Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Magglio Ordonez and Luke Scott highlight the list of unsigned designated hitters. Jorge Posada and Manny Ramirez are also out there and Bobby Abreu and Alfonso Soriano could become available in trades. Some would say free agent first baseman Prince Fielder is well on his way to becoming a DH, but he’ll presumably sign as a first baseman.
The market for designated hitters tends to favor buyers and this year is no exception. Here's a look at the American League teams with possible DH openings:
- Rays - When the offseason began, Andrew Friedman spoke about his intention to add offense without sacrificing defense. The Rays have an opening at DH, the one spot in the lineup where defense doesn't matter at all. The Rays will likely add a bat or two before Opening Day, perhaps a DH.
- Blue Jays - Edwin Encarnacion finished the 2011 season strong and projects as the Blue Jays' DH heading into 2012.
- Orioles - The Orioles appear to have expressed some interest Soriano and Scott, which shows they're open to a DH-type acquisition.
- Twins - The Twins no longer have Jim Thome, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Delmon Young around, but Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit could be in the DH mix in 2012. It'd be a surprise if they add a high-profile DH.
- Athletics - Brandon Allen, Daric Barton, Chris Carter and Kila Ka'aihue figure to compete for playing time at first base and could enter the DH mix. Oakland hasn’t been a top destination for free agent bats in recent years, but agents for unsigned DHs may give Billy Beane a call to determine his interest in adding a hitter.
- Mariners - The Mariners don't have a fixture at DH. Left fielders Mike Carp and Casper Wells project as DH options for manager Eric Wedge.