Let's find the best fits for top remaining MLB free agents

by Daryn Albert - Missed out on Judge, Turner and Verlander? Here are the players who could soon be headed to your favorite team.

Finding the best fits for top remaining MLB free agents Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports 7:00 AM ET Kiley McDanielESPN MLB Insider Close ESPN MLB Insider Kiley McDaniel covers MLB prospects, the MLB Draft and more, including trades and free agency. Has worked for four MLB teams. There has already been a lot of action in what will likely end up as the biggest MLB free agent extravaganza of all time , but there are still plenty of solid players left on the market. After the most recent New York Mets -driven spending explosion and the flurry of activity Monday , it's a good time to take a step back and look at the best fits for some of the biggest names still available. Fit is a little hard to define. Obviously any given team needs to have an opening that the player fits, but stadium, city, team balance, vibes and more can serve as a tiebreak amongst multiple teams with a hole. And when we're talking about elite, highly paid players, I'll lean towards playoff teams that value the player's performance the most in the short-term, along with higher payroll teams that would conceivably be willing to pay them. With that said, let's get started. 1. Carlos Correa: San Francisco Giants These remain hard to call as there are still a half-dozen teams chasing the two remaining shortstops, all with their own solid case for being a good fit. After this pair signs, the shortstop free agent market drops off to utility types, which will lead to some scrambling in the trade market along with teams hitting free agency plans D through Z. The Baltimore Orioles are a sneaky good fit, but I don't think that's realistic for this winter. I think they may ramp up like the Atlanta Braves have done and prioritize homegrown players, trades, and extensions -- not spending lots of money on free agents until it's necessary. Then we have three non-playoff clubs with some money to spend, looking to take that step up into contention: the Minnesota Twins , San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs . Correa was in Minnesota this past season, so if he were to go elsewhere, the Twins would need to add a capable shortstop. They could slide Jorge Polanco to second base and not have to rely on Royce Lewis as the only answer at shortstop. Their payroll right now is almost $50 million below last season, so there's plenty of room, but I just don't think they're going to spend $300 million-plus as a total package to bring Correa back. San Francisco has already been runner-up for a few notable free agents this offseason (Aaron Judge , Kodai Senga among them) and also has plenty of money to spend. The Giants seem more open to go to $300-plus million -- they reportedly offered a deal like that to Judge. Realistically, this makes the most sense for Correa. Editor's Picks 2 Related The Cubs can slide Nico Hoerner to second base and Nick Madrigal to utility, so shortstop is an easy place to make an upgrade. They've been aggressive in adding Jameson Taillon and Cody Bellinger thus far and no doubt have the revenue to make a big commitment. Lastly, we have three playoff clubs with various levels of need at the shortstop position: the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers , and St. Louis Cardinals . With longtime shortstop Swanson a free agent and no good internal options, the Braves need a quality defensive shortstop; they've always made the most sense as a landing spot for Swanson. This would push them into the competitive balance tax (CBT) for the first time, though any new shortstop would technically do that. Atlanta didn't seem eager to pay a retail rate on the free agent market to keep Freddie Freeman last winter, and it hasn't been that aggressive in trying to lock up Swanson so far this winter. Nine figure extensions for Matt Olson and Austin Riley do show the willingness is there. The Dodgers lost Trea Turner to the Philadelphia Phillies and, as usual, have a wealth of young and versatile position players. Gavin Lux and Jacob Amaya aren't inspiring options at a key position for arguably the best team in baseball and the Dodgers are nearly $100 million below last year's payroll right now. Swanson joining Freeman would check a lot of boxes in the aforementioned tiebreakers, while tension still exists from the sign-stealing of Correa's former Houston Astros