2013 MLB Free Agency Preview: Where will the Top Players Sign?
An exciting 2013 MLB season is finally in the books with the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. Now it's time to start the preparation for the 2014 MLB season. We are only days away from free agents being able to negotiate with other teams and I will tell you where I think the best 50 free agents will land.
Who will your favorite team add this offseason? I'll let you know down below!
Seth's 2013 Free Agency Predictions:
1. Robinson Cano, 2B: Yankees. Robinson Cano is by far the best player on the Free Agency market this off-season. He already asked for an absurd $305 million contract a few months back. Cano and Roc Nation may think they have leverage but they really don't. With the last two mega free agency contracts looking like complete failures in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, teams are less likely to give in to Cano's extreme contract demands. The other problem is there aren't many good fits. The Dodgers, who many thought could be a possibility, already shut down the idea of signing Cano. They already added Cuban second basemen Alexander Guerrero a few weeks back, so it looks like they are out of the bidding. The only other team I've heard connected to Cano was the Detroit Tigers, but they already are regretting their massive 9 year $214 Million contract with Prince Fielder that they signed just two off-seasons ago. They may not even be able to afford the soon to be Cy Young winner in Max Scherzer, who is a free agent after next season, so where will the money come from for Cano? Unless a team like the Cubs come out of no where, I think the Yankees will wind up bidding against themselves for Cano. They will let him test the market but he will come back to them eventually and get a deal agreed to.
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF: Red Sox. Jacoby Ellsbury picked the right season to stay on the field. While dealing with some lingering injuries all year long, Ellsbury played in 134 regular season games as well as all of the Red Sox postseason games. Durability is the biggest question with him, as most of his value comes from his legs. Teams may shy away from paying the big bucks to Ellsbury, with the worry that as he gets older he will slow down. He didn't slow down last year as he lead all of baseball with 52 stolen bases. There will be plenty of teams interested in the 30 year old center fielder including the Mariners, Mets, Rangers, Cubs, Yankees, and Tigers. In the end I think he stays with the Red Sox as he is too valuable for this team to lose. Jackie Bradley Jr. is more suited for the corner outfield and still isn't ready to be the star that they think he can be. The Red Sox have the money to resign Ellsbury, especially after the 2012 waiver trade with the Dodgers and the cost efficient Free Agency spending in 2012.
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF: Mariners. Shin-Soo Choo is one of the more interesting players on this Free Agent market. He was playing out of position last year as the Reds center fielder and never seemed to be comfortable. Most people expect that he will leave the Reds and sign with a team that will allow him to play right field. Choo has one of the best arms in baseball and will be a very useful weapon in the corner outfield for whatever team signs him. He's an on base machine with an OBP of .344 or higher in each of the last 7 seasons. Choo is a five tool player that would be a great addition to any team. The Mariners have a long history of bringing in Asian baseball players and have already had Choo on their team in the past. Seattle is always in the mix to sign the big name free agents and I think this is the year they finally get one. Other possible fits include the Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Reds, Red Sox, Astros, Cubs, and Phillies.
4. Brian McCann, C: Rangers. Brian McCann has hit at-least 20 home runs in seven of his last eight big league seasons. While he played in the least amount of games since his rookie season, McCann still had a solid season at age 29. With Evan Gattis already in place, it looks like the Braves will let McCann walk and find a new home in 2014. Injury concerns on McCann are legitimate, and his best fit may be with an American League ball club. The Rangers have been linked with the veteran catcher for a while and would be a good fit for him with the jet stream in right field. The Red Sox could also be a good fit, as he could reunite with his best friend David Ross. The downside with the Red Sox, is they already have David Ortiz occupying the DH. The Yankees, Giants, Phillies, and Dodgers could also be fits.
5. Masahiro Tanaka, SP: Yankees. Even though it seems like all recently signed international players have been studs, you still need to take precaution. For every Yu Darvish there is a Kei Igawa, and for every Hideki Matsui there is a Kaz Matsui. The thing that might make Tanaka the most attractive free agent pitcher is that he won't have a qualifying offer attached to him. There have been scouts who claim that he has better stuff than Yu Darvish, which is saying something. I worry about Tanaka's arm after throwing 160 pitches in game 6 of the Japanese World Series and then throwing 17 pitches in game 7 the next day. The Yankees and Dodgers are expected to be in a bidding war for Tanaka and I expect the Yankees to come out on top.
6. Ervin Santana, SP: Phillies. The Phillies have a new TV deal. Like we've seen with other teams when they get a new TV contract, they usually like to spend some cash. With Roy Halladay out the door, the Fighting Phils need to add some arms to their rotation. I think Ervin Santana would be a great fit to go along with Cliff Lee, as both pitches don't walk many batters. Philadelphia would not need to give up their 1st round pick to sign Santana or any other free agent with a qualifying offer, since they have a protected 7th overall pick. The Dodgers, Mariners, and Blue Jays could also be involved.
