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The Free Agent DH Market

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In a little under an hour, the MLB Free Agency period will begin. Amidst the millions and millions and years and years of contracts, (hopefully) one lucky fellow will be called upon to serve in the Rays army as the designated batsman. After taking a look at the players available in the market, I put together a list of "DHs" and their respective Bill James' projections. I also added wOBA, so RJ doesn't beat me over the head for not using properly sanctioned statistics.

Here's a table showing the projections sorted in descending order by wOBA:

 

Player Age Type G AB H 2B HR R RBI BB SO Avg OBP Slg OPS wOBA
Ramirez, Manny 36 A 150 552 166 34 34 95 113 88 125 .301 .404 .551 .955 .407
Dunn, Adam 29 A 159 562 138 30 42 100 103 122 183 .246 .386 .527 .913 .390
Bradley, Milton 30 B 123 442 127 27 20 72 68 70 108 .287 .391 .489 .879 .382
Burrell, Pat 32 157 537 136 29 32 78 98 104 145 .253 .377 .490 .867 .377
Giambi, Jason 37 136 446 109 20 29 70 86 89 113 .244 .388 .484 .873 .373
Abreu, Bobby 34 A 159 604 173 41 19 104 100 98 125 .286 .389 .455 .844 .372
Griffey, Ken 38 B 127 412 105 21 20 57 64 58 81 .255 .351 .451 .802 .350
Thomas, Frank 40 B 111 349 85 14 17 41 56 58 75 .244 .358 .430 .787 .346
Ibanez, Raul 36 A 159 623 173 36 22 84 100 60 111 .278 .343 .448 .791 .345
Rivera, Juan 30 99 317 89 20 13 40 52 21 41 .281 .327 .467 .794 .342
Floyd, Cliff 35 81 256 67 14 11 36 38 29 55 .262 .353 .445 .798 .342
Garciaparra, Nomar 35 76 179 51 10 6 25 28 13 16 .285 .344 .453 .796 .342
Baldelli, Rocco 27 103 312 87 18 12 47 44 20 64 .279 .330 .465 .795 .340
Kent, Jeff 40 A 140 519 143 31 17 64 78 48 74 .276 .344 .437 .781 .339
Gonzalez, Luis 41 B 125 313 81 20 9 40 42 42 41 .259 .354 .415 .769 .338
Casey, Sean 34 92 195 57 12 3 22 24 17 21 .292 .361 .400 .761 .334
Hinske, Eric 31 123 339 83 21 14 51 47 41 84 .245 .332 .437 .768 .333
Millar, Kevin 37 129 407 103 23 14 53 55 52 77 .253 .348 .413 .760 .333
Blake, Casey 35 B 110 336 87 20 12 45 44 31 77 .259 .336 .432 .768 .329
Anderson, Garret 36 B 140 525 148 30 16 62 83 28 79 .282 .318 .434 .753 .327
Norton, Greg 36 115 162 40 8 5 20 22 23 41 .247 .341 .389 .729 .327
Ward, Daryle 33 99 176 44 11 6 18 28 19 36 .250 .327 .415 .741 .325
Loretta, Mark 37 A 90 245 69 13 3 28 25 23 26 .282 .355 .371 .727 .322
Clark, Tony 36 92 152 35 7 7 17 26 19 49 .230 .320 .414 .734 .321
Aurilia, Rich 37 114 335 90 18 9 39 41 25 49 .269 .323 .409 .732 .320
Boone, Aaron 35 86 204 49 10 6 25 26 16 43 .240 .317 .377 .695 .297

Obviously, some of these guys will cost more than others, as well as be more desirable than others. So, let's take a look at a few that I think would be good signs (for whatever that's worth).

  • Adam Dunn/Milton Bradley: These two players are the best we could hope to afford. They are very similar in that they both have a perceived negative value due to "attitude" or "character" issues. Additionally, both can play the field but shouldn't. Dunn's horrid defense and Bradley's injury issues should force them both into DH roles. Maybe their predetermined roles, coupled with their "character flaws," could land them in the Bay area for a discount. Both are on-base machines that could really add some pop to the lineup. Bradley is preferred, though, because of his status as a Type B free agent.
  • Giambi/Thomas: These two old sluggers should never, ever see the field for any team of the living. They both man the easiest position in baseball like the undead at this point, and they have definitely seen better days. They are both power bats with great eyes. If they can give us 120 games you can expect an OBP approaching .380 with 30 bombs. I love Giambi for the fact that he is a type B.
  • Juan Rivera/Raul Ibanez: These two soon-to-be-former-AL-West-Rivals are both butchers in the field (notice a theme). Neither get on base like the aforementioned sluggers, but they do hit for power and SHOULD hit for decent averages. Ibanez will likely net a bigger contract when some foolish team thinks he can play RF (cough..Mets..cough). He's also a Type A, and older, so I am really warming up to Rivera.
  • ATTENTION BARGAIN SHOPPERS (Blake, Millar, Casey, Kent, Norton, etc.): These players all have flaws. That's why they'll likely be cheap. One of them, however, may be the F.A.T. that RJ so dearly craves. A few are type A, so I'd stay away from them, but there may be some real value here.
  • Everyone else that I did not notice or think worthy to mention may also come into play. I might have mentioned Hinske last year, but probably not. Pena the year before? Doubtful. So who knows what F.A.T. the RFO may bring in that will seem unexciting at first? Who knows, they may win a Silver Slugger a la Pena two years ago.

Let's discuss, and count the names as they get signed up!