There are some big names in the list of 2010 eligible free agents. While it is conceivable that guys like Manny Ramirez will simply have their options picked up and resign with their current teams, some of the big chips in this year’s free agent pool are going to cash in with new teams. Their fantasy value will be effected by the change of scenery, no doubt.
Here is our list of the top 5 unrestricted free agents to watch. Where they land could have a major effect (positive or negative) on their 2010 fantasy baseball value.
- Chone Figgins: The 32-year old has been a source of runs and steals for several years in the Angels lineup. Last season, he batted .298 with 5 homeruns, 54 RBI, 114 runs scored and 42 steals. With three straight seasons of 30+ steals, the bags should still be there – but a potential drop in his run production could hurt his overall fantasy value next season.
- Jason Bay: Should Bay leave Boston, he will be cashing in at the right time. He is coming off his career season in 2009, hitting .267 with 36 homeruns, 119 RBI, 103 runs, and 13 steals. His RBI and run production could decline a bit if his scenery changes, but the homerun and steal numbers should remain close to this season.
- Matt Holliday: Expect Holliday to be the top free agent in this year’s class. After his American League audition with the A’s, however, expect him to stay in the National League if he leaves St. Louis. His season long numbers of .313/24/109/94/14 are good and in line with career averages. Some guys are just NL players, and Holliday seems to be one of them. Most AL teams are probably scared of signing Holliday long term, so expect him to play for some team in the NL.
- Vladimir Guerrero: Hard to believe that Vlad is an unrestricted free agent, and it’s also hard to fathom he will play for anyone but the Angels. That said, the Angels outfield is crowded, and expensive. Guerrero hit .295, but only managed 15 homers and drove 50 and scored 59. He would make a great DH if he stays with the Angels, but he could also make a great DH in another AL city, especially if a team like the White Sox lose Jermaine Dye.
- John Lackey: The Angels have a lot of free agent decisions to make, and Lackey may be the most important one. He is likely to be the hottest pitching commodity on the open market. He has missed time at the beginning of each of the last two seasons, but has still managed to keep his WHIP under 1.30 and his ERA under 4.00 each year. In 2009, he finished 11-8 with a 3.83 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 176.3 innings. If Lackey makes the move to the National League, his strikeout numbers should increase and his ERA will likely drop. His health is always a bit of a concern, however, and that could limit his draft value.