The free agent market will feature an unusually strong class of outfielders this coming offseason, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. Josh Hamilton leads a group that includes Michael Bourn, Andre Ethier, Melky Cabrera, Shane Victorino, B.J. Upton and Carlos Quentin. However, teams are looking to avoid unnecessary long-term commitments, so it may not be possible for all of these players to cash in. Here are more notes from Olney:
- Cole Hamels’ contract talks with the Phillies remain dormant, Olney reports. Hamels is on track for free agency after the season, when he’ll be the top starting pitcher available.
- One general manager suggested the Orioles could become aggressive bidders for Hamilton, who will likely command an annual salary of $20MM-plus. "But [at that price] I don't think he's got a lot of places to go," the GM told Olney.
- Some MLB officials guesstimate Quentin could be in line for a deal in the four-year, $48MM range if he stays healthy and keeps hitting. Four years and $60MM isn’t out of the question, according to those officials.
- Personally I see Quentin signing for two or three years at an average annual value of $6-9MM. He'll turn 30 before the offseason, his defense isn't particularly well-regarded and injury questions persist, so I believe he'd do well to match Josh Willingham's three-year, $21MM deal.