MLB Free Agent Breakdown


Eric Hosmer is one of the most sought-after first base free agents (Courtesy of Twitter).

By Evan Biancardi

Eric Hosmer is one of the most sought-after first base free agents (Courtesy of Twitter).

After a historic regular season and a postseason that went down to the wire, it is officially the Major League Baseball offseason. As front offices scramble to improve their rosters, let’s take a look at some of the best free agents available at each position.

An all-around reliable catcher is a rare commodity, and that’s no different on the open market. The list of catchers is headlined by longtime Brewer Jonathan Lucroy. Since departing from Milwaukee, though, the two-time all-star has failed to put up the numbers that made him so enticing for years. With Texas, he hit just .254 in 124 games, and he was eventually dealt to Colorado for a player to be named later. He hit .310 and recorded a .865 OPS in a half-season with the Rockies, but his weakening defensive metrics may ultimately lower his asking price. If teams aren’t willing to meet Lucroy’s demands, the next best available catchers include Alex Avila, Wellington Castillo and Chris Iannetta.
Teams in need of a catcher: Angels, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Rockies

First Base
If teams are in the market for a first baseman, they’re in luck. Mike Napoli and Mark Reynolds highlight the veteran platoon options, while Yonder Alonso, Mitch Moreland and Logan Morrison look to reap the benefits of their 2017 breakout campaigns. If a team is a first baseman away from being a true contender, though, Eric Hosmer or Carlos Santana could be a perfect fit. Hosmer, the younger of the two, entered the league in 2011, and since then has won four Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger and a World Series championship, and he started in last year’s All-Star Game. On top of that, he’s coming off his best season yet, posting career-highs in batting average, home runs and runs scored. Santana is coming off a solid season of his own, and while he may not hit for average like Hosmer does, he can practically do everything else. The leadoff hitter is frequently amongst the league leaders in walks, and his falling strikeout rate has given way to more hits, runs, homers and a consistent OPS over .800 in each of the last two seasons. Neither Hosmer nor Santana are your typical power-hitting first basemen, but they’ve been critical pieces of contending teams and will likely be two of the highest paid hitters this offseason.
Teams in need of a first baseman: Indians, Mariners, Rays, Red Sox, Rockies, Royals

Second Base
The second base position features some of the very best hitters in the game. Unfortunately, for teams in need of one, they’re not going to find any on the open market. While Howie Kendrick and Brandon Phillips turned some heads this past season, they’ll likely receive short-term deals from teams who are just looking to stay afloat. The only second baseman really worth noting is Neil Walker. Walker may not be Daniel Murphy or Robinson Cano, but he’s more than serviceable. Since the start of 2016, the 32-year-old has posted an OPS north of .800 and has slugged 37 home runs in 797 at-bats. He can certainly help a contender.
Teams in need of a second baseman: Angels, Brewers, Rays

Next issue, I will analyze the free agent market for available shortstops, third basemen and outfielders.