Top 20 MLB free-agent position players

With the offseason now underway, theScore's MLB editors rank the top 20 free-agent position players available this winter (all statistics from 2018).

Top 20 MLB free-agent pitchers

* Indicates player has signed

1. Manny Machado, SS, Padres*

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Feb. 19: Machado signed 10-year, $300M contract with Padres

Despite his postseason antics - which were plentiful, no doubt - Machado should be considered the top free agent on the board. Compared to fellow 26-year-old Bryce Harper, Machado's better defensively, much more durable, and has the important distinction of being traded midseason in 2018 - a move that now precludes him from being tendered a qualifying offer and being attached to draft-pick compensation.

2. Bryce Harper, OF, Phillies*

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Feb. 28: Harper reportedly signs 13-year, $330M contract with Phillies

There's no denying that Harper's lived up to the astronomical hype since being drafted first overall in 2010. He's a genuinely marketable superstar who's made six All-Star Games and won the 2015 MVP. Even during a down year in 2018, his .393 OBP ranked fifth among NL players. When healthy, Harper's one of the best in baseball, but he's already fallen short of playing 120 games three times in his seven-year career.

3. Michael Brantley, OF, Astros*

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Dec. 17: Brantley signed 2-year, $32M contract with Astros

Playing in more than 100 games for the first time since 2015, Brantley proved that he hasn't really lost a step, as he posted a 124 wRC+ in 2018. His injury history, including 19 missed games this past season, means he comes with a bit of risk, but his 2014 campaign (.327/.385/.506 with 20 home runs) suddenly doesn't feel that long ago.

4. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Braves*

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Nov. 26: Donaldson signed 1-year, $23M contract with Braves

Once considered the third member of the star-studded triumvirate of the 2018-19 free-agent class, Donaldson's fall from grace has been precipitous. The third baseman's contract was always going to pale in comparison to the likes of Machado's and Harper's, since he's seven years their senior. However, the once-dominant 2015 AL MVP was clearly not himself during his injury-plagued 2018 campaign. Still, the upside is there.

5. Yasmani Grandal, C, Brewers*

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Jan. 9: Grandal signed 1-year, $18.25M contract with Brewers

Grandal is coming off a dicey postseason behind the dish, where it seemed like the backstop suddenly forgot how to field his position. That being said, the switch-hitter ranked second among qualified catchers in wRC+ and first by OBP. Even further, despite his playoff lapses, Grandal was MLB's best catcher at framing last year, according to Baseball Prospectus' metrics.

6. Jed Lowrie, 2B, Mets*

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Jan. 10: Lowrie signed 2-year, $20M deal with Mets

Lowrie's an extremely interesting candidate on this list. He was second among all free-agent hitters in WAR last season, behind Machado, and he's been the 10th-most valuable player in the American League by FanGraphs WAR since the beginning of the 2017 season. However, the likelihood that the middle infielder either improves or continues this pace deeper into his thirties seems low, which could limit the number of suitors lining up for his services.

7. Daniel Murphy, 2B, Rockies*

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Dec. 20: Murphy signed 2-year, $24M contract with Rockies

Murphy's likely the best second baseman on the market and he's not attached to draft-pick compensation. Like Donaldson, his upside makes him an attractive asset. However, also like Donaldson, Murphy's on the wrong side of his prime and coming off an injury-plagued season.

8. Wilson Ramos, C, Mets*

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Dec. 16: Ramos signed 2-year, $19M contract with Mets

When Ramos is healthy, there may be no better hitting catcher in all of baseball. Since the beginning of 2016, only Gary Sanchez owns a better wRC+ among qualified catchers. Of course, the 31-year-old's been held to 306 games over that span, which ranks 14th at his position, surpassed by the likes of Russell Martin and Matt Wieters.

9. Nelson Cruz, DH, Twins*

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Dec. 27: Cruz signed 1-year, $14.3M contract with Twins

It's almost unfathomable how great Cruz continues to be at hitting. Since joining the Mariners in 2015 as a 34-year-old, nobody in baseball has hit more home runs. Even further, he's one of 13 hitters to maintain an OPS of at least .900 over that span. However, Cruz can't field, which cuts his list of potential suitors in half by eliminating the entire Senior Circuit.

10. Marwin Gonzalez, IF/OF, Twins*

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Feb. 22: Gonzalez agreed to 2-year, $21M contract with Twins

In 2017, Gonzalez stormed onto the scene as a key member of a championship team. Over 134 games, he authored a .907 OPS with 23 home runs while spending time at left field, shortstop, third base, second base, first base, and a handful of innings in center and right as well. However, the utility man's 2018 season was less impressive, as he struck out a little more and slugged way less.

