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Plenty of outfielders still up for grabs

Jan 18, 2010, 6:25 PM EDT

Jim Edmonds, Jay Payton, Shannon Stewart, Luis Gonzalez, Geoff Jenkins. All had their careers cut short a year ago because teams decided to go young and cheap in the outfield. Edmonds and Jenkins are currently contemplating comebacks, but there’s still a crunch at the position, with few spots available and more than enough players to fill them.
A rundown of the current free agent outfielders:
Johnny Damon
Jermaine Dye
Rick Ankiel
Xavier Nady
Randy Winn
Jonny Gomes
Gary Sheffield
Marcus Thames
Rocco Baldelli
Garret Anderson
Gabe Gross
Brian Giles
Chris Duncan
Endy Chavez
Alfredo Amezaga
Jacque Jones
Matt Stairs
Cory Sullivan
Ryan Freel
Darin Erstad
Jeremy Reed
Wily Mo Pena
There’s something for everyone in that list. Damon is the only player left guaranteed to help a contender as an everyday player, but Dye can still hit and Ankiel offers plenty of upside. Winn would be a terrific fourth outfielder for a good team if he gives up on the idea of starting for a mediocre one. And all Gomes did last year was hit .267/.338/541 in 281 at-bats for the Reds.
As for matching them up all with teams, that’s where it gets difficult. The Blue Jays and Reds are the only remaining clubs that look like locks to bring in starting outfielders, and they’re both bargain hunting. The Giants, Marlins, Royals, Tigers and Yankees are the teams that could add a regular. The Royals and Tigers, though, might go the DH route instead, with Jim Thome, Hank Blalock and Russell Branyan still lurking.
So, it seems to me too many of these guys are going to have to end up settling for minor league deals. Here’s one person’s guess as to where the notable names will end up:
Johnny Damon – Yankees
Jermaine Dye – Reds
Rick Ankiel – Blue Jays
Xavier Nady – Mets
Randy Winn – Cardinals
Jonny Gomes – Cubs
Gary Sheffield – Royals
Marcus Thames – Blue Jays
Rocco Baldelli – Twins
Endy Chavez – Mariners

  1. Jeff V. - Jan 18, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    I saw Jay Payton play for Baltimore in ’07 and ’08 and trust me he did not have his career cut short.

  2. Matthew Pouliot - Jan 18, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    There’s probably some truth to that. Given his defense, Payton obviously still would have had some value last year as the right-handed hitter in a platoon. However, he had no business serving as a regular and he probably didn’t have any interest in accepting a lesser role.

  3. Jon KK - Jan 18, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    Reed Johnson

  4. Jonny5 - Jan 19, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    LMAO!!!! Matt Stairs? An outfielder? ROTFL!!!! That pudge is a bench bat or DH. I’d say anyone with a middle to small ballpark should snatch him up for a bench bat, known to hit the long ball. He’s better than his Phillies numbers say, they didn’t use him much besides for certain situations. He’s got plenty of home runs left in the tank. Certain to be a bargain.

  5. Shug - Jan 19, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    You know it’s hard out here for a pimp.

  6. john pileggi - Jan 19, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Damon, Thames, Nady and Chavez are all good guys and can still produce.

  7. Stan Jacobs - Feb 13, 2010 at 2:18 AM

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.

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