|Diving into the Free Agent Pool||Tweet|
|Written by Mac Vincent|
|Thursday, 18 October 2012 01:53|
The 2012 crop of free agents boasts an intriguing group of players, including slugger Josh Hamilton, who is set to test the market. The Rangers decided against giving him a qualifying contract offer.
Lets take a look at the top five free agents.
Probably one of the most interesting stories to follow will be who signs Hamilton, a player that is tremendously gifted but injury prone. There’s always a chance Hamilton has another relapse with alcohol too, another risk a team will have to take when signing him.
2008 - (156 games): 98 R, 32 HR, 130 RBI, .304 AVG
Despite the issues that may come with signing Hamilton, some team will be willing to give him that huge contract to bolster their lineup.
2. Michael Bourn, OF, Atlanta Braves
Despite Josh Hamilton being the “sexy” name on the market, Bourn could be the most coveted free agent out there because of what he brings to the table. A speedy center fielder that can hit for average, score runs and is blessed with tremendous fielding ability doesn’t come around very often.
Despite all the gifts Bourn possesses, he’s been traded twice over the course of his career. He was traded by the Philadelphia to Houston in the deal that sent Brad Lidge to the city of brotherly love. Being a rebuilding team, the Astros decided against keeping Bourn, as they sent him to Atlanta in exchange for four players.
He’s in his prime right now and as you can see, the last three years have been great for Bourn.
2010: 84 R, 2 HR, 38 RBI, 52 SB, .265 AVG
Bourn is a two time all-star, two time gold glover, two time National League stolen base leader and he also had the most stolen bases in all of baseball in 2011.
Washington will be very interested in Bourn, as they would like to move Bryce Harper to his natural position, right field. Many other clubs will be in on Bourn as well.
3. Zach Greinke, SP, Los Angeles Angels
After being drafted sixth overall in the 2002 MLB amateur draft, Greinke reached the majors two years later.
He spent the vast majority of his career with the Royals, but has been traded twice. He was dealt to Milwaukee for a package of prospects including young star Alcides Escobar and in 2012 the Angels sent top prospect Jean Segura Milwaukee’s way in exchange for Greinke.
He is your prototypical ace and anyone that needs pitching help will be interested signing the 28-year-old. Greinke really came into his own as a 24-year-old and won the American League Cy Young award one year afterward (2009).
2008: 202.1 IP, 3.47 ERA, 183 K, 1.275 WHIP
4. Kyle Lohse, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
A classic example of a late bloomer, Kyle Lohse had the best year of his career with the Cardinals as a 34-year-old. St. Louis is known for handling pitchers extremely well and they will likely be making room for top pitching prospect Shelby Miller. Lohse is expected to test free agency and many teams will be interested in the right-handed veteran.
Lohse bounced around, as he’s been with Minnesota, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and St. Louis. Sometimes it takes pitchers a while to figure it out and that’s exactly what Lohse has done. I mean look at Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants; he had his best season at age 33 and hasn’t looked back since then.
Lohse is a finesse pitcher and that much is clear, but that doesn’t change the tremendous interest in the veteran as he continues to pitch well into the playoffs. Lohse threw five shutout innings, helping the Cardinals to a 3-1 win in game two, as they grabbed a 2-1 lead in the NLCS.
2011: 188.1 IP, 3.39 ERA, 111 K, 1.168 WHIP
5. Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, New York Yankees
Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s were intrigued by Swisher’s potential and selected him with the 16th overall pick in the 2002 MLB draft. He would reach the major leagues in 2004 and really begin to make some noise in 2005.
Swisher is a very versatile player, who is pretty much a lock for 20 plus home runs, a solid batting average and 80-plus RBI every single year. Since 2004, a season in which he only played 20 games, the lowest amount of RBI Swisher has in a season is 69.
2005: 66 R, 21 HR, 74 RBI, .236 AVG
There are several other intriguing free agents, including David Ortiz, Ryan Dempster, Brandon McCarthy, B.J. Upton, Delmon Young and Shane Victorino.
It should be an interesting off-season.
Mac can be found on the forums as dmvincent, and you can also follow him on twitter @MacVincent1.
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|Last Updated on Sunday, 21 October 2012 12:23|