11. A.J. Pollock, OF, Dodgers*

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Jan 24: Pollock signed 4-year, $55M contract with Dodgers

Pollock's long been considered a guy with all the tools to become a superstar, but his lack of durability will be what holds him back from a lucrative deal. After hitting 20 homers and stealing 39 bases while playing elite center field in 2015, Pollock's been held to 237 total games (less than half of his team's games), never playing more than 113 in each of the prior three seasons.

12. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Phillies*

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Dec. 11: McCutchen signed 3-year, $50M contract with Phillies

McCutchen's done a great job supplementing his waning slugging abilities with walks. While his slugging percentage has dropped by 120 points since 2014, his walk rate's increased by nearly a full percentage point. McCutchen's no longer the 26-year-old who won 2013 NL MVP honors while playing above-average defense in center field, but a contender could do worse than to have the outfielder in the top half of its lineup.

13. Nick Markakis, OF, Braves*

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Jan 22: Markakis signed 1-year, $4M contract with Braves

Up until 2018, Markakis was probably one of the best players to never make an All-Star team. Throughout his 13-year career, the outfielder's never been particularly great, but he's never been bad either. As a 34-year-old, Markakis posted an impressive .806 OPS - his best since 2012. He also had his best season by WAR since his 2008 campaign, when he was worth 6.0.

14. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Brewers*

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Feb. 17: Moustakas signed 1-year, $10M contract with Brewers

Last offseason, Moustakas and his agent Scott Boras were handed a rude awakening and forced to settle for a one-year deal worth over $10 million less than the qualifying offer they turned down. Now, the third baseman will get another kick at the free-agent can without having to worry about a qualifying offer hampering his value.

15. Brian Dozier, 2B, Nationals*

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Jan. 10: Dozier signed 1-year, $9M contract with Nationals

After six-and-a-half years in the big leagues, there's still some wonder about who Dozier actually is as a player. It's likely the 31-year-old isn't nearly as bad as his 2018 season, during which he produced a .215 batting average and a .696 OPS, but he's probably not the hitter who posted a .886 OPS with 42 home runs in 2016. After two great seasons in 2016 and 2017, a better platform year would've guaranteed Dozier a long-term deal. Now? Who knows.

16. Steve Pearce, 1B, Red Sox*

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Nov. 16: Pearce signed 1-year, $6.25M contract with Red Sox

Hot off of a World Series MVP, Pearce may be a candidate for a handsome payday this winter. The journeyman's routinely shown an ability to mash left-handers, posting a career .853 OPS against southpaws. But the 35-year-old beat up on right-handers as well this season, recording a .828 OPS and hitting six of his 11 home runs against righties. Even further, despite being considered a defensive liability for the majority of his career, Pearce made some impressive plays at first base during the postseason.

17. DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Yankees*

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Jan. 11: LeMahieu signed 2-year, $24M contract with Yankees

LeMahieu flashed excellence in 2016, setting career highs in nearly every major category while winning the MLB batting title. Since then, the second baseman has reverted back into an above-average defender with a below-average bat.

18. Jonathan Lucroy, C, Angels*

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Dec. 28: Lucroy signed 1-year, $3.35M contract with Angels

Lucroy's time as one of the league's elite catchers was considered to be over when he was finally traded from the Brewers. His framing had diminished and he posted a .635 OPS through 77 games with the Rangers to start 2017. He experienced a resurgence after being traded to the Rockies, boasting a .865 OPS with Colorado, but followed that up in 2018 with the worst season of his career in Oakland.

19. Asdrubal Cabrera, IF, Rangers*

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Jan. 22: Cabrera signed 1-year, $3.5M deal with Rangers

Cabrera was enjoying a career year with the Mets prior to being traded midseason to the Phillies. Over 98 games pre-trade, the middle infielder owned an .817 OPS. Over the 49 games that followed, it slipped to .678. Heading into 2019, it'll be interesting to see which Cabrera emerges. The journeyman could end up being one of the steals or busts of the offseason.

20. Matt Adams, 1B, Nationals*

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Dec. 15: Adams signed 1-year, $4M contract with Nationals

Adams may not field a position especially well, but the guy can hit. Of the 20 hitters on this list, only Cruz, Harper, and Machado posted better isolated power numbers. He probably shouldn't be a full-time player against left-handed pitchers, but the 30-year-old would make a fine addition as a platoon bat who mashes right-handers.

Top 20 MLB free-agent position players
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