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.