Those of us in the analysis game love to focus on the negative. Who is going to be a bust? Which team is going to make the big mistake this winter? Sometimes, it feels like there is just too much negative energy out there.
As the free agency period is set to begin, we should focus on the positive.
So, here are 10 players that won't disappoint. They will produce what people think they will, and their teams will be happy they signed them. Most of them are not studs, but most of them are poised to be regulars for whoever signs them. They won't make big headlines, but they will make their teams better.
The key to being a bargain is understanding expectations. The Pirates thought Ryan Doumit was going to be a star when they signed him to his last contract.
Doumit isn't going to be a star. In fact, he isn't even going to be a regular catcher. Therefore, he isn't a fit with every team. He is a great fit for a team that wants a hybrid catcher/DH/first baseman.
Hernandez and Doumit are cut from a similar cloth. The difference is that Hernandez has better receiving skills, but his age keeps him from playing everyday. Plus, while he is proficient defensively, he is not gifted.
Still, he showed some versatility in Cincinnati with his ability to play first. He also adjusted nicely to the reduced playing time. He'd be a great fit on a team that needs a good backup catcher and someone that can play a little first base.
Some fans seem to think Ortiz will be a bust, and I don't get it. He rolls out of bed hitting.
No, he doesn't hit 40 bombs or drive in 130 anymore, but last season's OPS numbers were among the best of his career. He adapts and finds ways to be productive.
Yes, he is limited to where he can go, but if he doesn't return to Boston, he will find work somewhere.
Here is one that nearly everyone calls a potential bust.
First of all, no one is going to give him superstar money, so please stop treating him like one. Secondly, it's time to drop batting average. Let it go. I'd stop short of saying it doesn't matter, but OBP is far more significant, and Pena does fine there.
Plus, he is a solid defensive first baseman. He isn't going to make anyone forget Lou Gehrig, but who will?
Like with Doumit, players will not be busts when we don't heap unrealistic expectations on them.
Ellis is going to win any Silver Slugger awards, but he is still capable of winning a Gold Glove award. In Colorado, he rediscovered enough of his stroke to be a solid hitter. He probably fits better there than anywhere else, but he can still find a home elsewhere.
When he came up, people just laughed at his name, but now, they know he can play.
He won't win any Gold Gloves, stolen base titles or Silver Slugger awards, but he can do a little bit of everything. What he will do is give you a solid 500 at bats and 1,000-plus innings of defensive work.
Again, think realistic expectations.
For the past three seasons, Nix has been a serviceable fourth outfielder. He became the de facto regular left fielder last season in Washington when Michael Morse moved to first base.
His career .718 OPS is not going to blow anyone away, but most teams don't have this kind of quality ready to come off the bench. His playing time could dry up with Bryce Harper on the come, so he may look to get out of town.
Many think Roy Oswalt is on the decline, and they may be right, but I'll take 75 percent of Roy Oswalt over most pitchers any day.
If he is willing to accept a short-term incentive laden deal, he could be a real bargain for someone. He may not be a staff ace anymore, but a contending team should jump at the opportunity of getting a third or fourth starter like Oswalt.
Possible Fits: Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Rangers, Cardinals
What pitcher in baseball has the most consecutive double digit victory seasons? That's right, it's Javier Vazquez.
Vazquez often gets criticized for not being a big game pitcher, but you set your watch by him. Go ahead and pencil him in for 10 wins, 180 innings and about 150 strikeouts. In fact, you can probably use a ballpoint pen.
Possible Fits: Marlins, Mets, Phillies, Reds, Rockies, Angels
The mantra in Wall Street is to buy low and sell high.
The same is true in front offices.
Broxton is overpowering, but he is also coming off of injury. That injury might entice the Dodgers to let him go, and it will drop down the value of the contract. Teams looking for an affordable closer should kick the tires.
Possible Fits: Dodgers, Cardinals, Mets, Phillies, Indians