Perusing Free Agents
139 players became free agents today and it is natural to look at them to see if any would make sense for the Dodgers.
Going down the list in alphabetical order by AL teams and then NL teams here are a few who caught my eye.
Luis Valbuena 3b – if you don’t sign Justin Turner you might need a 3rd baseman. Valbuena is 30, left handed, and has some pop. He’s a strange case, according to fangraphs he was a great fielding 3rd baseman when he couldn’t hit and is now a lousy 3rd baseman who can hit. If you could combine the defense from 2012 with the offense from 2016 you might have a 4 win player.
Rajai Davis of – I’ve always liked Rajai even though the stats don’t show him as much of an asset. Only six players in baseball history have led the league in stolen bases after the age of 34. Rajai was the first to do it since Rickey Henderson in 1988. He had an almost full-time role with the Indians so I don’t expect he’d be interested in being a caddy to Joc Pederson in CF or Andre in LF. He’s right-handed, can play CF, RF, or LF, can lead off, and still has excellent legs.
Franklin Gutierrez of – at one time the 33-year-old Gutierrez was considered one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. That was in 2009, but this is 2016 and now the defensive stats say he’s negative. He still brings big right-handed power against left-handed pitching putting up a .884 OPS against them in 2016, after hitting .973 against them in 2015. For his career, he can boast a .846 OPS against LHP in over 1,000 plate appearances.
Steve Pearce 1b – the older Adrian gets the more likely it is that he will need someone to spell him more often than he’s used too. Pearce can play 1st or the outfield, just don’t pretend he’s a 2nd baseman. At 33 Pearce has never received more than 383 at bats in a season. He’s a lefty killer who knows his role. In 2016 he had an OPS of 1.017 against LHP. For his career, it is .852. He had a down year in 2015 following his breakout season in 2014.
Ian Desmond – Desmond failed miserably in his 2015 walk year and ended up having to take one year $8,000,000 deal from the Rangers to play the outfield instead of shortstop. He had a fine year and will at least double that salary when the Rangers offer him the qualifying offer but I suspect Desmond is now looking for the multi-year payday that eluded him last winter. His season wasn’t as good as it seemed as a dismal second half brought back memories of his struggles in 2015. His first half however was excellent bringing him an all-star appearance to go along with his .899 OPS while playing centerfield. If the season had ended on July 31st, Desmond might have been looking at one of the biggest free agent deals of this winter, but alas it doesn’t and his second half OPS of .630 is probably going to give teams pause. Fangraphs says that Desmond was a good fielding SS, but not so much as a centerfielder. Could Desmond play 3rd base? Could he play it cheaper than Justin Turner? Desmond roughed up left handed pitching in 2016, something Justin Turner was unable to do. Hard for me to imagine that Desmond couldn’t handle 3rd base. I doubt the FO is interested since they could have had him cheap last winter and passed.
Carlos Gomez of – wins the Ian Desmond award of 2016 for destroying your chances for a big payday in your walk year. Gomez was the complete package in 2013 and 2014, putting up nice offensive numbers, and excellent defensive numbers while playing center field. 2015 and 2016 have not been so kind. Houston gave up alot to get him in 2015 but he was so bad they gave him away to the Rangers in 2016. Luckily for Gomez he had a nice run with the Rangers looking more like Gomez from 2013 and 2014. He turned 30 this summer, I’m sure he’s looking for a full time gig, it would not shock me to see Gomez turn it around but I doubt it will be with us.
Mark Melancon rhp – if Mr. Jansen walks, Mr. Melancon might be more affordable. or not, he’s got quite a pedigree to work with himself. Three elite closers are on the market in Jansen, Chapman, and Melancon. It will be curious what they each command on the free market. I probably shouldn’t even put Melancon on this list, because it seems to me if you are going to spend the money on Melancon, you’d be better off paying whatever Jansen wants. A part of me would rather see them all walk and see how smart the Dodger FO is in building their next closer. As I’ve said many times what is the point in having a smart front office unless they can find the next Wade Davis, Alex Colome types. But I like Kenley Jansen so I hope he stays and let the front office find someone to pitch in front of Kenley Jansen.
Wilson Ramos – wow, did not know he was a free agent. He had a career year in his walk off year and then suffers a season-ending injury. Wonder how that affects his market? I’m not interested in him, just wanted to say wow.
Ivan Nova – worth looking into? That walk rate with Pittsburgh grabs your attention.
Bartolo Colon – at least he won’t be hurt