Free Agent Market For Center Fielders

The Royals, Braves, Marlins, Nationals, and Padres may be looking for center field help for 2011, but the free agent market is ugly and there are no interesting non-tender candidates.  Let's take a look.

Could The Big Names Switch Positions?

Scott Boras is prone to exaggeration, but he touted Jayson Werth's ability to play center field in a September conversation with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Werth played 171 innings in center this year, 62.3 in '09, and 233.3 in '08.  It's smart for Boras to position Werth as a center field possibility, given the market.

Carl Crawford has the speed for center but seems unlikely to make the move.  He hasn't played 100+ innings in center field since '04.

Probably Not Available

Though Coco Crisp played only 75 games this year for the Athletics, his contract is looking decent because of his performance and the $5.75MM club option for 2011.  Though Rajai Davis can play center too, the A's seem very likely to keep Crisp.  Crisp is the only free agent who played 600+ innings in center this year.  Only Jim Edmonds, who probably won't play center field next year, matched Crisp's offensive production. 

Capable Of Playing Center Field

With Edmonds talking about a backup first base role for next year if anything, only Rick Ankiel and Melky Cabrera remain as free agents who logged 300+ center field innings in 2010.  Both struggled offensively, though Cabrera was decent in '09.

Tony Gwynn could join the free agent ranks if the Padres non-tender him.  He didn't do much with the bat but the speedy 28-year-old did play 701.3 innings in center this year.  Non-tender candidates Scott Hairston and Reggie Willits can handle center on a part-time basis.

Corey Patterson has a case for a big league contract this winter.  He hit .269/.315/.406 in 340 plate appearances for the Orioles, which would be acceptable for a part-time center fielder.  Patterson hasn't played the position in the Majors much in recent years, though he did tally 67 minor league games in '09. 


Gary Matthews Jr., Reed Johnson, Jody Gerut, and Willy Taveras played 300+ innings in center last year.  They'll be signing minor league deals most likely.  Same goes for DeWayne Wise, a non-tender candidate for Toronto.


Assuming Crisp is retained by the A's and Werth stays in right field, there are no free agents you'd want playing center field on a regular basis.  We'll see later if the trade market offers anything.

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14 Comments on "Free Agent Market For Center Fielders"

4 years 10 months ago

Ankiel might, MIGHT be a decent platoon player, but otherwise…. eck.

4 years 10 months ago

Dewayne Wise?

4 years 10 months ago

I’m sure Jays will keep him.

Awful FA market for center fielders.

4 years 10 months ago

Good call. Also, I added a section about Jayson Werth.

4 years 10 months ago

Look’s like teams without a CF are screwed.

4 years 10 months ago

Why would the Rangers be looking for a center fielder… they have so much depth in outfield that 3 guys that are on the roster now can play that position easily without any significant drop in defense. And none of those people are moving from the roster when their offseason begins as World Champions!

4 years 10 months ago

Jacoby Ellsbury should be on this list.

4 years 10 months ago

This list is for free agents.

4 years 10 months ago

Yep, my bad. Got thrown off by the trade market for LF article below it…although I should realized none of those guys on the list were FA’s…friggin Monday mornings.

If you guys do a trade market for CF article, THEN Jacoby should be on it haha. Keep up the good work.

4 years 10 months ago

Looks like someone’s got a case of the Mondays…

4 years 10 months ago

If Boston signs either Crawford or Werth then I could see them trading Cameron to the Padres for a reliever not named Heath Bell

4 years 10 months ago

“Scott Boras prone to exaggeration”…no way, I don’t believe it. (in case you missed it – lot of sarcasm there).

Philip Marlowe
4 years 10 months ago

I said it somewhere else too, but I’ll say it again. The Cubs should re-sign Edmonds and platoon him with Nady at 1st. Just please, please, please don’t sign Adam Dunn.

4 years 10 months ago

id like to have the tigers get taveres for when austin jackson needs a rest