CHICAGO, November 4, 2013 — At 12:01 AM EST Tuesday free agents will be allowed to sign with other teams and the offseason will get under way with 30 teams trying to accomplish what the Red Sox did in 2013, win the World Series.
Following are seven of the most sought after hitters in this year’s relatively thin free agent class with last year’s team, position and their likely suitors.
Robinson Cano, NYY, 2B - Cano posted a .314/.383/.516 slash line last year, which is amazing production from second base and right in line with his career numbers. While Cano will be entering his age 31 season next year, he is likely to be the highest paid free agent in this year’s class. Cano is likely to re-sign with the Yankees, but could draw interest from teams like the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and New York Mets.
Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS, CF,- The Red Sox tried to lock up Ellsbury with a long term contract prior to both of the last two seasons, but had no success. Ellsbury posted a .298/.355/.426 slash line this year while stealing 52 bases in 56 attempts. He is considered one of the best leadoff men in baseball, but if he is looking for the most money, he will likely leave Boston. Other suitors could include the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, and Chicago Cubs.
Brian McCann ATL, C - McCann has been one of the best offensive catchers in baseball since his first full season in 2006, hitting between 18-24 homeruns each year. McCann posted a slash line of .256/.336/.461 while helping the Braves to the NL East division title. McCann will likely receive interest from Atlanta although they may look to fill the position with other options. Other suitors could include the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies.
Mike Napoli, BOS, 1B - While Napoli’s catching days are likely behind him, he played well at first base this year posting a .259/.360/.482 slash line. Napoli has expressed interest in returning to the Red Sox and Boston has interest as well, especially with a thin crop of first basemen this year. If Napoli goes elsewhere, he will likely look to stay in the AL as his three-year contract was reduced to a one year deal because of a degenerative hip condition. If he leaves, his former club, the Texas Rangers, will likely be involved.
Curtis Granderson, NYY, CF - Granderson was hampered by injuries in 2013, playing in just 61 games and posting a .229/.317/.407 slash line. He has struggled versus left handed pitching and would ideally be platooned, but Granderson’s salary will likely not allow that. Granderson’s power plays well in Yankee Stadium and he could very well re-sign with the Yankees. If Granderson leaves, teams with money to spend could include the Chicago White Sox or Seattle Mariners.
Carlos Beltran, STL, RF - Beltran provided good return on the Cardinal’s investment of a two-year, $26 million contract. Beltran posted a .296/.339/.491 slash line in 2013 and will likely be able to match his last contract this offseason. The Cardinals will likely look at internal options to fill Beltran’s spot by either shifting Allen Craig to right field or bringing up prized prospect Oscar Taveras to fill Beltran’s position. Beltran could find a home with the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles or Texas Rangers.
Shin-Soo Choo, CIN, CF - Choo will likely find a home as a corner outfielder, although he surpassed many people’s expectations in center field for the Reds in 2013. Choo posted a .285/.423/.462 slash line heading into his free agent year and will likely draw interest from a variety of teams given his on-base skills. Cincinnati would love to have Choo back, but may hand the position over to Billy Hamilton. Suitors for Choo could include the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets, and Chicago Cubs.
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