7. Matt Garza, SP: Blue Jays. The Blue Jays have been involved with trade talks with Matt Garza in the past. After a disastrous 2013 on the mound, the Blue Jays will definitely look to improve their rotation going forward. Garza has pitched well in the American League East before so that wouldn't be a concern. The Blue Jays have shown a willingness to spend money to improve their team in the past year, and if they want to compete next year they will need to do it again. The Phillies, Mariners, Dodgers, and Yankees could be possibilities as well. Matt Garza was not given a qualifying offer.
8. Hiroki Kuroda, SP: Yankees. Rumors have been swirling for a while now that Hiroki Kuroda may return to Japan to finish his professional baseball career. If he does decide to stay in the States he will most likely return to the Yankees. The Yankees really can't afford to lose Kuroda with both Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes leaving the team in 2014.
9. A.J. Burnett, SP: Pirates. Similar to Kuroda, it seems like A.J. Burnett has two options this off-season: either return to the Pirates or retire. Burnett has been a great leader for the Pirates pitching staff since being traded from the Yankees in 2012. After the Pirates playoff run in 2013, how can you not return for one more ride? I think Burnett returns to the Steel City on a one year deal.
10. Mike Napoli, 1B: Red Sox. Last off-season Mike Napoli had a 3 year $39M deal with the Red Sox lined up before he failed his physical. He had to settle for a 1 year $5M deal and will look to cash in now. It is well known that Napoli wants to stay in Boston but how much will Boston be willing to give up to retain him? I think he will resign with Boston but don't count out the Pirates if he does decide to go elsewhere.
11. Ubaldo Jimenez, SP: Mariners.
12. Carlos Beltran, RF Cardinals
13. Curtis Granderson, LF: Cubs
14. Stephen Drew, SS: Red Sox
15. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C: Angels
16. Scott Kazmir, SP: Giants
17. Nelson Cruz, RF: Phillies
18. Omar Infante, 2B: Tigers
19. Joe Nathan, RP: Yankees
20. Ricky Nolasco, SP: Dodgers
21. Jhonny Peralta, SS: Mets
22. Bartolo Colon, SP: Athletics
23. Bronson Arroyo, SP: Mets
24. Marlon Byrd, RF: Pirates
25. Grant Balfour, RP: Tigers
26. Joaquin Benoit, RP: Indians
27. Scott Feldman, SP: Nationals
28. Kendrys Morales, DH: Mariners
29. Carlos Ruiz, C: Phillies
30. Josh Johnson, SP: Royals
31. Tim Hudson, SP: Orioles
32. Fernando Rodney, RP: Cubs
33. A.J. Pierzynski, C: Yankees
34. Dan Haren, SP: Blue Jays
35. Jason Vargas, SP: Angels
36. Suk-Min Yoon, SP: Cubs
37. James Loney, 1B: Twins
38. Phil Hughes, SP: Padres
39. Corey Hart, 1B: Rays
40. Edward Mujica, RP: Dodgers
41. Nate McLouth, LF: Orioles
42. Juan Uribe, 3B: Phillies
43. Paul Maholm, SP: Braves
44. Joe Smith, RP: Indians
45. Justin Morneau, 1B: Rockies
46. Jesse Crain, RP: Rockies
47. Brian Wilson, RP: Angels
48. Jason Hammel, SP: Twins
49. Roy Halladay, SP: Blue Jays
50. Chris B. Young, OF: Tigers
Free Agents Who Have Signed: (Will be updated all winter long)
Marlon Byrd - Phillies (Wrong. Picked Pirates)
Carlos Ruiz - Phillies (Correct)
Tim Hudson - Giants (Wrong. Picked Orioles)
Josh Johnson - Padres (Wrong. Picked Royals)
Jason Vargas - Royals (Wrong. Picked Angels)
Chris Young - Mets (Wrong. Picked Tigers)
Brian McCann - Yankees (Wrong. Picked Rangers)
Ricky Nolasco - Twins (Wrong. Picked Dodgers)
Jhonny Peralta - Cardinals (Wrong. Picked Mets)
Dan Haren - Dodgers (Wrong. Picked Blue Jays)
Joe Smith - Angels (Wrong. Picked Indians)
Free Agency Score: 1/11
Thanks for reading my Free Agency Preview article, please follow us on twitter at @First_TenSports and myself @RavenNation21 for the latest updates in free agency and for an alert when my latest baseball column is up.