Saturday, November 27, 2010

Top 10 Free Agents Left on the Market

While a few good free agents have already been signed (Victor Martinez by the Tigers, Hiroki Kuroda was resigned by the Dodgers, Joaquin Benoit by the Tigers) there is plenty of great free agent talent left out on the market.  I'm not including Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera on this list because I'm going to go out on a limb and assume they are signing with the Yankees.  Here are the top 10 still available...

1. Cliff Lee- This spot on the list was pretty obvious.  Whoever signs Cliff Lee gets the best pitcher on the market and one of the best postseason pitchers in the last generation.  From 2008 to 2010 he went 48-25 with a 2.98 ERA with a WHIP of 1.12.  In the postseason he is 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA.  He will probably get at least $125 million from the team that signs him.

2. Carl Crawford- Not many people would disagree that Crawford is the best position player on the market.  Just look at his stats from last year and they tell you why.  He hit .307, with 19 homers, 90 RBI, 110 runs and 47 stolen bases, not to mention that he's great defensively.  Who wouldn't want him?

3. Adam Dunn- You aren't going to get a high average or good defense, but you will get a guy who consistenly mashes the ball.  Dunn's 162 game avg. for homers is 40 per season and he averages 98 RBI per season.  With those stats, who cares that he can't really play any position well or that he averages 183 strikeouts over 162 games.

4. Jayson Werth- He is behind Dunn only because Dunn has been a consistent producer for a lot longer than Werth.  Over the last 3 years though, Werth has produced at a high level.  He has averaged 150 games, 29 homers, 84 RBI, and 29 doubles.  He is also fast and above average defensively.  The question is, as a late bloomer, is a big contract warranted?

5. Adrian Beltre- He had a huge bounce back season in 2010, hitting .321 with 28 homers, 102 RBI and 49 doubles.  Fenway park was the perfect place for Beltre to play in order to have a big season, but will that season lead to a team overpaying him?

6. Rafael Soriano- As the closer for the Rays last season, Soriano recorded 45 saves in 48 chances.  He also had a spectacular 1.73 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP (walks/hits per inning pitched).  Teams be wary: Soriano's agent Scott Boras seems to think a 4 year contract is a good starting point.

7. Paul Konerko- Yes, he is in his mid-thirties and the bat speed may begin to slow down pretty soon, but he did hit .312 with 39 big flies and 111 RBI last year.  I wouldn't sign him to a long-term deal, but a one or two year contract would be worth it.

8. Derrek Lee- His average did drop from .306 in 2009 to .260 in 2010, but Lee did end the season well, hitting .287 after his trade to the Braves.  Still has the power to be a good option at first base.

9. Carlos Pena- People scoff at the .196 average from last year, and yes, his average has declined in each of the last 4 years.  However, he's a good clubhouse influence, he still managed a .325 on-base percentage and he still hits bombs.

10. Carl Pavano- We all remember his horrendous stay in the Big Apple a few years ago, but Pavano had a good 2010, going 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA.  He also was an innings-eater, throwing 221 innings for the Twins in 2010.

Sleepers: Watch out for these guys
Manny Ramirez- Can't defend and costs a lot, but there are teams that may be desperate enough to sign him.
Kerry Wood- Long injury history, but pitched well with in NY after he was traded to the Yankees.
Jim Thome- Yeah, he's forty.  He also hit 25 jacks last season.
Magglio Ordonez- Hitting over .300 before injury ended his season.

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