MLB Free Agents: Top 25 players up for grabs

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets in action against the Los Angeles Dodgers during of a game at Citi Field on September 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets in action against the Los Angeles Dodgers during of a game at Citi Field on September 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Top 25 MLB Free Agents

Gerrit Cole

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Consider how far Gerrit Cole (1) has come in the past couple of years. Two years ago, coming off a mediocre 12-12, 4.34 season for the Pirates, was turned loose for four players, none of them especially noteworthy today.

What Cole found in Houston made him into the star the Pirates always projected. In two seasons, both encompassing more than 200 innings of work, he has run up a 35-10 record with ERAs under 3.00 and an average of 300 strikeouts.

Cole’s 185 ERA+ was the season’s best, as was his 2.50 ERA.

His market will be naturally limited by cost; only a select number of teams have the flexibility to compete in Cole’s financial stratosphere. But that’s not a problem for Cole.

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane has said his team will ‘take a run’ at re-signing Cole, who is expected to haul in something well above $200 million, which would be a record for a pitcher.  David Price is working through a seven-year, $217 million deal that averages out to about $31 million a year, so that is probably a logical Cole target.

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It also helps Cole that he will be 29 next season, one year younger than Price was when he signed that big deal with the Red Sox.