Angels in the Outfield

Jermaine Dye, Richard Hidalgo and J.D. Drew are among Rob Neyer's best free-agent OF buys for 2005.

Originally Published: November 12, 2004
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
Identifying the "best buy" among the free-agent outfielders has to start with defining what that means. When most of us think "best buy" we probably think of relatively cheap players who wind up coming through with solid numbers.

Funny thing is, I couldn't find anybody like that in 2004. First name that came to mind was "Michael Tucker," but then I checked his stats and it's hard to get all that excited about a right fielder with a .412 slugging percentage. Then again, his stats were killed by his home ballpark; in road games, Tucker's OPS was .833, which isn't bad for a veteran making only $1.5 million.

So that's the goal, then: identify the 2005 edition of the 2004 edition of Michael Tucker. And with that in mind, I printed the list of potential free agents, and then I circled every candidate for "Best Buy Outfielder" I could find.