2007 MLB Free Agents: Dave Roberts

There’s been some chatter about Dave Roberts lately – he’ll be a coveted free agent this winter.  Back in July, I discussed Roberts in my center fielder free agent market review:

"Roberts, 34, is best known for his stolen base in the 2004 ALCS.  He’s solidly above average at hitting but is ranked just 30th on defense.  He’s got a weak arm but was a solid defender prior to 2005.  According to the Fielding Bible, Roberts still has his speed and range so he should bounce back defensively if healthy.  He’s been moved to left field to make an excellent pair with Mike Cameron.  If someone can snag him for $3-4 mil and get him 500 ABs, he’s a fine option.  It’s just that he has a lengthy injury history."

It just so happens that in his contract year, Roberts looks to set career highs in at-bats, batting average, and on-base percentage.  The Padres have enjoyed his .382 OBP mark (18th in the league) at the top of their order.  He’s also stolen bases at better than a 90% clip.  His $2.25MM salary is a bargain, and he’ll have plenty of suitors.

Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune recently mentioned that the White Sox and Cardinals are already showing some interest.  Rockies beat writer Troy E. Renck throws Colorado’s hat into the ring.

A few other possibilities: the Blue Jays could go after Roberts if they decide to trade Vernon Wells.  The Rangers could get involved if Gary Matthews Jr. departs.  Ditto for the Cubs if they don’t retain Juan Pierre.      

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