Top 10 available free agent outfielders

The Yankees have Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson returning to their outfield in 2013, but will probably have to replace Nick Swisher, who is a free agent this offseason. They could do it with Ichiro Suzuki, but if the Yankees decide to turn to the free agent market for Swisher’s replacement here is a list of the best available free agent outfielders.

  1. Josh Hamilton, Age: 31, 2012 Salary: $13.75M, 2012 OPS: .930, Career OPS: .913: Everybody knows about Hamilton. He hits like a beast and can play all three outfield positions, but he has trouble off the field. The prevailing thought is that he can’t handle New York, but I’m not sold on that because you can drink and do drugs in every city. The Yankees will probably pass because of the money, but I would like to see them sign him if they could get him for four years or less. My guess is that it will take at least five to nab him though.
  2. Torii Hunter, Age: 37, 2012 Salary: $18M, 2012 OPS: .817, Career OPS: .801: Hunter’s biggest problem is his age. He can still hit though and he can still play a corner outfield spot. The question is, how much longer can we expect him to hold up? If the Yankees think he’s got at least another year in him and he’s willing to sign a one-year deal, I could see it happening. His age may ultimately scare them off though.
  3. Angel Pagan, Age: 31, 2012 Salary: $4.85M, 2012 OPS: .778, Career OPS: 757: Pagan has been a solid player since winning an everyday job with the Mets in 2009 with the exception of 2011, but that team was particularly bad and played in a pitcher’s park so it is hard to kill him for that. He played a great center field and finished with very solid numbers. He would be an excellent pickup if the Yankees were willing to move Granderson to right field. He would also bring some speed to the Bronx with 98 stolen bases in the last three years.
  4. Cody Ross, Age: 32, $3M, 2012 OPS: .807, Career OPS: .783: The Yankees have had interest in Ross in the past so don’t be surprised if they do again this offseason. I think fans will be disappointed though if he’s Swisher’s replacement. He’s a similar player, but with less patience and less pop. Still, he could end up being a good value and a team looking to trim payroll is always looking for value.
  5. B.J. Upton, Age: 28, 2012 Salary: $7M, 2012 OPS: .752, Career OPS: .758: Upton once had as much potential as anybody in baseball, but I think we’ve seen his ceiling. He’s not a bad player, but not what we expected. He can run, he can hit for a bit of power, and he’ll play great defense. He can’t hit for average though, doesn’t show strong patience, and will strikeout a lot. If he’s looking for a big contract the Yankees would be better off just signing Ichiro.
  6. Michael Bourn, Age: 30, 2012 Salary: $6.845M, 2012 OPS: .739, Career OPS: .704: The weakest hitter on this list so far, but he can run and plays a great center field. He reaches base at a better rate than Upton and is faster, but doesn’t have his power. If the Yankees priority was defense, he’d be the best option.
  7. Melky Cabrera, Age: 28, 2012 Salary: $6M, 2012 OPS: .906, Career OPS: .752: Melky had a great year, but obviously it was PED enhanced so that obviously makes it hard to know what to expect from him. I actually think the Yankees should consider signing him if they can get him on a one-year deal. They’ve had a bad experience with him as a young player who didn’t take his job seriously though and will probably pass because of that and the PED questions.
  8. Shane Victorino, Age: 32, 2012 Salary: $9.5M, 2012 OPS: .704, Career OPS: .770: It was an off year for the Flyin’ Hawaiian and there could be some concern that he’s aging, but he seems a little too young for that. A solid center fielder, he gets on at a decent pace and has occasional pop. He’s an interesting option because he’s a veteran who could probably be had at a reasonable three-year deal.
  9. Delmon Young, Age: 27, 2012 Salary: $6.75M, 2012 OPS: .707, Career OPS: .742: He’s the Anti-Swisher. He is a weak fielder and not a great hitter. He doesn’t get on base a whole lot, but he does have occasional pop. The reason I call him the Anti-Swisher is because he hits very well in the playoffs. He’s still just 27 so there may be some upside left, but his behavioral issues will probably scare the Yankees away.
  10. Grady Sizemore, Age: 30, 2012 Salary: $5M, 2012 OPS: N/A, Career OPS: .830: An extremely injury prone player who is very talented when healthy. He hasn’t played even close to a full season since 2009 and 2008 was probably his last real good season. I could see the Yankees making him an offer if he lingers on the market especially if they sign someone like Ross and want a bit of insurance. He’ll probably won’t play though and if he does it’ll probably be for Cleveland.

THOUGHTS: There are a few options here, but the Yankees need to cut payroll to $189 million by 2014 will be the biggest factor. Signing any of these players to multi-year deals almost guarantees that they can’t afford Granderson next year. If they can get him on a reasonable deal, my preference would be to see them sign Pagan. I think Ross is the most likely name on this list though. Melky intrigues me, but only on a very cheap redemption type contract.

