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2016 Free Agents: First Basemen

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In the second installment of this series, we take a look at the 2016 Free Agent first base class.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The free agent first base class is short, so lets go straight to the list.

Team

Player (age)

BAL

Chris Davis (30)

TOR

Edwin Encarnacion (33) - $10MM club option with a $2MM buyout

NYY

Garrett Jones (35)

COL

Justin Morneau (35) - $9MM mutual option with a $750K buyout

BOS

Mike Napoli (34)

PIT

Sean Rodriguez (31)

Lets filter out the duds right away. Garret Jones and Sean Rodriguez are bench players at the major league level, they shouldn't be owned unless you're in a 30-team fantasy league.

Then there is Justin Morneau and recently dealt Mike Napoli.  Morneau has a 9MM mutual option, but after missing the majority of this year with concussion issues, and a past history of concussions, it is extremely unlikely that even a team of the Rockies caliber will exercise that option.  This could be Wilin Rosario's last chance to hang on as some sort of a starter for the Rockies.  Napoli is now a part time working in the weak side of a platoon with Mitch Moreland.  Next year he will likely have to settle for a one-year deal to prove he still deserves to be in the league.

Lastly, there are the studs.  While Edwin Encarnacion has far outperformed Chris Davis over the past few years, they have been very similarly valued this year after the bottom fell out of E5's batting average.  Obviously a huge portion of both of these players value stems from their home parks and the advantages of playing in AL East parks.  A move away from their current teams would be painful for both Davis and Encarnacion.   Toronto has proven to boost right handed home run production by 10% in 2015 and Baltimore boosts lefty homers by 14% this year.  Neither team has a top prospect to take their place, but Toronto has experimented with Bautista at first, and less running would likely do the slugging outfielder some good.  Baltimore has the giant, Jomar Reyes, who is currently in Low A, but he is presently a third baseman.  Baltimore will likely be forced to go back to the free agent pool for a new first basemen next season.  The dream for these two is that they become the Rockies new one bagger.

All of the players listed above will likely have a job in the MLB in 2016, but we could see a few players under contract transition to 1B (Pablo Sandoval), cutting down on job opportunities for the present 2016 first base free agent class, and forcing the above players move into platoon, DH, or pinch hit roles.

If you have any questions about the upcoming first base class, feel free to comment, and I'll be sure to answer.