FanPost

Free Agent Catchers and Outfielders

20120916_lbm_sh2_115_extra_large_huge_medium

Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE via cdn2.sbnation.com

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The Rangers will almost certainly be in the catcher free agent market this off season. And the outfield will be somewhat of a concern with the possible departure of Josh Hamilton and question marks in center. What are some of the options available via free agency?

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Although the free agent market and the trade market are dynamic, I will focus on the free agents. It would be nice to land Justin Upton and David Price, I’m not sure of the pieces that would be included in those trades, and what kinds of holes they would create or close. Who knows what trades will take place anyway. I might write about starting and relief pitchers at a later time if someone does not beat me to it, but I wouldn’t count on it. Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and Fangraphs.

I want to discuss two other players before we get into the outfield and most of the catchers. There are not a whole lot of inspiring free agents at the 1B position. David Ortiz and Mike Napoli are really the only players to be considered here in my opinion.

David Ortiz (DH/1B): Bats: Left Throws: Left

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR Salary
2010 34 145 .270 .370 .529 .899 2.4 2.6 $13.0M
2011 35 146 .309 .398 .554 .953 3.7 4.2 $12.5M
2012 36 90 .318 .415 .611 1.026 2.9 3.0 $14.575M

David Ortiz is aging, but should still put up decent offensive numbers. He would make a great DH and platoon 1B should Mitch Moreland get injured or depart in the off season. He was on a one year contract last year and may be available in the neighborhood of 2 years $25-30M.

Mike Napoli (C/1B): Bats: Right Throws: Right

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR CS% lgCS% Salary
2010 28 140 .238 .316 .468 .784 1.7 2.8 27% 26% $3.6M
2011 29 113 .320 .414 .631 1.046 5.3 5.6 36% 28% $5.8M
2012 30 108 .227 .343 .469 .812 1.4 2.0 21% 25% $9.4M

I’m not real sure on the length and years of Napoli’s next contract. I would expect something around 3 to 4 years, but just not sure on the dollar value. I would expect his WAR at least for next season to be right around 2.0 based on his career numbers. As far as catchers go he is not horrible defensively and better than most offensively. I think 3 years for $36M would be great, but I’m no expert at this and not sure if that would get it done.

Michael Young will likely be here so this makes things complicated when considering Ortiz, Napoli and Moreland. With the likely departure of Hamilton the 1B/DH position has to be upgraded, because no one outfield bat is going to replace his production. I’m betting Young will have every opportunity to prove that his bat is not gone within the first two to three months of the season. There are a lot of catching options available compared to first base, so maybe Napoli will be pushed out of this scenario if Ortiz is brought on so that Moreland can be replacement level and Young can be whatever he can.

Catchers

Other than Napoli there are some decent all around catchers and some decent defensive catchers. Even if Napoli is back an additional decent all around catcher could put Napoli with more time at first base and DH and maybe displace the need for Ortiz or some other aging OF/1B/DH type player.

Russell Martin (C): Bats: Right Throws: Right

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR CS% lgCS% Salary
2010 27 97 .248 .347 .332 .679 1.8 2.8 39% 29% $5.05M
2011 28 125 .237 .324 .408 .732 2.4 5.6 30% 28% $4.0M
2012 29 133 .211 .311 .403 .713 1.5 2.0 24% 25% $7.5M

I think Russell Martin is a very attractive option if he is not swayed by the Yankee Mystique to continue his services in New York. After coming up through the Dodgers system and playing five seasons there before cutting ties he has signed with New York the last two seasons on one year deals. He is a good all around catcher capable of spending a fair amount of time behind the dish. Considering his age, he is probably the best FA catcher available along with Napoli.

David Ross (C): Bats: Right Throws: Right

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR CS% lgCS% Salary
2010 33 59 .289 .392 .479 .871 1.1 1.6 31% 29% $1.6M
2011 34 52 .263 .333 .428 .761 1.1 1.4 33% 28% $1.625M
2012 35 62 .256 .321 .449 .770 0.8 1.5 44% 27% $1.625M

David Ross is a quality backup catcher who has spent the last few seasons with Atlanta. He hits well for a catcher has been above average at throwing out runners his whole career, which is almost entirely in the NL. He is older, but would be a cheap option for a veteran second catcher. He is an all around productive player, except on the base paths (seriously though, he is a catcher, what did you expect?).

