- Ian Desmond (CF)
- Alexei Ramirez
- Erick Aybar
I know, Ian Desmond can play center field and it sounds like he may stay there forever. I’m not convinced. This is a man who turned down the same deal with the Nationals last year and then signed with the Rangers. If someone were to allow him to play SS my guess is he’d sign almost instantly. Regardless he’s my number one option here. He had a helluva year for the Rangers in center field where he hit .285 while hitting 22 home runs and drove in 86 runs. Clearly Desmond’s bat has made the transition, his defense translated as well. Whether or not he wants to stay in center is up to him.
Alexei Ramirez is the best shortstop free agent in the class if Desmond decides to stay in center. After splitting time with the Padres and Rays in 2016, Ramirez is looking for another team. While he’s not the hitter he once was, his defense is still up to part with some of the better shortstops in the league. He hit .241 and smacked six home runs while driving in 40 runs. Not terrible, but not great. Ramirez will be a nice filler for a potential team who is in transition from losing to winning.
Erick Aybar was traded to the Tigers in July to try and aid in their playoff run. While splitting time between third base and shortstop, Aybar posted better stats than he what he had earlier in the year with the Braves. Only hitting .242 with a sub .300 OBP for Atlanta, Aybar posted a .250 average and .341 OBP while playing for Detroit. With the defensive ace in Jose Iglesias already manning SS, it was tough for Aybar to make the transition to third base in order to make an every day impact. If teams get the post Atlanta stats that Aybar posted in 2016, they may have found an every day player that can lead off.