As teams round out their rosters and prepare for the start of spring training, let’s survey the free-agent landscape for the best options to fill needs and provide depth. Here are the top 12 remaining free agents (plus a few more names to watch) and my view on the best team fits for each player, based on clubs’ needs and what I’m hearing in conversations with decision-makers across the game.
1. Michael Wacha, RHP
Wacha is the best starting pitcher left on the free-agent market after going 11-2 with a 3.32 ERA for the Red Sox last year. His downward plane has always been a difference-maker. He owns an impressive career record of 74-50 with a 4.05 ERA in 204 starts and 21 relief appearances. However, he hasn’t pitched more than 128 innings in a season since 2017. Several contending teams need starting pitching depth and several others that likely won’t contend would love to sign him with the idea of flipping him at the trade deadline, so Wacha has no shortage of options.
Best fits: Orioles, Twins, Red Sox, Cardinals, Padres
2. Jurickson Profar, LF
Bats: Both Throws: Right
Profar reached base at a 33 percent clip last season and tallied 15 homers, 82 runs scored, 58 RBIs and a 111 OPS+. He also had 10 assists from left field. He can play all three outfield positions as well as second base on occasion and that versatility, along with being a switch hitter, increases his value. He’d be a really good depth play for several contending teams.
Best fits: Braves, Yankees, Astros
3. Elvis Andrus, SS
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Andrus found the fountain of youth last year and produced a solid season with 149 games played, 32 doubles, 17 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 22 attempts. Defensively, the 14-year veteran finished with negative-4 Defensive Runs Saved and a 3.8 UZR. Several teams are looking for a shortstop so Andrus should end up with a nice one-year contract.
Best fits: Red Sox, Angels, Braves