Top Ten 2014 MLB Free Agent Hitters
In part 2 of our Major League Baseball winter series, we will have a look at the top 10 free agent hitters on the market who will be available for the 2015 season. In the post steroid era, impact bats are always in big demand. Throw in the fact that signing free agent hitters is almost always a safer bet than an impact arms, and it is likely that they will all come with a hefty price tag. Those teams looking to make a splash in free agency will have to act quickly in the are going to have a chance at increasing their odds for the upcoming season. So, without further adieu, here are the top bats available this winter.
1. Hanley Ramirez (SS)- Hanley is the top free agent position player available this offseason despite the fact he has been plagued by health issues and inconsistency the past few years. At only 30 years of age, Hanley still has plenty left in the tank and plays a position in huge demand. The New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are considered top contenders for his services.
2. Russell Martin (C) – The 31 year old catcher is coming off one of his best seasons and is widely considered one of the best clubhouse guys in all of baseball. Any team looking for veteran leader would be wise to consider adding Martin. The Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners are all rumored to have interest.
3. Pablo Sandoval (3B) – The Kung Foo Panda is set to get a whole lot of money on the free agent market after being a key cog on the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. The 28-year old is getting interest from just about every team with an opening at 3b and some cash to spend.
4. Nelson Cruz (OF) – Coming off a season in which he led the MLB in home runs you would expect more interest in Cruz. However, the OFer is 34 years old and has already run into trouble in the biogenesis scandal. Whoever ends up signing him will be taking a gamble but could also be getting a relative bargain based on some of his concerns.
5. Melky Cabrera (OF) – Much like Nelson Cruz, the Melk Man has similar concerns after being implicated in the Biogenesis scandal. However, Melky is only 30 years old and proceed to put up very nice numbers across the board (.301 avg, 16 hrs, 73 RBI).
6. Chase Headley (3b) – Headley split time with the Padres and Yankees last season. After a forgettable Padres stint he really turned it on once he joined the Yankees. If the Yankees don’t land Sandoval expect them to re-sign the 30 year old thrid basemen.
7. Nick Markakis (OF) – Nick Markakis never quite lived up to his potential but has established himself as a solid major league outfielder. While he doesn’t excel at anything in particular, he is pretty good at just about everything. He could end up just about anywhere with the Cubs seemingly expressing some interest.
8. Jed Lowrie (SS) – Lowrie is a solid, yet unspectacular, veteran shortstop that will draw immediate interest once Hanley Ramirez chooses a landing spot. My guess is the New York Mets overpay for him after missing on Hanley and failing to make a trade for the Cubs Starlin Castro.
9. Alex Rios (OF) – What a sad indaction of the quality of the 2014/15 free agent class that Alex Rios is in the top 10. Although he has some talent, consistency has always been an issue. Just ask Chicago White Sox fans!
10. Adam LaRoche (1b) – Nothing about Adam LaRoche of the Washington Nationals suggests he is much more than a replacement level first basemen. However, power is in such huge demand these days that LaRoche is certain to land a pretty signifcant contract.