Friday’s deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players has come and gone, and free agency is now packed with more talent as a result.
While several players were tendered contracts by their clubs from a season prior, a handful of others must now look for new deals and hope to find a home to play ball in 2019.
Here are five of the most intriguing players who became free agents on Friday after not being tendered a contract.
Complete MLB free-agent list
Top 20 MLB free-agent pitchers
Top 20 MLB free-agent position players
Players’ official seasonal ages for 2019 listed in parentheses.
Avisail Garcia, OF (28 years old)
After an All-Star campaign where he nearly won a batting title in 2017, Garcia failed to replicate the same success last season. Multiple trips to the disabled list with hamstring issues and offseason surgery on his right knee may be causes for concern, but he’s still young and worth a look, especially after finishing among the 15 most-valuable players – he was worth more WAR than Eric Hosmer and Marwin Gonzalez – in the American League just two seasons ago.
Shelby Miller, SP (28 years old)
The D-Backs trade for Miller will go down as a historically bad deal, but remember that the 28-year-old was an exceptional pitcher before he arrived in the desert. He’s been slowed by discomfort in his surgically repaired right elbow and has just nine appearances under his belt in two years, but taking a flier on the one-time All-Star, whose career ERA was just over 3.00 before he played for Arizona, is a worthwhile and inexpensive risk.
Billy Hamilton, OF (28 years old)
Hamilton may not have panned out the way Cincinnati hoped, but he still offers value to teams interested in adding speed and defense. The 28-year-old has 277 steals in six seasons and is a career plus-51 in defensive runs saved. His career OBP of .298 may not equate to starting playing time, but teams in need of a fourth outfielder should give his agent a call.
Mike Fiers, SP (33 years old)
After a shaky campaign for Houston in 2017, Fiers settled for a team-friendly, one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers to begin last season. He pitched well and wound up being acquired by the Athletics in August, who considered using him as the starter in the AL wild-card game. Instead, Oakland used an opener and lost to the Yankees. Fiers wasn’t happy with the decision and his comments could’ve been a reason for his non-tender. Either way, Fiers was good for 30 starts and 1.58 in win probability added, so he should find a deal.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B (27 years old)
Schoop is good. He was so good, in fact, that the Brewers traded three players to acquire him in July. He just didn’t play well in Milwaukee and it only made sense for the Brewers to non-tender him with his salary in arbitration projected to be around $10 million. Schoop, a former All-Star and MVP candidate who hit 32 home runs and drove in 105 in 2017, should generate plenty of free-agent interest.