The Top Free Agent At Each Position

You can survey our free agent list for the upcoming offseason here.  Today let's attempt to determine the best as each position.

  • Catcher: Yadier Molina's option will be exercised, leaving Ramon Hernandez as the best available.  Hernandez hasn't played in 100 games since '08, but he still easily tops a list of mostly backups at the position.
  • First base: Prince Fielder has drawn more walks this year, but I still have to give the nod to Albert Pujols.  Pujols began the year with a couple off of months and injured his wrist in June, but he's still among the game's best players.
  • Second base: Robinson Cano's option will be exercised, and Brandon Phillips appears likely.  Despite a lousy offensive year, Kelly Johnson might be the best second baseman standing.
  • Shortstop: I like Jimmy Rollins, but I don't think you can argue for anyone other than Jose Reyes.
  • Third base:  The market for third basemen is terrible, but Aramis Ramirez remains a quality option.
  • Left field: There's not much here, but Josh Willingham continues to display good power in a tough ballpark.
  • Center field: His season hasn't been amazing, but Coco Crisp looks like the best available.  I might prefer Grady Sizemore, but I think his option will be picked up.
  • Right field: This is a position with significant free agent talent: Lance Berkman, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, and Carlos Beltran, even after Nick Swisher's option is exercised.  This is a tough call, but I'll take Beltran.  Berkman and Cuddyer could potentially enter the mix for other positions, if they're flexible on that front.
  • Designated hitter: David Ortiz is the clear choice here.
  • Starting pitcher: C.J. Wilson may represent better value, but C.C. Sabathia will be the best available starting pitcher if he opts out of his Yankees contract.  If Sabathia re-ups quickly then Wilson would have the honors, unless Yu Darvish mounts a challenge.
  • Closer: With all due respect to Ryan Madson, Jonathan Papelbon is the man here.
  • Right-handed setup man: I expect Madson to continue closing, leaving our setup bracket wide open.  Joel Peralta is a respectable choice, while Kerry Wood and others also merit consideration.
  • Lefty reliever: Tim Byrdak, Mike Gonzalez, and George Sherrill have been tough on fellow lefties, but Darren Oliver is my pick.


Full Story | 51 Comments | Categories: Uncategorized

51 Responses to The Top Free Agent At Each Position Leave a Reply

  1. Weak offseason for FA’s.  If your not good dont count on this offseason to make you much better

  2. JackOfDiamonds 4 years ago

    Outside of Pujols, Fielder & Reyes, not much depth in this FA class. All the more reason to build your organization through the draft and not via free agency.

    • CJ Wilson, CC, Darvish, and Papbelbon provide nice talent, but probably with exorbitant price tags

      • captainjeter 4 years ago

        CC is  going nowhere. He said it again  after his last  start. He  told Kim Jones  that he love pitching in  NY  and she asked CC  about  the ovation  he got  and he said  it  was great  and  nothing like the NY fans.

        • johnsilver 4 years ago

          Not to mention the 30m or so the NYY will be throwing his way once he opts out.

          Remember..He said last time as a FA he wanted to play on the West Coast and it was East Coast mega Millions that talked him into NY in the 1st place, not the fans have a feeling.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

             preposterous. NY fans are the only fans who cheer for really good pitchers. 

          • ironnat 4 years ago

            Wait three years after he’s added another 50 pounds and strings a couple of bad stretches and see how loving the Yankee fans are.

          • ironnat 4 years ago

            Wait three years after he’s added another 50 pounds and strings a couple of bad stretches and see how loving the Yankee fans are.

    • angryredmenace 4 years ago

      Building through the draft sounds nice, but without quality free agent pick up’s, you can’t expect to contend in the majors.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        I completely agree

        -A.Friedman

        • 0bsessions 4 years ago

          In fairness, two big components to their 2008 run were free agent pickups (Pena and Iwamura) with a lot of positive contributions from Eric Hinske as well (Another free agent).

          • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 4 years ago

            In fairness, those pick ups didn’t appear to be big when they were made either.  Just guys that had a chance to make a contribution, that ended up being very good for them.

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            Given, but the Rays wouldn’t have gotten as far as they did in ’08 without free agents supplementing their strong farm system and that’s the point.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            That’s not the point at all. The point is that you can be competitive with out signing big name free agents which is what the guy I replied to claimed..

            The names you mentioned were minor acquisitions who ended up contributing

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            The point is that you can be competitive with out signing big name free agents which is what the guy I replied to claimed..

