Players filed for free agency yesterday, and Major League Baseball has released its list of its 2012 free agents. Clubs have exclusive negotiating rights with their players until Thursday, when they will be able to sign with any team. Here is a look at the 2012 free agent class of designated hitters.
Players and teams have until Monday night to make decisions regarding their options. Players with either club and/or their own options are in italics.
As is usually the case, the 2012 class of free agent designated hitters is made up of former all-stars that are mostly past their prime. Some, like Vladimir Guerrero, Johnny Damon and Jorge Posada, have been moved to the DH role because they can no longer play the field consistently. Others, such as David Ortiz and Jim Thome, have been career hitters.
While Guerrero and Damon had respectable seasons in 2011, it’s Thome and Ortiz that figure to draw the most interest this winter. Ortiz led all designated hitters in home runs (29) and OPS (.953) this year while Thome posted a solid line of his own (.256/.361/.477) and is only a year removed from producing a 1.039 OPS in 2010.
There are two intriguing younger options out there in Edwin Encarnacion and Wily Mo Pena. While they have shown an ability to mash in some capacity, these guys are more or less relegated to DH due to their lack of defensive prowess.