MLB UNDER THE RADAR FREE AGENTS TO WATCH
This off-season is full of big name players on the free agent market that will be targeted by many teams. Every year, seemingly low impact players sign and have a big impact on their team. In this article, I will highlight a three under-the-radar players who could have a major impact on the team they sign with.
Player #1: (P) Henderson Alvarez
Henderson Alvarez, 26, last pitched in the Athletics minor leagues last season is recovering from shoulder surgery he had in 2015. The last full season Alvarez pitched was in 2014. His 2015 line (0-4, 6.45 ERA , 4 GS) before surgery isn’t all that impressive but there is reason to believe he can return to 2014 form (12-7, 2.65 ERA, 30 GS) in 2017. He is still relatively young and this offseason he should begin to fully recover from the surgery that sat him out in 2015 and limited him in 2016 and could return to have a big year.
Player #2: (OF) Angel PaganApr 9, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan (16) celebrates after tripling in the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Pagan, who has played for the Giants from 2012 through 2016 before becoming a free agent this offseason, will turn 36 next season. Though he is getting older, Pagan still provides a lot of value. Last season Pagan hit .277 with 12 home runs, 55 RBI, 15 stolen bases, and 5 triples. Pagan still possesses plus speed and contact ability. Though advanced defensive metrics show Pagan is a below average fielder, he would be a good pickup for a team in need of a veteran outfielder.
Player #3: (1B) James Loney
Loney moved a lot last season. After released by the Tampa Bay Rays in early 2016, he was picked up by the Padres and then promptly traded to the Mets. It is fair to say Loney, 32, is past his prime in the sport of baseball, but that doesn’t mean he that he cannot provide value to a ball club. Last season, Loney was paid the Major League minimum and didn’t produce that well. Last season, he hit .265 with an OBP of .307. Those are not numbers that will blow your socks off by any means. Loney has not played more than 104 games in a season since 2014, when he played 155. His average batting average in a season where he plays at least 150 games is .286. The stats show when he plays everyday, he provides a lot of value and above average defense. He is an affordable option for any team looking for a starting or even backup first baseman.
* ALL STATS PROVIDED BY Baseball-Reference