Examining the free agent outfield market - The LoHud Yankees Blog

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Examining the free agent outfield market

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Nov 16, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

USA Today has broken down baseball’s free agent class. A week ago, I posted their analysis of the bullpen market, fully intending to post the rest of the series day-by-day throughout the week. Instead, there were enough little things happening through the week that the series stayed on the back burner. Might post the rest of them today for a pretty thorough one-day look at the free agent market. 

Right now, here’s USA Today’s look at the available outfielders (a breakdown that was obviously written before Marlon Byrd signed Tuesday). It’s become pretty clear that the Yankees are in the market for an outfielder. They’re understandably dissatisfied with their current right field combination of Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells, and it’s entirely possible they’ll go after one of the big names on the market, with Carlos Beltran and Shin-Soo Choo being most often linked to the Yankees in free agent speculation.

World Series Red Sox Cardinals BaseballTop shelf

If you want one of the two finest free agent outfielders, you’ll need to put high-powered agent Scott Boras on speed dial.

Center fielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo are free agents, each represented by Boras, and neither is likely to return to his former home.

Ellsbury, a dynamic center fielder who can beat you with his speed or bat, is the best outfielder on the market. When healthy, he’s a game-changer. He led baseball with 172 hits from the leadoff position. He also stole 52 bases in 56 attempts, the best stolen-base percentage by anyone with at least 50 stolen bases since baseball kept track of the statistic in 1951. He has cracked the 50-stolen base barrier three times since 2008. Ellsbury has shown power in the past, hitting 32 homers in 2011, but no more than nine in any other season.

The risk in giving Ellsbury in excess of $100 million is that he has missed 264 games, and played in 384 games, since the end of the 2009 season, with fractured ribs, shoulder and foot injuries.

Choo represents the new-age outfielder. He doesn’t hit for great power, producing 21 homers and 54 RBI in the Cincinnati Reds’ bandbox, but gets on base and scores runs. He led leadoff hitters with a .423 on-base percentage and scored 107 runs. He also proved this past season he can play center field. The Reds, who tendered him a $14.1 million qualifying offer, say they will make a competitive offer to stay put. Choo should receive in excess of $90 million over five years, the amount that right fielder Hunter Pence received from the San Francisco Giants in September before hitting the free-agent market.

The days of those $100 million contracts are long gone for Carlos Beltran, but even though he’ll turn 37 in April, he’s still a valuable piece for contenders.

The Cardinals would like him back. But at their terms. They may give him a two-year contract for about $28 million, but are resisting going a third year. Beltran, a true professional and clubhouse leader, could find greater riches in the American League where he can play the outfield four days a week and be used as a DH the other days. Certainly, he’s still got it, hitting .282 with 56 homers, 181 RBI and an .836 OPS during his two years with the Cardinals.

Nelson Cruz is easily the greatest power hitter available on the free-agent market. He hit 27 homers in just 477 plate appearances, and has 80 homers since 2011.

He’s also the biggest risk.

Cruz was ensnared in the Biogenesis investigation and suspended 50 games. The suspension was served last season, much to the Rangers’ angst, protecting his free-agent value. The Rangers tendered him a $14.1 million qualifying offer, but they are hesitant to give him a multi-year deal simply because of the unknown. Melky Cabrera’s flop last season, coming off his 50-game suspension, has scared teams interested in position players with PED pasts. It also doesn’t help that Cruz’s defense has gotten worse every year.

Curtis Granderson, Vernon WellsMiddle class

Curtis Granderson certainly was in the elite class a year ago, but injuries and a deterioration of his defensive skills slide him here. Granderson was one of 13 players who received a $14.1 million qualifying offer. Still, Granderson, who turns 33 in March, is the best left-handed power hitter on the market. He was the only player in 2011 and 2012 to hit at least 40 homers with 100 RBI and 100 runs scored, and his 84 homers were 10 more than any player.

Granderson should have no problem finding teams willing to give him a three- or four-year deal in hopes that he returns to greatness.

