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Also in this series: Part 1, covering free agents 1-20.

Welcome to Part 2 of Baseball Prospectus’ annual list of the top 50 free agents. The goal here is to rate every free agent based on their expected production, but also to weigh that with their expected contracts. This list is 100 percent my own, except in the instances where I relied on the wisdom of others to adjust my well-meaning informed opinion. There’s a lot to unpack in this list of players 21-50, so just keep this in mind: everything we think we know is probably at least a little wrong. Let’s just try to be minimally wrong!

Speaking of wrong, below each of my own write-ups, which include predicted landing spots for each free agent, you’ll see a “prediction” from “Randy” the intern/random number generator. He was doing better than usual going into this half of the list, but once again, he is the worst.

21. Eduardo Nunez
Position (bats): IF (R)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 30
Former team: Red Sox

Observations: Hello. It’s me. The high guy on Eduardo Nunez. I don’t even know what I’ve become. Over the past two seasons, Nunez has taken his combination of contact hitting and versatility to the next level. I think almost any team would benefit from a player who can fill in at multiple positions, hit at or above the league average, and provide his offense in the way many field staffs love to see it: through good at-bats and loads of hard contact. His injury issues may scare some teams away, but he should be carrying the reputation as a legit first-division starter.

Prediction: Staying with the Red Sox would be perfect for Nunez, as he can spell Dustin Pedroia during his early-season injury absence and be a backup in case Rafael Devers slumps or needs a break come the end of the season. But I think Boston’s priorities might lay elsewhere this offseason, so Nunez takes a compelling offer from the Orioles.

Randy’s Prediction: Orioles (Randy!)

22. Logan Morrison
Position (bats): 1B (L)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 30
Former team: Rays

Observations: I was, uh, let’s say not complimentary of Morrison in his comment for the 2017 Baseball Prospectus Annual. After his dismal 2016 season, I though I had him pegged as a replacement-level first baseman in terms of talent, and on his way to Japan or Korea. Thirty-eight homers later, Morrison is again being talked about as a good bet, in much the same way he once was as a prospect with the Marlins. Timing is everything, both at the plate and in baseball writing. While I’m not sure that his power surge is “real,” you can say that about half the players in MLB today. If his adjustments carry over to 2018, he could have a very nice second act to his career.

Prediction: Though his demeanor isn’t always endearing to fans, Morrison should be an attractive target for many teams looking for a first base upgrade. The Cardinals desperately need that, and preferably with a left-handed bat. There’s a match!

Randy’s Prediction: Phillies

23. Neil Walker
Position (bats): 2B (S)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 32
Former team: Brewers

Observations: In Walker’s case, one thing is certain and another is not. The certainty comes from the veteran’s production: almost like clockwork, Walker has turned out batting lines eerily similar to his .272/.341/.435 career mark. That’s above-average production, which can be especially valuable coming from second base. However, as he’s aged, recurring back (and other) injury issues have slowed him down, and he’s never been a lock to play 150 games anyway. His late-season run with the Brewers proved that he’s still a valuable asset, especially if he can be adjusted throughout the infield between third, second, and first base.

Prediction: It seems like too good of a fit for him to leave the Brewers at this point. He’s a wonderful complement to their existing core.

Randy’s Prediction: Marlins

24. CC Sabathia
Position (bats): LHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 37
Former team: Yankees

Observations: The last few years have been a bit of a struggle for Sabathia, but in 2016 and 2017 he did just enough to stay in the conversation for a trip to Cooperstown. These days, he’s every inch the crafty lefty gamer, capable of taking the ball in big spots but always at risk of breaking down with an injury. He’s going to come to a team on a one- or two-year deal to provide veteran presence, and perhaps take the ball during a critical October start or two. At the same time, he has slid from the top of the rotation to the back after years of being an ace.

Prediction: I like his fit on the Yankees quite a bit, but a return to his west coast roots and a spot anchoring the Angels’ rotation seems like a very distinct possibility.

