2014 MLB Free Agency: The Top 5 Available First Baseman
Top Five First Baseman in MLB Free Agency
First base is a position where the burden relies almost solely in the offensive capacity of the player.
These players are considered to be un-athletic with average defensive skills, or are players who are just not able to play in another position. However, they do carry a heavy load in their bats as it seems to be the prototypical calling card in this position. That is one of the reasons why first base prospects don’t have as much value as the outfielders. Due to the fact that offense is what ultimately wins games, however, power-hitting first basemen are usually sought after in the free agent market, as a good run producer can be the difference between reaching the playoffs and playing in the World Series.
This offseason, the first baseman crop is quite thin as there aren’t many big names on the board like with other positions. But, that doesn’t mean that some of the players here aren’t expecting to receive big paychecks.
The majority of the players available are veterans, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good fits to play the position. Several Gold Glove-caliber players will be waiting for an incoming call to join a new team with the expectation of a multi-year deal, the chance to play for a contender, or maybe just the change to get regular playing time near the end of a successful career.
Without further ado, join me through this slideshow as we check the top five first baseman that will be available through the free agency market this offseason.
5. Paul Konerko
A long-time veteran with the Chicago White Sox, Paul Konerko opted for free agency with his mind set on playing for a contender as his playing career is reaching towards its end. He has a solid glove and provides some pop, but the fact that age is catching up with him could be a sign that he’s slated to maintain a 1B/DH role in the American League.
4. Kendrys Morales
Kendrys Morales had a solid yet unspectacular season with the Seattle Mariners this year where he showcased his usual power (23 HRs, 80 RBIs, .788 OPS) that could land him a multi-year deal. He could be very useful in the American League where he has a proven track record.
3. James Loney
James Loney is not the prototypical first baseman as he doesn’t have the power that’s usually asked to play that position. He does have a solid defensive glove, and the fact that he can be a .300 hitter could be very useful for a team that already has power in their lineup.
2. Corey Hart
Most people could say that his value is down as he was unable to play this season due to several injuries, but Corey Hart's impressive resume (24 HRs, 78 RBIs per season the last five years) is definitively worth taking the risk. If healthy, he can be a bargain as he’s a leader in the clubhouse with power and good situational hitting.
1. Mike Napoli
Even when Mike Napoli’s biggest problem are the strikeouts, he’s still the top first baseman this offseason. Just like Jacoby Ellsbury, he’s currently in the World Series with the Boston Red Sox, so the market for him will open up once the season is over. That said, he should have plenty of suitors knocking on his door. He can play either behind the plate, at first or as a DH, so his versatility is also a factor that puts him as the top player in his position.