Ranking the Best Available MLB Free Agents Regardless of Position

Alex Bacon@abacon55Correspondent IOctober 15, 2012

Ranking the Best Available MLB Free Agents Regardless of Position

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    Only four teams still remain in contention for the World Series, which means that 26 other teams are already planning for next season.

    With a long list of MLB free agents, teams will scurry to make offers for some of baseball's finest.

    Last year, Yu Darvish, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols were the three biggest signings, and although this year’s free agents pool isn’t as deep, some good talent is still available.

    This list of 10 free agents does not account for players with an option to opt out of the last year of their current contract.

10. Marco Scutaro

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    Marco Scutaro can be an option for teams that are looking for a utility player who can also provide some offense.

    Scutaro has played second base, third base and shortstop over the last two years and finished this season with a .306 batting average.

    In his previous contract—which lasted three years—Scutaro received $17.5 million.

    He will be 37 years old next season so don’t expect him to see a pay raise.

9. Juan Pierre

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    The Alabama-born speedster, Juan Pierre, will be a free agent who receives attention from multiple teams this offseason.

    Although Pierre didn't steal 50 plus bases this year (like he has in five different seasons), he still finds his way on base. This past year he batted .307 and hasn’t had a season batting average of less than .270 once in his career.

    The 35-year-old still possesses speed and could be an exceptional leadoff man on a handful of teams in MLB.

8. Nick Swisher

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    The only thing that may be holding teams back on signing Nick Swisher is his high asking price.

    Signing a contract the size of Jayson Werth's 2010 deal seems a little high (seven years, $126 million), but Swisher definitely will see a raise from his expiring contract of just under $27 million.

    Since signing with the New York Yankees prior to the 2009 season, Swisher’s stats have been consistent. All four years he’s hit over 20 home runs, 80 RBI and batted between .249 and .288.

    He also has played in one MLB All-Star game when he was voted in after launching a campaign through social media and the Yankees’ marketing department.

    Swisher is a great influence in an MLB clubhouse, and will probably reel in many offers from teams this offseason.

7. Jose Valverde

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    Any time a closer hits the free agent market, teams are quick to make offers.

    Jose Valverde—a natural closer—will be watched by teams closely this winter.

    The 34-year-old has recorded at least 25 saves per year over his past six seasons in the league, and has only blown eight saves over the last three years.

    Age may catch up to him soon, but he still has the ability to be a great closer for at least a couple more years.

6. Jonathan Broxton

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    Jonathan Broxton is another closer on this list that has potential to get looked at by a variety of teams.

    Next season will be Broxton’s ninth year in the majors, and yet he is still only 28 years old.

    The closer was on a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals until he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds during the 2012 season.

    Being that he is still young, Broxton will probably receive a raise from his previous $4 million deal, and will provide an excellent arm coming out of any team's bullpen.

5. Michael Bourn

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    Teams looking for a quality leadoff man will probably make an offer to Michael Bourn.

    Bourn, who has stolen at least 20 bases per year the past six seasons, will hit the free agent market at the end of the World Series.

    The 29-year-old also plays well in the field. That being said, along with his other attributes, Bourn will likely be offered more money than his previous contracts.

4. Delmon Young

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    In the past few years,  27-year-old Delmon Young has been very close to becoming an elite ballplayer. He is at the age where players usually reach their prime.

    Young’s stats have been consistently decent—he’s never hit over .300 in a season, and he’s never hit below .260 in a season.

    The one-year deal he signed with the Detroit Tigers last year paid him just under $7 million. Expect him to sign a deal at about the same price next season.

3. Melky Cabrera

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    Melky Cabrera is a risky player to find on this list.

    When he was suspended earlier this season for the use of performance enhancing drugs, many people thought that his amazing start to the year was because of steroids.

    He was on a tear, leading the National League in hits and batting average at the time of his suspension.

    It’s hard to predict what his contract next year will look like, but last season he had a base salary of $6 million.

    That number may increase because of his great performance in 2012, or it may decrease after being an offender of the MLB drug policy.

2. Zack Greinke

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    One of the best starting pitchers in the game, Zack Greinke, will hit free agency this offseason.

    Greinke, who has pitched most of his career with the Royals, played for the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels this year.

    He also won the Cy Young Award back in 2009 with a sparkling ERA of 2.16.

    Since the pitcher has been bounced around the past couple of years, expect him to go into the offseason with an open mind. He will be looking for a team where he can continue to succeed, and hopefully make the playoffs.

1. Josh Hamilton

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    Josh Hamilton will be the top prize.

    He will have teams offer him contracts north of $40 million dollars after proving that he is one of the elite players in Major League Baseball.

    Over the past three years, Hamilton has hit 100 home runs and 322 RBI.

    The 31-year-old’s career batting average is .304 and he is a true power hitter.

    He will be the Pujols or Fielder of last year's free agency.