MLB Power Rankings: Rangers’ AL West reign is over; free-agent stock reports

By Grant Brisbee, Rustin Dodd and Stephen Nesbitt

There are dozens of reasons to be bummed by the news of Shohei Ohtani’s compromised elbow. But somewhere, farther down on the list, is this truth: It really takes the sting out of what would have been one of the most exciting free agency stories in baseball history.

Ohtani may still command $500 million, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote last week, but suitors will have to wait on the two-way brilliance. That’s not as fun.

But what about the rest of the free-agent class? As baseball gears up for the stretch run, the power rankings are taking a break from the day-to-day grind of the pennant races. Instead, we’re looking at the pending free agents from each team who have raised and lowered their stock the most this season.

Record: 84-45
Last Power Ranking: 1

Stock up: Pierce Johnson, RHP

If a league-average ERA+ is 100, how do you get a 662? That’s what Johnson has done since joining the Braves a month ago. Allowing one run across 13 outings with Atlanta has dropped Johnson’s season ERA from 6.00 to 4.67. AH, you might think, MY COORS EFFECT CALCULATOR SAYS THIS IS JUST STANDARD SEA-LEVEL REGRESSION. If only, my friend. If only. Johnson is from Denver, fully accustomed to that thin air, and it was his time away from Coors that was the issue. At the time of the trade, his road splits were way worse than his home ones. But anyway, he’s dealing in Atlanta because the baseball gods needed to finally let one move break in the Braves’ favor. Now, Johnson is about to make a lot more in free agency this fall than the $5 million he signed with his hometown Rockies for this year.

Stock down: Ehire Adrianza, SS

If a league-average OPS+ is 100, how do you get a -72? Seriously. Someone check this math. Back on Opening Day, Adrianza was the Braves’ backup shortstop. A full accounting of his plate appearances went: fly out, strikeout, strikeout, groundout, walk, groundout, strikeout, fly out, strikeout, groundout, groundout. Then he hurt his elbow. Then he strained his shoulder. He hasn’t played since May 1. Those are his only 11 plate appearances. Twice, he pinch-hit with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and was the last out of the game. The only time he got on base, he was forced out at second. So it turns out a .091 OPS will get you a -72 OPS+. — Stephen Nesbitt

Record: 80-49
Last Power Ranking: 2

Stock up: Lance Lynn, RHP

As of this writing, Lynn is 4-0 as a Dodger, with a 2.03 ERA. He’s still got the dingeritis, but he’s sacrificed some strikeouts for improved command, and he’s looking more like the pitcher who finished with a Cy Young vote every season from 2019 to 2021.

The Dodgers can’t keep getting away with this.

Stock down: Julio Urías, LHP

For five starts, Urías had turned it around. After getting obliterated by the Orioles on July 19 (eight runs, five innings), he’d made five starts and won them all with a superlative 2.03 ERA, four walks and 32 strikeouts in 31 innings. He was back.

The Red Sox touched him up for three dingers on Saturday, though, and his season ERA is back to 4.41, exactly where it was on April 27. He’s having a 4.41 kind of season. He’s just 27 and will get a nine-figure contract after the season, but plenty of club options will be involved. He’ll probably have a player option himself, just in case. It’s been a very uncharacteristic season from a typically steady pitcher. — Grant Brisbee

Record: 81-49
Last Power Ranking: 3

Stock up: Kyle Gibson, RHP

Whenever a guy has bold on his Baseball-Reference page, it makes you stop and look. As of Sunday afternoon, Gibson had bold (read: led the league) in four categories: wins (13), starts (27), hits allowed (163) and batters faced (670).

No one sets out to lead the league in hits allowed, but hits happen when a contact-oriented starter chews innings while running low strikeout and walk rates. Gibson has been fan-tas-tic for the Orioles. They tossed $10 million to plug a hole in their rotation this year, and he has returned a 4.89 ERA — with a far better 3.84 FIP, for all you FIP heads — while taking the ball every fifth day. He’s the quintessential “he might not win you the game, but he won’t lose it either” guy. He gives ’em a chance, and the Orioles have made it count. At least half the teams in the majors will have that exact need next season. Get on the phone with Gibson’s agent.

