Tony Paul’s top 50 MLB free agents

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Go through the gallery to see Tony Paul’s top 50 major-league free agents. (Go here if you have trouble viewing the gallery.)

Major League Baseball free agency officially kicks off at 9 a.m. Monday.

For the Tigers, though, it might as well not kick off until sometime in February. As general manager Al Avila noted last month, this isn’t going to be a typical Tigers’ offseason, where they spend big and freely. They actually might not sign a single major-league free agent, as the team dives into its deepest rebuild in years. If they sign any, it’ll likely be a bargain-basement pitcher or two, but likely nobody in The Detroit News’ top 50.

To put it in perspective, the Tigers for so long under Mike Ilitch used to shop at Nordstrom; this year, they’re more likely to browse racks at Goodwill.

“Well,” said Avila, “free agency is gonna be a little different this year than we’re accustomed to.”

For Tigers fans, that’s unfortunate, as this is a relatively deep free-agent class, even if it was weakened over the last week when outfielder Justin Upton decided to sign a new deal with the Angels — the team that acquired him from the Tigers — and starter Masahiro Tanaka decided against opting out of the final four years of his contract with the Yankees.

There are big-time sluggers (J.D. Martinez, anyone?), aces (Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta), and an honest-to-goodness, two-way player (Shohei Otani), and a whole lot of quality consolation prizes for clubs that can’t quite reel in the biggest of fish.

Let the shopping begin.