Blog Entry

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:00 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 4:49 pm
Fielder, Pujols

By Evan Brunell

For all news, check out the free agency tracker.

The first-base crop of free agents is extremely top-heavy, boasting the best player in the game in Albert Pujols. Even without Pujols, the first-base list would still be star-studded, as 27-year-old Prince Fielder is also hitting the market and should command a sizable deal. However, after that, it drops off significantly, and by the end of the top 10 list, we're looking at someone who hit .194.

Pujols1. Albert Pujols: What more can you say about Pujols that hasn't been said already? He's the best hitter the 21st century has seen, and he may hold that mantle for quite a while. Pujols may be 31, but that shouldn't stop him from commanding a hefty contract given his strong bounceback after starting the year poorly, plus his dazzling defense. There's been a lot of talk about Pujols' failings in dealing with the media, but neither Pujols nor whichever team he ends up with will care much about his approach to the media. The team will care about homers. Pujols will care about money and winning. The media is just a sideshow.
Potential teams: Cardinals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, and because they have money: Yankees, Red Sox

Fielder2. Prince Fielder: Fielder is four years younger than Pujols, but he'll struggle to match what Pujols gets -- not just because Pujols is an elite, once-in-a-generation hitter (which, admittedly, Fielder could become), but because there are conditioning issues with his weight that lend comparisons to a late-career breakdown like Mo Vaughn. However, the lefty has appeared in 485 of a possible 486 regular-season games over the last three years, so it's hard to get too worked up about it. He's going to have a robust market and may even sign in advance of Pujols.
Potential teams: Same as Pujols -- Cardinals, Cubs, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, Nationals, Orioles, and because they have money: Yankees, Red Sox

Cantu3. Carlos Pena
: Pena can hit balls a long way. It's too bad he can't make contact regularly. But there are far worse first-baseman one could have, and getting a 30-homer player with strong defense and leadership skills is something most teams will kill for; Pena will get a healthy contract this year wherever he ends up. Whichever teams lose out on Pujols and Fielder will gun for Pena, so his market figures to be late-developing and it may be into January before he signs anywhere.
Potential teams: Cubs, Dodgers, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Orioles, Indians, Twins

Lee4. Derrek Lee
: It looked as if Lee was heading the way of Vladimir Guerrero and the other aging power-hitters as of late after beginning the year in a tough spot with Baltimore. Fortunately for Lee, he got dealt to the Pirates at the trade deadline and that reinvigorated him to the point where he should be able to scrape up a starting job somewhere this winter, although Lee may struggle to land with a top-flight contender. The Pirates would like for Lee to return to the team, but unless the Pirates offer one of the only starting jobs in the game, it's tough to see the righty returning.
Potential teams: Dodgers, Pirates, Rays, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs

Kotchman5. Casey Kotchman
: Kotchman was once a promising up-and-coming first baseman that was part of a Mark Teixeira trade, heading to Atlanta from Los Angeles. That's where his career frayed, and the Red Sox picked him up on a lark. No go. After a forgettable 2010 in Seattle, Kotchman somehow bounced back in Tampa Bay to rake up a .308/.372/.422 line. However, batting average seems to be what's driving Kotchman, and that's one of the least predictive statistics anyone can use. This upcoming season will determine a lot for Kotchman and his future, but no one should invest heavily in him. Unfortunately, after the year he had and with the poor free-agent class, he could haul in a sizable deal.
Potential teams: Rays, Dodgers, Pirates, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Astros, Indians, Orioles

Giambi6. Jason Giambi
: Giambi had a fantastic season as a pinch-hitter for the Rockies, helping to soften the blow when Todd Helton needed out of the lineup. Giambi smashed six doubles and 13 homers in just 152 plate appearances, an absolute wrecking ball off the bench. Who really knows what teams Giambi would sign with, but he'll certainly get plenty of offers to choose from. Wherever he lands, it'll be as a bench player although depending where he ends up, he could be in line to get at least 200 at-bats for the first time since 2009.
Potential teams: Rockies, Yankees, Athletics, Phillies

Overbay7. Lyle Overbay
: Overbay looked cooked as a starting first-baseman, but a resurgence in Arizona after leaving Pittsburgh will help matters significantly, even if he played in just 18 games for the Diamomdbacks. A team desperate for a stopgap at first base could entice Overbay, but it figures that his biggest market will come as a platoon first-baseman. A return to Arizona to mentor and play behind Paul Goldschmidt makes sense. If he wants a shot to start, it'll be with a team that doesn't quite harbor postseason aspirations -- but things have a funny way of working out once options dwindle.
Potential teams: Rays, Orioles, Phillies, Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates, Astros, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres

Gload8. Ross Gload
: Gload, whose career got a late start, has been plying his trade in the NL the last three seasons, primarily as a pinch-hitter for Philadelphia over the last two years. The first-baseman actually led the NL in pinch-hits in 2011, although you wouldn't know it given his poor statistics. Gload should have no problem getting a pinch-hit gig somewhere in the senior circuit this offseason and might even be enticed back to the AL if he can get a decent amount of playing time. Gload and the remaining names on the list could conceivably end up with any team, as their role would fit virtually anywhere as a backup.
Potential teams: Any team

