4. Andrew McCutchen
The Brewers had certainly hoped for better from Andrew McCutchen in 2022 when they signed him to that $8.5MM contract. He ended up with a .237/.316/.384 slash line with 17 homers and a 99 OPS+. It was the first ever sub-100 OPS+ in McCutchen's career, and he didn't miss by much.
McCutchen struggled against lefties, which was primarily what he was signed to do. Still, he brought some pop, some veteran leadership, and the ability to play the outfield.
Some may groan at the thought of bringing McCutchen back, but the Brewers did say that they would keep the lines of communication open and were open to a potential reunion with McCutchen. Now it should be noted that those comments were made prior to the acquisition of Jesse Winker, who projects to earn most of the playing time at DH.
McCutchen isn't what he once was. Now a year older and going into his age-36 season, a rebound to old form gets less and less likely. But even for the hitter he is now, he provides some value, and a return may not yet be ruled out, although still unlikely.
5. Jimmy Nelson
The Big Sweat is back on the market. Jimmy Nelson had finally broken out as an ace-type starting pitcher in 2017 when a slide back into first base after a single jammed his shoulder, tearing his labrum. It's been a series of setbacks and injuries for Nelson ever since. He missed the 2018, 2020, and 2022 seasons entirely with injury.
Nelson found some success with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2021, he posted a 1.86 ERA in 28 games with the Dodgers prior to suffering another injury. He just hasn't been able to catch a break.
But he did prove that, when healthy, he can still be a valuable pitcher. Nelson is purely a relief arm at this point, no one is going to be putting him into a starting rotation or expecting him to reach ace form ever again, unfortunately.
He's got the stuff and could help a big league team when he's healthy. Hopefully he can stay that way for a full season. Expectations aren't going to be high for Nelson, but maybe it would be nice to get him back to the organization that drafted him. No team will believe in you as a player like the one who drafted you.
Nelson is likely looking at a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp, maybe a split deal at best. If he can prove he's healthy in spring training, he could earn a bullpen job.