Catcher; Jesus Flores – In a shallow list of available catchers, I like Flores the best. Now his last two season have been abysmal, and that is due to injuries as well as never grabbing the starting catching job. Before that, Flores had looked like a promising catcher for the young Washington Nationals. It is doubtful he will be a starter anywhere, but with the options I got to pick, I’d much rather go with a guy with potential still rather than the swing for all or nothing players.
First Baseman; Adam LaRoche – An easy choice here as Adam LaRoche is a pretty solid option to start first base for most clubs. He is pretty consistent in terms of a seasons production, usually hitting over 20 homers, knocking in 80 RBI’s, and batting around .270. His glove is not all that bad either, and if you ask me, he is a starter for a good portion of clubs out there.
Second Baseman; Freddy Sanchez – Although Sanchez had missed all of last season, and most of 2011, he definitely has one of the better bats out of the available second baseman. If Sanchez can stay healthy, he is a solid bat in any lineup as he will hover around a .300 average. Health is a big factor here, but he is a steal if that is not a question.
(EDIT) Shortstop; Alex Gonzalez – I was jockeying between Gonzalez and Jason Bartlett but I went the guy who can provide some pop, and is a better fielder. Bartlett is a mystery on the field sometimes, and although is a decent hitter, that’s not worth it to me. Gonzalez has had a rough last two season, and although he is getting up there with age, he can be serviceable. I’m not sure he will be starting anywhere though.
Third Baseman; Chone Figgins – Now this pick is strictly on hope that a change of location is what he needs to get back to his old form. It doesn’t help that he is older as well, but the old Figgins was a solid crafty player. Now Jose Lopez might be the better pick at third, but I’m just going to stick with the veteran, and that a change of scenery is what he needs to get back some of the player we once knew.
Left Field; Delmon Young – While Young doesn’t have the biggest pop in his bat, he can be a very serviceable batter who hovers around a .270-.280 average. He also is an everyday outfielder unlike most of the other left fielders out there, who are not much more than role players at this point. Now if Delmon Young can sign with an American League East team, and play against the Yankees, he might be an all star this year. For some reason, he seems to own them, ALA Mark Reynolds last year.
Center Field; Michael Bourn – Without a doubt, and probably one of the easiest choices I’ve had to make. Bourn is a solid player, and his speed is something that you just can’t buy. Although his average might not be all there, he can still reach base other ways which makes him an asset at the top of any lineup. His speed also helps his game in the outfield as he covers a large portion of the outfield.
Right Field; Scott Hairston – While I’m not really focusing on his arm or his suspect defense here obviously, I’m looking at his bat more so. He has some of the best pop in baseball, and I’ll take that in my lineup. I’ve shunned some picks because they are mostly all or nothing players, but Hairston has never got to be that everyday outfielder he wants to be. I would like to see what he could do in a full season given the opportunity.
Kyle Lohse – It seems like as he got older, he got better…like wine. Lohse arguably had his best season, and is a main reason why the Cardinals made the playoffs. Now the question is, can he put up the same numbers? His career obviously wouldn’t indicate that, and someone might overpay for him, but he’s a solid number 2 or 3 starter on any squad.
Shaun Marcum – Although he was hurt for some of the season, he managed to pitch halfway decent. Marcum has also been a pretty consistent pitcher, and has a career 3.76 ERA to show. Now he may not be a number 2 type pitcher, but he still is good enough to be a number 3 or 4 starter. A 57-36 career record is not all that bad to boot either.
Tim Stauffer – In 2011 as a full-time starter, he put pretty serviceable numbers. Granted though, pitching in Petco Park can help any pitcher. Stauffer was 9-12 for the Padres, with an ERA of 3.73. But, Stauffer only got one start last season before getting injured, and missing the entire season. If he can stay healthy, he could be a very good back end starter.
Jair Jurrjens – He really should be higher on this list but last season was just absurdly bad. But then again, every pitcher has a bad year, and hopefully this is the worse one. Jurrjens has great potential and has preformed very well in the past, especially in 2009, and 2011. Both years his ERA’s were stellar, and had double-digit wins. Now if he can put this season in the past, he is a solid starter.
Joe Saunders – Now, I’m not the biggest Saunders fan, and I will admit I’m an Arizona Diamondbacks fan. When he pitched, you just never knew what you were gonna get out of him. He can either be unexpectedly dominant in games, or just a flat out dud. He hovers around a 4 ERA every year, so if he is a 5th starter and will spot you some solid games here and there, he definitely is worthy of being a back end stater of a staff.
Closer; Rafael Soriano – I think we all saw how good Soriano was taking over for Mariano Rivera, and I’m sure he wants to be a closer again given his success. He certainly has also earned not only a closer gig, but a pretty hefty contract. Now, there are decent closer’s available, but Soriano is more consistent than any of them, and I’m thinking his price is the only thing keeping him from being on a team right now.
Setup Man; Takashi Saito – Strange pick you might be thinking? Probably, but Saito has some nasty stuff in his arsenal, and although he hasn’t been in the MLB for that long, he definitely has proven he can hang. He is 43 though, and last season he was injured about the entire season, which is a concern. I’d still take the chance on Saito, I mean C’Mon, his career ERA is 2.34….Nuff Said.
Left Hand Specialist; Rich Hill – Health is another big one here because ever since this man has converted to the bullpen, he has been dominant. If only he could make it through a season, we could actually see the potential he has to improve a bullpen because he’s been flawless since he converted from a starter to a relief pitcher. We will see if any team takes a chance on him, it could turn into a solid pickup.
The Rest of the Bullpen;
LaTroy Hawkins – Often under looked, Hawkins can actually be a pretty good pitcher to have in the bullpen. It’s strange though with him, you’ll either get a really dominant season out of him or a really sub-par season. I’d take a chance on him though.
Francisco Rodriguez – Although last season was not his best, he is still is among the best available pitchers. Now I don’t know about being a closer or a setup man any more, I think he still can be worthwhile to have in the bullpen. Now I’m not sure of his asking price, but I don’t think at this point in his career, he should be asking for much. I also think he needs to accept whatever role he gets, and his closer days might be a thing of the past.
John Rauch – Not really a world beater, but definitely a decent pitcher to have in your bullpen. You’d think he’d be more dominant though given his height, and when he releases the ball how much less of a distance that is to the mound. It’s an advantage, but he just doesn’t have the stuff to make it work. I’d still pick him up though, he has his moments.
Mark Lowe – I really like him as a long reliever, and a spot starter here an there. He definitely was a great pickup for the Yankees, and served his role really well. I think he might be looking for a starting role again, but he had success in the bullpen, and should stick to it.