With the Mets bringing back Yoenis Cespedes, most of baseball's big-name free agents are off the board.
That doesn't mean the cupboard is bare, however. There are many players left who could help plenty of teams.
Still, finding a spot at this point in the game of musical chairs is a challenge. Many clubs have filled their vacancies and/or reached their budgetary limits.
Pitchers and catchers are now less than a month from reporting, which means time is running out for the stragglers to sign before their unemployment lags into Spring Training. With that in mind, let's spend other people's money and see if we can find a home for 10 of the top players remaining on the market.
OF, Dexter Fowler: White Sox
It's a little puzzling to see Fowler in this position, as he has been a highly dependable player, with five consecutive seasons of above-average offense (110 OPS+) and between 1.8 and 2.8 wins above replacement (WAR), according to Baseball-Reference.com. But Fowler, a switch-hitter who turns 30 in March, has been caught up in a robust outfield market, and his ties to a first-round Draft pick. Some also might have questions about his defense in center going forward.
Though several clubs could use him, the most sensible thing might be for Fowler to head from the North Side of Chicago to the South Side. The White Sox have a protected first-rounder, and Fowler (.363 career OBP) would help an offense that ranked second-to-last in the American League in that category last year. Fowler could take time from Avisail Garcia and/or Melky Cabrera, both of whom struggled in 2015, and give the Sox the option to shift Adam Eaton to a corner.
2B, Howie Kendrick: D-backs
Similar to Fowler, Kendrick has been a model of consistency but hasn't found much love this offseason, due in part to his rejection of the Dodgers' qualifying offer. Kendrick has been an above-average hitter for five straight years (114 OPS+), though his defense took a hit last year per advanced metrics.
The D-backs have been connected most heavily to Kendrick, and it makes sense. Arizona has pushed itself toward contention this year, but its second basemen (primarily Chris Owings) rank last the Majors in projected WAR for 2016, according to FanGraphs.com's Steamer system.
SS, Ian Desmond: White Sox
His numbers fell off a cliff last season, as his OPS+ dropped from 103 to 80 and his WAR from 3.9 to 2.0, though he did rebound in the second half. Desmond's ties to a Draft pick also complicate matters, especially since few clubs out there have a burning need for a shortstop.
Once again, the White Sox appear to be the best fit, and not just because of their protected pick. Unless prospect Tim Anderson comes on quickly, Chicago's shortstop looks to be Tyler Saladino, who hit .225/.267/.335 in a 68-game debut last season.
RHP, Yovani Gallardo: Orioles
The top starter available and the last connected to Draft-pick compensation, Gallardo has maintained his results in recent years despite tumbling strikeout numbers. He has made at least 30 starts in seven straight seasons and overcame a 1.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio to post a 3.42 ERA for the Rangers in 2015.
Gallardo's agent recently told MLB.com that the Rockies, Orioles and Astros are bidding on the soon-to-be 30-year-old. As a potential contender with a thin pitching staff, the Orioles should take the plunge, even if Gallardo isn't a perfect fit. Yes, they would lose their No. 14 overall pick, but they also already gained a compensation pick for losing Wei-Yin Chen to the Marlins. Gallardo would be the best bet to replace Chen's 191 1/3 solid innings, a need Baltimore has not addressed.
RHP, Doug Fister: Marlins
A year ago, he would have been a much hotter commodity. But in 2015, Fister's ERA shot up from 2.41 to 4.19 as he lost his spot in Washington's rotation. Heading into his age-32 season, he now needs to rebuild his value.
Even after signing Chen, the Marlins could use more rotation options, especially with Jose Fernandez in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. Miami has a pitcher's park and a defense that ranked third in the Majors in defensive runs saved last season. Seems like a good fit.
RHP, Mat Latos: Pirates
From 2010-14, Latos made 143 starts and ranked 22nd among qualified starters in ERA, 23rd in FIP and 15th in FanGraphs' WAR. Although things fell apart for Latos in 2015, he turned just 28 in December and offers some significant upside.
A rebuilding team, such as the Brewers, could take a low-risk chance on Latos, then use him as trade bait if he pitches well. However, the Pirates might be the most intriguing possibility for a one-year deal. The Bucs have had recent success with reclamation projects, and catcher Francisco Cervelli ranked as a top pitch-framer in 2015. While Pittsburgh doesn't have a clear rotation spot open -- and a couple of top prospects are on the way -- Latos would provide another alternative behind Jeff Locke and Ryan Vogelsong.
OF, Austin Jackson: Indians
His stock has slipped over the past couple of years, but Jackson still can play a capable center field. That helped him produce 2.3 WAR in 2015, per FanGraphs, and this will be only his age-29 season.
The Indians already signed a veteran right-handed-hitting outfielder in Rajai Davis. That might make them out on Jackson, but it shouldn't. Star left fielder Michael Brantley is likely to miss April -- and possibly longer -- with a right shoulder injury, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall just shifted over from third base last summer, and center fielder Abraham Almonte owns a .675 OPS in parts of three seasons. Even with Davis in the fold, Jackson would help the Tribe in what should be a tight AL Central race.
3B, David Freese: Astros
He's not a high-ceiling option, and he turns 33 in April, but Freese can offer a solid bat and glove at the hot corner. Over the past two seasons with the Angels, the right-handed hitter posted a 106 OPS+, and he owns a career .826 OPS against lefties.
Unfortunately for Freese, the few teams with the clearest openings at third went in different directions. In that context, the Astros might be a relatively sensible fit on a one-year deal, as Freese could platoon with left-handed-hitting Luis Valbuena, who hit .158 with a .581 OPS against southpaws last year. Meanwhile, if the unproven Jon Singleton falters, the Astros could put Freese at third and shift Valbuena across the diamond until top prospect A.J. Reed is ready.
DH, Pedro Alvarez: Angels
The shift from third to first went awry for Alvarez last year, leaving him without a clear position. Still, his average of 28 homers over the past four seasons makes him intriguing.
Considering his defensive issues and platoon splits (career .601 OPS vs. LHP), Alvarez fits best as a part-time DH and emergency first and third baseman for an AL club. No perfect match remains, but what about the Angels? Albert Pujols is coming back from foot surgery, and fellow right-handed batter C.J. Cron has yet to really establish himself at the big league level. Alvarez could provide a jolt for the Halos' offense, especially if Pujols has to miss significant time.
RHP, Tim Lincecum: Padres
Now 31, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner owns a 4.68 ERA over the past four seasons, but he still carries a big name. Coming off hip surgery, Lincecum will hope to impress teams during a showcase next month.
Jon Heyman mentioned the Marlins and Padres as two of the interested teams. Like with Fister, Miami would make sense. But San Diego might be the best landing spot for Lincecum, a West Coast guy, as the club has little rotation experience beyond its top three. Petco Park is as good a place as any to stage a comeback, and the Padres also could offer an opportunity in the bullpen if a starting gig doesn't pan out.
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