Stock down: Shintaro Fujinami, RHP

When the A’s signed Fujinami, there was some thought the flame-thrower, who emerged as a sensation alongside Shohei Ohtani in Japan a decade ago, would show improved command this season and be one of the better pitchers available on the free-agent market this fall. Afraid not. Fujinami is still walking 13 percent of batters he’s faced — note: never let a guy go 161 pitches — and he’s not getting nearly enough strikeouts or weak contact to counteract all the free passes. Fujinami has been better in Baltimore, lowering his season ERA from 8.57 to 7.60, and with Félix Bautista injured, he has a huge opportunity to prove himself. But unless Fujinami shows the Orioles something soon, it’s hard to imagine them trusting him in crucial postseason innings. — SN

Record: 80-52
Last Power Ranking: 5

Stock up: Robert Stephenson, RHP

Stephenson, not to be confused with Robert Louis Stevenson (or Robert Loyd Stephenson), has had a rather Jekyll-and-Hyde year: elbow inflammation, great April, terrible May, trade to Tampa, now pitching innings out of the Rays bullpen. His 2.93 ERA and .72 WHIP with Tampa are almost half what he posted in Pittsburgh, as he’s transformed his repertoire — favoring cutter and splitter over four-seamer and slider — to counteract the fact lefties have historically been his kryptonite. Stephenson, 30, has put up solid numbers for years despite spending most of his career in hitter-friendly home parks. He’s reaching free agency at just the right time.

Stock down: Erasmo Ramírez, RHP

Process of elimination here since both Stephenson and Jake Diekman (whose $4 million club option for 2024 could easily be exercised) have been great, so we’re left picking on Ramírez. He’s had some good seasons, including with the Rays, but at 33, he’s having a rough go: a 6.55 ERA across 45 1/3 innings with the Nationals and Rays. — SN

Record: 74-56
Last Power Ranking: 7

Stock up: Tom Murphy, C

I guess. The Mariners don’t have a lot of pending free agents, so the one they’ll lament the most if they lose him is Murphy, an oft-injured backup catcher who fits their roster perfectly when he’s healthy. The problem is that he fits a lot of rosters perfectly when healthy, and he keeps raking in his limited time on the field. He’ll be popular this offseason.

Stock down: Teoscar Hernández, OF

Hernández’s OPS+ by year since his breakout performance in 2020:

2020: 146
2021: 131
2022: 128
2023: 108

In that time, his strikeout rate has shot up (30.7 percent this season), his walk rate is a career-low and so is his extra-base-hit percentage. He turns 31 in October.

He’ll still have suitors at the Winter Meetings, but it’ll probably be for a show-me contract, not a multi-year bonanza. — GB

Record: 73-57
Last Power Ranking: 4

Stock up: Aroldis Chapman, LHP

Chapman is enjoying the best strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career. He’s making the same kind of transition from thrower to pitcher that Randy Johnson did, where a drop in velocity and stuff isn’t alarming because it’s a drop from some of the greatest velocity and stuff in baseball history. It’s not hard to see Chapman pitching until he’s 45, like Johnson.

Stock down: Martín Pérez, LHP

Pérez accepted the Rangers’ qualifying offer last offseason, and it made sense for both sides. He’d get close to $20 million this year, and he’d get to hit free agency the following offseason without draft-pick penalties attached to him.

He’s in the bullpen now, with an ERA over 5.00. The Rangers are without a pitcher they feel like they can trust in the postseason, and that’s if they get there at this point. Made sense at the time. Looks iffier and iffier with each passing day. — GB

Record: 74-58
Last Power Ranking: 6

Stock up: Hector Neris, RHP

First, note his nicknames on Baseball-Reference: Happy Hector, Compa H or Compa N. “Compa” means friend, so you’re getting an idea of what kind of dude Neris is. Nobody calls you “Happy (first name).” He seems like the perfect personality to have in a bullpen, which will go through ups and downs and weirdness and pain. Get a smile in there if you can.

A smile with a splitter, if possible. Neris has one, and it’s been working for a long, long time. It’s working this year, too. He’ll get paid.

Stock down: Martín Maldonado, C

In an earlier powers ranking, I described Maldonado as a catcher who did all the little things as a field general, someone who locked down the defensive side of the position and made his pitchers better. Boy, did Astros fans give me the business. They were right to do so. Maldonado leads the league in passed balls, and he’s thrown out just 17 percent of would-be base thieves. There isn’t enough framing talent in the world to make up for that. Oh, and his OPS+ is 54, his lowest since 2013.

