Sox free-agent targets: Outfielders

October 10, 2012

The Red Sox could be looking to add up to two starting outfielders this offseason. Sure, there are internal options -- Ryan Sweeney, Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish -- but would you rather see them add a free agent for one or both of the two corner outfield spots? Or maybe re-sign Cody Ross and add another free agent? Rank the possibilities below in the order in which you'd like to see them in Boston.

Sox free-agent targets: Outfielders

Cody Ross (FA)

Cody Ross (FA)

At home last season, Ross' .921 OPS put him among the elite. Away from Fenway, Ross hit just .232 with a .684 OPS. Still, only four players had more extra-base hits in their first season with the Red Sox: Ted Williams, Bill Mueller, Jimmie Foxx and Dick Stuart.


Internal options

Internal options

This is a vote for either Ryan Kalish, Daniel Nava or Ryan Sweeney. Would you feel confident with any of them as a starting outfielder?


Josh Hamilton (FA)

Josh Hamilton (FA)

The 31-year-old Hamilton is the cream of the free-agent crop. He would infuse the Red Sox with star power, but a risky signing seems counterproductive for a team seeking fiscal responsibility.


Michael Bourn (FA)

Michael Bourn (FA)

If you go by 2012 WAR (wins above replacement), Bourn is the most valuable outfielder on the market. Much of that value comes from his center field defense. Assuming Jacoby Ellsbury isn't traded, Bourn makes little sense for Boston.


B.J. Upton (FA)

B.J. Upton (FA)

Upton's price tag likely increased with an MLB-leading 12 home runs in September. The reality is that Upton has posted a .736 OPS since 2009. Thatā¬"s the same number as Jeff Keppinger and Chris Coghlan. Someone will hand Upton a massive long-term deal. Should it be the Red Sox?


Nick Swisher (FA)

Nick Swisher (FA)

On paper, Swisher might be Boston's ideal target. He'd potentially fill holes at 1B and in OF. Signing Swisher would be a key step in rededicating Boston's lineup to an approach based on plate discipline. At 32, his appeal to the Red Sox may depend on his willingness to sacrifice years for dollars.


Melky Cabrera (FA)

Melky Cabrera (FA)

It's difficult to project a market for Cabrera after his suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. But at 28, someone is bound to gamble that he can approach his .346 batting average without cheating.


Torii Hunter (FA)

Torii Hunter (FA)

Could the 37-year-old Hunter be an ideal option? After hitting .350 over the final two months of the season, he finished with a career-high .313 batting average. With the third-most defensive runs saved among right fielders, he'd allow Ross to move to left field. By all accounts, few players are a better presence in the clubhouse.


Ryan Ludwick (FA)

Ryan Ludwick (FA)

Like Ross, Ryan Ludwick returned to form in a contract year. Only Ryan Braun and Mike Trout had a higher OPS in the second half among outfielders. Also like Ross, Ludwick may not want to mess with a good thing. Thereā¬"s a $5 million mutual option that could keep him in Cincinnati.


Shane Victorino (FA)

Shane Victorino (FA)

Victorino had his least productive season in a contract year, hitting .255 with a .704 OPS. Defensively, he fared quite well after a move to left field. Once destined for a big contract, he'd likely only make sense for Boston if he falls through the cracks.


Jonny Gomes (FA)

Jonny Gomes (FA)

Gomes (.974 OPS vs LHP) might be a platoon option.


Scott Hairston (FA)

Scott Hairston (FA)

Hairston (.867 OPS vs LHP) might be a platoon option.


Angel Pagan (FA)

Angel Pagan (FA)

In 2010, Angel Pagan rated as one of the top defensive outfielders in the game. Over the past two seasons, he's one of the 10 worst. His bat doesn't provide enough if his defense isn't up to par.


Delmon Young (FA)

Delmon Young (FA)

Young brings off-the-field questions, lacks any semblance of plate discipline and has never lived up to his hype. It's difficult to think of a worse option for the Red Sox.


Shin-Soo Choo (Trade)

Shin-Soo Choo (Trade)

A year away from free agency, Shin-Soo Choo figures to be actively shopped this offseason. Over the past four seasons, the only outfielders with a higher on-base percentage are Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday and Jose Bautista.


Alfonso Soriano (Trade)

Alfonso Soriano (Trade)

Soriano put up his best numbers in four years, including a career-high 108 RBIs. Theo Epstein will make every effort to escape from at least some of the $36 million still owed to the soon-to-be 37 year old.


Justin Upton (Trade)

Justin Upton (Trade)

Upton is the clear prize of the group. He would immediately reinvigorate star power into the Red Sox lineup, but Arizona will literally ask for the farm in order to get him.


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