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7 Responses to Top 10 available free agent outfielders

  1. Jeff Bunnell says:

    Melky and ARod have been training together for the past few off-seasons. BOTH players have something to prove, and if the Yankees pull the trigger, I think they will get the most bang for their buck.
    If the Giants win Game 7 tonight, there will be playoff shares and either a WS or NL Champ ring…will the Giants vote him equal shares and a ring, or will they shut him out like they have been doing?
    Imagine how much he'll have to prove then…

  2. Matt_DC says:

    After Hamilton that is not an impressive list. The Yankees are going to miss Swisher's production. As awful as he was in October they would not have held off the O's without him. Torii Hunter had a .868 OPS against lefties last year. He would be a solid compliment to some combination of Gardner/Granderson/Ichiro. Either way, Tyler Austin and Mason Williams can't get here fast enough.

  3. Sal says:

    The Yankees should pull the trigger on Hamilton and Melky, and dump Swisher and Granderson. The fact that Granderson hit only .230 something average is humilating. If he didnt try and hit a home run every at bat,
    he should hit at least .275 30 homers and 100 r.b.i.s and increase is on base percentage. He's got to cut
    down on strikeouts and make more contact. The Yankees had Doug Fister in the ropes in game one the ALCS, if the yankee hitters just tried to make contact instead of being homer happy and swinging at pitches in the dirt and out of the stirke zone it was like watching 6 year ols play T ball. In my opinion Cashman is an embarrassment as a GM amd if The Boss were alive Cash would be in the trash where he belongs, enough is enough already.
    General Manager

  4. Sal says:

    Of all the teams in the mlb playoffs, the New York Yankees seemed to be the only team that had an emotional
    disconnect to the games being played with few exceptions. Even when Swisher continually striking out he was smiling like a jackass. Also, who is responsible for positioning the outfielders. Why was Granderson
    playing a shallow center field when Cabrera hit the ball over his head, it's wasn't the first time Granderson plays too shallow in my opinion all the time. Swisher's feeling were hurt poor baby. After four years of abysmal hitting in the playoffs See ya buddy. Robby Cano and his lack of hustle take a wait and see approach, if he performs well in the season and playoffs he deserves the big bucks, otherwise pursue other options. As far as A – rod goes to make hime the sole scapegoat for the entire collapse of the team is ludicrous. Players who play hard with passion and are scrappy like Beltran, Scutaro were players Cashman could have pursued but failed.
    The Steinbrenner boys. Hal and Hank obviously don't have the same level of passion for the Yankees that
    was shared by their father, who would have held people responsible for this years failure. It isn't that the team lost, because no team can win a World Series every year, but with that payroll three a decade is wothin reach
    with that payroll and caliber of players. What was humiliating was the lack of passion, emotion and the entire
    team collapsing someone has to be the scapegoat and it should be General Manager and even Joe
    Girardi there were a ton of decisions he made during the season that left me wondering are u serios with that move. A -rod needs to be the teams third baseman because when he went on the DL with the fractured
    hand if Cashman had the chops to get a Chase Headley or Aramis Ramirez, instead of Casy McGhee
    the Yankees would be able to live without A -Rod. with all the yankee injuries the GM did zilch to help the team.
    and Hey what about an edict to Andruw Jones to lose 40 lbs and get in baseball shape instead of a useless blob,
    how come until the season ended was it we heard about a jammed finger, lose weight tubby boy. Rafael Soriano
    let him exercise his option, another guy who shows no emotion faded badly down the stretch. Right or wrong
    the Boss didn't accept failure and held players and managers accountable, this current team takes too much for granted, and Hal and Hank if they had the chops would hold their gm and manager pay with their jobs

  5. Joe says:

    Honestly with AROD done and Swisher & Granderson all but gone I think the Yankees have no option but to kick the tires on Hamilton. If they can warp him up for 6/140 then they should go for it. I also wouldn't mind seeing them roll the dice with Upton as I think he will get better these next few years.

  6. Gonzalo Hiram says:

    Comparing Martin case for catchers, I see a lot of options for outfielders so bye bye Swisher.

    Torii Hunter with Ichiro is a very good option, he also has very nice numbers in postseasons and if you get him in a short term it would be ideal developing Austin, Williams and Heathcott.

    Whoever comes cheap/short term between Pagan, Upton, Ross, Bourn, Cabrera or Victorino that would be a good replacement, good timing and also good money that we will need.

    If we can trade Granderson we can look into other options like CarGo, Shin-Soo Choo, Willingham or Upton

  7. Tanned Tom says:

    You look at this list and it makes you want to keep Swisher. I like the idea of signing Bourn and re-signing Suzuki. Can you imagine the OF defense with Gardner, Bourn and Ichiro?
    Trade Granderson! I hated this deal from day 1 and wish we had kept Austin Jackson. The club can probably pick up some decent young talent for Granderson. Say good bye to Ibanez and Andruw Jones too.
    I'm fine with Dickerson as 4th OF, but losing Swisher and Granderson is losing a lot of power, so I would want to think about Hamilton. He is crazy talented after all.