Major League Baseball's deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players has passed. Here, we take a look at the most surprising and intriguing players who are now free agents.
One thing's for sure, the outfield market just got a lot more crowded.
Reports surfaced Tuesday night that the Twins were aggressively shopping Rosario to no avail prior to placing him on outright waivers. No team was willing to claim him, possibly due to his 2021 salary which is projected to land between $8.6-$12.9 million.
The 29-year-old has spent his entire six-year career with the Twins, and while he's never been named to an All-Star team, he's been consistently reliable. He owns a career batting line of .277/.310/.478 with 119 home runs in 697 games. His biggest flaw is his inability to draw walks, which suppresses his on-base percentage. Rosario may be the top alternative for teams that miss out on George Springer, Marcell Ozuna, or Michael Brantley.
With the Cubs desperately looking to cut costs, Schwarber is one of the odd men out. Cutting him loose could mean the team holds on to the rest of the core of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Anthony Rizzo a bit longer - or this could simply be the first shoe to drop. Schwarber has seemed destined to be a designated hitter ever since the Cubs moved him from catcher to the outfield. He hit 94 home runs over three seasons from 2017-19. The former fourth overall pick should land on his feet pretty quickly and his power should still play.
The 32-year-old slogged his way through a brutal 2020 campaign between the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs. He didn't even muster a hit in his 22 plate appearances after his trade to Chicago. But even if last season was an unmitigated disaster, it's tough to put too much stock into such a small sample size.
He's best suited for the American League where he can slot in as a designated hitter or, at worst, a platoon bat. Even when factoring in his 2020 line, Martinez has hit .307 with 16 home runs and a 145 wRC+ against lefties over 348 career plate appearances.
Another former top-10 pick for the Cubs to get non-tendered, Almora has struggled mightily with the bat over the last two seasons. Maybe he can reclaim what he lost from his first three seasons when he hit .289/.326/.412 in 331 games. The 26-year-old's upside is more tied to his defense, where he can be serviceable in center field.
Goodwin just hasn't managed to stick with any one team since his debut with the Washington Nationals in 2016. While never an All-Star, Goodwin had a solid 2019 with the Los Angeles Angels, hitting .262/.326/.470 with a career-high 17 home runs in 136 games.
Franco was non-tendered for the second straight year despite putting together a quietly solid season with the Royals. Franco, who appeared in every game this summer, is also a contact machine who seldom strikes out (15.3% for his career). His established ceiling appears to be a .270 batting average with 20-25 home runs, so it's unlikely he ever fits under the superstar label. However, he can be a productive stopover bat for a rebuilding team or an inexpensive option for a club looking to bolster its lineup without pursuing one of the more high-profile free agents.
Injuries have derailed Rodon's promising career, but it's worth noting he was just coming back from Tommy John surgery this summer, so it's difficult to know if he can be more effective in 2021 or 2022. The third overall pick from the 2014 draft will turn 28 next week and some front office will take a flyer on him. The lefty posted a 3.90 ERA and was worth 4.4 WAR over his first two seasons (2015-16).
When Naquin finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2016, it looked like he might be a fixture in Cleveland's lineup for years. However, injuries have played a major role in his inability to leave a lasting impact - he's appeared in just 209 games in four seasons since he arrived on the scene. Naquin did appear on the verge of reclaiming relevance in 2019 when he hit .288 with 10 home runs over 89 games.
This comes as a bit of a surprise as the 32-year-old showcased some serious power in his time with the Braves - the former All-Star has 26 home runs over his last 98 games. Duvall trailed only teammate Marcell Ozuna and Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for the National League lead in home runs this summer, with 11 coming in September alone. He's somewhat one dimensional (lots of strikeouts, low walk totals) and isn't the strongest fielder, but the power potential will turn some heads.
Santana is an interesting free agent for a few reasons. While he struggled in his brief season, he was coming off a career year with 28 home runs, 21 stolen bases, and a slash line of .283/.324/.534. His versatility - he's played every position but pitcher and catcher - makes him appealing for almost any team, even those without any obvious fit for the 30-year-old. The biggest question surrounding Santana is health. He underwent elbow surgery in September and may not be ready for Opening Day.
Dahl was the 10th overall pick in 2012 and was highly touted throughout his ascent to the majors. Injuries have hampered his ability to live up to his potential, and he's coming off shoulder surgery in September. When healthy, he's swung an effective bat. Prior to this year, he owned a career line of .297/.346/.521 with 38 home runs in 240 games. He was clearly not at 100% in 2020, so he's an interesting bounce-back candidate.
A real head-scratcher. Bradley was effective with both the Diamondbacks and Reds and allowed only one run after being traded to Cincinnati. He's logged a lot of innings in the bullpen since being converted to a reliever in 2017, but he's a reliable arm who would benefit most teams in late-inning situations.