The end of the World Series means that it’s time to focus on the future, and specifically the upcoming MLB free-agent class. Players and teams across the league will have to make up their minds on option decisions over the coming days. After that, the market will open and players will be free to negotiate the best deal for their labor.
As is the custom around these parts, CBS Sports has ranked the top 50 free agents in the class based on our evaluations and our predictions of what the market will look like. (Do note that some players may be added or removed once option decisions are finalized.) The rankings are formed from a combination of expected Annual Average Value and forecasted impact. Bear in mind this is more of an art than a science.
We’ve also included a few potential landing spots for each player. Please do not be the person who gets angry over those. They’re for entertainment purposes only. Some teams are just more inherently likely to spend money, but we’ve ensured that every team gets mentioned at least three times (and no team more than five times) in the interest of avoiding repetition.
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With that in mind, let’s get to the hoopla.
1. Aaron Judge, OF
Here is the most menacing Judge this side of Cormac McCarthy’s oeuvre. It may make no difference what men think of WAR, but Judge has amassed more of it during the Pandemic Era than any player except Shohei Ohtani, according to Baseball-Reference’s calculations. How could he not have? He hits for average; he walks; he hits for power (obscure fact: he broke the American League’s single-season home-run record); and he has one of the stronger outfield arms in the majors. The Yankees even used him in center for most of the…