Saturday, June 1, 2013

Season 20 Free Agency Preview

Season 20 is under way, and the offseason free agency period is upon us.  Last season, free agency featured a number of multiple time Cy Young award winners and impact bats.  This season, the quality is a little bit down, probably a C grade Free Agent class.  Nonetheless, we'll still give you our opinion of the top 10 free agents in this year's class.  Enjoy!


1. Charlie Borders, 30, SS
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 35+ HR each of the last 4 seasons

Possible Destinations: El Paso, Durham, Austin, Minnesota
Salary Over/Under:  4 years, $65 million

Signed with Detroit - 5 years, $80 million

Granted he was playing in hitter friendly Durham, but Borders power numbers over the past several seasons are impressive.  What gives him the #1 spot (albeit in a fairly weak FA class) is his across the board 80+ fielding ratings.  He can play a passable, although not great SS.  Given his age, this may only be possible for 2-3 more seasons, but after that he’ll still be a great 3B.  Borders will definitely boost the lineup wherever he lands. 

2. Jo-jo Strickland, 31, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.70 Career ERA

Possible Destinations: Vancouver, Boston, Detroit, Colorado
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $50 million

Signed with Cleveland - 5 years, $53 million

Although not as impressive as last year’s top Free Agent starting pitchers, many of whom had won multiple Cy Young awards, Strickland is still solid as this season’s top SP free agent.  He’s pretty strong across the board, although his splits aren’t elite.  He’ll still be a nice add for whoever signs him, although he won’t have the impact that some of last season’s free agent hurlers.  He project him to be a nice #3 starter.

3. Stubby Shaw, 29, 1B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 30+ HR 100+ RBI each of the last 4 seasons

Possible Destinations: El Paso, Los Angeles, Syracuse, Minnesota
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $40 million

Signed with Boston - 5 years, $97.5 million

Shaw is a great slugger with a keen batting eye, and should bolster the lineup wherever he lands.  We have him listed as a 1B, but could play LF or RF as well in a pinch.  Wherever he plays, he’ll get on a base a ton and hit a nice number of homers, as his past history indicates.  At only age 29, he still has several great years ahead.

4. Valerio Macias, 29, SP
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: 4.04 Career ERA

Possible Destinations: Durham, Detroit, Dover, Colorado
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $27 million

Signed with Vancouver - 5 years, $73 million

Macias is an interesting free agent, to say the least.  He never has really been given the chance to start full time, probably because of suspect stamina.  He’s probably only good for 160 or so innings per season, but if you have a strong bullpen, Macias can help your rotation.  At age 29, he shouldn’t decline any time soon, and has nice, although not elite, ratings across the board. 

5. Edgar Castro, 28, 3B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 20+ HR each of the last 5 seasons

Possible Destinations: Colorado, Pittsburgh, Texas, Cleveland
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $42 million

Signed with Colorado - 3 years, $15.6 million

Castro is only a decent hitter, more so against lefties than righties, but his value lies in his great fielding ability and his age.  At only 28, he’ll maintain his ratings for several more seasons, providing a decent bat and excellent fielding ability.  Locking down a plus fielding 3B that can hit 20 homers a season will be a nice coup for the team that signs him. 

6.  Arthur Camilli, 34, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.33 Career ERA
Possible Destinations: Vancouver, Colorado Springs, Dover, Pittsburgh
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $33 million

Signed with Colorado Springs - 5 years, $40.5 million

Camilli is a lights out reliever capable of throwing 100+ IPs with his excellent durability.  It’s hard to pinpoint any weaknesses in his arsenal, with his excellent control, splits and pitch make-up.  He should still be elite for the next 3-4 seasons, given his age of 34. 

7. Carlos Pena, 33, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.58 Career ERA

Possible Destinations: Kansas City, El Paso, Detroit, Dover
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $30 million

Signed with El Paso - 5 years, $35 million

Pena has been a closer the past several seasons, although he could make waves as a setup A, given his potential to throw 100+ IP a season.  His ratings are very comparable with Camilli, you really can’t go wrong with either one.  Again, he does not have many weaknesses to speak of, and will definitely make any bullpen stronger.

8. Yorvit Ortiz, 31, DH/C
No Designation
Key Stat: .872 career OPS

Possible Destinations: Boston, Burlington, New York, Cleveland
Salary Over/Under: 2 years, $13 million

Signed with Minnesota - 3 years, $14.7 million
 
Ortiz has done well the past several seasons in a part time role, and looks as if he could maintain similar numbers as a full time player.  He has excellent contact, good splits and an elite batting eye to go with some power.  He could player catcher in a pinch, but is probably more suited for DH.  Still, he should be a solid one if that is a need. 

9.  Sammy Nelson, 32, C
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 40+ HR 4 out of the last 5 seasons

Possible Destinations: Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Syracuse, Texas
Salary Over/Under: 2 years, $12 million

Signed with Syracuse - 3 years, $11.8 million

Nelson is more of a pure power hitter than Ortiz, but doesn’t have the same level of batting eye or contact.  His numbers are impressive, nonetheless.  Last season was the first in the last five he hasn’t slugged 40 homers, and even though he is in the latter stages of his career, he still should be a powerful slugger for a few more, and can play some catcher if need be. 

10. Jumbo Almanzar, 34, LF
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: .879 career OPS

Possible Destinations: Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Burlington
Salary Over/Under: 1 year, $5 million

Signed with Minnesota - 2 years, $28.4 million

Almanzar is a bit past his prime, but would make a nice one year hold over for a team looking for a slugger for just this year. He still gets it done against lefties, and is good against righties too, with a solid batting eye, and still has some power left as well.

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