Max Scherzer (left) and Jon Lester are among the best available players on the free-agent market for the 2015 season. Scherzer was among the 12 players who were offered $15.3M qualifying offers by their respective teams, but all 12 rejected the deals. Lester was a free agent no matter what because of his midseason trade. Here are the top remaining free agents in this offseason's Hot Stove League — listed in no particular order.
Getty ImagesPhoto by Mark Cunningham/MLB Pho
Max Scherzer — SP
Scherzer followed his 2013 AL Cy Young campaign with an 18-5 record and a 3.15 ERA in 2014. The right-hander, who is 70-24 the last four years with Detroit, will turn 31 in July. Qualifying offer from Tigers: REJECTED.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsRick Osentoski
Jon Lester — SP
Lester was ineligible for a qualifying offer because he was dealt at the trade deadline from the Red Sox to the A's. Lester, who will be 31 in January, went 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts for Oakland after the trade — the lefty was a combined 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA in 2014. Rumors have him reuniting with former Boston GM Theo Epstein to become the ace of the Chicago Cubs. Qualifying offer: Ineligible.
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY SportsEd Szczepanski
James Shields — SP
'Big Game' James played a key role in the Royals' turnaround from mediocrity, but the small-market team might not be able to keep him. The veteran right-hander, who turns 33 in December, went 27-17 with a 3.18 ERA his last two seasons with KC. Qualifying offer from Royals: REJECTED.
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY SportsPeter Aiken
Melky Cabrera — OF
Cabrera hit .301 with 16 homers, 35 doubles and 73 RBI in 139 games for the Blue Jays last season. Cabrera, who turned 30 in August, debuted with the Yankees as a 20-yeard-old in 2005 and has played for the Braves, Royals and Giants. Qualifying offer from Blue Jays: REJECTED
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Michael Morse — OF/1B
The right-handed hitting Morse is coming off a .279 season with 16 homers and 61 RBI in 131 games. He hit .250 with one extra-base hit and four RBI in the Giants' World Series victory vs. the Royals. Hunter, who turns 33 in March, has played for the Giants, Orioles, Nationals and Mariners during his 10-year career. No qualifying offer.
APDavid J. Phillip
Braves right-hander Ervin Santana (above) would be a solid addition to any team's rotation. OTHER NOTEWORTHY PLAYERS ON THE MARKET: A's IF Jed Lowrie, Blue Jays OF Colby Rasmus, Cardinals SP Justin Masterson, Giants SP Ryan Vogelsong, Natonals IF Asdrubal Cabrera, Padres 3B Chase Headley, Rangers OF Alex Rios, Yankees SPs Brandon McCarthy and Hiroki Kuroda and Yankees SS Stephen Drew.