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.
gattis should play in the KBO next year. He could probably hit 70 HR there.
Very surprised no one’s picked up Adam Jones yet. Sure he turns 34 this year, but he still has solid production. Always has.
This is more surprising to me than Harper and Machado still being available.
I’m sure he’s had offers but he’s probably wanting to get paid for his past….not future.
That is where the analytics are taken too much by the numbers. I mean yes he has lost a step or two but not so much where some people would notice by watching him play. You go to a game and your talking the loss is covering only 35 ft to let’s say 40 ft as usual.
That is where the analytics are taken too much by the numbers. I mean yes he has lost a step or two but not so much where some people would notice by watching him play. You go to a game and your talking the loss is covering only 35 ft to let’s say 40 ft as usual. Then again if he plays left in Fenway does it matter as much and yes just using as an example. Point is his baseball smarts can make up the difference at times
Jones can’t play CF anymore but in LF there shouldn’t be any issue. If I were rolling with a bunch of question marks like the Indians I don’t see why you wouldn’t call up jones.
I loves Jonesy but he is done as a major leaguer. He has been one of the worst centerfielders the past several seasons and he would only be a slight improvement in a corner spot. The power is down. He doesn’t walk leading to a mediocre obp. He’s still susceptible to the down and away slider. He doesn’t steal bases. He offers a good arm and good clubhouse presence which makes for a fourth outfielder at best. I’d like to see a playoff team pick him up as a bench bat but a team will not get much from him if they trot him out there 145+games.
Jones is still available because from the outside looking in he came off as a bit selfish in turning down that trade last summer. I respect his right to do so, as do other I’m sure but it didn’t do him any favours.
With the current emphasis on versatility, I’m kind of surprised Dietrich is still available.
I think Dietrich will be in a Giants uniform soon
Good fit. Can play corner outfield, give Belt a break if he has concussion symptoms, can come off the bench in double switch situations.
I thought that Cleveland would have signed him by now. Hometown boy and all.
Got to go RH’d though. Martin, Allen, Naquin, Bauers, Zimmer, Johnson. I don’t see much upgrade in Dietrich. What I’m saying is there’s still better unsigned options for what they’re going to be willing to spend.
The site interrupted my edit.
They’ve got 3 RH-hitting outfielders on the roster, none of whom have accomplished anything at the Major League level.
I’m surprised the Orioles haven’t gone after him, he could play second or third, or a corner outfield spot in Baltimore.
Car-Go could be a trade chip pick up for the O’s. Put him in RF.
Several guys like that. We know it’s a lost season so I think they should look for some guys like Cargo that might make for good trade bait midway. Bring a veteran presence and hopefully does well enough to add a quality prospect later. They got plenty of payroll space and the needs are many.
That’s a very fair point about pitchers still fearing Jose Bautista. I’d love to see him sign with an AL team, part of me wanting him to go to the Rangers to re-unite with his best friend Rougned Odor
Tigers should sign Dietrich
I’d rather see Logan Morrison signed to replace Victor. If healthy, he would provide much needed power to the lineup, and could allow Miggy some extra DH days.
Kind of surprised Moustakas didn’t crack the list.
i hate my father
They probably don’t think Moustakas qualifies as “Low Cost”, Moustakas does not have a market until Machado and Harper make a decision,
It says at the beginning that they excluded players who were expected to get multi-year deals
i hate my father
I think Moose still should get 2 years, but he is the consolation prize for the loser on the Macado/Harper sweepstakes.
If 2 years get it done, Moose might be the better option. The tail ends of long, expensive contracts rarely work out well.
Yeah he’s another guy I’m surprised no one’s signed yet. Only 30, still produces very well. Hopefully someone picks him up soon.
They predicted 2 years for Moose so they left him off.
Seeing this list, it’s disappointing how some of these guys aren’t already signed. I really hope the new CBA can fix this and get these guys jobs they deserve.
Who is deserving of a job right now, at this point? A lot of this is it’s being dragged out by Harper & Machado. They sign, more players will then sign after.
None of those listed are going to find their market changed when BH & MM sign.
The more and more I have watched the last two years of free agency, I dont know if it’s the CBA is the problem more then Boras and other agents like him arent the issue. Baseball is changing. I mean teams cant justify paying a guy like Grienke a million dollars for 6 2/3 innings. Now you compare to let’s say Mike Caldwell who went 19 – 11 with 26 complete games in 82 for the Brewers now that I could see worth it
I love that you’re honestly arguing that Mike Caldwell is a more valuable pitcher than Greinke. Caldwell in 82 gave up more hits than innings pitched and struck out 75 batters in 260 innings. Walked almost as many. Oh, and the Breweres broke him that year by pitching him so much (he completed 12 games that year, btw). By 84 Caldwell was toast. Teams are way smarter now about how they use starting pitchers than they were in 1982.
grizzled sports vet
They will all be too expensive for the Pirates.
What kills me is that most teams could use a player like Dietrich or Jones and they still won’t sign them. I’m sure you can get them for fairly cheap. Like, what’s the hold up? If you need them, sign them. No big deal.
Because they are worth almost nothing (0.5 WAR or less last year) and likely not willing to sign for almost nothing. At least, not yet.
Most teams have a couple of players heading into camp already that are signed for almost nothing and are capable of putting up 0.5 WAR of value over a full season.
I’ve read before jones is asking for a bit of money. He can’t field center anymore and he could never walk. Not much attraction for a 33year old RF who hits .280, OBP like .310 and hits 15 homers and steals 7 bases. Is WAR was .2. Most teams have players to field at corner for cheap and probably could do better.
