This week I analyzed the top free agent infielders on the market, and I determined which teams might be the best fits for them.
1B/3B Russell Branyan – Russell only hit .251 last year, but he also hit 31 home runs with 76 RBI’s in just 431 at-bats. He was a huge part of the Mariners’ success in the early part of the year, hitting .333 in April, and .317 in May, with 11 home runs and 23 RBI’s in those two months. The Mariners need Branyan as they don’t have another good option at first base for this year, so I think he will go back to Seattle.
Good fits – Mariners, Yankees (as DH), Braves, Giants
1B Adam LaRoche – Adam had a great year after being traded to the Braves in 2009. With the Braves he hit .325 with a .401 OBP, 12 HR, and 40 RBI’s in 212 at-bats. He is a Type B free agent, so the Braves would get compensation if he signed with another team. But I don’t think he will sign with another team, because in Atlanta he was well-liked, played well, and the Braves can’t afford to lose him, as their second best option is Barbaro Canizares.
Good fits – Braves, Giants
2B Orlando Hudson – Orlando hit .283 last year, well down from his .305 average in 2008. He is not much of a power hitter, as his career high is just 15 home runs, and last year he hit only 9. The Dodgers will definitely try to keep him, as Ronnie Belliard is a free agent also, but I’m not sure if he’ll stay, since he was only a platoon player with Belliard in last year’s playoffs.
Good fits – Angels, Tigers, Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants
2B/SS Marco Scutaro – Marco had a very good year last year, as he hit .282 with a .379 OBP, 12 HR, and 60 RBI’s. He is always a very good fielder, and he had a .984 fielding percentage. He had an OBP over .390 in every month except for June (.328) and September (.310). He could change a team with a poor middle infield from a borderline playoff team to a definite playoff team.
Good fits – Angels, Twins, Tigers, Red Sox, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants
2B/3B/SS/OF Mark DeRosa – Mark had a down year last year (hitting .270 with Cleveland, .228 with St. Louis). But the three previous years, he had averages of .296, .293, and .285, respectively with 44 home runs and 233 RBI’s total. The Cardinals might not bring him back, since they will have to pay Pujols big next off-season, and Mark will probably want to start somewhere, and not be on the bench.
Good fits – White Sox, Tigers, Red Sox, Braves, Phillies, Cardinals, Giants
3B Chone Figgins – Chone is on the Angels’ top priority list along with John Lackey. Chone had a very good year last year, hitting .298 with 5 home runs and 54 RBI’s along with a .395 OBP. That was following a down year in 2008, when he hit just .276. Chone is a good lead-off hitter who could help a lot of clubs, even though he was just 3-for-35 in last year’s playoffs.
Good fits – Angels, Twins, Phillies
SS Orlando Cabrera – Orlando qualifies as a Type A free agent, and the Twins will probably not be looking to keep him in Minnesota, as they traded for JJ Hardy earlier in the offseason. Orlando had a fine year batting average wise, hitting .280 with the A’s, and .289 with the Twins. But he did not have a very good on-base percentage, with only a .318 OBP with Oakland, and a .313 OBP with Minnesota. He also is not much of a power hitter, with just 9 home runs and 77 RBI’s total last year. He is a good player, but he will probably want a contract larger than what he deserves.
Good fits – Tigers, Cardinals
SS Miguel Tejada – Miguel is also a type A free agent, and he will also want a large contract. The Astros almost surely will not resign him for next year, as they are not considered a contender for next year, or anytime in the near future. He had a very good year last year, hitting .313 with 14 home runs and 86 RBI’s. He is 36, so he probably won’t get a long-term contract.
Good fits – Angels, Tigers, Red Sox, Cubs
Come back next week for free agent outfielders.