That’s saying a lot when your career OPS+ is 71. — GB

Record: 73-57
Last Power Ranking: 10

Stock up: Wade Miley, LHP

Miley, who will be 37 in November, has pitched his way into another contract for a prospective team that needs competent starting pitching in 2024. He entered Sunday with a 3.18 ERA in 17 starts.

Stock down: Jesse Winker, DH

The Brewers acquired Winker and Abraham Toro from Seattle last winter in exchange for Kolten Wong. Following a down season last year, Winker has been even worse for Milwaukee, posting a .567 OPS in 61 games and spending time on the injured list. — Rustin Dodd

Record: 72-58
Last Power Ranking: 9

Stock up: Michael Lorenzen, RHP

To be clear, Lorenzen won’t come close to matching the contract fellow free-agent-to-be Aaron Nola gets this winter, but he’s undoubtedly the one whose stock has risen most this season. An All-Star appearance and a no-hitter will do that. Since signing a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Tigers last winter — he’ll also get about another $1 million in incentives for innings pitched — Lorenzen has had a 3.69 ERA in 22 starts, including a night he’ll never forget.

Stock down: Rhys Hoskins, 1B

*audibly* Well, that’s rude.

What?! Did you expect me to go with Nola or Craig Kimbrel? This is my blurb! Hoskins has been a plus hitter ever since he broke into the bigs. Pencil him in for 30 homers and a .240 batting average every season. His numbers were down a little last season, and his six postseason homers helped smooth over what was otherwise an ugly October batting line, so he had a lot riding on his walk year. Then, a torn ACL ruined that. — SN

Record: 71-60
Last Power Ranking: 8

Stock up: Matt Chapman, 3B

After returning from a second Tommy John, Hyun Jin Ryu has hit the mound running. Brandon Belt and Kevin Kiermaier will have even more suitors this offseason than last. But it’s still Chapman’s stock that has surged most. There are holes in his offensive profile, but even as his hitting has tapered off this summer, he’s a plus hitter playing a Gold-Glove third base. Chapman leads the league in doubles. His batting average (.248) and OBP (.338) are rising for the second consecutive season. And he has gotten his strikeout rate (28.6 percent) in check. Add all of that up — and account for some of those doubles turning into homers most years — and he’s a hugely valuable player.

Stock down: Adam Cimber, RHP

After leading the majors in appearances last year and posting a 2.80 ERA, Cimber has had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year with the Blue Jays. He’s been hurt off and on, most recently with a right shoulder impingement that has him on the 60-day injured list. The reliever’s ERA jumped to 4.50 by the end of April, and just when he’d gotten it back into the 3s, the Twins ambushed him for six earned runs on June 10. The Rangers got him for three a week later. His ERA ballooned to 7.40. He hasn’t pitched since. — SN

Record: 69-61
Last Power Ranking: T-12

Stock up: Cody Bellinger, CF

Seiya Suzuki and Cody Bellinger (David Banks / USA Today)

Hey, it’s Cody Bellinger! We knew this player was in there somewhere. But we weren’t sure if we’d ever see him again. Maybe, as Bellinger’s camp has suggested, it was just health. Bellinger entered Sunday with a 139 OPS+ and 20 homers, his best numbers since his NL MVP season in 2019. Still just 28, he’s made a lot of money this season.

Stock down: Brad Boxberger, RHP

The veteran reliever has battled through injuries and ineffectiveness after signing with the Cubs last offseason. — RD

Record: 69-62
Last Power Ranking: 11

Stock up: Adam Duvall, OF; James Paxton, LHP

Cheating the system to talk about two fascinating free agents here. First, there’s Duvall. He landed in Boston on a one-year, $7 million deal after a disappointing 2022 season that ended in July when he hurt his left wrist chasing a harmless Shohei Ohtani foul ball. Duvall was the hottest hitter in baseball the first week of this season, then fractured that wrist. He was terrible in June (.548 OPS), solid in July (.815) and now scorching in August (.975). He hit five homers last week, bringing his tally to 16 homers in 68 games.

And then there’s Paxton. The Red Sox declined the 34-year-old’s two-year, $26 million club option last fall as Paxton was coming back from Tommy John surgery and a shoulder injury. Made sense. And Paxton had a $4 million player option anyway, which he exercised. A prove-it deal — and he’s done just that. Even after getting touched up by the Astros and Dodgers, two of the best lineups in baseball, in his past two outings, Paxton has a 3.99 ERA in 18 starts. For a guy who entered the season having made only six starts since 2019, when he was 30 and the rabbit ball roamed the earth, it boggles the mind that he looks this much like prime Paxton.