A.J. Pierzynski (C): Bats: Left Throws: Right

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR CS% lgCS% Salary
2010 33 128 .270 .300 .388 .688 0.7 1.1 26% 26% $6.75M
2011 34 129 .287 .323 .405 .728 0.3 1.4 20% 28% $2.0M
2012 35 135 .278 .326 .501 .827 2.6 3.4 26% 25% $6.0M

Pierzynski is a douche and probably won’t sign with Texas for that Ron Washington All Star snub. He puts up good offensive numbers for a catcher and doesn’t completely suck as a defensive catcher. He isn’t a bad option, but his price tag might be inflated after having a really good year by catcher standards. What a waste of space this guy is.

Moving on, Carlos Ruiz has an option year left on his contract with the Phillies for $5.0M. I’m not real sure where they are headed, but they will probably pick up that option. If they don’t pick up the option, the Rangers should look into him although he will be turning 34 in January.

The next few catchers are primarily defensive catchers. If Ross and one of Napoli or Martin is unavailable these should be the next guys to target. I think these guys are better than Soto and would be suitable replacements to let him walk. In any case David Ross would be my favorite for the backup role.

Jose Molina (C): Bats: Right Throws: Right

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR CS% lgCS% Salary
2010 35 57 .246 .304 .377 .681 0.7 0.6 44% 26% $0.8M
2011 36 55 .281 .342 .415 .757 0.8 1.0 33% 28% $1.2M
2012 37 102 .223 .286 .355 .640 0.8 0.9 33% 25% $1.2M

I wouldn’t expect Jose Molina to log as many games as he had this year behind the plate. He’s pretty decent offensively, but he can at least throw some runners out, which could be of use for the Rangers. He is a cheap option for a backup catcher. I just saw that he has a $1.5M club option, don’t think he will be available.

Kelly Shoppach (C): Bats: Right Throws: Right

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR CS% lgCS% Salary
2010 30 63 .196 .308 .342 .650 0.1 0.3 17% 26% $2.25M
2011 31 87 .176 .268 .339 .607 0.5 1.2 41% 28% $3.0M
2012 32 76 .233 .309 .425 .733 1.2 1.2 33% 26% $1.135M

Kelly Shoppach is nothing special. We need catchers though and if the other options fall through, Shoppach is a decent part time catcher who can throw some guys out. If he is not cheap, we don’t want him. If there are better options available, take them, but you could do worse than this guy.

Humberto Quintero (C): Bats: Right Throws: Right

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR CS% lgCS% Salary
2010 30 88 .234 .262 .317 .579 0.2 0.6 35% 29% $0.75M
2011 31 79 .240 .258 .317 .575 0.3 0.5 23% 28% $1.0M
2012 32 43 .232 .257 .341 .598 0.4 0.3 35% 27% $1.0M

Who the hell is Humberto Quintero? He is a veteran catcher who doesn’t hit for power, but is not a complete black hole on offense. He can throw some runners out, and is not a defensive liability. I would probably choose him over Shoppach if I had to choose one of these two as a part time catcher. Oh, yeah… cheap.

If Seattle doesn’t pick up the $3M option on Miguel Olivo he might be available as well. His offensive numbers have been squashed by Safeco, but could be an option should Seattle decide to cut ties.

It gets pretty ugly at catcher after these guys, but at least there are a couple of quality starters and a few good options at backup.

Outfielders

I think the Rangers could possibly get by with what they have if they needed to with Murphy in left, Gentry/Martin in center and Cruz in right. We’ll just take a look at some of the better options available.

Josh Hamilton (OF): Bats: Left Throws: Left

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR Salary
2010 29 133 .359 .411 .633 1.044 8.4 8.4 $3.25M
2011 30 121 .298 .346 .536 .882 3.5 4.1 $8.75M
2012 31 148 .285 .354 .577 .930 3.4 4.4 $13.75M

Josh Hamilton was quite the bargain leading up to this point. I think he can still put up really nice numbers for two or three more years, albeit streaky numbers. His contract is going to be much longer than that at an AAV somewhere between $18-25M. There have been many debates about whether we should bring him back and at what cost. I just don’t see him returning. By the way, Fangraphs has him gauged as horrible in the field this year if you weren’t watching.

