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Ranking the Best 2020 MLB Free Agents

HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 18: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros p;itches against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on September 18, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

With the season over for 22 of the 30 MLB teams, general managers already have their eyes fixed firmly on the 2019-20 offseason. While it lacks the two paradigm-shifting superstars in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, this free agent class is as deep as they come, with quality additions to be had at every position. If your team brings in any of these 20 guys, they're on the right track toward a successful offseason.

20. C Robinson Chirinos, Houston Astros

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 29:  Robinson Chirinos #28 of the Houston Astros bats in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park on August 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros | Tim Warner/Getty Images

With Yasmani Grandal's future in Milwaukee uncertain given his $16 million mutual option, the 35-year-old Chirinos takes over as the top catcher on the market this offseason. While calling games for the dominant Houston pitching staff, Chirinos had the best season of his career in 2019, hitting 17 home runs and 58 RBI while posting new career highs in offensive and defensive WAR.

19. RF Avisail Garcia, Tampa Bay Rays

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 13: Avisail Garcia #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays watches his hit to deep right field go for a two-run double during the eighth inning of the MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 13, 2019 in Anaheim, California. The Rays defeated the Angels 11-4. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

As with so many great Rays acquisitions, Garcia has done nothing but produce after arriving without a ton of fanfare. A .282 hitter, Garcia drove in 72 runs while setting a new career best in home runs (20) in just 125 games. His defense might be considered a liability to some, but the 28-year-old can flat out rake and can occupy a premium spot in a playoff lineup.

18. SP Cole Hamels, Chicago Cubs

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 16: Starting pitcher Cole Hamels #35 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field on September 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs | Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Hamels is by no means the dominant starter he was in Philadelphia, but he remains a quality pitcher that can be trusted to eat up innings, even as he enters his age-36 season. With a 3.81 ERA this season, Hamels was one of the few shining lights on a Cubs team that struggled so notoriously to get consistency on the mound. Hamels will likely be headed to a contender, and no team in need of pitching should refuse his services.

17. DH/OF Hunter Pence, Texas Rangers

CHICAGO - AUGUST 22:  Hunter Pence #24 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Chicago White Sox on August 22, 2019 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox | Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Pence signed a deal with the Rangers in an attempt to slide onto a bad roster, but ended up making his first All-Star game since 2014 after hitting .297 with 18 home runs in 83 games. 37-year-old injury-prone outfielders that aren't great defensively don't sound too enticing, but Pence is an exception to that rule given how well he can put the ball in play and get on base. Pence will be starting somewhere in 2020, in Texas or otherwise.

16. SP Dallas Keuchel, Atlanta Braves

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at SunTrust Park on September 17, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After waiting until June to sign a deal amid a lukewarm market, Keuchel is ready to try this free agency thing again after a solid year with the Atlanta Braves. Keuchel, 31, posted a 3.75 ERA in 19 starts with the playoff-bound Braves, and his sinkerball style should play well in this era of swinging for the fences. If Keuchel's camp isn't as stubborn this time around, he should be on a contender's roster come Spring Training.

15. RP Dellin Betances, New York Yankees

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the fourth inning during a MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 15, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays | Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

2019 has torpedoed Betances' value, as two major injuries, including an Achilles tear late in the season, limited him to exactly one game. When he's healthy, there's nothing quite like him from a dominance standpoint as a seventh- or eighth-inning reliever. His free agency prospects will be affected by how comfortable a team will be with bringing in damaged goods. If he can be pre-injury Betances, he'll be a steal for whatever teams signs him on the cheap end of things.

14. RP Will Harris, Houston Astros

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 02:  Will Harris #36 of the Houston Astros pitches in the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 02, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Houston Astros v Milwaukee Brewers | Dylan Buell/Getty Images

In a constantly changing Astros bullpen, Harris has been one of the most consistent pieces over the last few years, with 2019 serving as his best season to date. The 34-year-old posted a 1.50 ERA in 68 games, mostly as the bridge to closer Roberto Osuna. The Astros will likely try to overpay and keep him, but he will be an extremely sought-after arm for both a number of other contenders or a team that needs him to be its closer.

13. OF Yasiel Puig, Cleveland Indians

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 25:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cleveland Indians reacts after popping up against the Chicago White Sox on September 25, 2019 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox | Ron Vesely/Getty Images

While Puig has hit just two home runs as an Indian following his trade from the Cincinnati Reds, his .297 average on a team that just missed the playoffs is likely to earn him a solid contract in the offseason. For all the theatrics and drama around Puig, he's an established outfielder who is going to hit .280 with 25 home runs in his sleep and provide arguably the best arm in the game in right field. Puig's power and cannon arm are tops for a corner outfielder, which should land him a multi-year contract.

12. SS Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: Didi Gregorius #18 of the New York Yankees throws the ball to first base during the fifth inning of their game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on September 20, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees | Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Gregorius improved in each of his four seasons as a Yankee, but he took a big step back in 2019, as Tommy John surgery delayed the start to the campaign for Didi. He was also ineffective once he got back, managing just a .238 batting average. The performance of DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Gio Urshela has made Didi expendable. The Yankees could overpay for him, but at this point Didi heading elsewhere could be the best option.