Branyan9. Russell Branyan
: Branyan is a retirement candidate. At age 35, he took a significant step back as his trademark power was missing all year. While his .197 batting average isn't all that far from his .232 career average, that's not why teams kept playing him. No, Branyan got at-bats because of his power, but he only banged five homers and seven doubles in 146 plate appearances all season. Branyan hit 56 homers combined from 2009-10, so teams will still be willing to give him a shot. He could be entering the phase of his career where he hangs on for a few more season as a pinch-hitter in the NL.
Potential teams: Any team

Cantu10. Jorge Cantu
: Cantu's going to have a lot of trouble securing a major-league deal after the awful season he had, appearing in just 55 games for the Padres and hitting .194/.232/.285 before mercifully being released and finishing out the year in the Rockies' minor-league system.  It's quite the fall for the 29-year-old who hit 29 homers in 2008. Over the last two years, Cantu has regressed significantly and will have to play his way onto a team this spring on a minor-league cont
Potential teams: Any team

Others that could be first basemen: Mark DeRosa, Edwin Encarnacion, Eric Hinske, Conor Jackson, Xavier Nady Juan Rivera, Nick Swisher, Josh Willingham.

Free-agent position rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | DH | SP | RP

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Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: November 5, 2011 8:46 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

I like the comment "and because they have money Yankees and Red Sox."  However, they totally forgot oneand that is "and because their is a complete idiot as the Commissioner."  Bud Selig would let the Yankees or Red Sox, expecially the Yankees, have anybody they want in trades and free agency

Since: Sep 24, 2011
Posted on: November 4, 2011 3:58 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B


Since: Sep 24, 2011
Posted on: November 4, 2011 3:56 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

some predections some you might think as crazy ok

pujols: royal


   cj wilson royal


Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: November 4, 2011 2:00 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

I know there is a business side to baseball just like any other sport, but I don't think any other player is as closely associated to his team as Pujols is. He is to the Cardinals as Peyton Manning is to the Colts, although I don't think the Cards would go winless without him... I'm just speaking in terms of being closely identified with you team. Hopefully the Cards can afford to keep him and still be able to put a competitive team on the field for the next few years.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: November 4, 2011 12:06 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

Theo is goig to have to get the checkbook out at some point in time, but why would he spend it on Pujols?  They are stuck with big money on old crappy players in Zambrano and Soriano.  Dempster is ok but not worth 14 mil.  The team is not going anywhere in the next few years.  Why bust your checkbook for Pujols?  To go from crappy to kind of medicore?  That does not sound like the best idea.  Pujols is going to break the bank.  Only a team that thinks it can win a WS in the next 1-3 years should spend that kind of money for someone his age.  The Cubs major league roster is a mess, and their farm is no great shakes either.  Time to rebuild.  Pujols is the best pure hitter of his generation, but the Cubs are in no place to maximize his talents.  By the time they are, he will be an extremely expensive plater in his late 30s.  Players in their late 30s go downhill fast unless you are Hank Aaron or you are on HGH.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: November 4, 2011 12:01 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

you cant tell me antasasio(nerd) cant spend money on him and a pitcher.

He has been clammoring for an extension and the Brewers have not seemed all that interested though.   Braun Fielder are a killer 1-2 punch, but I get the feeling that he tried to stay and is now done with them.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: November 4, 2011 12:00 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

you cant tell me antasasio(nerd) cant spend money on him and a pitcher.

He has been clammoring for an extension and the Brewers have not seemed all that interested though.   Braun Fielder are a killer 1-2 punch, but I get the feeling that he tried to stay and is now done with them.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 8:59 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

Pujols once in a generation hitter, but the next sentence Fielder could become that.  And then next year it will be Votto.  What is with the hyberbole?  Either it is once in a generation hitter or not.  If there are three, it is NOT.

Since: Feb 20, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:32 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

it will be interesting to see this play out.  Red Sox and Yanks have no need

The Cubs need so much help; will Fielder and Pujols be worth anything on the back end of 6 year deals when the Cubs are actually able to develop some talent around them? Probably not.  Unless Soriano can be moved, the Flubs really can't commit to another $100 plus million.  They are better off bringing Pena back for 2 years until they can develop their own guy. 

Pujols has his rings, so it will be a money grab for him - enjoy Washington Albert.

Fielder would be great for t he Cubs, but if he wants a ring, the Dodgers have some nice pieces or he should go back to Milwaukee. Or does The Prince take Alberts place in St. Louis? Its all good stuff. 

Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:03 pm

Free-agent position rankings: Top-heavy 1B

and agreed about the yankees and saux. sick of hearing this that and the other thing about them anytime baseball is mentioned. i used to love the yankees bc of jeter and following him since his first big league call up in 1995. but now its just become cliche.  both teams and cities are overrated!!!

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