Marlon Byrd was a pariah a year ago, and couldn’t find a team willing to even give him an invitation to their spring-training camp. Now, after hitting 24 homers with 88 RBI, while batting .291, he’ll find plenty of suitors. He not only proved he can still play at 36, but was a valuable leader with the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates. Certainly, he’ll get a nice raise over his $700,000 salary from a year ago, and likely a two-year contract.

Raul Ibanez, 41, hit 29 homers playing his home games in spacious Safeco Park in Seattle. It was his highest home run total since 2009. Certainly, his production is worth another one-year contract.

HartWorth a flyer

Corey Hart may be shopped as a first baseman, but can still play right field, even coming off two knee surgeries. When you average 24 homers with an .830 OPS in six years with the Milwaukee Brewers, defensive deficiencies can be overlooked.

Michael Morse hit 31 homers in 2011 for the Washington Nationals, but he has hit just 31 homers in the two years since his banner season, and he batted .215 last season for the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles.

Nate McLouth’s revival took a minor step back when he hit .258 with 12 homers and 36 RBI for the Orioles. He did steal 30 bases.

Recycling bin

David Murphy hit just .220 with 13 homers and 45 RBI last season for the Rangers, bad timing to have the worst year of his career.

Jason Kubel hit 30 homers with 30 doubles and 90 RBI in 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but lost his power and hitting stroke last season. He hit just .162 against lefties, and may be relegated to a platoon player.

Chris Young’s five-year, $28 million contract — a regrettable move by the Diamondbacks — has expired. He is a .235 career hitter who hit .200 with 12 homers last season as an extra outfielder with the A’s. He could be the type of pick-up his hometown Houston Astros may seek.

Remember when Delmon Young was going to be a superstar? Now, he’s a detriment defensively and rarely hits for power. He may be better candidate to be a DH.

If you want speed, Rajai Davis is your guy. He stole 45 bases for the Toronto Blue Jays. The trouble is he doesn’t get on base enough (.312 OBP) to fully utilize his speed.

Market watch

This is a deep class of free agents, but there’s risk with almost everyone. Several players had a chance to set up huge paydays with decent walk years; outside of Choo and Ellsbury, they failed.

Keep an eye on the four-year, $56 million figure, the contract handed out last winter to Nick Swisher of the Cleveland Indians. There will be plenty of agents arguing their client is worth more than Swisher, particularly with the national TV market escalating from $25 million to $52 million for each team next season.

Money will be no problem; finding the right outfielder to gamble on may be.

Associated Press photos

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42 Responses to “Examining the free agent outfield market”

  1. yankeefeminista November 16th, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Yankee Trader November 16th, 2013 at 12:30 pm
    When you have time you might be interested in this just released article on how W-L records with Pitchers fail to tell the entire story.

    http://www.talkingchop.com/201…..-about-war

    I wonder if Jerkface would agree.
    ___
    YT, not considering wins so much has kind of hit the mainstream going back quite a few years. A good example is Greinke win the Cy Young in 2009 in spite of having only 16 wins over King Felix, C and was it Verlander, all of whom had 19 wins. People are much more locked in to what the pitcher can control/peripherals; wins don’t tell the whole story and really don’t consider so many factors that the pitcher doesn’t influence, including team fielding, etc.

    MTU, I will get back to you on Tanaka later, but mostly agree. Love his split and breaking, hides the ball very very well, pinpoint command. I do see a slight hesitation in the delivery, but not the typical Japanese more prolonged one. I haven’t really seen any fastballs, except the high one that looked good on the video I saw. Got to run. Have a good one, all.

  2. jacksquat November 16th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    blake November 16th, 2013 at 12:28 pm
    “Yankee Trader says:
    November 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm
    In that article by Paul White it’s :

    Cano 8/223
    Tanaka 6/62
    McCann 4/65
    Choo 6/100
    Ellsbury 7/150
    Nathan 2/26
    Beltran 3/44
    Nolasco 3/35?

    This would be typical Yabkees and a waste……it’s halfway

    You call that halfway??

