January 15, 2013
Filling the Free Agent Voids
As this offseason’s free agent class has been shaken and largely settled, some of the jilted teams have been left in fine shape. Some immediately went out and patched the hole where a departed free agent once was—the Braves, for instance, grabbed B.J. Upton immediately to fill most of the Michael Bourn void—while others had replacements ready to go, making the free agents expendable.
Not everybody was so lucky or so prepared, however, as one can see by observing the voids forming where free agents used to be.
Here’s a look at the five positions where teams are still scrambling to replace talent or will need an in-house option to exceed expectations lest they face a looming black hole at the position.
5. White Sox catcher without A.J. Pierzynski
With Pierzynski Texas-bound, it’s now on Tyler Flowers, a backup the last two years and a .205/.307/.388 career hitter in 317 major-league plate appearances, to step into Pierzynski’s vacated gear. Flowers’ minor-league numbers and that limited sample indicate some power and patience are present. His isn’t a case of bad luck so far in the majors, though, and at 26 (he’ll turn 27 later this month), he’s not exactly young. In order to catch on in his age-27 season, he’ll have to cut down on his strikeouts, which have come in an astounding 34 percent of his plate appearances.
4. Indians DH without Travis Hafner