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 Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Top 25 MLB Free Agents

Nos. 5 and 6

Teams looking for pitching but incapable or unwilling to shop at the extreme top of the market – the Cole, Strasburg part – have places to look. Many will look toward Hyun-Jin Ryu (6).

A Cy Young Award finalists, Ryu appeared to be the likely winner through the first two-thirds of the season. Into early August, he stood 12-2 with a 1.45 ERA for the Dodgers. His mediocre finish – a 2-3 record and 5.40 ERA through his final seven starts – may cost him some free agency money. Ryu’s age – he’ll be 33 – may also hurt him.

Zack Wheeler (5) is the other viable front-line pitching alternative. Wheeler is entering free agency off an 11-8 2019 season for the New York Mets.

The Mets have extended Wheeler a qualifying offer, meaning that signing Wheeler will cost that team a draft choice. On the plus side, Wheeler is a young veteran (he’ll be 30 next year)  with a legit heater of the stripe that teams love to have.

There are risks involved, not least of which is the prospect that the market is collectively over-valuing Wheeler. He’s never won more than a dozen games, his 3.96 ERA is nothing to faint over, and his stats amounted to a 102 ERA+, labeling him barely better than average. Still, because it only takes two teams to drive a bidding war, expect Wheeler to get interest.