MLB Free Agency: Power Ranking the 20 Best Hitters Still Available
The winter meetings have seen a lot of action so far.
Carl Crawford signed with the Boston Red Sox yesterday for seven years and 142 million dollars. This was in the wake of the huge contract given to Jayson Werth a week earlier from the Washington Nationals.
After the top two hitters on the market have signed, the remaining players have a starting point in negotiations and there are still plenty of quality hitters remaining for teams looking to fill out their lineups.
Here are the top 20 hitters remaining.
20. Jim Edmonds
Jim Edmonds proved last season that even old guys can still contribute.
Edmonds had a solid season last year and was part of a playoff team in Cincinnati.
He only played about half the time, and at this point in his career, can't be depended on as an everyday player. However, Edmonds hit .276, 11 Home Runs and had an OPS of .846.
Edmonds can add veteran leadership and take some clutch at bats for a team looking for a left-handed DH platoon.
19. Jack Cust
Jack Cust is another left-handed DH player that can offer steady hitting.
Last season, Cust hit .272 with 13 HR, 52 RBI and an .834 OPS.
His numbers could improve when surrounded by better players and in a stadium that is a little more conducive to hitting.
18. Marcus Thames
A right-handed DH, Marcus Thames could be a good asset for a team looking for a little bit of power from the right side.
Last year with the New York Yankees, Thames played in 82 games, hitting .288 with 12 HR, 33 RBI and .841 OPS.
17. Scott Podsednik
Scott Podsednik, at 33, still showed the speed that has made him a valuable player for the last few seasons.
Last season, while splitting time between the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Podsednik hit .297 with 6 HR, 51 RBI and a .724 OPS. He also added 35 stolen bases and played very good defense in Left Field.
Podsednik could be an affordable top of the lineup spark plug for many teams.
16. Russell Branyan
Russell Branyan, 33, is another left-handed DH free agent.
Branyan spent last season in Cleveland and Seattle, hitting .237 with 25 HR, 57 RBI and an .810 OPS.
Branyan can add instant power, if nothing else, to many lineups.
15. Troy Glaus
Troy Glaus, the hulking 34-year-old 1B, helped the Atlanta Braves get Bobby Cox into one last postseason before retirement.
The former World Series MVP can put up some power from the right side. Last season he hit .240 with 16 HR, 71 RBI and a .744 OPS.
At this point of his career, he is more of a DH than 1B, more suited to the American League.
14. Jose Guillen
Jose Guillen, 34, made $12 million dollars last year, but next season some team will be able to sign him for far less.
Guillen started the season in Kansas City but was one of many late season additions to the San Francisco Giants who won the World Series.
Guillen hit .258, 19 HR, 77 RBI and had a .730 OPS.
13. Orlando Cabrera
Orlando Cabrera, 36, has been a crucial part of two-straight division winners in 2009 (with the Minnesota Twins) and 2010 (with the Cincinnati Reds).
Even after a down offensive year, by his standards, he still offers an above average bat to the shortstop position.
Last year with the Reds he hit .263, 4 HR, 42 RBI and had a .657 OPS.
12. Adam LaRoche
Adam LaRoche, 31, played 1B for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.
LaRoche can add power from the left side of the plate. Last season in Arizona, he hit .261, 25 HR, 100 RBI and had a .788 OPS.
11. BIll Hall
Bill Hall, 30, played LF for the Boston Red Sox last season and after the Carl Crawford signing, is almost assured to be moving on to a new team.
Last season, Hall hit .247, 18 HR, 46 RBI and had a .772 OPS.
He can add solid hitting for a number of teams.
10. Derrek Lee
Derrek Lee, 35, had a below average season by his standards, but he still is one of the top 10 hitters available.
Lee moved on from his long stint in Chicago after a mid-season trade to the Atlanta Braves.
He hit a combined .260, 19 HR, 80 RBI and had a .774 OPS.
Even at 35, there is plenty of pop left in his bat, and he is a veteran player who can still bring it.
9. Johnny Damon
Johnny Damon, 37, spent last season in Detroit playing LF and DH.
At his age, he can still be a contributor on a good ballclub.
Damon hit .271, 8 HR, 51 RBI and had a .756 OPS.
If Damon doesn't out-price himself and accepts a smaller role on a club, he can still be very productive while adding leadership in the clubhouse.
8. Russell Martin
Russell Martin, 27, is a free agent Catcher who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.
A few seasons ago, Martin was considered one of the best catchers in the National League. Injuries have hampered his production with only 97 games played in 2010.
Given his age, position and potential upside, he could still be an important free agent signing.
Last season, Martin hit .248, 5 HR, 26 RBI and had a .679 OPS.
7. Hideki Matsui
Hideki Matsui, 36, was DH for the Anaheim Angels last season.
The 2009 World Series MVP had another solid season.
He hit .274, 21 HR, 84 RBI and had an .820 OPS.
6. Manny Ramirez
Manny Ramirez, now at 38 years of age, is coming off one of the worst offensive seasons of his career.
Despite all the turmoil, and under-performing, Ramirez still managed to hit .298, 9 HR, 42 RBI and had an .870 OPS.
Ramirez comes with all the baggage in the world, but when motivated, he can still be one of the better hitters in the game. It will be interesting to see what team wants to roll the dice on Manny this season.
5. Magglio Ordonez
Magglio Ordonez, 36, had a nice bounce back season after an underwhelming 2009.
Ordonez played solid RF for the Detroit Tigers last season hitting .303, 12 HR, 59 RBI and having a .852 OPS.
4. Orlando Hudson
Orlando Hudson, 32, can't seem to find a home. He played 2B for the Minnesota Twins last season and will be on the move again this offseason.
Hudson brings a solid bat and gold glove caliber defense to the middle infield.
In 2010, Hudson hit a little below his norm, with a .268, 6 HR, 37 RBI and a .710 OPS in 126 games.
3. Jim Thome
Jim Thome had one of his most efficient seasons in 2010 at the ripe age of 40.
The Minnesota Twins DH hit .283, 25 HR, 59 RBI and had a 1.039 OPS in 2010. All while only having 276 AB.
Thome's splits vs. left- and right-handed pitching were a cause for concern. His OPS was nearly 400 points lower vs. left-handed pitching. But for a team looking for a bat off the bench vs. right-handers, look no further than Thome.
2. Vladimir Guerrero
Vladimir Guerrero, 35, had a big time comeback season with the Texas Rangers in 2010.
The right-handed DH provided protection for AL MVP Josh Hamilton and helped lead the Rangers to their first playoff series win and World Series berth.
After hitting .300, 29 HR, 115 RBI, with a .841 OPS, Guerrero lands as the second best available hitter remaining in free agency.
1. Adrian Beltre
The best remaining free agent hitter is Adrian Beltre.
Beltre, 31, played 3B for the Boston Red Sox last season. After the trade for Adrian Gonzalez, and the signing of Carl Crawford, Beltre has assuredly played his final game for the Red Sox.
Beltre may be the best defensive third baseman in the American League and adds a stellar bat to go along with the glove.
Last season, Beltre hit .321, 28 HR, 102 RBI and had a .919 OPS.
Beltre has been known to be a contract year stud, so it will be interesting to see if he continues to play at such a high level if he is given a longer contract this off-season.