MLB Free Agency: 7 Most Underrated Players Left on the Market

William PenfieldCorrespondent IIFebruary 2, 2012

MLB Free Agency: 7 Most Underrated Players Left on the Market

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    With the Detroit Tigers' signing of Price Fielder last week, the last of the big fish is officially off the market. However, there are still some good players out there, waiting for a call.

    The biggest free agent signings usually get all of the attention, but it is the ones that go unnoticed that really bring a team together. After all, Prince Fielder can not win a World Series by himself.  

    Guys like Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt are still on the market, and can be had for a bargain.

    And they are not the only ones. There are many free agents out there that are undervalued and underrated, and teams would be wise to bring some of them on. 

Roy Oswalt

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    It is hard to believe that Roy Oswalt is underrated, but at the price that he would reportedly sign for, $8-10 million on a one-year deal, it is mind boggling that he is still a free agent.

    This isn't the Oswalt that won 20+ games in back to back seasons in the mid-2000s for the Houston Astros, but he is one of the best pitchers on the market, and can be had for a bargain.

    There are some concerns with his back, but with a one-year deal the risk is so low that it is worth it. It is shocking that teams haven't jumped at the opportunity to sign Oswalt.

    Just two years ago, he finished sixth in Cy Young voting, and now he is one of the last guys to come off the market. 

Edwin Jackson

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    Next to Oswalt, Edwin Jackson is probably the best available pitcher, and is being overlooked by many teams. 

    After receiving a disrespectful one-year, $5 million offer from the Boston Red Sox, it is hard to gauge the market for Jackson, as the Red Sox are now reportedly out of the picture.

    This is a guy who was a pitcher for the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, and now he can't find a team. 

    He isn't an ace, but Jackson can give you some quality innings, and he has great stuff. If he was able to be more consistent with his command, he would probably be an ace somewhere. 

Casey Kotchman

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    To my shock, Casey Kotchman hit over .300 in 2011 for the Tampa Rays. 

    Whether you need a first baseman, DH or just a bat on the bench, Kotchman is a good option. He isn't a defensive liability like many other players who DH, either.

    To be honest, I think the reason he has played for four different teams, in such a short amount of time, is because he is not a home run hitter. 

    In 2011, he hit just 10 home runs, but if he could hit 20-30, he would be a full-time DH or first baseman somewhere. 

    Either way, Kocthman should catch on somewhere, before spring training begins. 

Javier Vazquez

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    Javier Vazquez gets a bad rap because he didn't pan out when he was with the Yankees, but the guy has actually been a serviceable pitcher throughout his career. 

    In 2011, he went 13-11 for the Florida (now Miami) Marlins, with an ERA of 3.69.

    Vazquez would be more beneficial to a National League team, as he has had more success there, but if an American League team is looking for a fourth or fifth starter, Vazquez would not be a bad option, for the right price. 

Johnny Damon

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    The days of Johnny Damon being a full-time player are probably over, but he can still be useful as a platoon outfielder, or DH.

    Damon hit 16 home runs in 2011, while compiling a batting average of .261 and OPS of .743.

    The Tampa Bay Rays would be wise to bring a guy like Damon back, as they are strapped for cash, and he can be had for a relatively cheap price.

    He can still help a major league team out despite his age: 38. He just needs to be given the opportunity. 

Raul Ibanez

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    Raul Ibanez had an off year in 2011, yet still managed to hit 20 home runs for the Philadelphia Phillies.

    There was a time last season where he wasn't starting for the Phillies, but he came on strong, and eventually regained his spot in the lineup.

    Ibanez would likely benefit by heading to the American League to DH full-time, at this point in his career, but unfortunately there are only so many teams looking for a DH.

    He should find himself on a roster come spring training, as he is still a player who can make an impact with the bat. 

Rick Ankiel

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    Rick Ankiel was once famous for being a pitching prospect gone wrong; a pitcher who couldn't even throw the ball to the catcher, but he has turned himself into a respectable outfielder and hitter.

    He has shown some pop in his career, hitting 25 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008, and isn't bad with the glove either. 

    There are some teams out there looking for a fourth outfielder, and Ankiel should catch on with one of them before spring training.