Is your favorite baseball team feeling lucky? Here’s a look at five risky free agents on Major League Baseball’s open market. Would you sign any of them for the 2013 season?
Delmon Young (OF) — Young was named the MVP of the 2012 ALCS. Off the field, he recently pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment for yelling an anti-Semitic slur and tackling a man outside a New York City hotel last spring. Essentially, Young is a streaky hitter with a checkered past — remember his bat-tossing incident in the minor leagues? He can hit, but would you want him in your clubhouse?
Joakim Soria (RP) — Soria missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, before he was injured, the hard-throwing closer registered two 40-save seasons and had 160 career saves under his belt. Typically, pitchers take a couple of years to fully recover from TJ surgery. Signing Soria as a set-up pitcher is fine, but I wouldn’t trust him as my primary closer.
Grady Sizemore (OF) — Sizemore was on the fast track to stardom when assorted injuries derailed his promising career. He’s missed a combined 276 games over the last three seasons. However, he did hit 33 home runs and steal 38 bases in 2008. Will he get paid for stats from a long time ago? More importantly, will he ever come close to those stats again? I don’t think so.
Josh Hamilton (OF) — The reward outweighs the risk, but there’s still jeopardy with Hamilton. A perennial MVP candidate, he has a well-documented history of off-the-field issues and was accused by some of quitting on the Texas Rangers last season. Plus, he’s been prone to injuries in the past. Hamilton will be worth his new contract only if he stays on the field and on top of his game.
Melky Cabrera (OF) — So how much of last year’s breakout season from Cabrera can be attributed to performance-enhancing drugs? He was batting a league-leading and career-best .346 before being busted for taking them. Before this season, he was a career .275 batter and hit higher than .280 only once (.305 in 2011). Thus, he’s on my list of “Five MLB Free Agents Whose Stocks Are Down.”
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who roots for the New York Mets (and any team that is playing the New York Yankees). An avid fantasy baseball player and fan of Major League Baseball, his games of choice growing up were Strat-O-Matic and MicroLeague Baseball.
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