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Ranking the best MLB free agents still available


Ranking the best MLB free agents still available

With the 2016 season now just six weeks away, the MLB offseason should in theory start truly heating up. The market has moved slowly in terms of position players with several big stars still out there.

Now that spring training is just over the horizon, here is a look at the best MLB free agents still looking for contracts:


1. Justin Upton, LF - It has been over two weeks since Jason Heyward - the top position player free agent - signed with the Cubs. That made Upton the biggest name out there. He's 28 and is coming off an All-Star season. One has to imagine he signs soon.

2. Yoenis Cespedes, LF/CF - The Mets have already given up hope of signing Cespedes and reports now have the White Sox and Orioles as the most likely landing spots. Wherever he goes, he's expected to make well north of $100 million.

3. Alex Gordon, LF - Like Cespedes, Gordon appears very unlikely to return to his former team, the Kansas City Royals. Gordon is older than Upton and Cespedes - he turns 32 in February - but he's coming off his third straight All-Star season and has one of the best gloves in the business.

4. Chris Davis, 1B - Davis had a sizable offer from the Orioles, but it appears both sides are playing hardball. Davis hit 47 homers last year and could produce a domino effect in the free agent market once he does sign, wherever that is.

5. Dexter Fowler, CF - Fowler has not received much interest this winter given the depth at his position, but he provides solid value with a .363 career OBP. He also hit 17 homers and stole 20 bases in 2015.

6. Wei-Yin Chen, LHP - Chen is a 30-year-old lefty who has improved his ERA in three straight seasons. He was very good with a 3.34 ERA in 191 1/3 innings last season in the AL East.

7. Howie Kendrick, 2B - Daniel Murphy signing with the Nationals should help Kendrick receive more interest in free agency. He's 32, but had another good year at the plate with a .295/.336/.409 slash-line in 2015.

8. Ian Desmond, SS - Desmond has had trouble finding interest as a shortstop, which has raised questions of whether he would switch positions to either second base or the outfield. It will be interesting to see how much money he gets if he is signed to play in a different spot.

9. Yovani Gallardo, RHP - Gallardo turns 30 in February, but has been consistently good with a 3.69 ERA over the last seven seasons. He is also durable with at least 180 innings pitched in each of those years.

10. Denard Span, CF - Span has been working out for interested teams to show he is recovering well from left hip surgery. When healthy, he's one of the best free agents of this class. But he needs to prove that he is fine physically as a guy who relies on speed and defensive range.

11. Gerardo Parra, LF - Parra, 28, is a left-handed bat who hit .291 with 14 homers, 14 steals and 51 RBI in 2015. He's not great, but he would provide value to most teams, depending on the role he would accept.

12. Doug Fister, RHP - Fister is navigating through free agency at a tough time, as he is coming off the worst season of his career. Given he was so good from 2011 through 2014 - he had a 3.11 ERA in 116 games - there's a good chance that this past season was an aberration.

13. Mat Latos, RHP - Like Fister, Latos is banking on teams looking past his 2015 season and hoping he can regain the form he held in previous years. Latos had a 3.27 ERA from 2010 through 2014.

14. Ian Kennedy, RHP - With a 4.25 ERA in the past three seasons, Kennedy may have to wait until closer to spring training to sign, if he plans on letting the market for starting pitchers play out a little more.


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Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series


Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series

Bryce Harper homered, Max Scherzer struck out seven in six innings and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Sunday.

Anthony Rendon also had two hits and drove in two runs for Washington, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and helping the Nationals earn a split of the series after Saturday's game was rained out. Adam Eaton and Juan Soto each had three hits.

Two days after a heated exchange with teammate Stephen Strasburg during Friday's 8-5 loss, Scherzer (13-5) allowed two runs and eight hits in his third straight win. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has pitched six or more innings in his last 19 starts.

Kelvin Herrera got five outs for his first save with Washington.

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 55 minutes by rain, and another downpour stopped play for almost 100 minutes between the sixth and seventh innings.

Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz (7-6) gave up four runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Harper singled in Eaton to give Washington a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Matt Adams added another RBI single in the seventh, and Harper added a solo drive in the eighth for his 24th homer.

Scherzer was staked to an early 3-0 lead and then got some help from his defense.

Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the third with a drive off the wall in center, but he was thrown out by Harper while trying for a double. With a runner on first in the fifth, Freddie Freeman's blast to right was chased down by Eaton on the warning track.

Then in the seventh, Michael A. Taylor made a leaping catch at the wall in center to rob Dansby Swanson of extra bases with one runner on.

Washington got off to a fast start with three runs in the first. Rendon drove in Eaton and Harper with a triple down the right-field line, and then scored on Soto's groundout.

Swanson drove in Atlanta's runs with a groundout in the second and a single in the fourth.


Braves: All-Star 2B Ozzie Albies, who left Friday's game with right hamstring tightness, got the day off.

Nationals: RHP Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) experienced extended soreness after throwing off the mound Friday. An MRI Saturday revealed a stress reaction, comparable to a bone bruise, in the bridge of his foot and he is wearing a walking boot. ... RHP Koda Glover (right shoulder tendinitis) was reinstated from the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.


Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (8-5, 3.51 ERA) pitches the opener of a two-game series in Miami on Monday. He already has beaten the Marlins twice this season, allowing one run in 12 innings.

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.72 ERA) opens a three-game series in Milwaukee on Monday night. He is 2-4 with a 4.93 ERA in nine career starts versus the Brewers.

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Nationals trade Brian Goodwin to Kansas City Royals

Nationals trade Brian Goodwin to Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  -- Outfielder Brian Goodwin has been acquired by the Kansas City Royals from the Washington Nationals for minor league pitcher Jacob Condra-Bogan.

The 27-year-old Goodwin hit .200 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 48 games for the Nationals this season. He bruised his left wrist diving for a ball and did not play from April 15 until May 15, when he had two at-bats. He went back on the disabled list, returned June 1 and is hitting .171 (7 for 41) since.

Condra-Bogan, 23, went 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 16 relief outings with Lexington of the South Atlantic League and one appearance with Wilmington of the Carolina League, also Class A.

The trade was announced Sunday.