MLB Free Agency Rumors: The Top 25 Free-Agent Outfielders

Robert Knapel@@RobertKnapel_BRCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2010

MLB Free Agency Rumors: The Top 25 Free-Agent Outfielders

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    This year's free-agent class is fairly weak overall. This is true of the available outfielders as well. There is a lot of good talent at the top of the class, but from there, it declines fairly quickly.

    With many teams looking to fill a hole in their outfield, you can expect a few bidding wars to occur over some of these players.

No. 25: Matt Stairs

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    2010 Line: .232 BA/.306 OBP/.475 SLG, 6 HR, 16 RBI

    At this point in his career, Stairs is nothing more than a backup outfielder. With that being said, however, he is still someone that could help a team as a pinch hitter. He does provide some pop, as is evident from his six home runs in 99 at-bats.

No. 24: Willie Harris

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    2010 Line: .183/.291/.362, 10 HR, 32 RBI, 5 SB

    Harris makes the list more because of his versatility defensively than anything else. He can play all three spots in the outfield in addition to second and third base. He is a player that would be useful as a utility man to many teams.

No. 23: Jay Gibbons

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    2010 Line: .280/.313/.517, 5 HR, 17 RBI

    After spending all of 2008 and 2009 out, Gibbons finally returned to the majors in 2010. He showed that he still has some of the power that he displayed earlier in his career, as he hit his five home runs in just 75 at-bats. Gibbons can serve as a team's fifth outfielder or as a bat off of the bench.

No. 22: Jim Edmonds

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    2010 Line: .276/.342/.504, 11 HR, 23 RBI

    Edmonds is no longer the defensive wizard that he was years ago with the Cardinals. However, his offensive skills have not left him yet. He was productive last season even at age 40. He is a potential fourth outfielder who can play anywhere in the outfield and has even played a few games at first base.

No. 21: Austin Kearns

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    2010 Line: .263/.351/.395, 10 HR, 49 RBI

    Austin Kearns is another one of those players who has never lived up to his potential. He was the seventh overall pick in 1998. Kearns could be a solid third outfielder if he has a good season. He has 20-plus home run power and could be a run producer towards the end of a lineup.

No. 20: Xavier Nady

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    2010 Line: .256/.306/.353, 6 HR, 33 RBI

    After missing most of 2009 with an injury, Nady had a lackluster return in 2010. He struggled for most of the year with the Cubs. Nady's time as a starting outfielder may be done, and he may be resigned to being a fourth outfielder coming off the bench.

No. 19: Rick Ankiel (Mutual Option)

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    2010 Line: .232/.321/.389, 6 HR, 24 RBI

    After reaching the majors as a highly touted pitching prospect and then proceeding to lose all control of his pitches, Ankiel reinvented himself as a hitter. He exploded for 25 home runs and 71 RBI in 2008. However, the last two years have not been as kind, as Ankiel has hit just 17 home runs and had 62 RBI over that time.

    Ankiel has lots of raw power. He is a good choice as either a third or fourth outfielder or as a power bat off the bench. It appears that he will be available as the Braves will most likely turn down their half of his $6 million mutual option.

No. 18: Brad Hawpe

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    2010 Line: .245/.338/.419, 9 HR, 44 RBI

    Brad Hawpe is just one year removed from an All-Star season. Hawpe also had four consecutive 20-plus home run seasons entering this year. He ended up being one of the biggest disappointments in baseball this season and was cut by the Rockies in the middle of the year. Hawpe has the potential to be a good hitter once again.

No. 17: Corey Patterson

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    2010 Line: .256/.315/.406, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 21 SB

    Corey Patterson seems like a player that has been around forever. This makes sense since Patterson made his major league debut at just 20 years old. Now, at 30, Patterson has never developed into the player that he was expected to be when the Cubs drafted him third overall in 1998. However, Patterson is a serviceable third outfielder who could provide a team with around 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases over the course of a full season.

No. 16: Marcus Thames

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    2010 Line: .288/.350/.491, 12 HR, 33 RBI

    Thames only saw limited action this season, playing in just 82 games. His .288 batting average was a career high. He has the chance to be a 20-25 home run hitter if he is able to see full-time action. Thames could be a third outfielder for many teams in the majors.

No. 15: Johnny Damon

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    2010 Line: .275/.355/.401, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 11 SB

    Johnny Damon's power seemed to disappear in Detroit this year. He went from hitting 24 home runs last season to just eight this year. Damon is still fairly good defensively. Damon would still be a serviceable No. 2 hitter for many teams.

No. 14: Coco Crisp (Team Option)

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    2010 Line: .279/.342/.438, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 32 SB

    It will be interesting to see if the Oakland A's pick up Crisp's $5.75 million for next season. Crisp only played in 75 games this year so his numbers look better than they appear. He is a potential 15-plus home run and 45-plus steal player.

    However, there have always injury concerns surrounding him. Crisp has played just 124 games over the past two seasons. If healthy and available, he could be one of the steals from this year's free-agent class.

