When free agency hits in any sport, the headlines belong to the superstars who command exorbitant contracts. While these players can be game changers, it is just as important to find bargains on the free-agent market.
Here are three players who are being overlooked but will give tremendous value to their next teams.
Juan Uribe, 3B, 34 years old
Most of the hoopla surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers revolved around rookie sensation Yasiel Puig, and Juan Uribe flew under the radar as a result. The third baseman bounced back from a disappointing two-year stretch in 2011 and 2012 and was a big part of the Dodgers’ success.
He was one of the best all-around third basemen in the MLB, and his hitting was significantly better than in the last two seasons.
Uribe had the ninth-best batting average of third basemen with at least 400 plate appearances, and he was quietly one of the best defensive players at his position.
At 34 years old, the veteran probably won’t receive a huge contract, but he would be a great addition at a reasonable price.
Joaquin Benoit, P, 36 years old
Despite spending most of his career as a middle reliever, Joaquin Benoit excelled as a closer for the Detroit Tigers. According to FanGraphs.com, Benoit had the 15th-best ERA of middle relievers last season and blew only two saves.
He’s being overshadowed by closers like Joe Nathan and Brian Wilson, but he could be a great value signing for a team in need of some late-inning help.
Additionally, his versatility to pitch as either a setup man or a closer would be a big help to a team looking to build its bullpen.
Dioner Navarro, C, 29 years old
In an offseason with a number of highly rated catchers, the market should be slow for Dioner Navarro. For a prospective team, however, that means he can be had for a relatively low price, and he could end up being a bargain.
He was third among all catchers (minimum 200 plate appearances) in batting average last year and sixth in on-base percentage, according to FanGraphs.com.
Navarro was an average fielder behind the plate, but he would be a useful addition to a team that needs a catcher who can produce in the batting lineup.