MLB free agency: Five big names who might have to settle for small deals this winter

Earlier this month, CBS Sports activities published our annual top 50 MLB free agents list forward of the beginning of the offseason. As is the case each winter, the restricted variety of spots meant that this 12 months’s listing excluded some well-known and well-decorated gamers. 

Whereas evaluating and rating gamers are subjective workout routines (and these sorts of articles needs to be consumed with that in thoughts), we needed to take this chance to clarify our reasoning for not together with 5 former All-Stars: Brad Hand, Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie, Andrew McCutchen, and Andrelton Simmons

Let’s check out every participant.

1. Brad Hand, LHP

Hand had a topsy-turvy season. He was nice for a lot of the 12 months with the Nationals; then he was terrible in a quick, post-deadline stint with the Blue Jays; after which he was nice once more with the Mets to shut out the marketing campaign. His inconsistency is not the explanation we’ve got considerations about his viability as a late-inning reliever shifting ahead.

Our qualm with Hand is an obvious decay in stuff. His slider was much less efficient, and he conceded as a lot by reducing its utilization fee to lower than 50 p.c for the primary time since 2017. There’s extra to pitching than producing swing-and-misses, nevertheless it’s worrisome when a reliever identified for lacking bats posts a worse contact fee than contact-managing starters like Dallas Keuchel and Ryan Yarbrough

Perhaps Hand will bounce again in 2022, however we’re not prepared to guess on it.

2. Jon Lester, LHP

Lester made final 12 months’s model of this piece, too. He additionally ended up with the Nationals, with whom he posted an 81 ERA+ earlier than being shipped to the Cardinals on the deadline. Lester was higher with St. Louis, reeling off a stretch the place he surrendered one run or fewer in 4 of 5 begins, however he remained beneath common (89 ERA+).

It is tempting to take a look at a pitcher like Lester, who has had an excellent profession, and envision him having another good season earlier than he retires. Sadly, there’s not a ton of cause to imagine that is doable, not to mention possible. Lester’s strikeout and stroll charges each went within the flawed path final season, and his means to suppress high quality of contact stays better-than-average however not elite.

Lester can present a staff with steering, guile, and five-plus innings each day out; his outcomes simply aren’t prone to ascend past substitute stage.

3. Jed Lowrie, INF

After showing in 9 video games throughout a two-year run with the Mets, Lowrie had himself a resurgent season in his return to Oakland. He appeared in 139 contests and hit .245/.318/.398 (101 OPS+) with 14 dwelling runs and one other 28 doubles. Lowrie’s underlying measures have been promising, too. He stays accountable for the strike zone and he posted the best common exit velocity of the Statcast period portion of his profession. 

So, why wasn’t Lowrie in a position to make the lower? There have been two principal causes. One, he is by no means been essentially the most dependable participant. He is had his justifiable share of accidents all through his profession, and that situation does not typically enhance as a participant nears their thirty eighth birthday. Two, he offers again a whole lot of worth within the discipline and on the basepaths. Certainly, he gave again a lot that Baseball Reference had him at basically substitute stage.

4. Andrew McCutchen, OF

Of the 5 gamers offered right here, McCutchen was the toughest to depart off. He hit .222/.334/.444 (109 OPS+) with 27 dwelling runs and 6 steals for the Phillies, and he is one of the vital well-liked and revered gamers within the league.

Alas, we simply could not discuss ourselves into McCutchen being extremely wanted. The league merely does not deal with older, corner-only gamers with kindness anymore. What’s McCutchen? A 35-year-old left fielder with substandard protection. Even his offense might be nitpicked: he has a sub-.700 OPS versus righties the previous two seasons.

It might appear harsh, however McCutchen’s optimized function heading ahead may be as a short-side platoon DH. It is exhausting to justify placing that profile on the highest 50.

5. Andrelton Simmons, SS

Simmons spent the season with the Twins, hitting .223/.283/.274 (57 OPS+) with three dwelling runs and a single stolen base. His glove stored him within the lineup and on the suitable facet of the replacement-level ledger, however he does not have the bat velocity or the method to be seen as greater than one of many worst hitters within the majors.

Simmons can also be going to be celebrating his thirty third birthday subsequent September, which means Father Time will possible begin depriving him of defensive worth prior to later. 

Our snub of Simmons may show to be a bit untimely, however we expect he’ll get misplaced within the shuffle as a part of a loaded shortstop class. | MLB free company: 5 huge names who might need to accept small offers this winter


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