The 2013 free agent outfielders’ class is more robust then many of the other positions this coming offseason. With stars like Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson and Michael Bourn potentially becoming available there will be a plethora of options and skill sets to choose from as general manager.
Josh Hamilton is the cream of the crop. When healthy Hamilton’s offensive production is second to none. He has hit .292 with 35 home runs and 111 RBI in just 120 games so far this season. The biggest knock against Hamilton is that he cannot stay healthy. At 120 games played he is getting close to his career average of games played per season. He is currently making $13.75 million in 2012 and he will command much more. There are several teams that will have outfield openings and deep pockets this offseason that could be major players for the 31 year old. Both the Yankees and the Angels will have openings in right field.
Michael Bourn is the exact opposite of Josh Hamilton. He is your proto typical leadoff hitter. He hits for a .290 average and has speed to burn with at least 40 stolen bases in each of the last 5 seasons. He will definitely be a hot commodity in the offseason but he won’t command near the dollar amount Hamilton will. Bourn is currently making $6.85 million.
Curtis Granderson is a hybrid 4 ½ tool player. Granderson has the power and speed but his batting average leaves something to be desired especially out of the lead off position having hit only .252 over the past three seasons. This however, is not something that should affect his value. The Yankees won’t be foolish and they will use their option on Granderson for 2013 at $13 million.
Torii Hunter wants to play a couple more years before he retires. At 37 years old he is definitely in the waning moments of his career. He still plays adequate defense even though he has lost some of his range and has also moved from center field to right. He will be taking a hefty pay cut this offseason from his current $18 million salary. Whether he returns to the Angels remains to be seen. Hunter is currently hitting .291 with 12 home runs and 61 RBI.
Ichiro Suzuki will truly test the free agent waters for the first time in 2013. Ichiro was traded from the Mariners to the New York Yankees at the trade deadline. He is currently serving as the Yankees left fielder in the absence of Brett Gardner. Ichiro’s numbers have suffered in the past few seasons. Gone are the days of leading the league in batting average. Over the last two seasons he has seen is average drop from well over .300 to around the .270 mark. Ichiro’s speed is also in decline having only swiped 19 bases so far this season. Now these numbers are by no means poor. Most teams would welcome this type of production from their leadoff hitter. However, Ichiro will find it more difficult to get a starting spot on a contender next year which is exactly the role he will be looking fill.
Shane Victorino will be another worthwhile pick up for any competing team. The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” Is putting together a good year with 30 stolen bases, 10 home runs, 47 RBI and an ok .260 batting average. Victorino said at one point he would be looking for a 5 year deal when was still with the Phillies. He has since been traded to the Dodgers who won’t be looking to bring him back now that they have acquired Carl Crawford in a mega deal with the Red Sox. A three year deal looks to be more realistic given Victorino’s age and numbers.
Melky Cabrera has utterly destroyed most of the market he was creating for himself this season. Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for the use of performance enhancing drugs. He was already know to be a malcontent in the clubhouse but there would be quite a few teams willing to look past that because of the numbers he was putting up. Before his suspension Cabrera was hitting a league leading .346 with 11 home runs, 60 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
* – player who’s currently has an option for the 2013 season.
Curtis Granderson *