Top 5 Overlooked Free-Agent Hitters
Big name free agents are quickly being signed early in the offseason. MLB teams, however, continue to strive for their goals and look at players that can help them either contend for the playoffs or fill in some gaps on the roster. Here's a look at five players that are being overlooked so far and could possibly become helpful weapons in the 2012 season.
5. Carlos Peña
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As the Chicago Cubs look to find a big-name free agent at first base, Peña will most likely not re-sign with the team. Together with his tremendous power and superior fielding skills, Peña could attract many teams in need of a power hitter in their lineup. He has hit a total of 172 home runs over the past five seasons, and continues to show aggressiveness at the plate. Money could become an issue, but he’ll be looking to land a full-time starting job any time soon.
Latest News: Brewers and Giants have shown interest in Peña
4. Casey Kotchman
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Kotchman has a lot to prove after having a resurgent season for the Tampa Bay Rays. As an outstanding fielder and a patient hitter at the plate, he could attract many teams in search of a first baseman. Kotchman could be looking for a multi-year deal that can guarantee him a starting job and an important role on a team. The Milwaukee Brewers would be the best fit for Kotchman as they try to look past their recent issues regarding Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.
Latest News: None
3. Juan Pierre
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Several scouts could argue that Juan Pierre has declined over the past two seasons and has shown many signs of aging; however, let's not forget about how great of a hitter Pierre is. Pierre is still only 34 years old and can be a good leadoff hitter for teams looking to add strength to the top of their lineup.
After being thrown out 17 times in 44 tries in this past season, he’ll be asked to limit his stolen base attempts, but continue to scare pitchers with his quick reflexes. Pierre made $8.5 million in 2011 and would almost certainly be available at the same price. His defensive liability can also cause teams to think twice, but for clubs like the Giants and the Nationals, this isn’t their main concern.
Latest News: Washington Nationals have recently contacted Pierre
2. Johnny Damon
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Many question how much is left in the tank for Damon. After a quiet season with the Rays, batting .261 with 16 home runs and 19 stolen bases, Damon hopes to rebound and gather himself for the final run of his Hall of Fame Career. At 37, he’ll most likely be looking to keep a DH job and stay off the field on defense. Thus, Damon will hope to re-sign a two-year deal with the Rays and stay in Tampa.
Latest News: Wants to stay with the Rays after he told the St. Petersburg Times that he doesn’t “feel like packing anything up"
1. Michael Cuddyer
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At age 32, Cuddyer still has a lot to offer for a team in need of a mid-lineup veteran. Last season, he was able to bat .284 and provide 20 home runs along with 70 RBIs for the Minnesota Twins. He’ll be looking to sign a three- to four-year deal that could most likely leave him in the AL. On the other hand, questions still remain on whether it could benefit him by moving away from Target Field.
Latest News: Minnesota Twins offered a $25 million, three-year deal