    Ellsbury
    Jeter
    Choo
    Cano
    Beltran/Soriano
    McCann
    Teixeira
    3B
    Gardner

    Just get Freese for 3B, very nice lineup.

    CC, Tanaka, Nova, Nolasco, Pineda

    Nathan, Robertson, etc.

    That’s way over budget though.

  3. Yankee Trader November 16th, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks Chad.

    If teams are willing to take Granderson, realizing he is now a low BA, high strikeout guy against all teams that will be using the shift on him, then they have to hope their stadium plays to his power.

    Isn’t Choo the better right fielder amongst Beltran, Cruz, Granderson , Hart and Morse?

  4. 86w183 November 16th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Yeah, there’s a really good chance that the Yankees will sign Cano + Choo + Ellsbury + Beltran + McCann + Tanaka + Nolasco + Nathan.

    That’s about $ 130 M AAV right there to go with the $ 100 M already committed. And you still need to sign all the arbitration guys AND put together a bench.

    Can you say $ 260 M ? $ 275 ?

  5. Yankee Trader November 16th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    jack squat-

    In that article by Paul White it’s :

    Cano 8/223 Yankees
    Tanaka 6/62 Dodgers
    McCann 4/65 Red Sox
    Choo 6/100 Orioles
    Ellsbury 7/150 Red Sox
    Nathan 2/26 indians
    Beltran 3/44 Yankees
    Nolasco 3/35 Yankees

  6. 86w183 November 16th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Isn’t Choo the better right fielder amongst Beltran, Cruz, Granderson , Hart and Morse?

    **********************************************************************

    Absolutely

  7. joeman November 16th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    YT

    try this it has a schedule also.I’m watching Vandy – Ken on it right noe

    http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index

  8. jacksquat November 16th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Oh, ok, then blake hasn’t lost his mind. ;)

  9. jacksquat November 16th, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    And 28/year for Cano is ridiculous, the Yankees better not do that.

  10. jacksquat November 16th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    86w183 November 16th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Can you say $ 260 M ? $ 275 ?

    I can. Hal won’t.

  11. MTU November 16th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I’m out.

    catch you all later.

  12. Hankflorida November 16th, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    After reading Chad’s analysis of Choo not hitting for great power, I would rather go with Granderson or even give Almonte a shot. I never understood last years plan of playing Suzuki and Gardener together, and if it is Hal’s plan to give us a repeat performance of these two slap hitters playing the outfield with Soriano, I cannot see next year as being any better then what we endured this year unless Hal gives us a pitching staff that will be able to lead us to one of the three spots for October baseball.

  13. Yankee Trader November 16th, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Joeman

    Thank you I just downloaded the app I appreciate your help and I’m watching it now have to go everybody have a great day

  14. Ys Guy November 16th, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    it’s a beautiful day for baseball in Greater Newark today…

    Let’s Play Two!

  15. joeman November 16th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    UNC..Pitt

    http://espn.go.com/watchespn/p.....condensed/

  16. joeman November 16th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    anyone have one of these

    Panasonic VIERA TC-P50ST60 50-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV

  17. blake November 16th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    JS,
    Yea the article has the yanks signed Cano (huge deal), Beltran, and nolasco.

    To me this would be a terrible outcome for the Yanks……you lose the draft pick and still won’t be very good in 2014 most likely

  18. charlestonchew November 16th, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I don’t understand why people think Tanaka is going to the Dodgers. I think there’s something like an 85% chance he’ll be playing with the Yankees. There’s no way the Yanks are going to sign someone like Nolasco–not only that, but there’s no way they’re getting him for $35 million over 3 years. Pitching seems to cost a premium this offseason, so they’re going to need to take a flier on a semi-durable guy or two. Or look to a Livan Hernandez type (Bronson Arroyo?) to fill the void temporarily.

  19. blake November 16th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    The Dodgers are the most likely to make the outlier type bid that might be needed to win his posting…..I think the new rules increased the chances that they’ll get him.

