Who are the top free agents still available?

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Most of the big-name free agents are off the market with a little over a month to go before pitchers and catchers start reporting to spring training, but based on Matthew Pouliot’s ranking of the top 111 free agents here are the best players still available:

1. Carl Pavano (RHP, Twins)

2. Andy Pettitte (LHP, Yankees)

3. Rafael Soriano (RHP, Rays)

4. Vladimir Guerrero (OF, Rangers)

5. Brian Fuentes (LHP, Twins)

6. Manny Ramirez (OF, White Sox)

7. Johnny Damon (OF, Tigers)

8. Jeff Francis (LHP, Rockies)

9. Grant Balfour (RHP, Rays)

10. Jon Rauch (RHP, Twins)

11. Chris Young (RHP, Padres)

12. Jim Thome (DH, Twins)

Those dozen players are the only names still available from Pouliot’s top 50.

Of the 12 players, four (Guerrero, Ramirez, Damon, Thome) are viewed primarily as designated hitters, four are relievers (Soriano, Fuentes, Balfour, Rauch), two are starters coming back from injury (Francis, Young), and one is a starter leaning toward retirement (Pettitte).

And then there’s Pavano, who’s been the top free agent starting pitcher on the market since Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies in mid-December, yet still hasn’t decided whether or not to re-sign with the Twins.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.