Randy’s Prediction: Phillies

25. Carlos Gomez
Position (bats): OF (R)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 32
Former team: Rangers

Observations: You could get whiplash trying to follow the trajectory of Gomez’s career, but last season in Texas he proved that he’s still a productive outfielder, albeit with a slightly different skill set than he used to have. These days he should be trying to sell out for power and provide good defense in the corner, rather than trying to leverage his speed and defense up the middle. Deployed properly, Gomez is pretty much the platonic ideal of a third outfielder: good, but not so good that you couldn’t upgrade in a different move.

Prediction: The Giants’ outfield was so bad last season that I could see them adding Gomez to play center field even if they also add J.D. Martinez. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him land on any team that’s not the Astros.

Randy’s Prediction: Astros (¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

26. Yonder Alonso
Position (bats): 1B (L)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 30
Former team: Mariners

Observations: After years and years and years and years of under-shooting the expectations befitting a top 10 prospect, Alonso jumped aboard the “fly-ball revolution” train to begin 2017. The result was an incredible start to the best season of his career, but like any good fly ball, he had to come back down to earth. Remember, 2017 was the first season that Alonso cracked double-digit home runs, and his overall batting line was still only comfortably above average as opposed to great. Still, he’s probably an average first baseman, which has value.

Prediction: The Angels have a need at first base, and have been rumored as a destination for a while. This makes sense, plus it keeps him on the west coast, which seems to be a trend.

Randy’s Prediction: Rockies

27. Welington Castillo
Position (bats): C (R)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 30
Former team: Orioles

Observations: Shoutout to my podcast co-host R.J. Anderson, who is driving the Castillo train hard and convinced me to move “Beef” up my personal leaderboard. Always a solid hitter, Castillo saw his framing numbers improve considerably given the lion’s share of the load in Baltimore, grading out around average (3.7 Framing Runs in 5,977 chances). I think that’ll regress next season, but an average bat and solid throwing and blocking skills make him a suitable starter behind the dish for most teams.

Prediction: Even though most teams have a dearth of talent in shinguards, there aren’t a lot of perfect fits for free agent catchers. I think it depends a little on what sorts of contracts are offered to this team’s own free agent backstop, but a reunion with the Diamondbacks could be just the thing.

Randy’s Prediction: Marlins

28. Jhoulys Chacin
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 30
Former team: Padres

Observations: I know what you’re thinking. And I don’t care. Chacin was, at least by our DRA metric, a perfectly acceptable no. 3 starter last year in San Diego. He splits the difference well between missing bats and getting grounders, and he made 32 starts despite not going terribly deep into games. I don’t think he’ll draw the same contract as some of the players after him on this list, and that’s precisely what I think makes him undervalued as a starter. We’ve been undervaluing this guy for too long, when he’s demonstrated the ability to be an average starting pitcher. Here’s betting he doesn’t get paid like one this offseason.

Prediction: A team in desperate need of stability and with a savvy front office ponies up about $6 million per season to bring him in. This looks like a job for … the Mariners!

Randy’s Prediction: Tigers

29. Pat Neshek
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 37
Former team: Rockies

Observations: Like the previous name on the list, Neshek is probably being overlooked for a particular reason: he’s old. Last year, the sidearmer was unbelievably good for the Phillies, getting the whiffs of a much younger man while steadfastly refusing to issue a free pass. I have to imagine that with his career coming to a close, Neshek is likely to take a shorter-term deal with a team looking to make a playoff push. You may have a hard time finding a free agent reliever who provides more bang for your buck.

Prediction: I can see a remarkable fit with the Diamondbacks as a reliever who can survive in a high-homer environment despite such a fly ball-heavy profile. (Don’t be surprised if the Dodgers and Cubs come knocking as well.)

Randy’s Prediction: Padres

30. Lucas Duda
Position (bats): 1B (L)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 32
Former team: Rays

Observations: Everyone who had “Mets fan appears to overvalue Lucas Duda” in the pool, come collect your winnings. Aside from a rough go of it after being traded to the Rays at midseason, Duda’s been able to provide very good offensive performance whenever he’s taken the field. A career .295 True Average is nothing to sneeze at, never mind what you think of his pathetic batting averages. Injury issues are a consistent worry, but this dude walks softly and carries a big stick.

Prediction: Excuse me for a moment, but I’m going to get very specific here. Famous for making a play that led to a Kansas City World Series victory a few years ago, Duda is the consolation prize for the Royals after Eric Hosmer moves on to greener pastures. Duda provides a solid performance but inexplicably disappoints the fan base anyway, despite out-homering Hosmer during his first year with the Red Sox.