Nick Swisher (RF/1B): Bats: Both Throws: Left

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR Salary
2010 29 150 .288 .359 .511 .870 3.4 4.1 $6.85M
2011 30 150 .260 .374 .449 .822 1.5 3.8 $9.1M
2012 31 148 .272 .364 .473 .837 3.5 4.0 $10.25M

Swisher is not a bad fielder, and would be welcome in this offense. If the talk is correct, he will want one of those Werth type deals though. He is the same age as Hamilton. If a four year deal could be worked out with him for around $75-80M, I would be on board. I think it will take more. He would be a nice addition if we can’t resign Napoli, and can’t get Ortiz. Cruz and Young might present a bit of a problem, but I think it would work. I just don’t see it happening with Swisher either though.

Michael Bourn (CF): Bats: Left Throws: Right

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR Salary
2010 27 141 .265 .341 .346 .686 5.3 4.7 $2.4M
2011 28 158 .294 .349 .386 .734 3.0 4.1 $4.4M
2012 29 155 .274 .348 .391 .739 6.0 6.4 $6.845M

B.J. Upton (CF): Bats: Right Throws: Right

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR Salary
2010 25 154 .237 .322 .424 .745 1.0 4.0 $3.0M
2011 26 153 .243 .331 .429 .759 2.8 4.2 $4.825M
2012 27 146 .246 .298 .454 .752 2.6 3.3 $7.0M

Michael Bourn is the better of the two players. Both Bourn and Upton should get pretty good deals. I think anything in the 4 year range would be acceptable from a Rangers stand point if Martin/Gentry and other minor leaguers are not seen as the future at this position. I think paying $15M per year for Upton as has been alluded to is a good deal, and would be willing to go a little more on Bourn even though he is older. Bourn is a better defender and has been slightly better offensively so far over Upton.

Curtis Granderson could be available if New York does not buy out his $15M option for 2013. He had a down year, but at 2.7 bWAR last year I don’t think the Yankees are ready to let him go. Shane Victorino and Torii Hunter both have respectable histories as centerfielders and are available. Granderson and Victorino will be 32 next year. Hunter will be 37 and coming off one of his best years and still failing to get his team into the playoffs with all the talent that surrounds him. Even if the Rangers are willing to go in a different direction in center, I don’t think these three players should be seriously considered unless Bourn and Upton are not options and Gentry and/or Martin have been traded.

Melky Cabrera (OF): Bats: Both Throws: Left

Year Age G BA OBP SLG OPS bWAR fWAR Salary
2010 25 147 .255 .317 .354 .671 -0.5 -1.1 $3.1M
2011 26 155 .305 .339 .470 .809 4.1 4.2 $1.25M
2012 27 113 .346 .390 .516 .906 4.7 4.6 $6.0M

Fresh off of a 50 game suspension, Melky Cabrera is somewhat of a wildcard after spending the last 4 years with 4 different teams before being unleashed on the free agent market. There are character questions surrounding him and I don’t know if that is what the Rangers need right now. On the other hand look at that slash over 113 games… WOW! I don’t know what he will make, but he is entering his prime and it would be silly for the Rangers not to look at this guy no matter what else happens in free agency and the trade market. This could be a guy that slots into the lineup to replace Hamilton's production, but at what cost in terms of money and headaches.

Angel Pagan (OF): 70 grade name. What else do you need to know? Decent stats (seriously, they aren't too bad); could be an option. Worth looking in to for the name, if you ask me.

There are definitely some players here if the Rangers want to spend some on a FA outfielder. Cabrera seems like a good fit depending on the asking price. Bourn and Upton are strong possibilities if the current CF options aren’t looking good in the eyes of the front office. If Washington is back, which he most certainly will be, one of these guys may be a good addition.

What say you? Did I leave anybody out? What do you think of some of these guys as possible Rangers?

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As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

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Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

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We have our own Community Guidelines at Lone Star Ball. You should read them.

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In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

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