Free Agent Rankings: Center Field


Today we continue our look at the potential free agents the Miami Marlins may be interested in. It has been a relatively quiet off-season so far for the Marlins, but it is still early. Some of the early rumors have not included signing any outfielders, not a surprise considering outfield depth is the Marlins’ strength in the field. Even with this depth, the Marlins would be wise to keep an eye on a few free agents, based on their considerable talent level.

Miami currently lists Justin Ruggiano, then Marcell Ozuna, on the depth chart for center field. Either player could take the reigns of the position during spring training with some decent play. I think Ozuna is the favorite based on his success during winter ball this year. That being said, the considerable talent on the market would certainly be an update at the position. Here are a few of those players.

Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Ellsbury:

To me, Ellsbury is the second best free agent available, behind only Robinson Cano. Ellsbury provides ridiculous speed on the base paths, great defense and even has some power in his history. He has the potential to lead the major’s in stolen bases every year, actually doing it in 2009. Steamer predicts Ellsbury will have 35 stolen bases, 17 less than last year. I have to think that he will be closer to 47.

Ellsbury should have an OBP around .350, certainly acceptable for a high volume base stealer. Don’t forget his home run power either. In 2011 Ellsbury mashed 32 home runs en route to an unbelievable year. While he probably won’t hit that many again, he certainly has the ability to become a 20/20 player again this year.

The one knock on Ellsbury seems to be his durability, He is so fast that when there is a collision, Ellsbury often pays for it. He has suffered a litany of injuries that will affect his contract. That being said, he should still receive north of 20 million dollars a year for as many as 8 years.

I don’t think the Ellsbury is in the Marlins price range, even though he would work perfectly patrolling the expansive space in center field of Marlins Park. I believe Seattle will make a push for the speedster and he could be playing in the Northwest next year.

Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 3/10

Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Curtis Granderson:

I am surprised that there is not more hype surrounding Granderson, but I guess that is what happens when you spend two different stints on the disabled list from broken bones in a contract year. Nevertheless, Granderson is power hitting outfielder, capable of playing any outfield position and shows above average speed. There is a lot to like about him.

Steamer projects 26 home runs for him next year, a projection that I support fully. I think he can get on base in the .340 range and, if healthy, can provide enough steals to be a 20/20 guy. He provides excellent power against lefties, a rarity for a left-handed hitter, and has decent splits in his career.

The main concerns surrounding Granderson are his durability and age. At 33, he only has a few season left, and a good portion of his game is built around speed, which could see a considerable drop-off with age. Teams will be wary of providing him with guaranteed years that could backfire toward the end of his contract.

I could see Granderson receiving a contract in the 4 year, 50 million range, as teams often times pay a premium for home runs. Don’t expect Granderson to be on the Marlins radar though, The Marlins are building for a run in two years and Granderson would just be a noose around the Marlins ability to spend the money that they need to at that time.

Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 1/10

After looking over the rest of the free agent center fielders, I don’t see many options. It is possible that someone might get signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, but I can’t really see any of the other center fielders making the team. Here is the rest of the list.

Rick Ankiel (34)
Trevor Crowe (30)
Rajai Davis (33)
Jacoby Ellsbury (30)
Curtis Granderson (33)
Franklin Gutierrez (31)
Grady Sizemore (31)
Andres Torres (36)
Dewayne Wise (36)

What do you think about the free agents discussed above? Do you think any of them have a chance of playing for the Marlins next year? Let us know in the comments below, and to stay up to date with all the latest Marlins’ news and analysis, download the Fansided app at the right of the page.

Here’s to 2014!