His numbers are dragged down by abysmal CF defense. You can’t just look at a WAR number and that’s it. And then he had to move to RF for ~30 games, most of which came in Camden Yards which is an odd RF to play. I don’t think Jones is a negative defender in LF at all. I’d be happy to have him there if I were a team like Cleveland
Yeah Cleveland’s the perfect landing place for Jones and I still think that’s gonna happen. I can imagine him being a little rejuvenated in that situation, but my hopes definitely wouldn’t be high.
They probably have multiple minor league offers on the table but are holding out for a guaranteed spot.
Just waiting on the “CarGo Back to Rockies” headline.
better then Ian Desmond anymore
I’d like to see Stephen Vogt be successful in a comeback. Maybe not as a catcher, but he could hit double digit bombs.
My other thought for this list was Adrian Gonzalez
I think Vogt and the Cubs could be a good fit. Veteran catcher and he has a clubhouse presence that they could use
The Rays no longer sin since they gave up associating with the Devil.
Free Clay Zavada
If Gattis was a good catcher, he would have signed long ago.
He’s actually not that bad defensively. He doesn’t have a great arm but calls a good game and has power. He’d be an improvement over most teams number 2.
Hey Farhan, might want to check out this article.
Don’t think I have ever heard “Lucas Duda” and “power option” mentioned in the same sentence before.
I feel okay with that description for a player who has twice hit 30 home runs in a season and has a career .211 ISO (isolated power; league average is ~.160).
He did put up three straight full seasons where 27 homers was his lowest total.
Isn’t that pretty much his calling card? 30ish HRs with little else of notable value?
What are the giants waiting for?
An OF of Holiday, cargo and bautista.
wait, it isnt 2010 anymore.
Apart from jones, these are bench players for a contending team or non contender to be traded at the deadline.
DD isn’t a bad depth piece
Funny that some of these guys could get signed before Manny or Bryce.
It’s like the Halloween candy isle on November 1st.
usually most store have the cadbury eggs at 1/2 price. try halloween candy January 15th.
Most teams, certainly most non-contenders, have minimum wage options with upside for all roster slots that these guys would occupy.. Looking at this list, I understand the reluctance to give at bats to seven figure vets when six figure kids, while making bushels of 2019 outs, acquire some sink-or-swim experience. This is the essence of tanking: the idea is not just to lose games and get a high draft pick, but also figure out what assets you have for the future.
With Cargo, what are his park adjusted stats? My guess is well below average. Anyone know where to look? I hate most modern stats but that’s one that interests me.
He actually performed very well at home, if that gives you an idea.
I cannot understand for the life of me why Adam Jones has not been signed yet. Someone pointed out on another article that maybe it’s because he said it’s a white mans game. He wasn’t saying it in a derogatory manner it’s just a fact that far too few black kids want to play baseball. And not signing him for that fact is not looking good for the sport.
Adam Jones is not your typical case. He exercised his 5/10 rights last year to stay put so it could be that he wants things on his terms. My guess is he signs a one year deal to remain in Baltimore.
He’s worth at least 2 somewhere. Hell I would like to see him on the south side but they are probably full on their outfielders
I’d bet he has multiple offers, just none yet to his liking. He has a young family and that’s really important to him so I could see him heavily weighing his decision knowing he is a good enough option to not get stuck on the outside. He wants to play on a winner before he calls it quits but I wouldnt be surprised if he ends up back in Baltimore because if his ties to the area. The Orioles probably would sign him but only if he agreed that he would accept a trade to a winner midway
Please don’t go down that road. Jones made the statement. Not an owner. Not a GM. Not even a scout. To point to Jones’ statement and try to connect it to any other individual, is just plain nonsense. To point at the entire sport and say “that’s the reason” shows too much imagination on your part. Jones is not the star player he was. That is the reason.
there’s enough players that want to play, that probably won’t sign. maybe time for a new baseball league
But there aren’t enough GOOD players to field 30 MLB teams!
as I understand it the minor leagues, before they were owned by the major league teams, were half-filled with former MLB players who were still good enough and drew crowds to see them. In other words, it wasn’t just a feeder system.
The minoir leagues used to pay much better; they were basically another baseball league. They don’t pay anything anymore, especially for players who haven’t ever made the majors.
Expanding two more teams would help too
mlb did expand, now the marlins and diamondbacks arent that good overall. Neither are the twins or san diego. tampa bay took years to compete.
To be fair to Logan Morrison he wasn’t injured at any time (if my recollection is correct) while he was playing BADLY AWFULLY TERRIBLY EMBARRASSINGLY for the Twins. He got injured, and then he didn’t play anymore, for which all Twins fans were grateful. (Not to wish injury anyone, mind you.)
80% of this list should retire.
Derek Dietrich is also very good at getting hit by the pitch.
I feel like I’m gonna have to decide on one of the names off this list in like the 24th round of my fantasy draft.
Haha I thought the same thing. One of them sounds like my last pick
Man, I would give a flyer to Morrison and Ramirez. Why didn’t Hanley play at all after the Sox released him? Is he that bad news?
Ramirez was getting paid and was banged up. Rest is what he chose.
I’m tired of this off-season
i think Dietrich would be a good sign for the A’s. not real expensive, some flexibility in the field.
Matt Joyce had one of the best pinch hitting seasons ever when he was with the Pirates.
Solid bench piece.
If Jones can’t learn to take a pitch I don’t see much value.