+, 10% BB%, 14.8% K%, .095 ISO, .342 wOBA, 0 OAA
Don’t sleep on Andrew Benintendi, the youngest impact player on the market. Next year will be his age-28 season, making him look like a baby next to his fellow free agents . In this day and age, teams are terrified about making multi-year commitments to aging veterans, so Benintendi’s relative youth should work in his favor.
He’s no Brandon Nimmo, but his left-handed bat should be in high demand.
5. Elvis Andrus – 3.5 fWAR
2022 Traditional Stats: 149 G, 577 PA, .249/.303/.404, 17 HR, 49 XBH, 58 RBI, 18 SB
2022 Advanced Stats: 105 wRC+, 6.8% BB%, 15.9% K%, .155 ISO, .310 wOBA, 3 OAA
As much as teams value youth, let’s not underestimate Elvis Andrus. He’ll be 34 years old next season, but he still plays a solid shortstop and runs the bases well. Andrus had his best offensive performance in years last season, and he’ll make a nice consolation prize for a team that misses out on Swanson.
6. Justin Turner – 2.4 fWAR
2022 Traditional Stats: 128 G, 532 PA, .278/.350/.438, 13 HR, 49 XBH, 81 RBI, 3 SB
2022 Advanced Stats: 123 wRC+, 9.4% BB%, 16.7% K%, .160 ISO, .343 wOBA, -2 OAA
Justin Turner has been criminally underpaid for years compared to his fellow free agents, since his market is always depressed by the likelihood that he’ll decline with age. Don’t be surprised if he winds up underpaid again this offseason; he’s already 38 years old, but he’s remained an excellent hitter to this point, and he should make a strong addition to his new team’s lineup in 2023.
7. Jean Segura – 1.7 fWAR
2022 Traditional Stats: 98 G, 387 PA, .277/.336/.387, 10 HR, 19 XBH, 33 RBI, 13 SB
2022 Advanced Stats: 105 wRC+, 6.5% BB%, 15% K%, .110 ISO, .320 wOBA, 4 OAA
The market has been quiet so far for Jean Segura, but he’ll find a home eventually. He’s an above-average hitter, plays strong defense at second base, and can swipe a bag when he wants to. That’s a three-win player over a full season of games.
8. Noah Syndergaard – 2.2 fWAR
2022 Traditional Stats: 10-10, 134.2 IP, 3.94 ERA, 95 K
2022 Advanced Stats: 6.35 K/9, 2.07 BB/9, 0.94 HR/9, 3.83 FIP, 4.43 xERA
I’ve gotten more and more optimistic about Noah Syndergaard as the offseason goes on. His 2022 season flew under the radar, since he didn’t return to his pre-Tommy John form. In retrospect, however, Syndergaard showed impressive growth by adjusting his approach to compensate for diminished velocity. Still just 30 years old, he has time to continue refining his technique. There aren’t many free agents left with mid-rotation upside, so Syndergaard should have several suitors.
9. Taylor Rogers – 1.0 fWAR
2022 Traditional Stats: 4-8, 64.1 IP, 4.76 ERA, 31 SV, 10 BS, 4 HLD, 84 K
2022 Advanced Stats: 11.75 K/9, 2.52 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9, 3.32 FIP, 3.26 xFIP, 4.11 xERA
Taylor Rogers is the best bullpen option left on the free-agent market. High-end relievers have been well-paid this winter, so Rogers should do quite well for himself wherever he ends up.
10. Michael Conforto
Michael Conforto is a high-risk, high-reward name. At his best, he’s an All-Star outfielder, and if he’s healthy, he can reach that peak again. When it comes to upside, he might be the best hitter left among the remaining free agents. On the other hand, he hasn’t played since an injury-hampered 2021 season, so it’s hard to know what to expect from him in 2023.
Brandon Drury, J.D. Martinez, Omar Narváez, Jurickson Profar