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Ranking the free agents: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder top teams' wish lists

The baseball season isn't yet over, but the hot stove is already warming up. The top 10 free agents next winter include Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and, possibly, CC Sabathia.

September 24, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder celebrates after hitting a double against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder celebrates after hitting a double… (Benny Sieu / McClatchy-Tribune )

Teams spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the free-agent market last year on players who didn't produce. (Sorry, no refunds, no exchanges.) And they'll spend millions more this winter. So with the hot stove already beginning to warm up, Times staff writer Kevin Baxter takes a look at the top 10 free agents expected to be available this winter and the top 10 flops in 2011 (statistics through Friday):

The class of 2012

Albert Pujols, St. Louis: A Gold Glove first baseman, Pujols has averaged .329, 40 home runs, 121 runs batted in and 117 runs over 11 seasons.

CC Sabathia, New York Yankees: Sabathia is owed $92 million over the next four years. But if he opts out, Boston will compete with the Yankees at a bigger figure.

Prince Fielder, Milwaukee: Just 27, he has averaged 37 HRs, 106 RBIs the last five seasons.

Jose Reyes, New York Mets: His recent injury history will hurt him. But at 28 he's already had four seasons with 56 or more steals and at least 99 runs.

Heath Bell, San Diego: Bell would love stay in Southern California, but do the Dodgers or Angels really need him?

C.J. Wilson, Texas: In two years as a full-time starter the 30-year-old lefty is averaging better than 15 wins and 207 innings.

Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs: At 33, he won't get a lengthy deal but he's having another solid season (.306, 25 HRs, 92 RBIs) and could become an alternative for teams who lose out on Fielder and Pujols.

Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox: He'll be 32 next season, but this will be the left-hander's 11th season in a row with double-digit wins and 200-plus innings.

Jonathan Papelbon, Boston: Not yet 31, he has 30 saves in 32 chances and is on pace for a career high in strikeouts to go with a 0.91 WHIP.

Ryan Madson, Philadelphia: He upped his value by saving 31 games in 33 chances after injuries prompted the Phillies to move him into the closer's role.

The flops of 2011

Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox: The White Sox still owe $44 million to a guy who is batting .163 with 11 homers and 168 strikeouts.

Carl Crawford, Boston: The Red Sox' $142-million man is on pace for full-season lows in batting average, runs, steals and on-base percentage.

Jayson Werth, Washington: In the first year of a seven-year deal, he is hitting a career-low .232 with more strikeouts than hits.

Aubrey Huff, San Francisco: Halfway into a two-year $22-million deal, he is batting .245 with 12 homers.

Juan Uribe, Dodgers: Signed for $21 million over three years, he went on the DL hitting .204 with 60 strikeouts in 77 games.

Vicente Padilla/Jon Garland, Dodgers: Having paid this pair $7 million combined, the Dodgers got one win and 62 2/3 innings for their investment.

Manny Ramirez, Tampa Bay: The Rays knew it was a gamble, but they never expected one hit in 17 at-bats and an abrupt retirement. It only cost them $87,912 though.

Vladimir Guerrero, Baltimore: The Orioles hoped for more than 13 HRs and a .320 on-base percentage -- both full-season career lows -- for their $8 million.

Kevin Gregg, Baltimore: He's blown a quarter of his 28 save chances and his 4.53 ERA is among the highest of any big-league closer.

Brian Fuentes, Oakland: So much for Moneyball. The A's still owe more than $5.5 million to a 36-year-old reliever who is 2-8 with a 3.77 ERA and just 12 saves.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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