State of play: NL first baseman

Ralph Freso

Taking a look at which NL teams will need to upgrade first base this offseason.

The free agent market at first base is thin this offseason, with few starting-caliber players available to sign. There are still some solid platoon and role players who will be looking to help a new team in 2014.

Most NL teams appear to have a starting first baseman lined up for next season, but some could still use a new starter or an extra bat off the bench. The current state of NL first basemen is listed below, with players slotted at the position they would likely field if their respective teams made zero changes during the offseason.

Team Starting 1B Next in line Comments
Atlanta Braves Freddie Freeman Joey Terdoslavich Freeman turned in the best campaign of his young career, batting .319/.396/.501. He will be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter.
Miami Marlins Logan Morrison Greg Dobbs Morrison missed nearly half the season with knee injuries and struggled when healthy. Mark Canha could get the chance to prove himself in the majors during 2014.
New York Mets Ike Davis Josh Satin Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy could all see playing time at first base in New York next season. The Mets may move one of their first basemen during the offseason.
Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard Kevin Frandsen Darin Ruf could also serve as a platoon partner for Howard. Philadelphia still owes him $75 million over the next three seasons.
Washington Nationals Adam LaRoche Tyler Moore LaRoche regressed after a strong 2012 season, one of many Nationals players who disappointed in 2013. Scott Hairston could also platoon with LaRoche at first.
Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo Mike Olt Olt may start at third base, which could shift Luis Valbuena to a utility role. Rizzo will see the lion's share of playing time at first base, regardless of who backs him up.
Cincinnati Reds Joey Votto Neftali Soto Soto could be a trade target for a team looking for a first base upgrade. Votto led the NL with a .435 OBP last season.
Milwaukee Brewers Juan Francisco Sean Halton The Brewers may re-sign Corey Hart, who missed the entire 2013 season recovering from knee surgery. Milwaukee first basemen combined for the lowest fWAR in the majors last season.
Pittsburgh Pirates Garrett Jones Gaby Sanchez Pittsburgh will look to upgrade first base during the offseason. The team could re-sign Justin Morneau to platoon with Jones.
St. Louis Cardinals Matt Adams Allen Craig Adams hit well enough in 2013 to earn a starting job, but may come off the bench again in 2014 if St. Louis adds a right fielder during the offseason or if Oscar Taveras earns a starting role in spring training. For now, let's assume Adams would start at first and Craig would start in right if the Cardinals had to play tomorrow.
Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt Eric Hinske Goldschmidt turned in an MVP-caliber campaign, leading NL first basemen with 6.4 fWAR. Arizona has Goldschmidt under team control through 2018, with a club option for 2019.
Colorado Rockies Michael Cuddyer Ryan Wheeler Cuddyer is slated to replace Todd Helton, but could move back to right field if the Rockies acquire another first baseman. Wilin Rosario could also spend time at first.
Los Angeles Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez Scott Van Slyke Jerry Hairston, Juan Uribe and Michael Young could also provide corner infield depth, depending on who the Dodgers re-sign. Gonzalez, however, is firmly entrenched as the starter.
San Diego Padres Yonder Alonso Kyle Blanks Jesus Guzman and Tommy Medica could also spend time at first next year. Alonso was one of many Padres players who were plagued by injuries in 2013.
San Francisco Giants Brandon Belt Brett Pill Buster Posey may also log some innings at 1B. Belt could move to left field if the Giants add a first baseman during the offseason.

Click here to view the full list of available free agents, but some of the top first basemen available this offseason include:

Mike Napoli
Justin Morneau
Corey Hart
Kendrys Morales
James Loney
Casey Kotchman
Paul Konerko
Mark Reynolds
Kevin Youkilis

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