Stock down: Corey Kluber, RHP

This could be the end of the line for Kluber. The two-time Cy Young winner has pitched for a different team in each of the past five seasons. He fell out of the Red Sox rotation in late May and had a 7.04 ERA when a shoulder injury shut him down. The 2023 version of Kluber was extremely hittable, with by far the worst barrel and whiff rates of his career. He’ll turn 38 in April. — SN

Record: 68-63
Last Power Ranking: 14

Stock up: Sonny Gray, RHP

More than anything else, Gray has taken the ball every fifth day. He’s stayed healthy all year. He’s been a productive starting pitcher. He’ll be 34 in November, but he should have plenty of interest this winter.

Stock down: Joey Gallo, LF/1B

The harsh truth about Gallo: He can no longer hit a fastball like he once did. Sometimes it happens. The bat gets a little slower. The aging curve comes for us all. The decline that began in New York over the last two seasons appears to be real. — RD

Record: 69-62
Last Power Ranking: 15

Stock up: Evan Longoria, 3B

If only because he’s (relatively) healthy again. The Diamondbacks have just seven pending free agents, and none of them are exactly rolling. Two of them are pitchers named Zach, which proves my theory that only pitchers named Zack can be successful because they have a “K” in their name. Zac Gallen is a freaky loophole, but we’ll deal with him later.

Longoria can still hit, and he’s a net positive on any 26- and 40-man roster with space for him.

Stock down: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., OF

Gurriel was an All-Star this season. Since the break, though, he’s hit .230/.266/.363, with 25 strikeouts and just five walks, four homers and 10 extra-base hits in 143 plate appearances. He’ll still get a multi-year deal, but it’s not the one he was expecting when he was lining up down the foul line at T-Mobile Park. — GB

Record: 68-64
Last Power Ranking: 15

Stock up: Buck Farmer, RHP

Farmer, a 32-year-old reliever, has been amazingly consistent his last two seasons, posting a 3.84 ERA one year after logging a 3.83 ERA. On a young Reds team with few pending free agents, that’s enough to take this spot.

Stock down: Joey Votto, 1B/DH

One of the most interesting questions in Reds land: Is Votto playing well enough for the club to pick up a $20 million team option this offseason? Will his history with — and significance to — the team play a role in the decision? Should it? These are not easy questions. Votto has been a league-average hitter this year. He faded in August. The Reds, meanwhile, are right on the fringes of the NL wild-card race. — RD

Record: 67-63
Last Power Ranking: 12

Stock up: Sean Manaea, LHP

His ERA is 5.05, but we’re in a post-ERA world, my friend. His FIP is a cool 3.90, and he’s gotten stronger as the season has progressed. He’s held batters to a .210/.283/.353 line as a reliever, even though he’s been more of a starting pitcher who just happens to come into games in the second inning. The velocity is up, and he’s saying he’s never felt this fresh this late in the season.

He has a player option for $12.5 million, but my guess is that the Giants are hoping he opts back in. We’re in a post-ERA world, my friend.

Stock down: Brandon Crawford, SS

Might be cooked. The 36-year-old is on the IL, and both his oWAR and dWAR are at career lows. Never bet against the hand-eye coordination of a Gold Glove shortstop; from Mike Bordick to Omar Vizquel, they seem to have nine lives. But he’ll have to make a choice as to what he wants for the rest of his career because it seems unlikely that he’ll start the 2024 season as a starting shortstop anywhere. — GB

Record: 66-65
Last Power Ranking: 17

Stock up: David Robertson, RHP

Bummer for the Fish that a handful of Robertson’s biggest blowups this season have come since he was traded over from the Mets. He just hasn’t looked the same this past month. On the whole, though, Robertson has been a relatively dependable closer this year, with a 3.00 ERA and 1.13 WHIP to go with his 18 saves. Robertson will turn 39 next April. That’s 58 in closer years. But so long as he’s hucking 92 mph cutters and knee-buckling curves, those free-agent paychecks will keep coming.

