Ranking MLB's Top 5 free agent outfielders
The MLB offseason is upon us, with over 160 free agents ready to be wined, dined, and signed.
We’re counting down the Top 5 free agents available at various positions this month. We began with the best pitchers on the open market, and now we’ll move on to the best outfielders, with a look at where they might land.
5. Kyle Schwarber
Kyle Schwarber was about the only member of the Washington Nationals that overachieved in 2021 while playing on a one-year, $10 million contract, as he hit .253 with 25 homers and 53 RBI over 71 games en route to his first ever All-Star nod.
Subsequently traded to the Boston Red Sox, “Hulk” batted .291 with seven homers and 18 RBI in 41 games. He even hit some clutch homers for Boston in the postseason.
Now Schwarber will look to get rewarded with a multi-year deal, but his injury history (he missed six weeks of this season with a hamstring issue) combined with his propensity to strike out will scare some teams away. He’s also not a “plus” glove in the outfield, making him a better fit for an AL team willing to slot him in at DH.
The Red Sox are the frontrunners to reunite with Schwarber, but the Philadelphia Phillies could also be interested.
4. Michael Conforto
There’s two ways to look at Michael Conforto this offseason. The first is to consider the fact that he’s 13th among all outfielders with a 14.1 fWAR over the last five seasons. The other way is to focus on what was a dismal walk year at the dish, as Conforto went .232 with 14 homers and 55 RBI while playing only 125 games.
Agent Scott Boras is spinning his client like a top, but no teams have shown concrete interest just yet. The Seattle Mariners have been involved in the rumor mill, which makes sense considering Conforto spent most of his childhood in the Pacific Northwest.
3. Eddie Rosario
No free agent boosted their stock in the postseason like Eddie Rosario did with the World Series-winning Atlanta Braves. The NLCS MVP hit .383 for the playoffs with three homers and 11 RBI.
Rosario hit 32 homers and 109 RBI as recently as 2019 with the Minnesota Twins. He brings above-average speed and decent defense to the table too. Boston could be a destination for Rosario, especially if Schwarber signs elsewhere.
2. Starling Marte
The outfielder with the best five-tool combination on the open market is clearly Starling Marte. He’s a career .289 hitter averaging 18 homers and 72 RBI per 162-game season. He also owns two Gold Gloves, and stole an MLB-high 47 bases in 2021.
After bouncing from Arizona to Miami to Oakland over the last two seasons, Marte should find some stability with a large contract this winter. The Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Houston Astros and New York Yankees are all rumored to be in the running to land him.
1. Nick Castellanos
Nick Castellanos opted out of the final two years and $34 million he had left on his contract with the Cincinnati Reds, and that seems like a wise business decision.
He’s fresh off a 2021 in which he hit a career-best 34 homers, while driving in an even 100 RBI. Castellanos’ .309 average was also a personal best, and that helped him secure his first career All-Star nod and Silver Slugger Award.
Leaving Cincinnati could also help Castellanos chase a World Series ring, and there may be no better place for him to do that than San Francisco. The Giants are among the clubs interested in signing arguably the best batsman on the open market.