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2016 MLB Free Agent Tracker

2016 MLB Free Agent Tracker Craig Engleson via


As the season moves closer, it is time to see who is still on the free agent market

Now that Christmas is over, many MLB fans are looking forward to the start of the 2017 season more than ever. With the free agent market still unfolding, there are plenty of big bats and big arms still available for teams that could use them in 2017 and beyond. Let’s take a look at the top names still left on the market this winter.

Mark Trumbo

It is a shock to many that Mark Trumbo is still a free agent. Last season with the Baltimore Orioles, he smashed 47 home runs and drove in 108 runs. His .316 OBP was tied for the second highest in his career, and his .850 OPS was the best in his career. Trumbo had an OPS+ of 120 last season (100 is league average), and had 157 hits. To go along with his bat, Trumbo is also a versatile defender. Last season alone he played right field, left field, and first base. Also sprinkled in there were 59 games in which Trumbo was the DH. Just because he can play a couple of different positions does not mean he is good defensively. He committed 12 errors in the field in 2016, and is a good candidate to play solely as a DH for the rest of his career.

Teams that may be interested:

Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles. Trumbo has a qualifying offer hanging over his head. That could be the reason he has not signed yet this off-season. Baltimore is a good candidate to re-sign the slugger, but the Rockies could be interested also. If the Rockies were to sign Trumbo, he would be their everyday first baseman which would mean recently acquired Ian Desmond would be moved into the outfield. That would create a crowded outfield for the Rockies and could require them to move an outfielder. Colorado has already given up a first round pick to sign Desmond, so signing Trumbo would mean that they would lose their second best pick in the 2017 draft. Look for the Orioles and Rockies to be front-runners for Trumbo this late in the off-season.

Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista is 36 years old and is starting to show signs of his age. Bautista appeared in only 116 games for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, and saw his power numbers drop from his 2015 numbers. In 2016, he hit .234 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI’s compared to 40 home runs and 114 RBI’s in 2015. He was still considered above league average with his 117 OPS+, but his .452 slugging percentage in 2016 was almost 100 points lower than in 2015. Bautista played the majority of the 2016 season in right field. He was a below-average defender, which makes him a great candidate for DH. He has experience as a DH, and could see that experience grow as he gets older.

Teams that may be interested:

Toronto Blue Jays, and any other American League team. A long-term deal for Bautista does not seem likely at this point in his career. If he signs with a new team, they will have to give up a high draft pick. Jose will be looking for a three or four-year deal, but may have to settle for a one-year deal and re-join the Blue Jays. Since he is still on the market, it is clear that teams may not be interested in the slugger. Expect to see Bautista re-join the Blue Jays on a one-year deal late in the off-season.

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel could be one of the best starting pitchers left on the market. He was the Chicago Cubs fifth starter for much of last season, and had a nice year. He made 30 starts, and went 15-10 with 144 strikeouts and a 3.83 ERA. Even though Hammel had a solid year, the Cubs decided to leave him off the postseason roster. Hammel is 34 years old, but does not have draft pick compensation hanging over his head. At the end of the 2016 season, the Cubs decided not to exercise Hammel’s 2017 team option or extend him a qualifying offer. Any team that signs him will be getting a four or five starter that is a proven big league pitcher.

Teams that may be interested:

Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, and Seattle Mariners. With no draft pick compensation hanging over him, teams like the Braves could be more likely to sign the veteran. The Braves have already made two moves to fill their rotation, but could be in the market for another back-end of the rotation starter. Expect to see Hammel get a three or four-year deal with a team that still needs rotation help.

Matt Wieters

Matt Wieters played in 124 games for the Orioles in 2016. He hit .243 with 17 home runs and drove in 66 runs while seeing his OPS+ drop from 101 in 2015 to 87 in 2016. Wieters is a two-time Gold Glover and four-time All-star and is not long removed from a Tommy John surgery that cost him large parts of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The Orioles chose not to extend a qualifying offer to Wieters at the end of the 2016 season, making him even more desirable to teams. Wieters committed 11 errors in 117 games as a catcher last season and had a fielding percentage of .988. He had a 35% caught stealing rate in 2016 which was above the league average 29%.

Teams that may be interested:

Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals, and Atlanta Braves. Wieters is 30 years old and is looking for something in the three-year range. The Orioles are interested in bringing back Wieters, but may be concerned about his health and possible offensive decline. After Wilson Ramos departed in free agency, the Nationals could be in on Wieters. The fact that Wieters is still available could be a sign of the lack of interest from teams other than the Orioles. Baltimore decided not to give Wieters a qualifying offer so they do not feel like he is worth $17 million or more a year. A reunion with Baltimore seems likely at this point for the veteran catcher.

Mike Napoli

The sign that Mike Napoli could be moving on from the Cleveland Indians came when the Tribe signed Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year, $60 million deal last week. Napoli is a first baseman and DH that can hit and hit for power. In 2016, Napoli hit 34 home runs and had 101 RBI’s while hitting at a .239 clip. Napoli’s play at first base declined some during the 2016 season. He committed 13 errors and had a .985 fielding percentage at the position last year. For his career, Napoli is an above average defender at first base. Mike is 35 years old but does not have a qualifying offer looming over him this off-season. He is a good pick-up for a team looking for a power hitting first baseman or an AL team looking for a DH.

Teams that may be interested:

Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, and Texas Rangers. Napoli has played for both the Red Sox and Rangers but could be on his way back to Boston as they are looking to replace David Ortiz. While the Red Sox have some in-house options to replace Ortiz, they may elect to replace him with someone who they have history with. The Rangers could also be interested in the slugger who they also know from a previous stint together. Just like with Trumbo, the Rockies could be in the market for a first baseman if they decide not to play Ian Desmond at first. Napoli may be better off staying in the AL so that he can DH as he continues to age.


While it has been a busy off-season to this point, the market has slowed down lately. With some big names like the ones listed above still available, this off-season is likely to heat back up at any moment. It will be interesting to see where these and other players land as the off-season progresses into the new year.