Not all MLB teams can spend big in free agency, so they need to target players who could become difference makers.
There’s a great crop of free agents available this winter and many who can help win ball games without breaking the bank.
Below are the ten best value free agent teams instead of trying to outbid each other for elite talent.
1. Jose Abreu (1B, 35)
One of MLB’s best power hitters in recent years can still impact a roster, whether at first base or DH. It’s not often you see players like Jose Abreu looking for a big bag ahead of their 36-year-old season. A team probably won’t have to commit a ton of tenure, opting instead to pay them a higher AAV. Abreu hasn’t recorded an OPS below 0.800 since 2018 and should be a valuable signing who can make an impact in the short term.
2. André Benintendi (OF, 28)
Both seasons have been strange for Andrew Benintendi. He slowly reinvented himself as a hitter, splitting his time with the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. His power was gone, but he became a contact hitter with the ability to reach base. He won’t command many terms but could make a difference on a three-year contract.
3. Christian Vazquez (C, 32)
Several catchers are available in free agency and through trade this offseason, but Christian Vazquez just helped the Houston Astros win the World Series. His defense is good and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves behind the plate. It should see a multi-year deal that shouldn’t have an unreasonable price tag. For some reason, Vazquez hasn’t started full-time for most of his career, but that could change this offseason with a new destination.
4. Jurickson Profar (LF, 29)
Jurickson Profar has always been high profile but has yet to become a star at the MLB level. That’s not to say he can’t bring value to a franchise. It’s hard to see him getting a big payday, but he should end up as a free agent in the middle of the pack and a potential bargain for the team that lands him.
5. Michael Wacha (SP, 31)
Michael Wacha will be looking to build a strong season with the Boston Red Sox and turn that into a great deal. Despite strong numbers last year, Wacha won’t be a top starter in the rotation, but he will provide value at the end of a rotation. It will likely come at a rate and duration that won’t stop a team from signing other free agents at big bucks.
6. Jose Quintana (SP, 33)
Sticking to starting pitchers, despite fireballs taking over MLB, there’s still value in starters who can paint the corners. Jose Quintana finished 2022 with the St. Louis Cardinals, which was a great environment for him. He is a game manager who relies on contact and defense. Quintana won’t break the bank and has the potential to be a massive bargain with the right fit.
7. Brandon Drury (INF, 30)
Some major leaguers are specialty players, so they won’t cost much. Brandon Drury crushed the left-handed throw and is a great utility player who can play multiple positions. He brought power to the dish in his time with the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres, which should be attractive in the free agent market. Still, he’s not the type of player who will get a term or big bucks, which means he should be able to help a team if given the proper role.
8. Trey Mancini (1B, 30)
Trey Mancini had been a solid hitter for the Baltimore Orioles and a reasonably priced addition for the Houston Astros. Still, he never got to grips with the Astros and probably needs a fresh start. Mancini has been a constant threat on the flat, but teams won’t be lining up to sign him, so whoever lands him is likely to find themselves a bargain.
9. Rafael Montero (PR, 32)
A powerful bullpen pitcher, Rafael Montero did a great job as a relief pitcher and paid dividends during his time with the Astros. The right-hander will seek a multi-year contract this winter, but there will be questions about his performance before joining Houston.
10. Johnny Cueto (SP, 36)
Like Quintana, veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto doesn’t hit batters with velocity. He has great movement on his courts and will continue to make a difference in a big league rotation. He’s unlikely to get a term on his next deal, but he’s a great bet for a one-year contract, which could pay dividends in the backend of a team’s rotation.