2024 Roster Speculation: Free Agent Outfielders

October 9, 2023

Tony Camino

5 Free Agent Outfielders the Guardians Should Target

Players the Guardians Could Look to Add Offense in the Outfield

The infield of this team is pretty locked in for 2024 with Andres Gimenez and Jose Ramirez under long-term deals, Josh Naylor potentially getting an extension, and young prospects filling shortstop and the other 1B/DH spot. That means the outfield is the only real avenue for personnel change to improve the offense outside of top prospect Kyle Manzardo, and Steven Kwan is likely to be the only one locked into a spot as of now.

The Guardians are not a team that spends on players, not in the organization, and recent history sways them away from taking a big risk in free agency. After flops last year with both Mike Zunino and Josh Bell, the Guardians aren’t likely to make a splash, considering Edwin Encarnacion is really one of the few home run signings that worked out.

Plenty of options exist in-house with minor league prospects, but adding some veteran help can take the pressure off a young player when they start slumping. Here are free agents who make sense in the Guardians’ price range for 2024:

Randal Grichuk

  • .267 average with 100 wRC+
  • 16 home runs over 434 AB’s
  • .328 average with 146 wRC+ vs LHP

Randal Grichuk saw time with both the Rockies and Angels this year and is expected to command around $8 million AAV. His outs above average from a year ago suggest he isn’t the best defensive option, but his arm strength should allow him to excel in a corner outfield spot. Grichuk could be used every day but would be best suited as a platoon bat who excels against left-handed pitching.

Mark Canha

  • .262 average with 111 wRC+
  • 11 home runs over 435 AB’s
  • .264 average with 126 wRC+ vs LHP

Mark Canha is another player who split time between two teams, starting in 2023 with the Mets and being traded to the Brewers at the deadline for the playoff push. Canha is expected to command $8.5 million AAV this offseason and is a great option who could start every day in the outfield. He excels against left-handed pitching and more than holds his own against righties as well.

Adam Duvall

  • .247 average with 116 wRC+
  • 21 home runs over 320 AB’s
  • .232 career average vs LHP with 100 wRC+

After a hot surge in 2023 for the Red Sox, the 2022 postseason star Adam Duvall could significantly help the Guardians’ offense next season. He’s valued at under $6 million AAV, but he might go for more than that due to his postseason history and strong campaign. Duvall spent the majority of the season in center field, but his lack of range and arm strength position him better in the corner outfield spots.

Tommy Pham

  • .256 average with 110 wRC+
  • 16 home runs over 481 AB’s
  • .245 average with 112 wRC+ vs LHP

Tommy Pham is another outfielder who started with the Mets and was moved to the Diamondbacks at the trade deadline. He’s currently expected to be worth around $8 million AAV, but a deep postseason run could inflate those numbers significantly. Along with his offense, Pham is one of the better defensive options on the list. If the price point stays reasonable, Pham could be a great offensive addition who can play every day and provide some offense at the bottom of the lineup.

Michael Taylor

  • .226 average with 96 wRC+
  • 21 home runs over 355 AB’s
  • .252 average with 146 wRC+ vs LHP

Likely my current preference on this list, the Twins’ outfielder is an elite defensive option in center field who excels against left-handed pitching. He runs the bases well and will steal some bases along the way, currently valued at under $8 million AAV. Ideally, Taylor would be the fourth outfielder who can mainly play against lefties, along with the occasional starts against righties. He’s a great late-game defensive sub with speed off the bench and would be perfect in that role. While he isn’t the best overall offensive option, having Taylor hit against left-handed pitching and play elite defense in center field would be a great addition.

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