            That’s not true at all. These were his exact words:
            “without quality free agent pick up’s, you can’t expect to contend in the majors.”

            Quality =/= big name. And yeah, it’s true in that it’s almost impossible to run a contender without a quality free agent acquisition or two.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

             you’re looking at what pena did after the fact, his 2 years before in boston and detroit were injury plagued, and really nothing special.. how is that a quality fa signing?

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            The point is that you can be competitive with out signing big name free agents which is what the guy I replied to claimed..

            That’s not true at all. These were his exact words:
            “without quality free agent pick up’s, you can’t expect to contend in the majors.”

            Quality =/= big name. And yeah, it’s true in that it’s almost impossible to run a contender without a quality free agent acquisition or two.

          • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 4 years ago

            In fairness, those pick ups didn’t appear to be big when they were made either.  Just guys that had a chance to make a contribution, that ended up being very good for them.

        • 0bsessions 4 years ago

          In fairness, two big components to their 2008 run were free agent pickups (Pena and Iwamura) with a lot of positive contributions from Eric Hinske as well (Another free agent).

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        I completely agree

        -A.Friedman

  3. Beltran is better off moving to LF. His range in RF is very bad.

    • Rabbitov 4 years ago

      If we are being real, he’s better off trying out DH somewhere.

  4. Ta-Kuan Fuan 4 years ago

    This FA class is still much better than the previous couple of years. Pujols, Fielder, Reyes, Beltran, Ortiz are far better (quality AND quantity) over Crawford/Werth/Beltre from last year and Holliday/Bay from ’09. You had a big drop-off after Cliff Lee last year while this year it could be CC and CJ along with Darvish. Lackey was the “big name” in ’09.

  5. As a Cub fan, I’m delighted it’s such a weak free agent class. Hopefully, that will kill whatever chance there was that our new GM would spend money on something stupid instead of rebuilding properly.

  6. baseball1010 4 years ago

    Looking at your lefty reliever comment so I checked the numbers. Oliver has the worst % of stranding inherited runners at .66. (Sherrill the best % Byrdak second best). Oliver is the second worst at batting average against left handed hitters at .237. (Gonzalez the best Byrdak 2nd best.) Oliver has the best ERA of the players mentioned. Gonzalez is the only one who has an ERA above the Major League average for relievers. I think Sherrill, Oliver and Byrdak are equal for different reasons, Gonzales is the 4th best, but that does not mean he isn’t quality.

  7. CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

    I thought that Joel Peralta was still eligible for arbitration one last time.

  8. CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

    I thought that Joel Peralta was still eligible for arbitration one last time.

  9. ykw 4 years ago

    “Despite a lousy offensive year, Kelly Johnson might be the best second baseman standing.”

    His “lousy offensive year” has him posting a 97 wRC+ and a whopping 1.6 batting runs below average. The only thing that looks bad in his line is his BA; a BABIP nearly fifty points off his previous career number is pretty obviously to blame, and makes him a prime candidate for a pendulum-swing comeback year in ’12.

    “Shortstop: I like Jimmy Rollins, but I don’t think you can argue for anyone other than Jose Reyes.”

    Jose Reyes is a $100M landmine. His legs make him a massive health risk, particularly at a position where range is crucial (check out his UZRs the last three seasons) and for a player whose speed is an enormous part of his offensive game when he’s right (check out his BSRs the last three seasons, particularly 09-10). He makes little sense except for a wealthy club with a strong Plan B option who can play SS at a high level for extended periods if — well, more likely =when= — he’s unavailable. Boston, maybe Anaheim. Rollins may not have Reyes’ ceiling, but he’s a better candidate to contribute strongly, and he’s likely to appeal to a lot more clubs as a result.

    • Taskmaster75 4 years ago

      “His “lousy offensive year” has him posting a 97 wRC+ and a whopping 1.6
      batting runs below average. The only thing that looks bad in his line is
      his BA; a BABIP nearly fifty points off his previous career number is
      pretty obviously to blame, and makes him a prime candidate for a
      pendulum-swing comeback year in ’12.”

      Don’t be so sure, his BABIP and other peripherals lead to believe that he’s underachieving, but his K% has gone up significantly, and his walk rate has decreased as well. His wOBA of .319 is also the lowest he’s had in a full season of play (more than 500 PA’s).

    • Matt Moore 4 years ago

      Exactly. Hes a frickin landmine. Whoever signs him are gonna be screwed. Sad thing is, is that no matter what some team will give him the 100mm. Im just glad my team dont have that kinda money to spend at this point.

