Red Sox

Ranking the top five MLB free-agent first basemen

Red Sox

Teams in need of a first baseman heading into the 2022 season have a handful of intriguing options to choose from on the MLB free-agent market.

Freddie Freeman, who helped the Atlanta Braves to their first World Series title since 1995, headlines this year's list of first basemen available this winter. It's also worth noting there are a few free agents at other positions who are capable of helping out at first, including sluggers Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. The latter played 10 games at the position after being traded from the Washington Nationals to the Boston Red Sox.

More free-agent rankings: C2B | SS3B | OF | SPRP

Here, we'll take a look at the top five top options at first base that are available this winter.

5. Albert Pujols

Age: 42

2021 stats: .236/.284/.433, 17 HR 50 (109 games)

Starting this list with a 42-year-old player who's well past his prime shows just how shallow the market is for everyday first basemen. Pujols certainly is not an everyday player at this point in his legendary career, but he did show upon joining the Los Angeles Dodgers he may have something left in the tank. After being released by the Angeles, Pujols went on to hit a solid .254 with 12 homers in 85 games with the Dodgers. He should bring some value to a team in need of a bench bat in what could be his final MLB season.

4. Mitch Moreland

Age: 36

2021 stats: .227/.286/.415, 10 HR, 30 RBI (81 games)

Moreland, a 2018 World Series champion with the Red Sox, missed time last season due to a wrist injury. In the 81 games he played, his offensive output wasn't up to par with what Boston fans witnessed the previous four years. He also played only seven games at first base while spending the others as a designated hitter.

 

At this point in his career, Moreland remains a solid platoon option vs. right-handed pitching. That should be enough to earn him a solid short-term contract again this offseason.

3. Brandon Belt

Age: 33

2021 stats: .274/.378/.597, 29 HR, 59 RBI (97 games)

The San Francisco Giants shocked the world by clinching a National League West title with a whopping 107 wins. Brandon Belt was a big reason they were able to exceed everyone's expectations. The two-time World Series champion built off his stellar 2020 campaign with a sparkling .975 OPS and should be set for another solid offensive season in 2022. It'd be pretty surprising if he doesn't end up back where he has spent the last 11 years.

2. Anthony Rizzo

Age: 32

2021 stats: .248/.344/.440, 22 HR, 61 RBI (141 games)

Rizzo continues to be one of the best defensive first basemen in the game, but his offensive production has declined over the last couple of years. The former Chicago Cubs star hit just .222 in 2020 and followed that up with a .248 batting average in 141 combined games with the Cubs and New York Yankees last season. After joining the Yankees at the 2021 trade deadline, Rizzo hit .249 with eight homers in 49 games. Despite those modest numbers, he still should expect to earn a pretty penny on the market as one of the best first everyday basemen available.

1. Freddie Freeman

Age: 32

2021 stats: .300/.393/.503, 31 HR, 83 RBI (159 games)

Freeman has been the heart and soul of the Atlanta Braves clubhouse for the last 12 years and he finally was rewarded with a World Series title in 2021. The 2020 NL MVP not only has been one of the top all-around first basemen in the game over the last decade, but he also has been one of the most durable. Freeman has missed only seven games since the start of the 2018 season and has played in at least 145 games in eight of his 12 MLB seasons. He'll get a ton of attention from teams this winter, but it'd be a stunning turn of events if this marks the end of his incredible Braves tenure.