No. 13: Bill Hall

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    2010 Line: .247/.316/.456, 18 HR, 46 RBI, 9 SB

    After a horrible 2009 campaign, Hall once again showed what he could do with a bat. Hitting 18 home runs in limited action should net Hall a nice contract this offseason. His ability to play almost anywhere on the field should also help. This past season Hall played all three outfield potions, second base, shortstop, third base and pitcher.

No. 12: Eric Hinske

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    2010 Line: .256/.338/.456, 11 HR, 51 RBI

    Hinske is another outfielder who has the ability to play numerous positions. In addition to playing left field this year, he play both first and third base. Hinske has 20-plus home run power and can also hit 20-plus doubles over the course of a season.

No. 11: Scott Podsednik

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    2010 Line: .297/.342/.382, 6 HR, 51 RBI, 35 SB

    Podsednik is your prototypical leadoff hitter. He is a threat to steal 35-plus bases a year, and he will also provide some power. Podsednik plays above-average defense in the outfield. He has the speed to cover a lot of space in the outfield.

No. 10: Jose Guillen

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    2010 Line: .258/.314/.416, 19 HR, 77 RBI

    Jose Guillen is a power bat in the outfield. He was a solid addition for the Giants on their run to the playoffs. Guillen has the ability to hit over 30 home runs in a year and would be a great addition to the middle of a team's lineup.

No. 9: Andruw Jones

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    2010 Line: .230/.341/.486, 19 HR, 48 RBI, 9 SB

    After his 2008 season with the Dodgers it appeared that Andruw Jones was finished being a professional baseball player. His year could not be described as anything other than awful. However, Jones has gone through a bit of a resurgence over the past two years. Jones has the ability to bring a lot of power wherever he goes. His new team will, however, most likely have to deal with a low batting average from Jones.

No. 8: Jason Kubel (Team Option)

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    2010 Line: .249/.323/.427, 21 HR, 92 RBI

    It appears likely that the Twins will pick up Kubel's $5.25 million option. However, if they don't he will be one of the hotter commodities on the free-agent market this offseason. Kubel can hit 25-plus home runs and drive in over 100 runs in any given year. He would be a welcome addition to the middle of any team's lineup.

No. 7: Magglio Ordonez (Team Option)

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    2010 Line: .303/.378/.474, 12 HR, 59 RBI

    Ordonez will likely see his $15 million option declined by the Tigers after he missed almost half of the season due to an injury. This will most likely be some other team's gain. Ordonez is a career .312 hitter who also has the ability to drive in a lot of runs. He can slot into the No. 5 spot in some team's batting order and hit 25 home runs while driving in 100.

No. 6: Hideki Matsui

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    2010 Line: .274/.361/.459, 21 HR, 84 RBI

    Matsui has had a lot of success since coming to the MLB from Japan in 2003. Matsui retained his ability to be a power hitter, breaking 20 home runs in every season since 2004 that he has played at least 140 games. Matsui will likely stay in the American League, as his below-average defense causes him to DH often.

No. 5: Pat Burrell

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    2010 Line: .252/.348/.469, 20 HR, 64 RBI

    Pat "the Bat" Burrell was never able to replicate the success that he had in Philadelphia with the Rays. This led to his being acquired by the San Fransisco Giants. This is a move that has paid off greatly for the Giants. Burrell proved once again that he can be the big bat in the middle of a lineup. Burrell could once again hit 30-plus home runs if he lands in the right environment.

No. 4: Vladimir Guerrero (Mutual Option)

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    2010 Line: .300/.345/.496, 29 HR, 115 RBI

    Guerrero once again proved why he is one of the better position players in the major leagues. After hitting only 15 home runs last year, Guerrero nearly doubled that number this season. He also earned an All-Star Game appearance, the ninth of his career. Guerrero is also known to have a great arm in the outfield. It is uncertain if both sides will pick up his $9 million option or if he will be a free agent.

No. 3: Jayson Werth

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    2010 Line: .296/.388/.532, 27 HR, 85 RBI, 13 SB

    It appears that Dominic Brown may be forcing Jason Werth out of Philadelphia. Some other major league team is going to get very lucky as a result. Werth is the type of hitter that can become a staple in the middle of some lucky team's lineup for the next four to five years. Werth has also done a great job in right field this season. He had eight outfield assists this season.

No. 2: Adam Dunn

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    2010 Line: .260/.356/.536, 38 HR, 103 RBI

    Dunn is by far the best power bat available among free-agent outfielders. He has monster power and has the ability to hit 40-plus home runs a year. Putting him in the clean-up hole gives any team's lineup instant credibility. Dunn did spend most of this year at first base. However, for the majority of his career he has been an outfielder. His position next year will depend on what team signs him.

No. 1: Carl Crawford

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    2010 Line: .307/.356/.495, 13 3B, 19 HR, 90 RBI, 47 SB

    Crawford is one of the crown jewels of the 2010 free-agent class along with Cliff Lee. Crawford's 6.9 WAR was tied for third best among position players in the AL and sixth best among all MLB position players. Crawford is also one of the best defensive outfielders in the MLB. His 18.5 UZR was the fourth best among all outfielders. Crawford will make whatever team he signs with a lot better very quickly.