How To Spot A Free Agent Bargain

Vlad Guerrero Rangers Free Agents Texas

Photo: AP Images

In this year’s World Series, both the Rangers and the Giants were fuelled by clever deals from the previous offseason.The runners-up paid Vlad Guerrero (their DH) and Colby Lewis (their game 3 starter), a combined $7.5 million, while the champs paid their corner infielders, Juan Uribe and Aubrey Huff, a combined $6.25 million. All four players were critical components of their club’s respective run. 

In today’s New York Times, national baseball writer Tyler Kepner, attempts to use those signings as trend points that could lead to free agent bargains in this year’s market. Here are some identifiers:

  • Like Huff, the player had a disappointing season that included a trade the year before. (Derek Lee, Jorge Cantu, and Brad Hawpe)
  • Like Guerrero, the player is a proven veteran DH-type coming off an unproductive year, who many have one more big season left in him. (Lance Berkman, Hideki Matsui, and Manny Ramirez)
  • Like Jon Garland of the Padres – who posted a big year on a $5.3 million contract – a new team matches a player with a ballpark that suits his strengths.

It’s really all about timing. General managers have to scour the free agent wire for players who had untimely poor seasons with potential to rebound; all while avoiding players who parlay a single super season into undeserving big bucks.

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