This season is far from over for some teams. For others, the prospect of a better 2012 is the only thing keeping teams going.
There will be some high-profile free agents available in the off season, but with great players come high prices.
The diamond in the rough, the scrapheap and the fading veteran are always available for a reasonable price. Some fail, but others can be potential All-Stars.
Here are 10 affordable players hitting free agency that could be All-Stars.
Brandon Webb is a Cy Young winner who’s run into some injury trouble in recent times.
He hasn’t pitched in earnest since 2008, but any team who is willing to take a million dollar flier on him could have an ace in the hole with legitimate pitching credentials.
Derrek Lee is a solid veteran who might have one more good year in the tank.
He’s bounced around from Baltimore to Pittsburgh this year.
A one-year, $5 million contract could lead to a potential .300/25/100 year in the right situation.
Chris Carpenter is a veteran with a good career who is having a down year.
A .500 record and a sub-four ERA is still pretty good for a 37-year-old.
Carpenter is coming off of $15 million this year and has a $1 million buyout that I would expect the Cardinals to pay.
A one-year contract around $6-7 million would be enough to see if there is still magic left in Chris Carpenter.
Ramon Hernandez would have been an All-Star if he was a full-time catcher.
Stuck in an awkward platoon, Hernandez has been bandied about as a trade option from June till today. He will move on from the Reds this year and a number of teams could get this potential All-Star for around less than $5 million.
Kelly Johnson is a very good hitter for the second base position.
If it wasn’t for a paltry batting average this year, he could have made the All-Star team. He’s trying to regroup in Toronto after his recent trade from Arizona.
Johnson makes a little under $6 million this year and with his poor average, probably will sign for around the same price.
He is a powerful second baseman-a rarity in the league-and could be a real bargain next year.
The highly-touted Sizemore has been riddled by injuries over the past few years.
He’s said to be a potential 30/30 guy but hasn’t had a full season since 2008.
If the Indians exercise his buyout, he should see free agency with a reasonable price tag.
Health and wellness could make Sizemore a bargain gem in 2012.
He’s already been an All-Star this year, so next year should be no problem, right?
Vogelsong made a big splash with the Giants this season, and since he is on a one-year contract, his price is due to jump.
10 times the minimum is just over $4 million. If Vogelsong can repeat his success of 2011, one team is going to a get a good bargain.As Vogelsong actually has a year of arbitration the Giants will likely be the ones to reap the benefits of his baseball rebirth.
I’ve always been a big Loney fan.
Although he doesn’t hit a for a lot of power, he drives in runs, and when he keeps his head down, can be a borderline .300 hitter.
I think he’s worth $4 million to see if he can boost his power.
Joe Nathan is an electric closer when healthy.
The last two years have been less than stellar for Nathan’s career.
He’s in the final year of a contract that pays him more than $12 million this season. The rebuilding Twins are likely to buyout Nathan after the season, leaving him free to test the waters.
Teams will be cautious, but he will garner a few looks and still has All-Star potential.
Probably the gem of this group.
Jimmy Rollins is still an immensely talented player. Although he is aging, he is still a very good player. I see him moving to an AL team where he can play short, third or DH on occasion.
A team would probably need to pay around $8 million for Rollins’ services, and that value could be quickly recouped.