The games on the field may have come to an end, but it’s time for arguably the most exciting time in the baseball calendar.
Beginning Saturday at 12:01 a.m. ET, MLB free agents are eligible to sign with new clubs.
The free agent class may not be as strong as in past years, but the group is headed by one of the top sluggers in all of baseball and there are plenty of serviceable arms available that can be added to any major league rotation.
As we head into the free agency period, here’s a list of the Top 20 names to keep an eye on throughout the winter:
1. Josh Hamilton, Outfielder
Injury concerns may leave teams hesitant to overpay for the high-risk slugger but Hamilton provides a surefire middle-of-the-order bat that rarely hits the open market.
2. Zack Greinke, Starter
Cream of the crop. Top arm on the market will command a huge ransom. Angels dumping Haren and Santana to create room for huge Greinke bid.
3. Anibal Sanchez, Starter
A true innings-eater, Sanchez proved he can pitch in both leagues and will command a high salary after an impressive late run in Detroit where he posted a 1.77 ERA with 18 strikeouts and just six walks in 20.1 innings during the playoffs.
4. Michael Bourn, Outfielder
The speedy outfielder, a Scott Boras client, is said to be looking for a $100 million contract after his best statistical season (.274, 9 home runs, 57 RBI, and 42 steals) in the bigs.
5. Alex Anthopoulos, Blue Jays general manager
He has been talking a big game after proclaiming he’s willing to overpay for the right players to fill holes on the roster.
6. Marco Scutaro, Infielder
Scutaro reportedly hopes to return to San Francisco but the NLCS MVP has increasing value on the open market with a lacklustre group of infielders available. Will the Blue Jays look to replace free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson with their former shortstop?
7. Mariano Rivera, Closer
The legendary closer is still weighing whether he will retire or return to the Yankees.
8. B.J. Upton, Outfielder
Versatile outfielder offers blend of power and speed. One of the better defenders available is said to be looking for a long-term deal.
9. Ben Cherington, Red Sox general manager
Red Sox GM is looking to make his mark on the roster and has money to burn after shipping Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers last summer.
10. Scott Boras, Agent
The most feared agent in the business tends to control the free agent market. This winter his client list includes free agents such as Bourn, Kyle Lohse, Rafael Soriano and Stephen Drew.
11. Ryan Dempster, Starter
He put up stellar numbers with the Cubs (2.25 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) before fading down the stretch after a mid-season trade to Texas (5.09 ERA, 1.43 WHIP). The Canadian hurler pitched over 200 innings in each season from 2008-11.
12. Ichiro Suzuki, Outfielder
Will an aging Yankees roster look to get younger or do they want to bring back the declining future Hall of Fame outfielder? He says he wants to return to the Bronx, but he could fit in with the Rays on a short-term deal.
13. Stan Kasten, Dodgers President
Will the Dodgers new regime spend big on the open market in their first off-season after taking on a ton of salary in their summer blockbuster trade with the Red Sox?
14. Carlos Villanueva, Starter
Will teams count on Villaneuva as a starting pitcher after a strong showing in Toronto last season? Concerns about durability and may be better served in the bullpen.
15. Melky Cabrera, Outfielder
Coming off 50-game suspension earlier this season for testing positive for PEDs, someone will take a flier on him thanks to his buy-low status.
16. Justin Morneau, First baseman
The Canadian slugger could be an attractive player to teams unable to land another big bat on the market. The Twins are in sell mode but Morneau’s no-trade clause could complicate any move.
17. Andrew Friedman, Rays general manager
The crafty Rays GM has an abundance of pitching assets and he could be looking to move one of David Price or James Shields before their salaries take a big jump. He won’t overpay for free agents.
18. Cliff Lee, Phillies starter
The Phillies have several players in decline and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. could sell off Lee as the team looks to get younger. The team could use some payroll flexibility after signing Cole Hamels to an $144 million extension.
19. Shane Victorino, Outfielder
After a down season in 2012 (.255 average, 11 home runs, and 39 steals), how much value does the veteran Victorino still have on the open market?
20. Dayton Moore, Royals general manager
The Royals have already made one big move by trading for Ervin Santana on Oct. 31. They’re looking to add veteran players and they have young assets they can move (Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Will Myers, etc.)