10 Remaining 2015-16 MLB Free Agents Who Suddenly Look Like Huge Values

Karl Buscheck@@KarlBuscheckContributor IIIDecember 6, 2015

10 Remaining 2015-16 MLB Free Agents Who Suddenly Look Like Huge Values

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    J Pat Carter/Associated Press

    "Value" isn't exactly the word that comes to mind when thinking about the 2015-2016 MLB free-agent class.

    While aces like David Price and Zack Greinke have made fortunes in recent days, there are still plenty of free agents who can be bought at bargain prices.

    The players who populate the following list fall into two general groups. The first are players who play a position where there are all sorts of options at that given spot. Asa result of that glut of talent, some of the lower-profile targets could end up signing at team-friendly prices.

    The second group of players consists of big leaguers who were late entrants to the free-agent frenzy after getting non-tendered by their old clubs. That list of players includes a couple of potent power bats and one starter who has front-line potential.

1B/DH Pedro Alvarez

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 29

    The Resume

    It's not easy to find free-agent mashers with the kind of pop that Pedro Alvarez supplies.

    Last year—of the free-agent class—only Chris Davis (47) and Yoenis Cespedes (35) went yard more times than Alvarez (27). Those two guys are able to rake in multiyear megadeals, while David Schoenfield of ESPN projected that the Alvarez will sign for a one-year, $8 million deal with an option for 2017.

    The obvious knock on the 28-year-old is that his shoddy glove work at first base leaves him best suited for a designated hitter's gig.

    Still, there should be plenty of American League clubs checking in on Alvarez. As Schoenfield noted, the Baltimore Orioles make sense as a potential destination—especially if Crush Davis departs. The Los Angeles Angels, whose lineup leans heavily to the left side, would also be an intriguing option if the club could find a defensive home for Alvarez.

    Logical Landing Spots: Angels, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics and Orioles

1B/DH Chris Carter

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 29

    The Resume

    Chris Carter cracks this list for the same reason that Pedro Alvarez does. Simply put, the right-handed slugger is a buy-low free agent who offers big time power. Over the past three seasons, Carter averaged 30 home runs per year for the Houston Astros.

    Like Alvarez, Carter only joined the free-agent pool after his former employer neglected to tender him a contract. Even though he just got axed from Houston's roster, Carter is very much taking a glass half full approach.

    "It’s exciting," Carter told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. "It’s uncharted territory for me."

    Even with his staggering strikeout numbers (151 Ks in 391 at-bats in 2015), there will be an array of clubs—especially AL outfits—ready to gamble on Carter's power.  The Cleveland Indians have already shown an interest in Carter (and Alvarez), according to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com.

    Logical Landing Spots: Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox and Indians

RP Tony Sipp

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 32

    The Resume

    So far, the market for free-agent relievers has been extremely quiet.

    One of the lower-profile relievers who should be generating some buzz is Tony Sipp. A lefty who racks up punch outs, Sipp has a unique skill set among the free-agent bullpen options. Last year, the veteran sported a 1.99 ERA in 60 outings and posted a 10.3 K/9 ratio.

    Earlier in the offseason, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs projected that the 32-year-old would sign for two years and $10 million. At that rate, there should be a flood of teams calling Sipps's agent.

    Logical Landing Spots: Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and Oakland Athletics

SP Doug Fister

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 32

    The Resume

    Doug Fister's contract season definitely didn't go to plan.

    The veteran right-hander pitched his way right out of the Washington Nationals rotation last summer by sporting a 4.60 ERA and allowing a .302 opponents' average in 15 starts.

    As underwhelming as those numbers were, Fister has the track record that indicates that he's definitely worth a buy-low deal as he attempts to rebuild his value on the free-agent front.

    In his seven seasons in the bigs, Fister has compiled a 3.42 ERA. And back in 2014—his first season with the Nationals—the starter was eighth in NL Cy Young award voting as he posted a 2.41 ERA.

    Logical Landing Spots: Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants

Mike Napoli, 1B/DH/LF

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 34

    The Resume

    After a dismal start to to 2015 with the Boston Red Sox (.207 average), Mike Napoli roared to life following his summer swap to the Texas Rangers (.295 average).

    The right-handed hitter is an especially strong option for any club looking for a little extra thump against southpaws. Last season for the Rangers, Napoli clocked in with a .364 average and a 1.142 OPS against lefties.

