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Who's left in MLB free agency?

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With the start of Spring Training about two weeks away, a number of big-name MLB free agents continue to remain unsigned.

It's likely that hundreds of millions of dollars in free agent money is still to be handed out this winter. Four of the top 10 players available from TSN's Top 50 MLB Free Agents list released in November are still on the market. And, at least at the moment, no major signing appears imminent.

Here is a look at some of the best remaining talent from around the league and teams they’ve been connected to so far as the off-season winds down. 

 

Cody Bellinger

Cody Bellinger Chicago Cubs

Bellinger was a free agent last off-season but had to take a one-year ‘prove it’ deal with the Cubs after dismal 2021 and 2022 seasons. Well, he proved it, and should cash in because of it.

The No. 3 free agent on TSN’s list, Bellinger won the NL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award after having his best statistical season since before the pandemic, slashing .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs and 97 RBI in 130 games. He finished 10th in MVP voting and proved he’s back on track after a couple tough years.

The Cubs spent $50 million on manager Craig Counsell and brought in Shota Imanaga on a $53 million contract that could be worth as much as $80 million, but haven't done much else. So paying up to keep Bellinger still seems like a possibility. After missing out on Ohtani and Juan Soto, the Blue Jays have also come up in the Bellinger discussion but appear to be winding down their off-season after the Justin Turner signing earlier this week. 

Heading into his age-29 season, Bellinger is the top position-player free agent remaining. The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported in December that Bellinger was seeking $200-plus million this winter. 

 

Blake Snell

San Diego Padres

Snell would have been the top pitcher available in most other off-seasons. But Yamamoto and, technically, Ohtani bumped him down a bit, placing him at No. 4 on TSN’s top 50 list. How often does a two-time Cy Young winner and the most recent winner of the award hit the market and go unsigned into February?

Snell made a career-best 32 starts and put up a lights-out 2.25 ERA with 234 strikeouts in 180.0 innings pitched. He did lead MLB in walks (99) but rarely ever allowed them to come around and score, limiting opposing offences to a league-best 5.8 hits per nine innings.

The market on Snell has been quiet considering his track record. He’s 31 and struggled with durability in recent years before 2023, and teams may see a bit of a red flag with his high walk rate. But two Cy Youngs and two ERA titles are hard to argue with. Lefties are always in high demand, especially elite ones.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post said this week he would not rule the Boston Red Sox out of the Snell sweepstakes. 

 

Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman Toronto Blue Jays

It was a tale of two seasons for Matt Chapman in 2023.

He slashed .259/.344/.463 with 41 extra-base hits through the first 88 games of the season but hit just .205 in the final 52 contests with little power. Most of his numbers from the first half of the year came in April, where he had 15 doubles – the most ever for an American League player and tied with Mike Lowell from 2002 for the most ever.

On aggregate, it was a fine season for Chapman. He hit 17 home runs, drove in 54 and had a .755 OPS while continuing to play elite defence at third base.

With Turner in the fold, a return to the Blue Jays seems unlikely. USA Today's Bob Nightengale notes San Francisco Giants manager Bob Melvin has campaigned for Chapman; a player he managed for five seasons in Oakland. The Giants made a big splash with outfielder Jung-Hoo Lee earlier in the off-season but could still have more money to spend after being connected to some of the biggest free agents over the past several winters. 

 

Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery Texas Rangers

Someone raises their stock in free agency every year with a strong postseason performance and it looks like Jordan Montgomery is the 2023 edition of that.

Montgomery played a big part in the Rangers’ World Series run, pitching to a 2.90 ERA in six postseason outings, including a seven-inning shutout in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Rays. That was all on the back of the best regular season of his career, where he posted a 3.20 ERA.

The No. 7-ranked player on TSN’s top 50, Montgomery is the second best free agent arm available after Snell. The New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers could all opt for reunions with the 31-year-old southpaw to fill holes in their respective rotations, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News cast doubt on the likelihood of him ending up back in Arlington last week.

Heyman also mentioned the Red Sox as possible suitors for Montgomery. 


 

TSN's Top 50 MLB Free Agents of 2023
 

Player Position 2023 Team Signs With
1. Shohei Ohtani DH/P Angels Dodgers
2. Yoshinobu Yamamoto P Orix Buffaloes Dodgers
3. Cody Bellinger OF Cubs -
4. Blake Snell P Padres -
5. Aaron Nola P Phillies Phillies
6. Matt Chapman 3B Blue Jays -
7. Jordan Montgomery P Cardinals/Rangers -
8. Josh Hader P Padres Astros
9. Sonny Gray P Twins Cardinals
10. Eduardo Rodriguez P Tigers Diamondbacks
11. Marcus Stroman P Cubs Yankees
12. Jung Hoo Lee OF Kiwoom Heroes Giants
13. Lucas Giolito P White Sox/Angels/Guardians Red Sox
14. Shota Imanaga P Yokohama Bay Stars Cubs
15. Jorge Soler OF Marlins -
16. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. OF Diamondbacks Diamondbacks
17. Teoscar Hernandez OF Mariners Dodgers
18. Rhys Hoskins 1B Phillies Brewers
19. Jeimer Candelario 3B Nationals/Cubs Reds
20. Tim Anderson SS White Sox -
21. Jordan Hicks P Cardinals/Blue Jays Giants
22. Clayton Kershaw P Dodgers Dodgers
23. Luis Severino P Yankees Mets
24. Jack Flaherty P Cardinals/Orioles Tigers
25. Justin Turner 3B Red Sox Blue Jays
26. Tyler Mahle P Twins Rangers
27. Frankie Montas P Yankees Reds
28. J.D. Martinez DH Dodgers -
29. Kenta Maeda P Twins Tigers
30. Mitch Garver C Rangers Mariners
31. Yuki Matsui P Rakuten Golden Eagles Padres
32. Aroldis Chapman P Royals/Rangers Pirates
33. Lance Lynn P White Sox/Dodgers Cardinals
34. Whit Merrifield 2B Blue Jays -
35. Craig Kimbrel P Phillies Orioles
36. James Paxton P Red Sox Dodgers
37. Kevin Kiermaier OF Blue Jays Blue Jays
38. Seth Lugo P Padres Royals
39. Harrison Bader OF Yankees/Reds Mets
40. Joc Pederson OF Giants Diamondbacks
41. Brandon Belt 1B Blue Jays -
42. Michael Wacha P Padres Royals
43. Tommy Pham OF Mets/Diamondbacks -
44. Mike Clevinger P White Sox -
45. Carlos Santana 1B Pirates/Brewers Twins
46. Michael Brantley OF Astros Retired
47. Hyun Jin Ryu P Blue Jays -
48. Sean Manaea P Giants Mets
49. Robert Stephenson P Rays Angels
50. Joey Votto 1B Reds -

**Ranking compiled by TSN Blue Jays Reporter Scott Mitchell and TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips