The MLB market is currently inactive because the owners imposed a lockout.
When things get back to normal (should we say if?), however, teams will re-enter the market.
Some of them are looking for impact outfielders, especially on offense.
These three talented hitters have some shortcomings that could make them bargains at the time of signing their next contract.
3. Eddie Rosario
Eddie Rosario is unlikely to get the deal he probably thinks he deserves on the strength of a solid postseason performance in 2021.
After all, he answered the call and lifted the Atlanta Braves all the way to their first World Series title since 1995.
After a lousy first half with the Cleveland Indians (now Guardians), in which he had a .685 OPS, he was traded to the Braves and slashed .271/.330/.573 with a .903 OPS and with seven homers in 106 plate appearances.
He then proceeded to make fans forget about Ronald Acuna Jr.’s injury by slashing .383/.456/.617 with a 1.073 OPS, three blasts, and 11 RBI in the postseason.
He was the MVP of the National League Championship Series.
Rosario was impressive, sure, but he has a reputation as a poor defender (he is, depending on the metric you use, average or a little worse, but not a disaster) and doesn’t take any walks.
He doesn’t really fit the prototype of what MLB teams are looking for, which is why he will make for a nice bargain signing for some organization.
@whitesox, pretty incredible what the relatively cheap dollars of Eddie Rosario and Joc Pederson can do for a team, huh?
— Bobby Curley (@BCurley3) October 24, 2021
2. Jorge Soler
Much like Rosario, Jorge Soler may see his market limited by his own shortcomings as a player.
In fact, they have really similar situations.
Soler is also a low-OBP, high-slugging guy with a reputation as a bad defender.
Soler, however, was disastrous with the glove: 4th percentile in Outs Above Average (OAA), -11 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), and -12.7 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) per 150 innings.
But he carries a solid bat: he hit 48 homers as recently as 2019, he had a .948 OPS in the 2021 playoffs with the Braves, and was the MVP of the World Series.
He could be a cheap slugger for the team that takes a chance on him.
The expectation is that, whenever a CBA deal is agreed upon, it will have the designated hitter rule.
That could help his market.
Someone will likely enjoy his power bat, but he won’t get the highest deal out there.
1. Michael Conforto
One MLB team will take advantage of Michael Conforto’s mediocre 2021 (.729 OPS, 14 homers in 406 plate appearances) to sign a true difference-maker in the lineup.
A left-handed hitter, Conforto’s career OPS is a much better .824, almost 100 points higher than what he showed last season.
His poor 2021 performance will likely result in a cheaper deal than he would have wanted, but he is a lock to get more than Rosario and Soler.
When he is at his best, Conforto is a fantastic middle-of-the-order producer capable of posting a .900+ OPS, as he has done twice in his career so far.
Conforto feels to me like potentially the best bargain of this offseason. Would you give up the draft compensation for Conforto on a one year deal?
— Josh (@jmitchell13) December 4, 2021
He is an extremely talented hitter that will make a team willing to live with his rather mediocre glove very happy.