Hot stove league: Free agent right fielders. 26 comments

Jose Bautista, anyone? He’s available. He’s a free agent right fielder. Too bad for him he is at the end of his career and he probably won’t have many takers lining up to take a shot at him. (Sorry, wrong choice of words.) But it’s doubtful one of the biggest jerks in baseball will get many hits. (Oops, sorry.) Yep, the cold reality that his career is over might be smacking Bautista in the face.  (Oh, there I go again.)

On the other end of the spectrum is a player I wish the Rangers had in his prime, Arlington native Hunter Pence. He was one of those players that seemed to rise far above his talent. He was fun to watch because when he moved it was the opposite of with grace. He was as far from athletic as you could get, but, boy could that guy produce. I hope he has a bit left in the tank. You root for guys like that.

But perhaps the most under-the-radar player available this off season is Nick Markakis. He is one of those players who just keeps going. He is a Beltre-like player who seems to be getting stronger as he ages, hitting .297 with 93 RBIs for the N.L. East winning Braves. Markakis passed Mike Schmidt and Willie Stargell on the all-time hit list, and he’s ten away from Edgar Martinez.

If there was one free-agent I would want the Rangers to pursue it would be Markakis for the simple reason he plays the game right. He is a pure hitter. The guy struck out only 80 times in 2018. In 705 plate appearances. That’s once every 8.8 plate appearances. By comparison, Gallo once every 2.8; Guzman 3.5; Chirinos 3.6; Odor 4.2; Choo 4.3; Mazara 4.6; DeShields 4.7; Beltre 5.0; Andrus 6.5.

All these hitters in the Rangers who swing like a broken fence in a hurricane could learn from a professional hitter. With Beltre gone, Markakis is that guy. It won’t happen because the Rangers are in rebuild mode, not fan pleasing mode. But Markakis has an outside chance to collect 3000 hits. Yes, Nick Markakis.

Here are the available free agent right fielders:

Nick Markakis
Gerrardo Parra
Andrew McCutchen
Carlos Gonzalez
Avisail Garcia

Hunter Pence
Carlos Gomez
Chris Owings
Cameron Maybin
Jon Jay

Brandon Guyer
Chris Young
Gregor Blanco
Jose Bautista
Clay Rapada

Mike McCoy

(Players in bold were former Rangers.)