2013 MLB Free Agents: Ranking the Top Outfielders Available This Offseason
The MLB is in postseason mode, but the league is not far away from being in offseason mode, which means some big-name outfielders will likely be on the move. There will be plenty of talent available in this position's free agent pool in 2013, and here are the top guys your team should be aiming for in the outfield.
These rankings are based on the likelihood of a player producing with his new club based on his history, consistency and statistics over the past few seasons. For the sake of this piece, outfielders with options to stay with their current clubs were left out because they are less likely to join a new team.
1. LF Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
Regardless of his flirtations with the injury bug and his off-field decisions that could hinder his MLB shelf-life, one of the MLB's top home run threats easily tops this list.
After losing the American League Wild Card to the Orioles, the current Ranger told Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas: "You hate to have it happen possibly the last game ever here, but at the same time, it's one of those things."
He would go on to tell MacMahon that he would "absolutely" give Texas the right to match any of the surely many offers he'll receive, but his earlier words don't exactly instill confidence.
Considering how many playoff disappointments that Hamilton has suffered as a Ranger, it wouldn't be crazy to see him move on to another club. If Albert Pujols can be persuaded, so can Hamilton.
No. 32 is coming off a career-high in terms of home runs, and just two shy of his best single-season total in RBI, so it's not as if he's showing signs of slowing down just yet.
If Hamilton decides to move, he'll be getting a huge payday. In addition, could certainly land on a team just as, if not more talented that Texas.
2. CF Michael Bourn, Atlanta Braves
It seems odd that Bourn and the Braves would want to part ways after just their first full season together, but that could happen this offseason.
Which of these three players is most attainable for your favorite team?
If Bourn is open to leaving the ATL, then any team with the budget to pay him should give him a call. Over the past two seasons, the speedy center-fielder has tallied over 100 stolen bases, almost 200 runs scored and 20 triples.
There isn't much power to see here, but what Bourn lacks in that category he more than makes up in others as previously noted.
The Texas-native will be 30 years old by the start of next season, but that's not by any means a number that should concern any team's general manager.
Bourn is a sure-fire 40 or more steals player year in and out and can make any team's chances of scoring runs a whole lot better.
3. RF Cody Ross, Boston Red Sox
Ross doesn't exactly fit the "history" criteria at first glance, but people forget this year isn't the first time he's posted solid numbers in his career.
The first-year Boston player had a respectable campaign in 2012 with 22 home runs and 81 RBI, very similar to his output in 2009 with the then-Florida Marlins.
During that year, Ross posted a career-high 24 homers and 90 RBI immediately after a 2008 season when he had 22 and 73 in those same categories.
Ross isn't going to cost a team nearly as much as the likes of Bourn or Hamilton will on the market and the Red Sox appear ready to sell any and all members of their disappointing 2012 club. He'd be a solid addition to a team in need of some quality but affordable help in the power department.
Best of the Rest:
Just missing the cut were the following players:
CF Angel Pagan, San Francisco Giants
CF B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay Rays
RF Nick Swisher, New York Yankees
RF Ichiro Suzuki, New York Yankees
LF Melky Cabrera, San Francisco Giants
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