Stock down: Joey Wendle, SS

Wendle wins a tight race here against Johnny Cueto and Matt Barnes, with Yuli Gurriel finishing a distant fourth. Two years ago, Wendle was an All-Star utility player with Tampa. Now he’s a platoon shortstop with a .229/.264/.325 (.589 OPS) slash line, no pop and a couple steals. He’s looking at career lows almost across the board in his age-33 season. In all likelihood, he’s getting a minor-league deal and battling for a roster spot in spring training next year. — SN

Record: 63-68
Last Power Ranking: 18

Stock up: Reynaldo López, RHP

The other pitcher in the Lucas Giolito trade is the one who is showcasing himself for a big free-agent payday. Giolito had at least a theoretical chance to secure a nine-figure contract after leading the Angels to the American League pennant, but he’ll have to settle for a one-year, $23 million deal with the Giants with a player option and get back on the free-agent market the following offseason.*

*I have never been more certain about a team/player pairing in my life. If I’m right, you all have to Venmo me a dollar.

López, though? He’s rolling. He moved to the bullpen full-time last season with great success. This season, his strikeout rate is showing the boost that most bullpen converts hope for, and he’s been brilliant in his limited time with the Angels, striking out 19 of the 49 batters he’s faced.

Stock down: Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH

I sat here, staring at the prompt, feeling sad for myself, sad for baseball, sad for Ohtani and sad for you. Not getting to watch Ohtani pitch after getting so danged used to it is like being told to sit in coach after years of first class. Not that I’ve ever sat in first class, but I assume they have oysters. Sky oysters harvested from the clouds. And it’s awesome.

Except, now that you’re in coach, let’s look at the bigger picture: The plane is still going somewhere awesome. You’re going to get off the plane and be somewhere with monuments or beaches or unimaginable cuisine. You’re going to see museums or natural beauty beyond compare. And, after a while, you’re going to get back on that plane and go somewhere even cooler. This time, you’ll be back in first class.

His stock is down, but he should still pick up the check if you ever go out to dinner. And his new (or old) team should be happy to have him. — GB

Record: 61-70
Last Power Ranking: 19

Stock up: Josh Hader, LHP

Josh Hader (Duane Burleson / Getty Images)

There are a lot of candidates here for the Padres because so many of their pending free agents are doing well. That must be a good thing for the organization. If all of them are balling out, why, I’ll bet they’re 10 games up in the NL West!

Turns out the opposite is true, and the Padres are facing an offseason in which several of their productive players are free agents, which isn’t a great sign for a team that couldn’t get over .500 with their contributions. Hader hasn’t allowed an earned run since May 31. Since then, 24 games, 22 innings, 39 strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA. Opponents are batting .132 against him with a .145 slugging percentage.

He’s going to get a contract that makes you spit out your coffee. It might be worth it, too.

Stock down: Ji-Man Choi, 1B/DH

Still looking for his first hit as a Padre. He’s on the IL now, though, so there’s no guarantee he’ll get it. He isn’t likely to break Don Slaught’s Padres record for most hitless at-bats from a position player, but the fact that we’re talking about this doesn’t bode well for him as a free agent. — GB

Record: 62-68
Last Power Ranking: 20

Stock up: Keynan Middleton, RHP

After bouncing from Anaheim to Seattle to Phoenix to Chicago’s South Side to the Bronx over the past four seasons, Middleton has positioned himself as a coveted reliever in the free-agent market this fall. He has a 3.17 ERA in 48 1/3 innings, with only one run allowed over 12 innings since being traded from the White Sox to the Yankees. If you like changeups, Middleton’s is a beauty. He throws it almost half the time, and it’s good enough to beat the best.


Honorable mention: Wandy Peralta. The lefty hasn’t replicated his 2022 season, when he had a 2.72 ERA out of the Yankees’ pen, and his current 3.26 ERA carries a screwy 5.26 FIP with it. But a tip of the cap anyway. He’s given the Yankees really sound performance over the past three seasons, and he’ll get a nice bag this winter.

Stock down: Josh Donaldson, 3B; Luis Severino and Frankie Montas, RHPs

You can nitpick some other Yanks free agents. Harrison Bader is the same subpar hitter he was last year. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is the same subpar hitter he’s always been. But these three are disappointing to a much greater degree. Montas won’t throw a pitch this season. Donaldson batted .142 with 32 strikeouts to 15 hits (10 of them homers!) before a calf strain shut him down. Severino has more than doubled his ERA from last season, from 3.18 to 7.26. He’s never even come close to any of these per-nine innings numbers before: 11.9 hits, 2.4 homers, 3.9 walks, 7.6 strikeouts. He went 6 2/3 scoreless in his last outing against the Nats, though he still only punched out two. — SN

Record: 62-69
Last Power Ranking: 21

Stock up: None

The Guardians were active at the trade deadline, moving shortstop Amed Rosario, who will be a free agent this winter. On Sunday, they designated pitcher Noah Syndergaard for assignment. As a result, the only pending free agent on the roster is Kole Calhoun. If you’d like to give Calhoun the title of “Guardian Who Has Improved Their Free Agent Stock the Most,” it would technically be accurate. But we won’t do it.


