MLB Rumors: Ranking the Top 10 Free Agent Hitters Remaining on the Market

Vince CestoneContributor IIIJanuary 18, 2011

MLB Rumors: Ranking the Top 10 Free Agent Hitters Remaining on the Market

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    Vladimir Guerrero near the batting cage before a World Series game.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Many of the top free agents already signed with their new teams, but plenty of good talent is still up for grabs.

    If there was one lesson to be learned from the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants, it was that contributions can come from those in the bargain bin. While the current free agent list may not be the best to chose from, this collection of players might just become the next rag-tag group of misfits.

    Currently, who is the top free agent out there? Will one of them help a team get into the playoffs and beyond?

    Here is a ranking of the top 10 free agent hitters that remain on the market.

     

     

     

     

    This article was featured on the blog Talking Giants Baseball.

    Follow me on twitter @vintalkingiants

    Do RBIs measure a player's offensive worth? Click here to vote.

    Questions? Comments? Feedback? E-mail my blog mailbag at vc4re@yahoo.com. Your question may be posted on my blog, along with answers.

1. Vladimir Guerrero

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Vladimir Guerrero may be 35, but he can still hit like he's 25.

    In 2010, his .300 average, 29 home runs, and 115 RBIs helped the Rangers get to the World Series. With these stellar offensive numbers, Guerrero is no doubt the best hitting position player on the free agent market.

    Although he played a few games in the outfield in 2010, Guerrero is best suited for the DH role with an American League team, as shown by his abysmal outfield play during the World Series.

     

     

    Click here to see Vlad's World Series outfield mishaps.

2. Manny Ramirez

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Manny Ramirez is no doubt best suited for the DH role, but he still has a quick bat that any American League team can use. In 2010, Ramirez hit .298, with just nine home runs and 42 RBIs in 90 games, but had a .409 on-base percentage.

    Ramirez may not be the power threat he once was, but he is still a presence at the plate and is still feared by pitchers.

3. Jermaine Dye

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Jermaine Dye intends to play in 2011 and has been contacted by the Rockies, Phillies, and Rays.

    In 2009, his last full season, Dye proved that he still had something to offer. That year, Dye hit .250, with 27 home runs and 81 RBIs.

    Now, as Dye turns 37, Rosenthal said via twitter that he could be an intriguing righty bat. However, he is an awful defensive outfielder, but Rosenthal also tweeted that Dye will probably latch on somewhere.

4. Russell Branyan

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Branyan can hit the long ball, but struggles to hit for average or get on base. It is either outhouse or castle for him.

    In 2010, Branyan hit .237, with 25 home runs and 57 RBIs, for Seattle and Cleveland. His career high is the 31 homers he hit in 2009.

    Even though he strikes out a lot, he can still bring a little pop as a DH.

5. Johnny Damon

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The latest on Johnny Damon was that the Angels and Rays were interested in his services, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Heyman also noted that Damon, like many others on this list, is a defensive liability.

    At 37 years old, Damon is best suited for the DH role. In 2010, Damon hit .271, with eight home runs and 51 RBIs for Detroit.

    Heyman said the Angels could potentially stick Damon at the top of their lineup.

6. Jorge Cantu

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The 2010 campaign was a down year for Cantu. In his worst full season as a big leaguer, Cantu hit just .256, with 11 home runs and 56 RBIs.

    When healthy, Cantu can be a legitimate power threat. In 155 games played in 2008, he hit a career high 29 home runs.

    Although he can play all around the infield, Cantu's best position is first base.

    With Cantu's down season, he may be a cheap option on the free agent market. If he can stay healthy, he might rebound and put up decent numbers in 2011.

7. Orlando Cabrera

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Orlando Cabrera is a solid option for a team looking for a backup shortstop. Buster Olney of Espn.com reported that the Twins might view Cabrera as an upgrade over Alexi Casilla on a cheap, one-year deal.

    In 2010, Cabrera hit .263, with four home runs and 42 RBIs for the Cincinnati Reds. He is a little guy who swings hard and has a little bit of power. 

8. Hank Blalock

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Blalock did not do well in 2010, and the Rays took him out of his misery. When Gabe Kapler came off the disabled list, Blalock was given the boot from Tampa Bay.

    2009 was a little better for the designated hitter. That year, he mashed 25 home runs, but he hit just .234.

    Not much has been reported about Blalock this offseason. Any American League team in desperate need of power might want to give him a minor league deal and a shot to bounce back.

9. Joe Crede

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Crede is ready for a comeback after sitting out 2010 following back surgery, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com.

    "He's healthy, ready to go and he's going to continue his career. He's ready to come back and play," agent Scott Boras said.

    In 2009, Crede hit .225, with 15 home runs, but has hit as many as 30 home runs in a season.

    Merkin also said that Crede is a bargain at third base, but is a poor bet to stay healthy. Still, he could be an adequate regular.

10. Eric Chavez

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    According to the Dodgers' MLB.com website, Los Angeles has considered signing Eric Chavez.

    In recent years, Eric Chavez has been plagued with injuries while playing for the Oakland Athletics. Once a potential superstar third baseman, Chavez is now looking for a change of scenery.

    If a team can sign Chavez to a minor league contract at or near the minimum, this would be a low-risk solution.

    At 33, he might have a little bit left, so why not take the chance on this rag-tag misfit if the philosophy worked in 2010 for the San Francisco Giants?

     

     

     

     

    This article was featured on the blog Talking Giants Baseball.

    Follow me on twitter @vintalkingiants

    Do RBIs measure a player's offensive worth? Click here to vote.

    Questions? Comments? Feedback? E-mail my blog mailbag at vc4re@yahoo.com. Your question may be posted on my blog, along with answers.