    The sample size was small (55 at-bats), but for a team looking for a versatile slugger—last year Napoli logged time in the outfield, first base and DH—the 34-year-old makes for a strong free-agent target.

    Logical Landing Spots: Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers

SP Scott Kazmir

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 32

    The Resume

    One of the primary reasons that Scott Kazmir is such a compelling free-agent target is that the lefty isn't attached to draft-pick compensation.

    The other primary reason is that the starter was highly effective in 2015.

    While splitting the season between the Oakland Athletics and the Houston Astros, Kazmir ranked fourth among AL starters with a 3.10 ERA. Marco Estrada, who ranked fifth in that department, has already signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Kazmir is one of the starters that the Los Angeles Dodgers have "reached out to." If he can be had on a two-year deal in the neighborhood of what Estrada made, plenty of teams will be reaching out to the vet.

    Logical Landing Spots: Chicago Cubs, Dodgers, Houston Astros and New York Yankees

SP Hisashi Iwakuma

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 34

    The Resume

    The unheralded Hisashi Iwakuma doesn't generate a ton of buzz, but he's quietly been an awfully effective starter ever since landing at Safeco Field in 2012.

    In his four seasons in the bigs, the right-hander has never posted an ERA north of 3.54. A lat strain put a cramp on his campaign a season ago, as he made just 20 starts for the Seattle Mariners. But his second half numbers were highly encouraging.

    In 15 starts after the All-Star break, Iwakuma went 8-4 with a 3.05 ERA and he threw a no-hitter on Aug. 12.

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers have placed Iwakuma on their short-list of targets after losing Zack Greinke to the Arizona Diamondbacks. No one is going to confuse Iwakuma for the 2015 ERA king, but the Japanese starter still has the track record to be a shrewd low-profile addition for the Dodgers or an array of other suitors.

    Logical Landing Spots: Dodgers, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals

RP/SP Yusmeiro Petit

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 31

    The Resume

    After being non-tendered by the San Francisco Giants, Yusmeiro Petit is in an intriguing free-agent option for just about any club looking for a versatile arm.

    What makes Petit such a useful pitcher is that he's not just capable of pitching out of relief. As noted by ESPN.com, the right-hander set a MLB record by retiring 46 consecutive batters over the course of eight appearances (six in relief) back in 2014.

    The 31-year-old is an economical option for teams looking to add some insurance to their pitching staff. Per MLBTradeRumors.com, Petit is projected to make just $2.4 million via the arbitration process this winter.

    Logical Landing Spots: Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers

CF Denard Span

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 32

    The Resume

    From Yoenis Cespedes to Jason Heyward to Alex Gordon and Justin Upton, the free-agent market is awash with talented outfielders.

    One vet who's getting lost in the crush is Denard Span. One reason why the market for the leadoff man has been relatively quiet is that Span didn't play much in 2015. Thanks to several injuries, Span only appeared in 61 contests for the Washington Nationals.

    When he was on the diamond, Span sure made his mark in the nation's capital. Washington was 35-24 when the table-setter started and just 48-55 when he missed out, per Ben Raby of the Washington Post.

    According to Marc Carig of Newsday, the NL East-rival New York Mets are one of the clubs interested in importing Span.

    The left-handed hitter would be a great buy if he could be had at a similar price tag as Nori Aoki, who recently inked a one-year $5.5 million deal (plus a $6 million mutual vesting option for 2017) with the Seattle Mariners.

    Logical Landing Spots: Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Mets

SP Henderson Alvarez

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    Joe Skipper/Associated Press

    2016 Opening Day Age: 25

    The Resume

    Twenty-five-year-old starters with front-of-the-rotation stuff aren't supposed to end up on the free-agent block. But thanks to the Miami Marlins' puzzling decision to not tender Henderson Alvarez a contract, here the righty is.

    Back in 2014, Alavrez was one of the nastier starters in the Senior Circuit. That season, he made the NL All-Star team as he reeled off a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts for the Fish.

    Unfortunately for Alvarez, the 2015 season was a train wreck, as a shoulder injury limited him to just four outings. Per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, his shoulder, which will sideline him until May or June, was the reason that the Marlins cut ties with Alvarez.

    Now, teams are lining up to take a chance on the injured starter. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, "there are already 10 teams in" on Alvarez.

    And why not? Controllable starters are one of the most valuable commodities in the game and Alvarez remains under club control for the next three seasons.

    Logical Landing Spots: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates

    Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and MLB.com. All salary information courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts on BaseballProspectus.com.

    If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.


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