Every MLB season, there are always some free agents that fly under the radar and go on to do great things for their new franchise. Fans definitely have some players in mind they would love to see their team sign, considering all the big names on the market like Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Robbie Ray.
The big names will be the attention grabbers, and rightfully so, but here we will highlight some of the guys that don’t get as much attention but can definitely impact any squad heading into the 2022 season.
Matt Duffy, Chicago Cubs, 3B
Duffy is a prime example of a swiss army knife. The 30-year-old third baseman put up relatively solid numbers this season. In over 97 games, he batted .287 with a .738 OPS and 100 OPS+.
What makes him intriguing as a free agent is his versatility. The third baseman can pretty much be plugged anywhere on the field other than catcher and shows plus defensive skills at all positions. What team doesn’t need a guy like this, with injuries and the effect a 162 game schedule can have on players, having a guy like Duffy that is productive with the bat and can play anywhere is super invaluable.
On top of that, Duffy brings a winning pedigree to any team that signs him considering his stint in San Fransisco with the 2014 world champion Giants squad.
Comparables: Ben Zobrist, Jed Lowrie, Cavan Biggio
Possible suitor: Blue Jays, Mets, Marlins, Athletics
Daniel Norris, Milwaukee Brewers, RP
The once highly touted prospect has just been unable to put together a solid MLB season. Daniel Norris, who is famously known for his time living out of a van when pitching for the Blue Jays, is a high ceiling free agent any team could take a crack at.
Last season was not great for the 6’2 left-hander as he split time between Detroit and Milwaukee’s bullpens, pitching to a 6.16 ERA in 57 innings pitched. But he did show a knack for putting hitters down on strikes, punching out 58 batters.
Norris can provide a team with well-needed bullpen depth well also have the ability to start if needed. Considering the likely small price tag that would come along with signing him, it would be a no-brainer to bring him in and see if he can put it all together for an entire season.
Comparables: David Phelps, Brad Wieck
Possible suitor: Brewers, Reds
Micheal Conforto, New York Mets, OF
Conforto, who is just South of 30 years old, is a prime candidate for a bounceback season. Teams can never be too rich when it comes to having outfielder depth. Although the 6’1 outfielder posted his lowest career OPS (.729) and wRC+ (106) since his rookie year, he is still a viable option for any team.
Last season he competed in 125 games and compiled 14 home runs, 55 RBI, and a 2.32 average. If you look at past seasons, Conforto put up substantial power numbers from 2017-19, averaging 29 home runs and 75 RBI’s through those seasons, not to mention a 2017 All-Star nod.
Conforto can be a high upside value pickup that could pop off for any Major League squad considering his past success and age.
Comparables: Clint Frazier, Hunter Dozier, Randal Grichuk
Possible suitor: Athletics, Mets, Orioles, Nationals