Post B.J., outfield market is still strong and will be action-packed
Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino, Angel Pagan, Nick Swisher and Ichiro lead a long litany of outfieldrs who remain available.
|B.J. Upton, the Braves remain in the market for a left fielder. (US Presswire)|
B.J. Upton's $75.25-million, five-year deal with the Braves brings some clarity to a wild outfield market. A little, anyway.
This full free-agent list generally hasn't received wide praise, but the outfield group is strong and deep. Lucky for them, several teams seek outfielders.
After making their franchise record deal for Upton, who the Braves liked for his power-speed-youth combo, Atlanta remains in the market for a left fielder. If they could acquire one, they would move Martin Prado from left field to third base.
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An outfielder who could bat leadoff suits the Braves best, and they could try the trade route. Denard Span, who was mentioned as a possibility by Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, would fit, and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports an interest in Dexter Fowler.
The Phillies, Giants and Mets are still looking for a center fielder, and the Reds, Nationals, Marlins and others also may consider someone for center. The Phillies and Giants are looking for a corner outfielder, as well, with the Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Mariners, Brewers and Indians among other teams potentially in the outfield market.
Here's a closer look at some of the many outfielders who remain available:
1. Josh Hamilton. The Brewers, Mariners, Orioles, Phillies and Red Sox are among teams that have been connected to the ultra-talented Hamilton but there's no sign yet that any of them are making a strong push for him. That could just be because teams don't want to divulge their plans, but in case nothing big develops elsewhere, the incumbent Rangers have kept in touch. They like Hamilton but prefer to let him scan the market first in hopes he'd return to them and consider a deal more to their liking, perhaps for four years or so.
2. Michael Bourn. While the incumbent Braves are out now, he may actually be in better position as the top remaining center fielder on the market. The Phillies are a logical landing spot. They had him before and love his personality but with other holes to fill and the luxury-tax threshold somewhat of an issue, it's a question whether they want to pay Bourn. The Reds, Giants, Red Sox and Yankees are among other teams weighing Bourn, though Boston and New York don't especially need a center fielder.
3. Angel Pagan. He set himself up for a nice pay day with a brilliant 2012 campaign, and could try for a four-year deal. The Giants are interested in bringing him back, while the other teams interested in Bourn could also be in play.
4. Shane Victorino. The Indians, Reds, Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Giants are said to be interested, some for center and others for a corner spot. And considering the Phillies' needs, it's not hard to imagine them looking back toward their former center fielder. He has many offers of at least three years, but four might do it.
5. Nick Swisher. The Red Sox are among teams eying swisher, with the Giants, Braves, Orioles and Phillies among other possibilities. A four-year deal seems well within reach.
6. Cody Ross. The Red Sox are in, and many of the others make sense as well. Should get three years in this envorinment.
7. Ryan Ludwick. The Reds would like him back after his superb year there that helped shake off the memories of Petco Park. He'd be a solid pickup for any team seeking a corner outfielder, though.
8. Ichiro Suzuki. He's on record as saying he wants to return to the Yankees. They already have two left handed-hitting center fielders, but Ichiro is a long-established right fielder and did well in left in New York, and the team seems open to it. The Giants showed some interest at the deadline last year. He'd also fit the Braves, though there's no evidence they're involved yet.
9. Delmon Young. The Tigers have filled his spot with Torii Hunter, but he could fit in Baltimore, Seattle or elsewhere. Hard to imagine the Yankees or Mets playing here after his incident in New York early last season.
10. Grady Sizemore. Talented player is still young but carries a legacy of injuries.
11. Nate McLouth. Resurrected career with nice second half in Baltimore following tough goes in Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
12. Juan Rivera. Solid corner guy.
13. Luke Scott. Good power, but injuries kept him down in Tampa last year.
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