Randy’s Prediction: Giants

31. Chris Iannetta
Position (bats): C (R)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 34
Former team: Diamondbacks

Observations: I have a devil of a time trying to predict Iannetta’s seasonal performance. For much of his career he’s been a bat-first backstop–really, a walk-first backstop with power–but over the past few years he seems to have righted the ship in regards to his framing deficiencies. Now providing something like average value with his glove, we can go back to trying to predict how he’ll hit, which might be foolish. Despite a batted-ball profile not too different than previous seasons, he had a career-year with the Diamondbacks. I wouldn’t predict that to happen again, but he’ll likely sign a short-term contract and he has demonstrated the potential to have very valuable seasons mixed in with the more average ones.

Prediction: How has he not already been a member of the Athletics? #moneyball

Randy’s Prediction: Pirates

32. Jaime Garcia
Position (bats): LHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 31
Former team: Yankees

Observations: Essentially, he’s a great fit for any team that wanted Jason Vargas but gets nervous about Vargas’ fly-ball rate and/or age. I’d expect him to be a little worse and a little less reliable than Vargas, but Garcia is still a pretty good no. 4 starter or a great no. 5. On that note: jeez the market for starting pitchers drops off quickly after Lance Lynn.

Prediction: Thanks to his grounder-inducing ways, I’d like to see him land with a team in somewhat of a homer-friendly park. How about the Phillies with an eye on a midseason trade (or two!) again in 2018?

Randy’s Prediction: Brewers

33. Alcides Escobar
Position (bats): SS (R)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 31
Former team: Royals

Observations: He got off to a truly putrid start last season, but Escobar is something of a rarity in today’s game: a defense-first shortstop whose non-hitting skills make him a suitable starter despite shortcomings at the plate. He’s fast, he plays great defense, and he won’t take a walk even if his life depends on it. Fortunately, his bat-to-ball ability makes for a fun dude to watch, provided you’re okay with him not reaching base about 75 percent of the time.

Prediction: The Padres deeply need stability at short, and would be a great fit if they don’t sign Zack Cozart. Perhaps Cozart’s old team, the Reds, could see Escobar as part of a time-share or hedge against Jose Peraza’s continued development?

Randy’s Prediction: Nationals

34. Jarrod Dyson
Position (bats): OF (L)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 33
Former team: Mariners

Observations: Everything that I just wrote about Escobar, but at a slightly less important position, with more walks and a couple of extra years.

Prediction: I can’t see him joining Esky on the Reds unless a strange trade for Billy Hamilton takes place, so how about penciling him in as an ultra fourth outfielder for a dynamic contending team like the … Diamondbacks?

Randy’s Prediction: Nationals

35. Juan Nicasio
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 31
Former team: Cardinals

Observations: Nicasio’s travels last season are the stuff of legend–at least the type of extremely banal legend that gets transaction junkies going. But lost in all of the trade requests and posturing by the Pirates was a perfectly good relief season, punctuated by a strikeout per inning and an ERA below 3.00. Hopefully this time Juan can pick his team and his role, and thrive in 2018.

Prediction: This dude fits in literally 30 bullpens, so we just have to filter out all of the teams that can’t afford him (read: the Marlins and the Padres), the teams that are unlikely to compete for a playoff spot (something that we know he’s interested in pursuing), and we’re left with … still about 18 teams. Crud. I’m actually just going to defer to Randy on this one. Mariners.

Randy’s Prediction: Mariners

36. Carlos Gonzalez
Position (bats): RF (L)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 32
Former team: Rockies

Observations: Things have not gone well recently for the former offensive dynamo, and even the friendly terrain in Colorado hasn’t been enough to keep him producing at a high level. (Yeah, that’s a pun. Sorry.) Someone might overpay for his former greatness, and miss out on the fact that during a year when everybody put the ball over the fences, CarGo only managed 14 dingers and a .423 slugging percentage for the Rockies.

Prediction: Yes, I can totally see the Marlins making him their one substantive free agent move after sloughing off Marcell Ozuna and/or Giancarlo Stanton in offseason trades.

