There are three days until pitchers and catchers meet, yet the free agent market still sits idle with players starting to scramble for teams. Ervin Santana could be the next signing, as he’s made it clear that he’s ready for Spring Training. Free agents are free to sign at any point in February and March, and could even wait until mid-season, but it’s abnormal to have so many quality players still available in mid-February. So let’s have some fun with it and make an All Free Agent Team.
I cheated on a few of these players. Bello, Diaz, and Castillo are all Cuban players that are or will be available fairly soon. Bello is already cleared to sign, and though the 28 year old is far from a prospect, he has a much more projectable bat than our only other option, Kelly Shoppach. We’ve talked about Diaz before, and though he’s a shortstop, many scouts think he’ll end up at second base. The middle infielder will be cleared to sign on February 19th. Torres is probably the most mysterious name on the list, but the center fielder is one of Cuba’s best players, and ranked 10th on Baseball America’s top 10 unsigned prospects in the 2013 WBC. In the 2011 to 2012 Serie Nacional, Castillo hit .332/.395/.545 with 16 home runs and 22 stolen bases in 420 plate appearances. The 26 year old Castillo is not yet available to sign, but could be by opening day.
The big-name position players, Drew, Morales, and Cruz, each carry draft pick compensation, one big reason why they’re still available. Andres Torres rounds out the outfield with some defense and speed, which is more than you’ll get from other available outfielders like Vernon Wells. Brett Wallace is the biggest mystery, and with him playing third base, you’d probably want a right-handed platoon player to back him up. He has the capability of hitting 25+ home runs in a season, but he’ll also strike out a ton with little on base percentage. Wallace is also not a free agent yet, he’s sitting on waivers.
CL Kevin Gregg
The pitching market is still incredibly deep. Burnett is arguably the best pitcher left, with Santana and Jimenez following him closely. Yoon is a mystery from Korea, but many scouts seem to think that he’s at least capable of being a back-to-mid rotation starter. There are a number of other possible 5th starters, and some Cuban players with high upside as well, but I’m a big fan of Chris Capuano. The southpaw vastly underperformed his FIP in 2013, and he’s only a year removed from a mid-3 ERA.
The relief market is a little light, and Gregg was not my first choice for closer. Gregg is healthy though, especially compared to Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, Ryan Madson, and Rafael Betancourt. I’m also a big fan of Oliver Perez, and a few Cuban players project to be good relievers, but it’s hard to tell how their stuff will translate. For this, I stuck with the consistently mediocre Gregg.
So what would you do different?