David Price is probably going to get more money than any other free-agent pitcher, and Jason Heyward may well get the biggest deal among position players. But some teams will bypass the most expensive stars and focus on the best value signings, those players who have a chance to provide solid production without busting the budget.
Here are 12 players who could make a difference for relatively little cost.
1. Chris Young, starting pitcher: Every year, the right-hander seems to linger on the market unsigned until late in the winter, when some team looking for staff depth works out a deal. The past two seasons, Young has more than lived up to his end of the bargain: For a grand total of $2 million over 2014-2015, Young generated total of 288 1/3 innings and a 3.29 ERA in the regular season for the Seattle Mariners (2014) and the Kansas City Royals (2015). This postseason, Young surrendered five earned runs in 15 2/3 innings, winning Game 1 of the World Series after three scoreless innings. Royals manager Ned Yost raved about Young's work ethic, preparation and mental toughness.
So maybe this will be the winter when the 36-year-old Young doesn't have to wait until well after New Year's Day to sign; somebody will grab him early, knowing that Young will never overpower hitters, but he has a good chance of being effective twice through a lineup.
Young might be a great investment for a big-market team such as the Dodgers, who need to fill out the end of their rotation and could arrange their pitching staff so that Young, the unusual 6-foot-10 right-hander, could face teams the day after hard-throwing left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who typically gives the bullpen a night off.