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Free agent countdown: position players #10-6

A look at some of the top potential free agents for this offseason, including what they're likely to cost and whether the Indians have any use for them.


Other entries in the free agency series:

The Indians major need this offseason in terms of a position player is probably a right fielder, either to platoon with Drew Stubbs or play every day if Stubbs is non-tendered. Lonnie Chisenhall probably gets another year to show he can be an MLB third baseman, but if you could make an argument that the team should look for someone to take over there as well. If you're willing to play Nick Swisher in right, you could also look at 1B/DB types. The other positions are fairly well spoken for, unless someone is traded. That being the case, not all of the players listed here are going to be a fit for the Indians, but it's still worth knowing who's out there.

On with the countdown!

10) Jhonny Peralta - SS (OF?), age 31

2013 Numbers 448 .303 .358 .457 123 3.6
2014 Projections* 391 .264 .325 .412 101 0.9

*Steamer projections, available at FanGraphs

Peralta returned at the end of 2013 after serving a 50-game suspension for connections to Biogenesis and PEDs. In his absence, Detroit had traded for Jose Iglesias, a slick-fielding youngster, to cover shortstop, and so in all three of Peralta's September starts, and six of his eight postseason starts, he was in left field. That's unlikely to stick though, and Peralta will be signed to play shortstop. Many Indians fans would like to see Asdrubal Cabrera this winter, but is any team likely to give much up for him when a similar player is available? Tribe fans should hope the Tigers make Peralta a qualifying offer, so that potential signing teams are forced to give up a draft pick, perhaps leading them to give something of similar value for Cabrera instead. (More likely, Tribe fans should just be prepared for the team to keep Cabrera, and reassess things at midseason, when he's hopefully rebuilt more value).

9) Omar Infante - 2B, age 31

2013 Numbers 476 .318 .345 .450 117 3.1
2014 Projections 523 .292 .326 .418 102 2.3

Infante is the best second baseman available this offseason who won't cost $200M or so, and will serve as a reasonable consolation prize for any team looking to fill an opening at the keystone position but short on the funds (or gun shy of the commitment) needed for Robinson Cano. Infante is an average hitter, give or take the whims of BABIP, and a solid fielder. FanGraphs' crowdsourcing project predicts he'll get 3 years, $28 million, which maybe seems like even a slight bargain to me.Tribe fans should hope he departs Detroit (and isn't replaced by Cano).

8) Stephen Drew - SS, age 30

2013 Numbers 501 .253 .333 .443 109 3.4
2014 Projections 649 .242 .322 .392 93 2.6

Drew will be the best shortstop on the market. He probably won't hit quite as well as Peralta, but he's better in other facets of the game (and he'll have that World Series winner shine). He'll have no trouble getting a multiyear deal, but it's worth noting that the 124 games he appeared in this season are the most he's had since 2010. His health is a gamble teams will be willing to talk themselves into though, further shrinking the trade market for Asdrubal Cabrera, adding to the likelihood that (and I know I already said this above), Cabrera is still with the Indians until at least July.

7) Carlos Beltran - OF, age 36

2013 Numbers 600 .296 .339 .491 132 2.0
2014 Projections 619 .285 .352 .488 134 2.5

Beltran continues to hit, putting up some of the strongest rate stats in the National League this year (including the 10th-highest slugging percentage). Two years ago, when he was last a free agent, he scorned Cleveland. It's unlikely they'll bother pursuing him this time around, though he wouldn't be a bad fit for a team on which right field is a weakness. That said, Beltran, even as his bat holds steady, is less and less capable of manning the outfield. Advanced metrics mark him as one of the worst out there in 2013, both in terms of his range, and his arm. Also, after sitting above 10% for seven straight seasons (and averaging better than 12%) Beltran's walk rate dropped to 6% this season. On merit, Beltran is a future Hall of Famer, but how many good seasons does he have left?

6) Mike Napoli - 1B/C, age 32

2013 Numbers 578 .259 .360 .482 129 3.9
2014 Projections 603 .248 .349 .470 122 3.2

2013 brought about a significant change for Napoli, as Boston played him at first base instead of catcher, where his defense mattered less, but also provided less value. The 3-year deal he signed with the Red Sox a year ago was scuttled by a hip condition that showed up on his physical, leading instead to a 1-year deal that puts him back on the market after playing in a career-high 148 games. A year ago I thought he made some sense for the Indians, as some to share C and 1B duties with Carlos Santana. Yan Gomes has changed that though, and I don't see him as a fit for the Tribe anymore. It will be interesting to see if he's signed as a catcher or not this winter. He'll turn down a qualifying offer and get a multiyear deal this time around, likely for $14 million or so per annum.