We looked yesterday to see what was left on the open market in terms of starting pitching, and today we’ll turn our attention to the outfield grass. The pool of outfielders just lost a top player in Justin Upton, but it’s still flush with talent. And as the Upton signing shows, where there’s ability, there’s often money to chase it.
Clubs looking for upgrades, complements, or depth can draw from a group of free agents that still includes the following names:
- Yoenis Cespedes — There’s not much left to say at this point. With Upton and Chris Davis off the market, Cespedes is the only remaining free agent who warranted a nine-figure prediction entering the winter.
- Dexter Fowler — Something of a forgotten man, it remains to be seen how much the qualifying offer will tell on Fowler’s ultimate earning level. He remains a steady, high-quality option who still has plenty of reasonable landing spots.
- Austin Jackson — We haven’t heard much chatter on AJax, but he’s an interesting buy-low option — particularly since he can play center field.
- Steve Pearce — Despite a relatively tough 2015, Pearce’s huge 2014 and his relatively flexible glove make him an intriguing player.
Platoon/Bench Options (Age 31 or Below)
- Domonic Brown — The former top prospect will be looking for opportunity, first and foremost; a non-contender could take a shot on his upside. It doesn’t hurt that he has another year of arb control remaining.
- Matt Joyce — Last year was a disaster, but he was a steady offensive producer for years before.
- David Lough — With an excellent glove, a return to his near-average offensive lines of 2013-14 would make Lough a nice reserve outfielder.
- Travis Snider — He’s still quite young, and has had his moments, but will probably be forced to earn his next chance after a down 2015.
- Drew Stubbs — Having a center-field-capable glove goes a long way, but Stubbs has never consistently produced at the plate.
- Delmon Young — Having a league-average-or-better bat goes a long way, but Young doesn’t play the field well and didn’t hit last year for Baltimore.
Platoon/Bench Options (Age 32+)
- Marlon Byrd — He still has pop in the bat at 38 years of age and should draw plenty of interest, whether as a second-division semi-regular or a useful bench bat for a contender.
- David DeJesus — While he ended last year with little playing time and even less production for the Angels, DeJesus still looked like a capable-enough reserve outfielder for most of the year with the Rays.
- Chris Denorfia — He’s now two years removed from above-average offensive production, but teams will still have interest.
- Jeff Francoeur — After a solid late-year run, Francoeur could land his first guaranteed deal in some time.
- Jonny Gomes — The overall line wasn’t great, but Gomes still had above-average numbers against lefties last year.
- David Murphy — The Halos preferred Murphy to DeJesus down the stretch last year, but he hasn’t exactly set the world afire in recent campaigns.
- Ryan Raburn — Just … read this.
- Alex Rios — The Royals gave him pretty significant money last year, but he ended with -1.1 rWAR and will need to bounce back in 2016.
- Skip Schumaker — He’s more a utilityman than a pure outfield option given the light bat.
- Grady Sizemore — There’s no longer hope for a return to stardom, but Sizemore quietly had a solid run late with Tampa Bay.
- Will Venable — As a left-handed bat that can still play center, he’ll have plenty of appeal.
- Shane Victorino — Could a return to health — and switch-hitting — spur a late-career renaissance?
- Rickie Weeks — Things didn’t go well last year after a bounceback 2014, so he’ll be searching for another shot in ’16.
- Alexei Bell — The veteran is not yet a free agent, but will surely be hoping for a chance to play at the major league level in the near term.
- Guillermo Heredia — At 24 years of age, he could be near major league readiness, though he isn’t the most highly-regarded prospect from Cuba.
- Randy Arozarena — He’s still just twenty, but is an intriguing name to watch.