Randy’s Prediction: Tigers

37. Tyler Chatwood
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 28
Former team: Rockies

Observations: On the surface, perhaps there isn’t much to like here; I’m not just talking about the 15 losses despite pitching for a playoff team, I’m also talking about the walk every two innings and the ERA in the high 4.00s. But with a propensity for ground balls, a 95 mph heater, and a lower age than most free agents, Chatwood is all about the potential. Some team is going to sign him and hope that a move out of Colorado will unlock a legitimate mid-rotation starter.

Prediction: There are simply too many Tylers in Denver–and far too many in the Bronx–for Chatwood to get the opportunity to stand out there. He could either be a primary target for a team not willing to spend in that Cobb/Arrieta/Lynn tier, or a fallback for a team that misses out. Hopefully it’s also a team with good infield defense. According to my previous picks, that means he’s the new no. 5 starter for the Cubs.

Randy’s Prediction: Marlins (I’m fairly sure Randy is broken.)

38. Fernando Rodney
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 41
Former team: Diamondbacks

Observations: Sorry, haters. I’ll be shocked if Rodney brings in anything other than a one-year contract in free agency, which will make him a remarkable value for some team. I know, he’s got a reputation as a cardiac closer, but your man can still shove. His 3.11 DRA last year sparkled, his strikeout rate is still hot, and … I guess the less said about his control the better, but it hasn’t gotten worse just yet. I think there’s at least one arrow still left in the quiver.

Prediction: Every team wants a Fernando Rodney, but only one team gets him. I’ll bet he takes a gamble on a chance to close, so … what do you think about the Rockies?

Randy’s Prediction: Cubs

39. Howie Kendrick
Position (bats): 2B/LF (R)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 34
Former team: Nationals

Observations: Kendrick’s second act as a versatile, high-average second-division starter is going much better than expected based on the aging curves we usually suspect. He’s taken well to playing the outfield, and provides competent defense at five positions. He still carries his calling-card contact ability wherever he goes, making him an ideal final piece for a contending team looking to add instant offense from the right side.

Prediction: His landing spot will depend a little on whether he wants a guaranteed starting job or to chase a World Series ring. The best way to split the difference might be with the Diamondbacks, but I’ll mark him down for the Royals, who have plenty of holes to fill.

Randy’s Prediction: Pirates

40. Bryan Shaw
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 30
Former team: Indians

Observations: Over the past five seasons, no pitcher has appeared in more games than Shaw. He’s the workhorse’s workhorse, and boy is that scary. Aren’t relievers supposed to break down the more they’re used? How many more innings and appearances does this rubber-armed reliever have left in him, despite just now cresting into his 30s? If he can stay healthy and in line with his career production, some team is going to get a steal; Shaw gets strikeouts and grounders in abundance, and will pitch back-to-back days with a smile on his face. He’s stayed healthy so far, so let’s hope that continues.

Prediction: I bet the Indians will cash in their chips after rolling the dice on working him so hard for so long. Perhaps he reunites with his former pitching coach on the Mets?

Randy’s Prediction: Cardinals

41. Anthony Swarzak
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 32
Former team: Brewers

Observations: Kind of the polar opposite to Shaw, Swarzak is the lightning-in-a-bottle surprise pop-up reliever. After years as a swingman, Swarzak has somehow managed to transform into a punch-out artist. No season in his past can compare to his breakout 2017, where he was excellent with both the White Sox and the Brewers. The lack of history behind his success may give teams pause, but another season as good as this one might pay off his entire free agent contract after just one year.

Prediction: I truly hate predicting reliever landing spots. The Rockies could use another arm, even if they get someone like Rodney as predicted earlier.

Randy’s Prediction: Diamondbacks

42. Jake McGee
Position (bats): LHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 31
Former team: Rockies

Observations: As a blazing fastball/slider left-handed relief pitcher, it’s easy to imagine that McGee might be able to recapture his pre-2016 success, just as long as he doesn’t have to pitch for the Rockies any more.

Prediction: The Astros need a strong bullpen lefty, and this might be it!