Guardians designate Noah Syndergaard for assignment

Stock down: Noah Syndergaard, RHP

All things considered, Syndergaard’s short stint in Cleveland could have been worse. He has an ERA just under 5.00, which is significantly better than his performance with the Dodgers. But he was not striking anyone out and his season ERA was still well over 6.00. The question: Who will take a chance on Syndergaard next? — RD

Record: 61-70
Last Power Ranking: 24

Stock up: Carl Edwards Jr., RHP

Because of a shoulder injury that’s shut him down for the season, Edwards’ stock isn’t as high as it was last year, when he had a 2.76 ERA across 62 innings for the Nationals, but it’s still in solid shape. Edwards isn’t exactly the same pitcher who won a World Series with the Cubs in 2016. That guy sat 96 mph, struck out 36 percent of batters and walked 15 percent. This version still has some command issues — oddly, since he’d seemed to have solved the past few years — but his average fastball velocity is down a few ticks and he’s striking out only 17 percent of hitters. He’s a missin’-barrels guy now. It’s working well enough. The “String Bean Slinger” ain’t done yet.

Stock down: Dominic Smith, 1B

It’s slim pickings finding Nats free agents still on their roster, but for the sake of the exercise, I’ll go with Smith. He may not even hit free agency this fall; he has another year of arbitration remaining, but Washington could non-tender him. Smith still gets on base. He plays great defense. But there’s no juice in his bat, and it’s hard to make a living as a walks-and-singles first baseman. His stock was really low coming into this season, so it hasn’t really dropped. Maybe we grade this one as stock … still down. — SN

Record: 59-71
Last Power Ranking: 22

Stock up: Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP

Put aside the deadline episode involving the Dodgers and consider the numbers: Rodriguez entered Sunday with a 3.21 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He’s 30 years old. Lefties come at a premium. Teams may do their full due diligence after Rodriguez opted to stay in Detroit rather than pitch for the Dodgers in a pennant race. But performance trumps all. Rodriguez can enter the market this winter and expect to cash in.

Stock down: Matthew Boyd, LHP

Boyd returned to Detroit on a one-year, $10 million deal in the offseason. It seemed a little steep at the time, even as pitching deals go. Boyd was once a slightly above-average starting pitcher for many years. The Tigers bet that they could extract some of that old magic. It didn’t pay off. Boyd had a 5.45 ERA before undergoing Tommy John surgery. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that perhaps Boyd can get healthy and still be a productive member of a major-league pitching staff. — RD

Record: 60-71
Last Power Ranking: 23

Stock up: None

Brooks Raley’s club option will be exercised. Daniel Vogelbach, whose contract (the Pirates signed him to an incentives-laden one-year deal in 2022 with a club option for 2023) has confused some folks into believing he’s an impending free agent, has another year of arbitration on tap. And that’s that.

Stock down: Carlos Carrasco, RHP

Last year, Carrasco fell 18 innings shy of the 170-innings mark that would have guaranteed his 2023 club option. The Mets picked it up anyway. That has turned out to be a massive L for all involved. Because the Mets are paying a guy $14 million to give them a 6.80 ERA in 20 starts. And Carrasco, 36, has to hit free agency after this mess. If the Mets had cut him loose last fall, after a workman-like 29 starts and 3.97 ERA, he’d have gotten a multi-year deal and a sweet payday to prolong his career into his late 30s. — SN

Record: 58-73
Last Power Ranking: 25

Stock up: Andrew McCutchen, DH

I know what you’re thinking: McCutchen? Really? Really? Yes. He’ll turn 37 in October and has cooled a bit since a hot start in his Pittsburgh reunion. But he still has a .372 OBP and a 109 OPS+, and he’s certainly played well enough to extend his career for another season should he want to keep playing.

