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Free Agent Rankings: Left Field

Today we complete our look at the free agent fielders that are available for the Marlins to make offers to. Left field seems to be another position that the Marlins are pretty secure with. Christian Yelich has shown a ton of promise and will be looking to build on that this upcoming season. The Marlins may be interested in adding some depth, considering last year’s backup Juan Pierre, will be hitting the free agent market again this year. Let’s take a look at a few of those options.

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Jason Bay:

Good grief, this is going to be painful. Bay, once thought of as one of the top up-and-coming outfielders in MLB, has pretty much fallen off of a cliff. After averaging 30 home runs over 6 years from 2004-2009, he seemed to hit a wall. I guess signing with the Mets can do that to you. Since then he has averaged 9 home runs a season. Couple that with an OBP that hasn’t reached .300 in two years, and you can a player directly in the middle of their decline.

Bay’s quest this off-season is to convince a GM that he can return to 2009 form, when he hit .267/.384/.537 en route to a 36 home run season. I really don’t see anyone falling for it. I believe Bay will be lucky to get a 1 year deal worth 2.5 million dollars after incentives.

The problem that Bay is going to encounter is his lack of one above average trait. For instance, Juan Pierre, whom we will cover later, still has elite speed. That makes him a valuable bench player. I have a hard time distinguishing a positive trait for Bay, unless you value strikeout rates close to 30%.

I don’t think that Bay signs with the Marlins, I don’t see the front office taking a chance on a player with that many question marks when they have more talented rookies waiting in the wings.

Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 2/10

 

Nate McLouth:

McLouth hits the open market after a decent last year with the Orioles. McLouth was able to salvage a career that was on the ropes. Just a couple of years ago McLouth had to sign a minor league deal with the Orioles just to get a shot at playing. Since then, he has become Baltimore’s starting left fielder.

McLouth still possess speed, always valuable to the Marlins in spacious left field. He is durable, more prolonged to slumps than injuries. He is a decent defensive left fielder, which the Marlins like as well.

McLouth struggles to hit left-handed pitching and is best suited in a platoon role with another player. This would be a problem for the Marlins since Yelich is also left-handed.

I see McLouth as more of a starting left fielder, and expect him to be compensated like one, which means, he will most likely be out of the Marlins price range. I think he will get a 2/3 year contract with about 13 million dollars on it. The Marlins are not going to sign him to take over left field from Yelich, and that is too much for Loria to pay a bench player.

I expect McLouth to resign with the Orioles, as they seem to really like him. I would be very surprised to see him in Miami next year.

Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 1/10

 

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Juan Pierre:

Pierre is a player that we are all familiar with. Whether it is fond memories of a World Series Championship over the Yankees in 2003, or last year as a player with declining skills, we pretty much know what we are going to get with Pierre.

Every year I think Pierre will have lost a step, and every year it seems like he doesn’t. Many people like to say that speed doesn’t age gracefully, but Pierre would beg to differ. It is quite a weapon to be able to pinch run a veteran like Pierre. He is also good at laying down a crucial bunt.

His speed in the outfield is certainly acceptable as a backup to Yelich, but it is not his speed that I am worried about. Pierre’s arm is shot. The problem with that is it was virtually non-existent to begin with. I fear we are going to start to see routine singles into left field become doubles more often when Pierre is out there. If a batted ball causes Pierre to move to his right at all, the runner can get to second if he is hustling, and a shot down the line presents options for a triple.

Last year, it was painful to watch Pierre play left-field. I would like to see him on an American League team where he can occasionally DH, but he really doesn’t have the bat for that either. Loria will take a hard look at bringing Pierre back to the Marlins. They really liked his clubhouse leadership (the Tino Martinez fiasco not withstanding), and more importantly, he is cheap.

If the Marlins can bring him back for another year at 1.5 million dollars, I think they will. The only exception will be if they feel that they have too many outfielders already. If they are intent on keeping Jake Marisnick in the majors (I think would be a mistake) than they may not have room for him on their roster. I don’t expect this however. Keep an eye on Pierre, he has a good chance of wearing the orange and black next year again.

Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 7/10

Here is a complete list of all the free agent left fielders on the market this year.

Jeff Baker (33)
Jason Bay (35)
Brennan Boesch (29)
Trevor Crowe (30)
Chris Dickerson (32)
Raul Ibanez (42)
Reed Johnson (37)
Jason Kubel (32)
Darnell McDonald (35)
Nate McLouth (32)
Mike Morse (32)
Laynce Nix (33)
Juan Pierre (36)
Delmon Young (28)

Do any of these players jump out at you as potential signees for Miami? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Marlins news and conversation.

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Tags: Jason Bay Juan Pierre Miami Marlins MLB Nate McLouth

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