The free-agent class of 2012 is one of the most exciting in recent memory because of the amount of talent available at most of the positions. Many positions are overloaded with talent, but there can be only one "best player" available.
Now that the 2011 MLB season is over, the baseball world will be waiting to hear who gets signed by what team and which players exercise their available options.
2011 Stats: .299 BA, 38 HR, 120 RBI
Fielder is the best option at 1B because of how productive he is combined with his age. He won't be turning 28 years old until May of 2012, and he's a safer option for a team that's willing to give him a long-term contract.
Honorable Mention: Albert Pujols
2011 Stats: .299 BA, 37 HR, 99 RBI
2011 Stats: .278 BA, 1 HR, 20 RBI
The 2012 free-agent class for second basemen weakened after Robinson Cano and Brandon Phillips both had their options picked up by their perspective teams at the end of the season. Punto is the best option available at second base among the '12 free agents.
Honorable Mention: Ramon Santiago
2011 Stats: .260 BA, 5 HR, 30 RBI
2011 Stats: .306 BA, 26 HR, 93 RBI
The 33-year-old third baseman is, by far, the best option among the '12 free-agent third basemen. Ramirez still has plenty of pop in his bat, and his glove is solid, though it's getting a little old. Ramirez is a perfect option for an American League team because of his ability to DH, as well as occupy the hot corner.
Honorable Mention: Wilson Betemit
2011 Stats: .285 BA, 8 HR, 46 RBI
2011 Stats: .337 BA, 7 HR, 44 RBI
Reyes is, without a doubt, the top shortstop available in the '12 free-agency class. He's very solid in the field, and his production at the plate explains it all. He's only 28 years old, but his health may be the only determinant that scares away potential suitors.
Honorable Mention: Jimmy Rollins
2011 Stats: .268 BA, 16 HR, 63 RBI
2011 Stats: .261 BA, 16 HR, 73 RBI
Johnny Damon is a solid option among the '12 free-agent left fielders. He finds a way to get on base, and it seems like he's a great personality in the clubhouse. Damon is a winner, and he'll do whatever is best for the team.
Honorable Mention: Mark DeRosa
2011 Stats: .279 BA, 0 HR, 12 RBI
DeRosa is a great utility option if he can stay healthy. He can play just about anywhere in the field, and that quality is irreplaceable during the dog days of summer.
2011 Stats: .224 BA, 10 HR, 32 RBI
Sizemore is an All-Star-caliber player, but he always finds a way to land on the DL. It's possible that he can be the steal of the '12 free agent class if he stays healthy for an extended period of time.
Honorable Mention: Endy Chavez
2011 Stats: .301 BA, 5 HR, 27 RBI
2011 Stats: .300 BA, 22 HR, 84 RBI
Beltran is similar to Jose Reyes. If he can stay healthy, he's as productive as nearly any other guy in his class, but health is no guarantee.
Honorable Mention: Jason Kubel
2011 Stats: .273 BA, 12 HR, 53 RBI
2011 Stats: .309 BA, 29 HR, 96 RBI
Big Papi has plenty of pop in his bat to be wanted by every team in the American League. His offensive production is the only thing you need to look at.
Honorable Mention: Vladimir Guerrero
2011 Stats: .290 BA, 13 HR, 63 RBI
2011 Stats: .305 BA, 14 HR, 65 HR
Yadier's value goes way beyond his offensive production. Molina is one of the most—if not the most—defensive catchers in the game. He has no fear of throwing down to any base in a pick-off attempt, and he has a cannon down to second base. Molina controls his pitchers, and he knows when and where to throw each pitch.
Honorable Mention: Ramon Hernandez
2011 Stats: .282 BA, 12 HR, 36 RBI
2011 Stats: 16-7, 2.94 ERA, 206 K, 74 BB
Wilson may not have necessarily shined in the postseason for the Texas Rangers, but he still has the talent to be an ace on plenty of staffs around the MLB.
Honorable Mention: Mark Buerhle
2011 Stats: 13-9, 3.59 ERA, 109 K, 45 BB
2011 Stats: 43 SV, 2.44 ERA, 51 K, 21 BB
Honorable Mention: Francisco Rodriguez
2011 Stats: 4-0, 1.86 ERA, 33 K, 10 BB