Spring Training has officially kicked off for a good chunk of MLB teams now that pitchers and catchers have reported, but there are still several quality would-be cogs in a championship machine who are still free agents. The big names have all been snapped up, but these six players can excel as role players on a team with eyes on the postseason.
6. UTIL Ben Zobrist
After returning to Chicago midseason following a personal matter, Zobrist proved he could still hit, notching a .260 mark in 150 at-bats, just three years after nabbing a World Series MVP. If the Zorilla would like to play, he can steal be had -- and will plug in anywhere across the diamond for a contender.
5. 2B Scooter Gennett
In 2018, Gennett was an All-Star, as he hit .310 with 23 home runs and 92 RBI for the Cincinnati Reds. 2019 was anything but successful for him, as he managed just a .226 average with two home runs while struggling to stay healthy for any length of time. Before his nightmare 2019, Gennett was on track to be among the best power-hitting middle infielders in the game, and he is more than worth a gamble on now that Spring Training draws near. Maybe changing his threads will re-awaken his power stroke.
4. SP Andrew Cashner
Cashner isn't going to revitalize your pitching staff, but he's the best pitcher left on the market. He struggled with consistency after he was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Boston Red Sox, but his fastball-slider combination remains lethal when commanded properly. The moment that a team finds themselves in need of either an experienced fifth starter or a long reliever in the bullpen, Cashner will be among the first phone calls they make.
3. 2B Brock Holt
Holt wanted to stay in Boston, but it appears that John Henry's cost-cutting measures have forced the Red Sox to part with the do-it-all infielder (even his number's already been given away). You name a position other than catcher and pitcher, and Holt will play that position effectively. In addition, he'll hit somewhere close to .300 at the plate. Teams that go far in the postseason almost always seem to have a super-utility guy like Holt, and he'll make some organization very happy this season.
2. 2B Brian Dozier
Dozier is a far cry from the guy who hit 127 home runs, including 42 in one season, in a four-year span with the Minnesota Twins, but the Washington Nationals will be eternally grateful for the services he provided on their World Series-winning team. Dozier played in 135 games for the Nationals, hitting 20 home runs and driving in 50 runs. He's got experience, power, defense, and is fresh off winning a championship. Why is he not signed yet?
1. OF Yasiel Puig
We've got no explanation for this one. Puig is entering the prime of his career at age 29, but no MLB team is biting on him at free agency. He's hit .260 or greater while crushing a minimum of 23 home runs in each of the last three seasons. In addition, he provides excellent speed and one of the best throwing arms in the entire game. It wouldn't have surprised us one bit if Puig was handed an expensive multi-year contract when free agency kicked off. Instead, he's looking for employment like so many players who aren't as talented as him.