  20. jmills November 16th, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Frank Tanaka is done, he gave his last great baseball to the fine people of, Detroit.

  21. jmills November 16th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Joeman, I have a square black tv in the living room that I hide with a Miro print, does it count as plasma?

  22. jmills November 16th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Well, you don’t have to worry about Cano coming here, double A won’t go past 5 years, remnants of Gillick when he would only give Jimmy Key 3 years and you guys got him. Love, Key, great that he got another WS.

  23. MTU November 16th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Mills-

    Thank goodness the Miro is in front of the TV and not the other way round.

    ;)

  24. yankinvegas November 16th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Cano seems to be turned on by celebrity. How big of a celebrity would he be working in Arlington, TX?
    He’s coming back.
    It’s the other moves that will be made that make this offseason so fascinating and important.

  25. joeman November 16th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    jmills November 16th, 2013 at 2:32 pm
    Joeman, I have a square black tv in the living room that I hide with a Miro print, does it count as plasma?

    —————————
    no

  26. MTU November 16th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    If the Yankees make a value-oriented bid they will lose Tanaka because that is not the way the Dodgers will do it.

    They will look to blow people out of the water again.

    And so the Yankees will need to be even more bold.

    Remember they offered 40 Mil for Puig.

    Everyone thought that was completely nuts at the time.

    As it turned out it wasn’t.

    ;)

  27. MTU November 16th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    You either have the courage of your convictions or you don’t.

    ;)

  28. jmills November 16th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Anybody dressed up like a fake lion has to have balls to resemble courage.

  29. TKR November 16th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    yankinvegas November 16th, 2013 at 2:49 pm
    Cano seems to be turned on by celebrity. How big of a celebrity would he be working in Arlington, TX?
    He’s coming back.
    It’s the other moves that will be made that make this offseason so fascinating and important.
    ————————————-
    don’t know if the LAD are sitting out Cano or not..have to believe Cano would put them over the top

  30. TKR November 16th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Renaissance Costumes

  31. jmills November 16th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    TKR, who knows, one can spend all the money in the world and stll crash :)

  32. TKR November 16th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    got to go out and by a roast for tomorrow…Rib Roast sounds about right…

  33. TKR November 16th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    just got done raking the leaves for the 3rd time..

  34. jmills November 16th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    TKR, leave those maple leafs alone, concentrate on the ribs my good man!

  35. TKR November 16th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v1jukkmxV8

  36. joeman November 16th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Mudcat Grant

  37. ron November 16th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Starting the year 2016,only arod is under contract,and cc has an option year,if he stays off the dl,or something along those lines.After 2017,nobody is under contract yet.
    Cano will be 31.5 years old in st,2014.
    No way I give him a 7,or 8 year contract.6,or I let him walk.You can’t compete that way.Havn’t we learned with arod?
    Let another team foolishly waste money.I absolutely love cano for 4 more years.It is after that, that concerns me.
    Stats are crashing to earth,so an 18 hr a year 2b,with 80 rbi,is fine with me.

    Get back to great pitching,bullpen,and 15-20 hr position players that don’t cost 20 million a year.
    Forget beltran,ellsburry,mccann,nolasco,and give me Navarro,cruz.
    Sign an outfielder,3b,2b,a few pitchers,c,let cano walk,stockpile draft picks,and get the payroll under control,and spend where it makes sense,not on 32 year old 2b,or beltran.

  38. jmills November 16th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    TKR, thanks so much for that Ozzie and Harriet episode! If today’s productions were more like that, I wouldn’t have to hide my tv with that Miro print!!!

  39. jmills November 16th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Thing is, Cano could be a Pujols waiting to happen, or a converted Molitor in the wings.

  40. jmills November 16th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Move Yount Jeter to the outfield if need be, let Cano be Molitor at, forty. .341 avg and 225 friggin’ hits!

  41. Tar November 16th, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    joeman

    I have a 42″ panasonic plasma. Not sure of the model number, I could check. If you wondering I love it.

  42. MTU November 16th, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    New one —–>

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