    • JasonHeywardIsGod 4 years ago

      It is the best player at that position and Jose Reyes is a WAY better player then Rollins, this coming from a Braves fan, anyone that signs Rollins will regret, he can’t even hit well in one of the most hitter friendly parks in Citizens, he’s gonna be awful wherever he goes

  10. ykw 4 years ago

    “Despite a lousy offensive year, Kelly Johnson might be the best second baseman standing.”

    His “lousy offensive year” has him posting a 97 wRC+ and a whopping 1.6 batting runs below average. The only thing that looks bad in his line is his BA; a BABIP nearly fifty points off his previous career number is pretty obviously to blame, and makes him a prime candidate for a pendulum-swing comeback year in ’12.

    “Shortstop: I like Jimmy Rollins, but I don’t think you can argue for anyone other than Jose Reyes.”

    Jose Reyes is a $100M landmine. His legs make him a massive health risk, particularly at a position where range is crucial (check out his UZRs the last three seasons) and for a player whose speed is an enormous part of his offensive game when he’s right (check out his BSRs the last three seasons, particularly 09-10). He makes little sense except for a wealthy club with a strong Plan B option who can play SS at a high level for extended periods if — well, more likely =when= — he’s unavailable. Boston, maybe Anaheim. Rollins may not have Reyes’ ceiling, but he’s a better candidate to contribute strongly, and he’s likely to appeal to a lot more clubs as a result.

  11. Matt Moore 4 years ago

    This is who the best f/a will sign with-
    Pujols- Yankees
    Fielder- yankees
    Ramirez- yankees
    Reyez- yankees
    All other f/a that I cant remember…. Yankees…

  12. top_prospect_aw 4 years ago

    How do you not go with Heath Bell as closer?  Underrated and overlooked…

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      he doesn’t want to leave and will likely accept arbitration.

      • top_prospect_aw 4 years ago

        Not the point.  He’s a free agent and much better with a better track record than Ryan Madson.  East Coast bias?

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          it kinda is the point, since he’s only an FA in theory only.

          Just like CC sabathia isn’t really the top FA pitcher available.

           

          • top_prospect_aw 4 years ago

            A few issues with your statement:
            A.  CC’s name is listed in the article.  Heath Bell is more of a FA than CC is, yet his name wasn’t listed.
            B.  “FA in theory only” because a player threatened to accept arbitration? I’m sure this has never been done before and had a different result.
            C.  Bell is 33 years old, I’m sure he’s thought about that it wouldn’t be in his best interest to accept arbitration and securing possibly his last chance at a multi-year deal while he’s putting up killer numbers
            D.  The Padres have not guaranteed that they will offer arbitration thus he would become more than a “theoretical” FA.

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

             dude, i like heath bell and i didn’t write the damn article.

  13. We will be along, as soon as the Sawks fans on here who were bashing Paplebon last year come to give their mea culpa.

  14. Dylan 4 years ago

    Yeah, cuz Phillies fans would say that. Many of us think Bastardo would do a better job and do not not want to resign him to a long term deal because of Aumont, DeFratus, Schwimer, and Bastardo are pegged as future closer candidates.

    Offseason will be Rollins, then Hamels extension…Madson will go where the money is.

  15. Um, Brandon, this comment makes no sense either…… please, stop trying so hard.

  16. You know Jim Hendry was fired, right?

  17. FAIL….

  18. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    old habits die hard. i still catch myself making omar minaya mets jokes in my head sometimes

  19. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    old habits die hard. i still catch myself making omar minaya mets jokes in my head sometimes

  20. William Kafer 4 years ago

    I wouldn’t say “many.” Yes, Bastardo has been very good in limited exposure to the closer’s role, but so was Madson awhile back, and it took him ~2 years to finally get acclimated to pitching the 9th. I don’t think you have that window with this team, you need at least one sure thing in the bullpen.

    Right now, are you really ready to let Schwimmer, Herndon, and Bastardo run the bullpen for the next three years? I think they’re going to get some kind of established veteran closer on something like a ~3 year deal, and I bet they’d prefer it to be Madson. Let those guys develop for 2 years.

  21. Do you wipe your own backside too??

  22. Do you wipe your own backside too??

  23. After watching Brad Lidge suck $36 million out of this team over the past three years, I can’t believe that anyone would want to overpay for a closer again.

  24. After watching Brad Lidge suck $36 million out of this team over the past three years, I can’t believe that anyone would want to overpay for a closer again.

Leave a Reply