This winter’s crop of MLB free agents is not nearly as packed with stars as next year’s, but there is still no shortage of talent to go around.
Every MLB free agent class cannot be a blockbuster. Some years are full of All-Stars at every position. That’s the epic 2018 class that general managers around the league are already planning for. Most are more like the 2017 class. There are All-Stars to be had, but the depth tails off quickly after the top 10.
This class is led by slugging outfielder J.D. Martinez, who hit 45 home runs in under 120 games in 2017. Martinez might be the perfect power hitter for the launch-angle generation. He is capable of hitting over .300 without sacrificing any power, which he has to all fields. Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish lead the starting pitchers in this class, but they are not without questions. This class will not have a $200-million starter in its ranks, but there is ample depth. Keep an eye on the three key Kansas City Royals free agents — Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas. The future of that franchise hangs in the balance.
Some assumptions related to player and team options had to be made in order to compile this list. It’s almost time for the millions to be handed out, and these are the top 50 MLB free agents from the 2017 class.
50. R.A. Dickey
At 43, R.A. Dickey has hinted that he may consider retirement instead of playing a 16th MLB season in 2018. Dickey has been in professional baseball since 1996 and has had a long and interesting career. It’s hard to fault him if he turns down several million dollars to spend more time with his family. Until he gives a concrete answer, however, Dickey should expect to field plenty of calls about next year.
Dickey was signed by the Atlanta Braves to eat up innings in 2017 and protect the younger arms. He did just that, logging nearly 200 innings and giving the Braves a very respectable 4.26 ERA in 31 starts. Getting out of Toronto and the Rogers Centre did his knuckleball good. Dickey could easily pitch until he’s 50 with that knuckler, but only he knows how much longer he wants to be around.