"Buy-Low" Free Agents, part 3: Right Handed Bats

Read Part 1: Starting Pitchers

Read Part 2: Relief Pitchers

When fans look for reasons why the Twins have failed recently in the postseason, a lot of fingers can be pointed at the lack of offensive production. Specifically, due to two match ups each against CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte the past two years, the Twins have struggled against left-handed pitchers in the post season. In those four starts, the Twins offense has managed a putrid .219/.260/.344 line. A lot of the Twins' struggles against left-handed pitching can be attributed to not having enough quality right handed bats to go around. Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer are both excellent hitters against left-handed pitchers, but the Twins lineup is typically lefty heavy, and there are no good RH options on the bench for late inning situations where a LOOGY becomes a LEOGY.

Chance the Twins sign a free agent RH bat: 50-60%. It's hard to figure out where the roster space would come from. If we non-tender Hardy, and neglect to resign Thome, then this calculation changes in a hurry. But the Twins' outfield and the infield corners are pretty crowded, and middle infield doesn't typically produce the power that the Twins need to get past Sabathia and Pettitte (except Dan Uggla. Man, if only Uggla was available...).

Jose Lopez - A sure bet to be non-tendered after the Mariners declined his $5 million option, Lopez had a down year at the plate. He only hit 7 homeruns in 529 plate appearances last year. Overall, however, his career .284/.319/.404 line against lefties isn't too shabby.

Why the Twins would sign him: Lopez can hit for power, which is valuable no matter where you play him. He's only 26 (in other words, the same age as Alexi Casilla). He can play any infield position except SS.

Why the Twins won't sign him: He doesn't play 2ndor 3rd particularly well. He doesn't take walks, and his OBP suffers for it. (EDIT: sometimes it helps to do research before writing the article. Lopez actually plays 3rd very well indeed, according to UZR and this article by Matthew Carruth at fangraphs. Doesn't really change his value to the Twins, though, since Danny Valencia is also right handed)

How much will he cost?: 1 year, 2-3 million.

Jeff Francoeur - It seems strange to list Francoeur as a buy low candidate; you'd think his value bottomed out years ago. A former high draft pick labeled bust, then platoon player, then bust again, Francoeur had a small resurgence with the Texas Rangers, and they rewarded him by cutting him a month early. He made $5 million in arbitration last year, and might have been in line for a raise this year, but with the depth of the market for outfielders, he's going to have to settle for less.

Why the Twins would sign him: He has a rocket arm, and he mashes lefties (career .299/.343/.481).

Why the Twins won't sign him: He says he wants a starting job. Some team (paging Dayton Moore...) may be stupid enough to give it to him.

How much will he cost?: 1 year, under $5 million

Xavier Nady - The Cubs actually bought low on Nady last year, signing him to a 1 year, $3.3 million dollar contract after spending a year sidelined after Tommy John surgery. Nady had a decent year, but an awfully slow start meant he finished with a .256/.306/.353 line, including a troublesome .250/.295/.375 against lefties. He's in line for a slight pay cut, and probably isn't going to be able to get a starting job.

Why the Twins would sign him: He has a great career line against lefties (.298/.369/.455), and he can back up both corners and first base, along with playing DH.

Why the Twins won't sign him: He's represented by Scott Boras. We had no problem signing Joe Crede, but Nady still might hold out for the most money (and most playing time) possible. Also, the Twins might believe that last year wasn't a fluke.

How much will he cost?: 1 year, $3 million

Troy Glaus - After missing most of 2009 because of shoulder surgery, Glaus rebounded pretty well as a 1st baseman for the Braves. However, he couldn't stay healthy, and spent plenty of time on the DL with a left knee injury at the end of the year, and was eventually supplanted by Derrick Lee. His final line doesn't look pretty, but he had a torrid stretch in May and June that indicates that Glaus is still a beast when healthy.

Why the Twins would sign him: He is well suited for a bench role or a platoon DH.

Why the Twins won't sign him: He can really only be expected to play 1st in the field (although he had a good moment playing third in the NLDS).

How much will he cost?: 1 year, $1 million plus incentives.

Jermaine Dye - Last year during the first month of the season, Dye said "I'm not going to a bad team, and I'm not playing for $1.5MM." Baseball called his bluff, and Dye sat the year out. He had a decent year in 2009 (including a .292/.387/.508 line against left-handers), but slumped the last two months, and his defense in right field has never been stellar. He would have to take a bench role with the Twins, but it's not clear he's going to get anything better this year, either.

Why the Twins would sign him: He has apparently stayed in game shape during his year off, and is still capable of contributing.

Why the Twins won't sign him: Some team might be willing to give Dye the playing time and money he wants. Given his willingness to sit last year out, chemistry could be an issue.

How much will he cost?: We can't hope for a minor league deal, but a roster slot and an incentive laden contract would be attractive to Dye.

Which sluggers would you like to see in a Twins' uniform?

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