Randy’s Prediction: Brewers

43. Jon Jay
Position (bats): OF (L)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 33
Former team: Cubs

Observations: Long underrated despite his base-reaching prowess, Jay’s other skills–namely his power and defense–are deteriorating in a hurry. No longer much of a center fielder, he seems very much like the type of player to fill in as a second-division starter on a team that’s waiting for the next Jay to emerge from their farm system. He likely won’t get a big contract, and he’ll likely be a bit above replacement.

Prediction: I could certainly see him taking a make-good contract with the Tigers, a team that could desperately use his skill set.

Randy’s Prediction: Dodgers

44. Cameron Maybin
Position (bats): OF (R)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 30
Former team: Astros

Observations: Perhaps equal parts Jay and Dyson, Maybin provides value thanks to his speed, as well as being a serviceable defender and a slightly below-average hitter. Once a five-tool prospect, Maybin’s athleticism has seen him hang onto a major-league job and relative adequacy, but he’s probably not any team’s first, second, or third choice.

Prediction: Perhaps a team like the Athletics could leverage him as a platoon partner/backup for Boog Powell and/or Matt Joyce?

Randy’s Prediction: Braves

45. Tony Watson
Position (bats): LHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 32
Former team: Dodgers

Observations: Hold Shaw up to a mirror, reduce his peripherals by a little bit, amp up the saves, and give him a worse 2017 season. Voila! Watson!

Prediction: The Astros need a strong bullpen lefty, but I put them on McGee. That leaves the Cubs as a snug fit.

Randy’s Prediction: Brewers

46. Alex Avila
Position (bats): C (L)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 31
Former team: Cubs

Observations: His framing statistics seem to be fading, but Avila still has both the pedigree and the offensive potential to slot in as an effective part-time catcher. He’s not the type of guy to hold down an everyday job at this point in his career, but he has enough of an ability to draw a walk to give a team positive value and a solid clubhouse presence.

Prediction: Is it weird to project him to go to the Blue Jays and caddy for Russell Martin? I don’t think so.

Randy’s Prediction: White Sox

47. Tommy Hunter
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 31
Former team: Rays

Observations: Hunter has put up a few very solid seasons since moving out of the rotation and into the bullpen, but last year’s run with the Rays may have been his best. Think Swarzak, but instead of carrying the stink of being a former Twins swingman, he was a former Orioles swingman. If the 2015 and 2016 seasons didn’t exist, Hunter would be looking at one of those three-year, $30 million contracts this offseason. Instead, he’ll get two years and less money, which might be a bargain.

Prediction: I’d love to see him return to the Rangers, and there’s a need in that bullpen.

Randy’s Prediction: Giants

48. Brandon Phillips
Position (bats): 2B (R)
Age (as of 4/1/18): 36
Former team: Angels

Observations: Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Phillips still keeps producing, despite his advancing age and diminishing talents. He’s no longer even a fringe All-Star, but he’s capable of producing a .260 True Average and backing up capably at either second or third base. Now that he’s no longer in the phase of his career where his low-OBP ways might be mistaken for an top-of-the-order skill set, teams are free to deploy him as a second-division starter or solid fifth infielder at the bottom of a good lineup.

Prediction: Boring, I know, but he continues to wear red as a member of the Angels.

Randy’s Prediction: Mets

49. Jeremy Hellickson
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 31
Former teams: Orioles

Observations: A rate of 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings is a giant, flashing, neon sign saying, “STAY AWAY!” However, Hellickson is capable of taking the ball every fifth day. Somehow, that allows him to qualify for this list. He’s slightly better and more consistent than the last guy on the list … I think?

Prediction: His contract should be proportional to a team’s desperation to acquire starting pitching innings. Welcome to the Padres, Jeremy.

Randy’s Prediction: Angels

50. Andrew Cashner
Position (bats): RHP
Age (as of 4/1/18): 31
Former team: Rangers

Observations: A rate of 4.6 strikeouts per nine innings is a giant, flashing, neon sign saying, “STAY AWAY!” However, Cashner is capable of taking the ball every fifth day. Somehow, that allows him to qualify for this list. (Please don’t be fooled by his ERA last year!)

Prediction: His contract also should be proportional to a team’s desperation to acquire starting pitching innings. Welcome to the Orioles, Andrew.

Randy’s Prediction: Athletics

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