club in a World Series against the Dodgers. The Cards got a shockingly good defensive showing out of Tommy Edman at shortstop in his first extended taste of the position in the big leagues this past season. Top 100 prospect Masyn Winn is about a year away from taking that spot while vet Paul DeJong is also present. It's not a perfect fit, but you can't rule Swanson out here. In terms of fits, Correa's finalists would be the Twins, Cubs, and Giants. It's hard to imagine Correa opting out then signing a version of the same deal with the same team, then maybe opting out again. Minnesota paying $300 million-plus just doesn't feel like how the Twins operate, so they're out. Cubs and Giants fans both deserve a bold move with a franchise player and both have placeholder types at shortstop at the moment, but the Giants' rivalry with the Dodgers and competition with the resurgent San Diego Padres gives San Francisco an edge in landing Correa on the basis of best fit. Swanson's finalists would be the Cubs, Braves, and Dodgers. There are three pretty strong storylines here tying him to each of these teams: 1) Cubs GM Carter Hawkins went to Vanderbilt and played baseball there a half dozen years before Swanson arrived, 2) Swanson is a native Georgian and local legend after winning a World Series with the Braves, and 3) Swanson's former teammate Freeman went to L.A., while fellow Georgian and Braves legend Jason Heyward just signed with the Dodgers. That being said, the Cubs and Dodgers both have decent internal options while the Braves have none, so Swanson fits best at home. I'll mention once more that the Orioles are a sneaky good fit at the top of the market, even if it may be a year or two early for them to sign this kind of player. They may have a lineup and rotation filled with young, lower-end starters that could grow into more, but tossing a star or two on top of that could make them competitive immediately. Elsewhere in the American League East, the Yankees are the team tied most closely to Rodon. He would give the Bombers one more frontline-type arm so that they can feel confident their rotation won't be a weakness in a playoff series. The Yankees are currently in the second of four tiers of the CBT and Rodon would pull them into the third -- and within spitting distance of the fourth. I would guess that's one big reason why this hasn't happened yet. Highlights from MLB free agency Money has been flowing this offseason, with some of baseball's biggest names cashing in. Takeaways from the winter meetings » Inside the WM's $1.6 billion spending spree » Judge is back! How do Yankees get better this winter? » Grading Mets' offseason spending » The Boston Red Sox could use one more difference-maker-type rotation arm to be able to cross "starters" off their shopping list. That said, it's not a glaring hole and bringing back Nate Eovaldi or getting Ross Stripling (more on that below) would fit. A different option would be to gamble a bit more and drop down another tier to the Noah Syndergaard , Michael Lorenzen and Corey Kluber area. Minnesota, San Francisco, and St. Louis also fit into this bucket. On the more aggressive end of things, the Texas Rangers are still about $30 million from the first tier of the CBT and could stand to upgrade the back of their rotation (Andrew Heaney , Jake Odorizzi ). Finally, the Dodgers have the aforementioned GDP of a small nation to spend. From their 2022 rotation, they have lost Walker Buehler to injury and Tyler Anderson and Heaney to free agency. The Dodgers are flush with young arms to fill those holes but could also use a stabilizing force. I'll eliminate the Dodgers as their rotation is fronted by two lefties and I think they want to let the youngsters pitch in 2022, or at least dedicate less of their free cash to long commitments. That leaves the Yankees and Rangers. Rodon would be the capper on a big free agency for the Yankees. He would put their payroll where it probably belongs and give them starter depth for the playoffs and a second lefty to go with Nestor Cortes . For Texas, it would just be another buzzy signing and it isn't clear when that team would make the playoffs. Advantage: New York. 4. Andrew Benintendi : Texas Rangers The Rangers have mostly addressed their pressing pitching needs by signing Jacob deGrom , Martin Perez , Heaney and Odorizzi. Their outfield needs addressing now. They could do it by trading one of their young infielders that doesn't have a path to playing this year (Ezequiel Duran , Josh Smith , with another wave behind them), but I think they'll still need to add to their position player talent base. As a 28-year-old, Benintendi also offers some upside on a multi-year deal if Texas can tap into what drove his best seasons. 