While an astronomer will tell us that winter only started two weeks ago, baseball's winter is bookended by the World Series and the opening of spring training rather than the winter solstice and vernal equinox. You may still have lots of back-breaking snow-shoveling ahead of you depending on where you are, but baseball's spring thaw is drawing tantalizingly close. Pitchers and catchers report in just more than a month now, after all. With a weak free-agent market that got off to a slow start -- thanks in part to the uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining agreement -- there are also a lot of players that still don't have contracts for 2017.
And we're not talking a stray Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales finding themselves in limbo because of a poor decision to not accept a qualifying offer. Of the 197 players that found themselves in MLB free agency for one reason or another (including non-tenders), 118 are still unemployed. I used ESPN's Free Agent Tracker here, and while you'll see these numbers fluctuate depending on your exact accounting, there's no denying that there are a lot of major league players out there still.
There are so many, in fact, that you can field an entire 25-man roster from unsigned free agents -- with a bunch of extras to fill out our imaginary Triple-A team as well. But how competitive would this team be? Could they beat the Brewers or the Padres if they took the field in 2017?