Stock down: Vince Velasquez, RHP

Velasquez signed with the Pirates in the offseason, posted a 3.86 ERA in eight starts and then underwent surgery to repair a damaged ulnar collateral ligament. Velasquez had Tommy John surgery earlier in his career; this time, the hybrid “repair” procedure is expected to keep him out for 12 months. He could pitch again next season. — RD

Record: 56-75
Last Power Ranking: 26

Stock up: Drew VerHagen, RHP

The Cardinals moved most of their pending free agents at the deadline, but VerHagen, a 32-year-old reliever, has posted his best MLB season, putting up a league-average ERA in 49 1/3 innings.

Stock down: Adam Wainwright, RHP

This comes with an asterisk, of course, because Wainwright never planned to reach free agency. He announced before the year that this would be his last season. Still, it’s been a disastrous and frustrating year, confirming that Wainwright would have no market this winter. — RD

Record: 52-79
Last Power Ranking: 27

Stock up: Mike Clevinger, RHP

His peripheral numbers are not outstanding, and he’s spent time on the injured list, but every team needs starting pitching, and after putting up an ERA in the mid 3.00s, Clevinger should have interest this winter.

Stock down: Tim Anderson, SS

Don’t reference Tom Hamilton’s call. Don’t reference Tom Hamilton’s call. Don’t reference Tom Hamilton’s call. … OK. Phewww. That was a close one. Anderson is in a different position than many players on this list. The White Sox possess a $14 million club option for 2024. They could choose to bring him back. But with a new front office in charge, it’s possible Anderson could be entering the market this winter. — RD

Record: 49-81
Last Power Ranking: 28

Stock up: Charlie Blackmon, OF

After an entire career spent in Coors Field, he must be curious to see what it’s like to play in another ballpark. How he’ll hit on the road without the depressive Coors effect … what it’s like to play for a perennial contender … the different birds that will nest in his beard if he plays in another part of the country … it seems like that kind of freedom would be exciting for a lifelong Rockie.

Well, good news, Charlie. Your stock is up! Blackmon has his OPS over .800 for the first time since 2020, and if he’d like to join a contender as a 3.5th outfielder, they’d love to have him.

On the other hand, Denver is nice. The birds in your beard are worth more than a bird in the beard bush, as the famous saying goes. He’ll have a decision to make.

Stock down: Jurickson Profar, OF

In the same year that the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby transfixed the nation, Profar made his major-league debut, which is why it’s odd that he’s only 30 years old. Seems mathematically impossible. Profar is the same age as Masataka Yoshida, who is just starting his major-league career and feels like a fresh face.

Profar is technically a free agent right now, as the Rockies just released him. After a 110 OPS+ and solid contributions with his outfield glove for the Padres last season, he regressed in every possible way this year. There’s still a good player in there, and at 30, he’s young enough to get that back. But as a bullet point on a resume, “Not good enough for the 2023 Rockies” doesn’t seem like something that will help your chances. — GB

Record: 41-91
Last Power Ranking: 29

Stock up: None

Well, this is awkward. But there’s a reason the Royals are one of the worst teams in baseball. They moved their valuable rentals at the deadline. Most of their roster is years away from free agency. They could be active again in shopping players this winter. But it’s hard to say anyone on the roster has improved their stock.

Stock down: Brad Keller, RHP

Keller showed so much promise in his first three seasons before struggling in 2021 and 2022. He had one final chance to boost his value before hitting free agency at the still-young age of 28. It’s gone all wrong. He’s been hurt. He has a 5.71 FIP. He’s young enough that some team will take a chance on him and hope to rebuild his value. But if he had designs on a walk year that would lead to a lucrative, multi-year contract … that will have to wait. — RD

Record: 38-93
Last Power Ranking: 30

Stock up: Trevor May, RHP

You might not believe it, but the A’s don’t have a lot of outstanding free-agents-to-be. May has 14 saves and an ERA that isn’t awful. He’ll get a major-league contract.

He’s also walked 26 batters in 36 innings. He probably won’t get a multi-year contract.

This is the most appealing free agent from the Oakland Athletics in 2023.

Stock down: John Fisher, team owner

He’s not a free-agent baseball player, so we’re talking about his stock as a person. His ability to look in the mirror and say, “I make the lives of people around me better. I am a net positive to this world, and I’m making the best use of my limited time here. I’m not simply chasing after shiny totems and pyrrhic financial trophies to caulk and patch the gaping holes in my soul. I’m a part of the greater good.”

His stock is down in that regard. He still has some time to fix it, but it’s running out. — GB

(Top photo of Jonathan Hernández: David Berding / Getty Images)

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