With just two weeks to go until camp, even the ongoing lack of action at the top of the free agent market probably won’t stem the tide of smaller signings. Curtis Granderson just went off the board on a minor-league deal, taking one veteran power bat out of the picture. But there are other slugger types that remain available and who figure to command one-year or minor-league deals.
For purposes of this list, we’ll be ignoring those players who MLBTR predicted to secure multi-year deals entering the winter. We will be looking primarily at players who have shown double-digit home run power in recent seasons — even if their most recent campaigns featured less-than-fearsome power displays. That characterization also applies to a few who aren’t listed below, but these ten stood out.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF: While he has produced only thirty long balls over the past two seasons, Gonzalez has turned in one 40-bomb campaign (in 2015) and still is at least an average overall offensive producer. It remains to be seen what kind of shot he’ll get on his next deal, but the former star could still make for an intriguing risk.
Derek Dietrich, INF/OF: It may sound odd to say it, but Dietrich has arguably been the most consistently productive offensive performer on this list over the past four seasons. He’s a .262/.344/.428 hitter (114 OPS+) in that stretch and popped a career-best 16 homers in 2018. Plus, he can at least fake it at second and third, in addition to the corner outfield and first base.
Lucas Duda, 1B: Things really haven’t gone well for Duda since he was dealt to the Ray sin the middle of the 2017 campaign, but he was quite an accomplished power bat before that. The first bagger did also manage to put up 14 home runs in 367 plate appearances last year, so the power is still there.
Logan Morrison, 1B: After a monster 2017 season in which he launched a career-high 38 home runs, LoMo suffered through an injury-addled 2018 campaign. He did swat another 15 balls out of the yard in 359 plate appearances, though, so the power is still there. Teams willing to take on some health risk could be rewarded.
Matt Joyce, OF: It has been a bit of a roller coaster in recent seasons for Joyce, but he’s still an interesting potential platoon outfielder. Last year was a wash, but he hit 25 bombs in 2017. Joyce owns a .240/.339/.431 lifetime batting line.
Adam Jones, OF: The 33-year-old has pretty much been a perennial 20-plus homer center fielder ever since establishing himself in the majors. He dropped back to 15 last year, but seems a reasonable rebound candidate in the power department. Of course, Jones has never been much of an on-base threat and now seems slated to move into a corner outfield role, so those factors will limit his appeal even to teams that like his pop.
Evan Gattis, DH: Gattis popped 25 long balls last year, though his on-base numbers took a nosedive. It’s a similar story for Gattis’s six-year career, over which he carries a .476 slugging percentage but only a .300 OBP. Still, an American League team that wants righty power will have to take a close look at the 32-year-old.
Matt Holliday, OF: True, he’s already 39 years of age and sat out for almost all of the 2018 season. But Holliday did make a late-season return with the Rockies and showed that he can still get things done at the MLB level, with a .283/.415/.434 slash in 65 plate appearances. Holliday was such a good hitter and consistent power source over most of his prior 14 seasons that he could still be seen as an intriguing option.
Hanley Ramirez, 1B: Though Ramirez’s offensive struggles are well-documented, he was still consistently knocking the ball out of the park before being cut loose by the Red Sox. Ramirez was on pace to top twenty dingers for the third-straight season when the Boston organization let him go. Last we heard, HanRam intends to play in 2019. He has hit well in winter ball, though there haven’t been any rumors of specific interest.
Jose Bautista, OF: The homer tallies are down. The batting average is hovering just over the Mendoza line. And if there’s a notable skill remaining, it’s Bautista’s still-otherworldly ability to draw walks (16.8% in 2018). That being said, it takes more than a keen eye to post that kind of walk rate. Pitchers also have to respect a hitter. Bautista posted a .175 isolated power mark and still put the ball over the fence 13 times in 399 plate appearances last year, and reeled off eight-straight 20+ homer campaigns before that.