5. Ross Stripling: Boston Red Sox Stripling doesn't come with a qualifying offer attached and looks like a reliable innings-eater without a huge AAV or long-term commitment, so I could see him being a target for playoff teams to get some length, or the up-and-comers needing stable innings around some youngsters. With the unknown bulk of innings that will be produced by James Paxton , Chris Sale and Garrett Whitlock , I think Stripling makes the most sense in Boston. Ranking the top 50 MLB free agents Kiley McDaniel breaks down this year's free agent class. Top 50 2022-23 free agents » If they don't land Correa, there's a case here for the Giants to leave Brandon Crawford at shortstop and add a multi-role infielder like Drury. The Detroit Tigers have Ryan Kreidler and Jonathan Schoop slated for prominent roles, but a lefty complement would work better as cover for those spots. The White Sox don't seem to have a ton of money to spend but could use a righty platoon bat for Oscar Colas and Gavin Sheets that could also compete at second base with Romy Gonzalez . A right-handed utility type like Drury fits that role well. 7. Nathan Eovaldi : Los Angeles Dodgers The Dodgers could use some veteran arms and I think Eovaldi's multi-role potential with some power to his approach fits best, as opposed to a more reliable, feel-based pitcher in Stripling. You could see Eovaldi starting a Game 3 or 4 in the playoffs or being a multi-inning fireman depending on how the young arms come along in L.A. in 2023. In the DH/OF roles, Seattle shipped out Jesse Winker and Kyle Lewis , bringing back Teoscar Hernandez via trade this winter, in addition to letting Carlos Santana leave in free agency. This lets Jarred Kelenic have a shot at a regular spot in the lineup in 2023 but still leaves one more potential spot in the lineup for Tom Murphy or Taylor Trammell , among others, with part-time and platoon opportunities. Hometown fit Conforto is looking for a one-year deal to prove he's healthy and hit the market again next winter for a multi-year deal. I think that fits the Mariners' needs much better than the early rumors that they were chasing one of the four elite shortstops at the top of the market. 9. Gary Sanchez : San Francisco Giants There are a couple spots that make sense for Sanchez as the top catcher on the market in the wake of yesterday's Sean Murphy trade and Christian Vazquez signing. Keep up with the MLB offseason Need to know what to make of the moves that shape the offseason? We've got you covered. The Rays don't have a starting option available, just three backup/platoon options floating around in Francisco Mejia , Rene Pinto and Christian Bethancourt . Other leading spots include the Cleveland Guardians (Top 100 prospect Bo Naylor is green, so a veteran righty complement fits well), San Diego (Austin Nola will soon be 33 and had a down year), and San Francisco (Joey Bart has also been just OK). Regardless of whether San Francisco adds Correa, their lineup needs more thump and there aren't tons of options left on the market. Sanchez gives them a solid backup to Bart that's capable behind the plate and comes without a big commitment, giving them a right-handed compliment to Joc Pederson and LaMonte Wade Jr . at DH, while the rest of the position player options (Austin Slater primarily) can play left field while Sanchez DH's. Rule 5 pick Blake Sabol fits better as a third catcher and lefty bench/platoon bat, so grabbing a right-handed, offense-first catcher with power helps put everyone in a more ideal role on the team. I could see the Astros replacing Aledmys Diaz (who recently signed with Oakland) with Segura as their utility guy. I could also see Boston upgrading in the short term from Christian Arroyo , Jeter Downs , and prospect Nick Yorke with Segura. As mentioned above, a lefty hitter fits better, but Detroit could stand to upgrade its infield as well. But, I think Segura makes the most sense with the Angels. They currently have Gio Urshela , David Fletcher , and Luis Rengifo as their potential middle infielders with a pretty mediocre and oft-injured Anthony Rendon at third base. Segura provides steady and affordable cover for each spot and there's probably a decent infield to be found from that group with Segura in the fold.