11. LF Marcell Ozuna, St. Louis Cardinals

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 07:  Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates | Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Paul Goldschmidt and Ozuna finally gave the Cardinals some thump in the middle of the order, and they helped shoot St. Louis back into the playoffs with a division crown. Ozuna has had a rough second season in St. Louis as it regards to staying healthy and making consistent contact, but his gap power should land him a big payday in the offseason.

10. SP Jake Odorizzi, Minnesota Twins

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24:  Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 24, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. The Twins defeated the Tigers 4-2.  (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers | Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

The Twins lineup has been their calling card this season, but their turnaround can easily be assigned to their improved starting rotation, with the All-Star Odorizzi and his 3.51 ERA at the center of it all. The Twins would be complete fools if they didn't pay up and keep Odorizzi in town, but their stockpile of pitching prospects like Brusdar Graterol could allow them to move off of Odorizzi, which would prompt a complete frenzy for his services on the open market.

9. RP Will Smith, San Francisco Giants

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 01: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants earns a save pitching in the ninth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on April 1, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers | Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The 29-year-old Smith finally put his injury problems in the past, and authored his first All-Star season this year. On a lackluster Giants team, Smith went 6-0 with a 2.76 ERA while saving 34 games and earning a trip to Cleveland. With the Giants destined for a rebuild, the team could look to jettison Smith and Madison Bumgarner in order to get younger in a hurry. If they don't bring him back, he'll be the top reliever on the market.

8. SP Zack Wheeler, New York Mets

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 21: Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 21, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Bryan Woolston/Getty Images)
New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds | Bryan Woolston/Getty Images

Wheeler, who once missed two straight seasons due to injury, is back to being one of the best No. 2 or No. 3 starters in the league, as evidenced by his blistering fastball and 3.96 ERA last season. If Wheeler can avoid his issues with the "one big inning," he could evolve into a frontline starter. At only 29 years old, there is sure to be a market for him, and the Mets might not have the cash to keep him after the Jacob deGrom contract.

7. 3B Josh Donaldson, Atlanta Braves

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Atlanta Braves in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 11, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies | Rich Schultz/Getty Images

After struggling in a 2018 hampered by injury, Donaldson signed a deal with his childhood team in the Braves, and rewarded their faith in him by mashing 37 home runs and driving in 94 runs on an Atlanta team that won the NL East. Donaldson's age (he'll be 34 in 2020) could scare some teams away from shelling out the big bucks, but he's proven he can be the shot in the arm a contender needs, and could do the same in Atlanta or elsewhere in 2020.

6. SP Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 24, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants | Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Given the state of the franchise, all indications are that the Giants will allow Bumgarner to seek a contract with a team more equipped to win right now. Reports of his demise are extremely overstated, as Bumgarner is still just 30 years old and has yet to have a season with an ERA above 3.90. Bumgarner can still get the toughest hitters in the game out with his filthy cutter, and teams that are looking for that final piece to take them over the top should consider Bumgarner, who has proven that he's as good as they come when October rolls around.

5. RF Nick Castellanos, Chicago Cubs

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 13: Nicholas Castellanos #6 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two run home run during the first inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on September 13, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs | Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

No one has done more to help his stock in the offseason than Castellanos. After being held hostage on an awful Detroit team, he began raking as soon as he touched down in Chicago, Castellanos hit .321 with 16 home runs in just 51 games as a Cub while leading all of baseball with 58 doubles on the year. His defense remains suspect, but he has become remarkably consistent at the plate, and his newfound power stroke could push him well into the nine-figure threshold if a contending team is desperate enough to add pop.

4. 1B Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 24:  Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Cleveland Indians on September 24, 2019 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox | Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Most 32-year-old first basemen shouldn't be considered for a nine-figure contract, but, then again, most 32-year-old first basemen don't lead the American League in RBI. On a bad White Sox team, the three-time All-Star managed to hit .284 with 33 home runs and 123 RBI, the best mark in the junior circuit. While the White Sox would like to continue the youth movement as the next wave of prospects come up, they could keep Abreu around to serve as a veteran leader.

3. SP Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the first inning at Oracle Park on September 28, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants | Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Ryu had always been a consistent pitcher, but he has emerged as a star over the last two years. Ryu has a 2.21 ERA in 44 starts between 2018 and 2019, and led all of baseball with a 2.32 ERA this season. Teams might balk at Ryu given his age (33) and injury history (missed almost two entire seasons), but one could make an argument he was the best pitcher in baseball this year, and if a 2.32 ERA in this era of home runs and juiced balls doesn't get you a massive payday, nothing will.

2. SP Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches in the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on September 8, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros | Tim Warner/Getty Images

Who would have though that the potential Cy Young winners in both leagues could find themselves on the market? Cole might have passed teammate Justin Verlander as the Cy Young favorite, as he went 20-5 while leading the AL in ERA (2.50), ERA+ (185), FIP (2.64), and strikeouts (326 in 212 innings). At just 28, Cole's best days are ahead of him, and any team that doesn't have the checkbook out the minute free agency starts is committing an egregious case of baseball negligence.

1. 3B Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals takes a swing during a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 14, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals | Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Everyone thought the Nationals would be screwed without Bryce Harper, but boy were they wrong. Anthony Rendon, who led the major leagues in RBI with 126 and paced the NL in doubles with 44, all the while hitting .319, slamming 34 home runs, and playing stellar defense, is among the best in baseball. The Nationals have already offered him $30 million a year for seven years, but that number might be too low for the potential NL MVP, as Rendon will be the second Washington superstar in as many years to strike it rich in free agency.