I went to MLBTradeRumors to find out who the free agent corner outfielders and third basemen are after the 2010 season. Then I looked specifically at the free agents under 30 just as a starting point. (The risk is, of course, if they are good and young they might well be very expensive and/or bound for New York.)
Crawford is spectacular. According to the Fangraphs data he is above average offensively and defensively with a slightly below average arm. He is also 5 wins above replacement and may command a $20 million a year contract because of this. One can dream, but Detroit may already have a couple contracts that size with Cabrera and Verlander by then.
Betemit has not had a full season, or a successful season.
Cantu can hit, but appears to be a liability in the field.
Peralta is consistently slightly below average fielding. His hitting has not been consistent. Since last year’s low offensive numbers are unlikely to be repeated he may be the best option. Another team may decide to use him as a shortstop, however.
So what have I learned? Detroit will either have to trade, or sign some older veterans to replace at least Ordonez and maybe Inge. The younger free agents that might merit longer contracts do not seem affordable or do not seem to be the upgrades a fan would hope for after restructuring by trading Granderson. I may revisit and learn more about some of the over-30 free agents another day.
Unless- maybe all the trades and players not re-signed this year are getting even more money off the books for the Crawford signing. Don’t worry if you are laughing. After this off season I can’t stop laughing when someone says/writes something like Crawford signing with Detroit either.