Under-the-Radar MLB Free Agents Who Teams Will Fight After
The World Series isn't for a few days, but the chatter regarding the offseason free-agent market is definitely heating up.
Of course, Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton will likely be the most sought-after free agent this winter, but there are a handful of under-the-radar players who are bound to make some noise next season.
This postseason, we saw what a free-agent acquisition like Raul Ibanez can do for a club, so let's see what next season holds for these under-the-radar free agents.
Eric Chavez, 3B, New York Yankees
Chavez brought his six Gold Gloves to the hot corner in New York and was surprisingly successful at the plate.
The 34-year-old veteran—a career .267 hitter—posted a .281 average for the Bombers in 2012, along with 16 homers, a power number the Yanks probably didn't expect.
With names like David Wright, Kevin Youkilis and Ty Wigginton on the market as well this winter, Chavez will definitely fall under the radar.
Chavez showed that he still has something left in the tank. In a similar role to that which he played in New York, he could be a nice commodity.
Angel Pagan, CF, San Francisco Giants
Angel Pagan's postseason numbers might bring him more notoriety, but with other big names at the center field spot in the offseason, he is sure to fall through the cracks.
Names like Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Curtis Granderson (if the Yankees buy out his contract), Shane Victorino and B.J. Upton will dominate the market.
The six-year center fielder has launched two home runs and driven in five runs during the 2012 postseason after hitting .288 during the regular season, and he has played exceptional defense for the entire season for San Francisco.
Pagan is one of the most complete center fielders, boasting the necessary skills at the plate, in the outfield and on the basepaths to be a game-changer for any squad seeking his services come the winter.
Cody Ross, RF, Boston Red Sox
Cody Ross was one of the most productive hitters for a dismal Red Sox team this season. He should be a nice under-the-radar outfield option this winter.
Ross ranked third on the team in home runs (22), second in RBI (81) and second in runs (70), all while making just one error this season while manning all three outfield positions.
The outfielder's .807 OPS and 1.6 WAR (via ESPN) should be great selling points for general managers during this offseason's winter meetings.
The 31-year-old Ross is a hard-nosed guy who will bring a winning mentality to any team.
Raul Ibanez, OF/DH, New York Yankees
You can't say enough about what Raul Ibanez has done for the Yankees in the postseason, with his three home runs that either won or tied games.
Despite being 40, Ibanez has yet to show his age. He hit 19 dingers and drove in 62 runs for New York, and he played solid defense, not committing an error in 76 starts in the outfield.
While Ibanez would mainly be limited to a DH position—that cuts the list of possible suitors in half—with David Ortiz, Delmon Young and Travis Hafner all possibly free agents this offseason, Ibanez would undoubtedly be a bargain clutch bat in any AL lineup.
What I think will attract GMs the most is the fact that Ibanez has shown no ill effects of coming off the bench in the late innings and making contact, as a lot of pinch-hitters often do.
Anibal Sanchez, SP, Detroit Tigers
Anibal Sanchez's pitching performances in the postseason thus far should make him a hot commodity this winter.
Sanchez and the entire Detroit Tigers staff have been dominant during the playoffs, as the 28-year-old righty has gone 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in starts against the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees.
But with so many other big-name starters on the market, Sanchez and his 9-13 record during the regular season definitely won't be the prized possession of most GMs.
Still, Sanchez made a fairly smooth transition from the NL to the AL—he posted a 3.86 ERA during the regular season—and clearly doesn't shy away from the big stage.
Shaun Marcum, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Shaun Marcum is one of those guys who has been solid his entire career and still falls under the radar.
Posting a career record of 57-36 with a 3.76 ERA, the six-year starter has been one of the most consistent starters in baseball since 2007.
Since 2008, Marcum has never posted an ERA over 4.00 in a season, and he has collected 42 wins during that period. He doesn't have gaudy stats, and he's not going to wow you with his strikeout numbers, but this guy is consistent.
Because he's coming off a season in which he made only 21 starts and he lacks postseason experience, I don't think Marcum will be one of the most sought-after pitching targets this winter.
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