Ryne and Cheese
Ryne Sandberg is back with more "expert analysis." Seriously, I can't understand why anyone pays this guy for his opinion. Yes, he's a Hall of Famer and had a great career. However he has no idea what's going on in baseball these days.
By Ryne Sandberg, Yahoo! Sports
December 5, 2005
Here's my list of the top free-agent hitters going into the winter meetings, which start on Monday.
TOP FREE-AGENT HITTERS
10. Brad Ausmus – He's known for his ability to handle a pitching staff and would be a solid pickup for a team needing an every-day catcher. Best fit: Houston Astros. They'll find a way to keep him.
3 year OPS+ for FA catchers:
Ramon Hernandez: 112, 116, 109
Bengie Molina: 110, 86, 100
Brad Ausmus: 54, 64, 83
.. and yet no mention of the two better catchers in this entire list. I like Hernandez a lot, but while I'm not a Molina fan, I'd take him over Ausmus.
9. Sammy Sosa – Sosa had an injury-plagued 2005 season and it looks like he'll have to sign a minor-league deal and prove he's healthy. If no big-league team takes a chance on him, Sosa might sign with a team in Japan. He would make more money by playing there. Best fits: Tampa Bay Devil Rays or Florida Marlins.
Healthy or not, he can't hit anymore.
Look at this scary trend of Sosa's OPS+:
2001: 201 (wow.)
His OPS last year, even while playing half of his games at Bandbox Park at Camden Yards was .671. He's now in the same neighborhood as David Bell (.671), Royce Clayton (.670) and Jeremy Reed (.675).
He's not even the best FA from the Orioles. Rafael Palmeiro's OPS+ since 2000?
Yes, the whole steroids thing with Raffy, I know. However any team that has trepidation about signing Palmeiro because of the 'roids issue should have the same reservations about Sosa. Both players are essentially DHs these days, although I'd feel more comfortable with Palmeiro's defense at 1B than I would with Sosa in the OF.
Sosa should not be on a top 10 list unless the list is about guys who should retire.
8. Alex Gonzalez – He'll probably have to see what happens with Furcal first, but you would assume the same teams that are in the Furcal race would be interested in Gonzalez. If the Braves lose out on Furcal, look for them to make a move on Gonzalez or Julio Lugo. Best fits: Braves, Dodgers or Cubs.
Well he can't hit (career OPS+ of 78, all-time high of 100 (dead average) but there aren't a lot of middle infielders out there. Personally I'd rather have Mark Grudzielanek, Miguel Cairo, or hell maybe even Mark Bellhorn.
7. Carl Everett – He will have to see where the market is set, but it is unlikely he will stay with the Chicago White Sox. Because of his difficult personality, Everett could come at a discounted rate. An American League team will take a chance on him – one that is looking for a big bat in the designated hitter spot. Best fits: Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers.
I dunno what it is about Crazy Carl, but broadcasters and sports writers seem to think he's some sort of great hitter. He can't play defense, and his OPS+ the last 2 years has been 85 and 94. Those numbers simply aren't good enough to warrant an every day DH role, considering half of the players in the majors can put up better offensive stats.
6. Kenny Lofton – One of my favorite players, Lofton will have to wait to see what happens with Damon. Even though he is 38, he will fit nicely in the outfield of team that is looking for a leadoff batter. Best fit: Yankees … that is, if they lose out on Damon.
Hopefully the Yankees sign Kenny Lofton again so that Joe Torre can continue his pattern of not playing him or DHing him in favor of inferior defensive players. Kenny can still hit (OPS+ 103, 109, 97, 107 the last 4 years) but he's not coming back to the Yankees (not even to park cars) while Torre is still managing. Lofton should be on this list.
5. Jacque Jones – He's a serviceable hitter and outfielder. It was rumored that the San Diego Padres might have interest in him, but they re-signed Brian Giles. Best fit: St. Louis Cardinals.
Jones had one good year in 2002. Other than that he's been a below average hitter.
4. Preston Wilson – He could find a home in a few places. He hit just .261 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs in 68 games for the Washington Nationals last season. Best fits: Dodgers or Cubs.
I'm not as down on Wilson as I think a lot of people are. Yes, he strikes out a lot, but looking at the other players on this list, he's among the cream of the crop. He's only had one season of OPS+ below average. Is he great? No. Is he servicable? Sure.
3. Mike Piazza – It looks like his days in the National League might be over. Piazza will likely have to move to a DH role. Minnesota has showed interest. Best fit: American League.
Piazza is still a pretty decent hitter and may get even better if he's not forced to catch anymore, or at most once per week. As a DH, I think he could thrive in a good lineup (and fantasy fans, he will be catcher eligible next season!). Ok Ryno, we agree on this one.
2. Nomar Garciaparra – Nomar has been injured the last two years, and that is going to hurt his chances of signing a big contract. I think he is still holding out for a shortstop job, but that is not likely. He will likely have to move to second or third base or the outfield. His contract is going to have to be incentive-laden as a utility guy. Best fits: Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles or Angels.
I'd throw the Yankees in as a pretty good fit. Everyday player on an incentive-laden contract, majority of games at DH, but spelling players in the OF, 3B, 2B, SS, and 1B. Yes, I think Nomar can learn all of those additional positions. Versatility could be a huge asset for him. Tack on a club option second year that becomes guaranteed if certain incentives are met. Unite the Trinity, Mr. Cashman!
1. Johnny Damon – The Yankees and Red Sox are in another feud, but this time it's over the top free-agent position player. The Yankees are looking for a replacement for Bernie Williams in center field as well as someone to hit leadoff so Derek Jeter can move to the No. 2 spot. The Yankees will keep pushing the dollar amount up, but keep the years close to three years. Best fit: Yankees or Red Sox.
If there's any feud here, it's between both front offices and Scott Boras over Damon's asinine demands. Oh, and Ryne, the Yankees are *not* looking for someone to move Jeter to the #2 spot. I can't for the life of me fathom why idiot sports writers keep talking about that. Jeter has better stats leading off, and is one of - if not the - best leadoff hitters in the majors. He is a "legitimate leadoff hitter." There are very fe available CFers I would hit leadoff over Jeter. Actually I can't really think of any.
Longtime Chicago Cub Ryne Sandberg was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 31, 2005.
For his play on the field, obviously, many years ago hen maybe he might have had some clue about baseball.
The bigget travesty of this list? No mention of probably the bet all-around hitter still available: Frank Thomas.
| ||OPS ||OPS+ |
|2002 ||.834 ||117 |
|2003 ||.952 ||149 |
|2004 ||.997 ||151 |
|2005 ||.905 ||131 |
No other FA even comes close to those numbers. Not even Damon.
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 10:00 AM