National League first baseman Fielder of the Brewers watches three-run home run in fourth inning during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in Phoenix

An updated top 50 free agents


Taking into account recent signings and some new arrivals courtesy of the non-tender deadline, here’s a new list of the top 50 free agents available. Posted Japanese players Yu Darvish and Norichika Aoki are not included. Darvish, a right-handed pitcher, would come in at No. 2 on the list, while Aoki, an outfielder, would slide in right around No. 25.

(A note: this is more a list of how I believe teams view the free agents than how I view them myself. Personally, I’d slide Carlos Beltran and Josh Willingham above Michael Cuddyer.)

Top 50 Free Agents

1. Prince Fielder (1B Brewers)
2. Yoenis Cespedes (OF Cuba)
3. Jimmy Rollins (SS Phillies)
4. Ryan Madson (RP Phillies)
5. Edwin Jackson (SP Cardinals)
6. Michael Cuddyer (OF Twins)
7. Carlos Beltran (OF Giants)
8. Hiroki Kuroda (SP Dodgers)
9. Josh Willingham (OF Athletics)
10. Roy Oswalt (SP Phillies)
11. Jorge Soler (OF Cuba)
12. Javier Vazquez (SP Marlins)
13. Joe Saunders (SP Diamondbacks)
14. Carlos Pena (1B Cubs)
15. Francisco Cordero (RP Reds)
16. Paul Maholm (SP Pirates)
17. Wei-Yin Chen (SP Japan)
18. Derrek Lee (1B Pirates)
19. Hisashi Iwakuma (SP Japan)
20. Jason Kubel (OF Twins)
21. Coco Crisp (OF Athletics)
22. Casey Kotchman (1B Rays)
23. Tsuyoshi Wada (SP Japan)
24. Johnny Damon (OF Rays)
25. Joel Pineiro (SP Angels)
26. Bartolo Colon (SP Yankees)
27. Cody Ross (OF Giants)
28. Vladimir Guerrero (DH Orioles)
29. Ryan Ludwick (OF Pirates)
30. Jason Marquis (SP Diamondbacks)
31. Wilson Betemit (3B Tigers)
32. Darren Oliver (RP Rangers)
33. Luke Scott (OF Orioles)
34. Brad Lidge (RP Phillies)
35. Rich Harden (SP Athletics)
36. Hideki Matsui (DH Athletics)
37. Kerry Wood (RP Cubs)
38. Hong-Chih Kuo (RP Dodgers)
39. J.D. Drew (OF Red Sox)
40. Jeff Francis (SP Royals)
41. Jeff Keppinger (2B Giants)
42. Yuniesky Betancourt (SS Brewers)
43. Casey Blake (3B Dodgers)
44. Chad Qualls (RP Padres)
45. Juan Pierre (OF White Sox)
46. Kosuke Fukudome (OF Indians)
47. Brad Penny (SP Tigers)
48. Andruw Jones (OF Yankees)
49. Mike Gonzalez (RP Rangers)
50. Chris Snyder (C Pirates)

A few notes:

– The 19-year-old Soler comes in at No. 11 even though he’s likely a couple of years away from contributing. There’s talk of the power-hitting outfielder getting a deal worth more than $20 million. Cespedes, on the other hand, will be expected to make an impact immediately.

– Vasquez is still believed to be leaning towards retirement.

– Non-tenders come in at No. 13 (Saunders), 33 (Scott), 38 (Kuo) and 41 (Keppinger). Ryan Theriot was a near-miss. I also like Clay Hensley and would have put him in a personal top 50, but he may have to settle for $1 million or less after his rough year.

Video: Josh Donaldson and Keone Kela exchange words, benches clear

Josh Donaldson
The Associated Press
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The Blue Jays’ and Rangers’ benches emptied in the bottom of the 13th inning after Josh Donaldson barked at reliever Keone Kela. Donaldson had smoked a Kela offering home run distance but foul, then sent a salvo of not-fit-for-TV words in the right-hander’s direction. Kela barked back and both benches emptied. There was no violence and no ejections.

Donaldson apparently believed Kela was trying to quick-pitch him, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That the pitch was quickly thrown didn’t seem to bother him any, considering the type of swing he put on the ball.

Here’s video of the incident at

Quick pitching has been one of a handful of unwritten rules getting more attention, it seems, this year. In August, Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa took issue with Mets reliever Hansel Robles quick pitching.

Royals hold on to beat Astros, even up ALDS at 1-1

Alcides Escobar
AP Photo

The Royals kept their foot on the pedal, rallying late to take down the Astros in Game 2 of the ALDS by a 5-4 score. The series is now evened up at one game apiece in the best-of-five series.

Ben Zobrist broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the seventh, ripping a single to left field to plate Alcides Escobar, who had led off the inning with a triple to right-center.

The Royals were down 3-0 after the first two innings and 4-2 after three. Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus accounted for two of the runs with an RBI double in the first inning and a solo homer in the third. Catcher Salvador Perez opened up the scoring for the Royals with a solo homer in the second.

Royals starter Johnny Cueto started off poorly but was able to rebound in the latter half of his six innings. Overall, he gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Relievers Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson, and Wade Davis each pitched a scoreless inning behind Cueto to seal the deal. Davis benefited from replay review to secure the second out of the ninth inning, picking off pinch-runner Carlos Gomez at first base. He replaced Preston Tucker, who had walked with one out.

For the Astros, starter Scott Kazmir wasn’t able to escape the sixth inning, leaving with one out in the frame. He ultimately allowed three runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Lefty reliever Oliver Perez came in after Kazmir, but gave up two singles and a walk as his inherited runner scored. Josh Fields relieved Perez and allowed one of Perez’s runners to score on a bases-loaded walk.

The Royals are the first home team to win so far this post-season. The visiting Rangers beat the Blue Jays in both ALDS games played thus far, while the visiting Astros and Cubs both won in the Wild Card games.

The two squads will travel to Houston. Game 3 resumes on Sunday at 4:00 PM EDT with Dallas Keuchel taking the hill for the Astros and Edison Volquez toeing the slab for the Royals.

Cardinals take early 1-0 lead over the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLDS

Matt Holliday
AP Photo

Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday staked his team to an early 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cubs. Rookie Stephen Piscotty had doubled with one out against Cubs starter Jon Lester, putting himself in scoring position ahead of Holliday’s single.

Starter John Lackey tossed a scoreless top of the first inning and reprised the performance in the top of the second, so the Cardinals have a small lead to open up their post-season.

Holliday, 35, posted an .804 OPS during the season but missed a significant amount of time in the second half due to a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps.