The 2013 class of MLB free agents is not as stellar as last year's, but there are without question some names on the list who will draw considerable attention.
Many of the names on the list will likely draw some of that attention from their current teams. Others will no doubt be on the move for financial reasons or otherwise.
We will not include names of players who have options for next season. Players under option for 2013 could certainly create its own article.
It's fair to say that New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has stepped up his game in recent weeks, to the point that his numbers with New York match what he did in his heyday with the Seattle Mariners.
Suzuki is now hitting .331/.356/.481/.837 in 57 games for the Yankees, and has shown a willingness to play wherever needed in the outfit and hit much lower in the batting order. That will clearly help his stead in free-agent negotiations.
New York Yankees: The Yankees could well invite Suzuki back to serve as a fourth outfielder and to do exactly what he's doing right now.
Seattle Mariners: Okay, I'm kidding here. Even Seattle's own Jay Buhner would be completely against bringing back Suzuki. Buhner said back in July that he would 'vomit' if the Mariners signed Suzuki to an extension, and I'm guessing that feeling hasn't changed.
Honestly, Suzuki could decide to head back home if he doesn't sign with New York.
On Tuesday night, Joe Saunders will get the call for his sixth start as a Baltimore Oriole, facing off against the Toronto Blue Jays in a key divisional series matchup.
Saunders has a respectable 3.48 ERA through his first five starts, and Tuesday's contest is important for the O's to stay within striking distance of the New York Yankees atop the AL East.
Saunders has shown he's a very capable left-handed arm that can eat quality innings.
Baltimore Orioles: The O's could bring Saunders back, however with a young core group of pitchers that includes Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez along with Jason Hammel, signing Saunders won't be a top priority. However, Orioles GM Dan Duquette has said there's a possibility the O's could bring Saunders back next year.
Pittsburgh Pirates: With the failed experiment that was Erik Bedard, the Pirates could well have interest in Saunders for next year. They were one team interested in Saunders before the non-waiver trade deadline, and Saunders could act as a bridge for some of the developing prospects in the Pirates' system.
Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox were another team interested in Saunders before the trade deadline before their implosion. Considering the state of their current staff, they'll be looking at many candidates.
With the way that Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brandon League is ending his season, he's bound to get plenty of looks this winter.
Heading into action on Tuesday night, League posted an 0.73 ERA with five saves in 11 appearances in September, numbers sure to help him at the bargaining table this offseason.
San Francisco Giants: The Giants could be looking for insurance with closer Brian Wilson coming back from Tommy John surgery. In fact, there's no guarantee Wilson will be tendered by the Giants at this point. I don't see them not bringing Wilson back, but insurance certainly isn't a bad idea.
New York Mets: It's pretty clear that the Mets will need another bullpen rebuild. League could give them a very solid option at the back end.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins will have a decision to make regarding the option on Matt Capps' contract. If they look at Capps' recent history of injuries and deem $6 million is too much of an investment, League could be in play.
Los Angeles Angels: The Angels clearly need bullpen upgrades. League could well intrigue GM Jerry DiPoto.
What is up with Kelly Johnson, and why can't he hit the way he did in 2010?
Those are the questions many GMs will be asking about the current Toronto Blue Jays second baseman. Johnson has been a complete enigma since that breakout 2010 season when hit .284 with 26 HR and 71 RBI.
The power is clearly there, but the plate discipline and swing mechanics are certainly at issue. Johnson has struggled to a .225/.313/.360 slash line this year with 155 strikeouts.
There is not going to be much call for Johnson's services the way he's swinging the bat right now, and certainly not for his current salary of $6.38 million. The Blue Jays swung and missed on this trade, as the departed Aaron Hill has rejuvenated his career in Arizona.
Detroit Tigers outfielder/designated hitter Delmon Young is definitely one of the more interesting names on this list.
He's the youngest free agent at just 27 years of age, but he's also one that comes with baggage. Young's production numbers this season have been okay (.270, 18 HR, 72 RBI), and teams will be intrigued simply because of his relative youth. However, the .300 on-base percentage is not a plus.
Detroit Tigers: There's a chance that Young stays in Motown. However, that chance is slim at best.
Toronto Blue Jays: The production in left field for the Jays has been lacking all season long—a collective .240 average with just nine homers, 52 RBI and a .646 OPS. Young would easily supply that alone and more.
In Monday night's win over the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers pitcher Roy Oswalt pitched for the first time in 15 days, throwing two scoreless innings.
Forearm tightness was the reason for Oswalt's inactivity, but he clearly wasn't the pitcher the Rangers expected when they signed him to a $5 million contract in May.
Retirement: Heading out to pasture is certainly in play for Oswalt at this point. It's clear that if Oswalt does in fact pitch next season, he will only return as a starter. Oswalt has made no bones about the fact he's not comfortable in a bullpen role.
New York Yankees: While Oswalt has posted a 6.07 ERA this year, his velocity is still there as evidenced by his 8.6 K/9 rate. Control is not an issue either, with a 4.91 K/BB rate, the second-highest of his career. Oswalt could be a fit in New York as a potential No. 5 guy.
Los Angeles Angels: The Angels have decisions to make regarding the option years for Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. If both are declined, GM Jerry DiPoto has an extra $28.5 million to spend. While much of that will likely be offered up for Zack Greinke, Oswalt could make sense in Anaheim as an additional lower-cost option as well.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Francisco Liriano has been unable to deliver consistency with his outings since joining the team in late July.
Liriano dropped a decision to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, unable to work out of a jam in the fourth inning. For the year, Liriano is now 3-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 starts after his trade from the Minnesota Twins.
Chicago White Sox: Almost no chance now that Liriano remains in Chicago.
Toronto Blue Jays: Is it possible manager John Farrell could find a way to harness Liriano's command?
San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan has found the Bay Area to his liking, and more recently has found the leadoff spot in the batting order to his liking as well.
Pagan has excelled in the second half, now hitting .293 on the year with 35 doubles and an NL-leading 15 triples. Pagan and Marco Scutaro at the top of the batting order has spelled magic for the Giants. Pagan re-assumed the leadoff role in early August and hasn't slowed down since.
San Francisco Giants: There is a high likelihood that Pagan could be re-signed. They no longer have Nate Schierholtz, Gregor Blanco is more suited as a role player, and Melky Cabrera is obviously a major question mark. Prospect Gary Brown is the center fielder of the future, but he's probably still at least a year away. With a thin outfield corps, Pagan certainly isn't a bad option at all.
Tampa Bay Rays: With B.J. Upton also a free agent, the Rays could have need. Desmond Jennings could slide into center as well, but Pagan might draw interest in Tampa.
Atlanta Braves: The price tag for free agent Michael Bourn may too high for the Braves to match. They could take a hard look at Pagan.
It's a good thing the Cincinnati Reds had reliever Jonathan Broxton around this past month.
With Aroldis Chapman suffering from a fatigued shoulder and being shut down, Broxton stepped right in to fill the void seamlessly.
In fact, Broxton hasn't given up a run in over a month—a 0.00 ERA in September with four saves in 10 appearances.
Broxton has put himself back on the closer's map with his stint in Kansas City this season along with his performance for the Reds.
New York Mets: GM Sandy Alderson could look at Broxton closely as he seeks to re-build his bullpen for a second winter in a row.
Los Angeles Angels: Ditto for the Angels. Their bullpen will also require some re-modeling this winter.
Detroit Tigers: Could Broxton be an option in Motown if Jose Valverde is allowed to walk in free agency?
Brandon McCarthy's right shoulder has been a concern for his entire career, and it cost him close to two months this season as well.
Just when it appeared he was rounding into form, a line drive off the bat of Los Angeles Angels shortstop Erick Aybar ended his season.
While McCarthy's prognosis is positive, it would be difficult for any team to invest any kind of long-term contract at this point.
Oakland Athletics: It's possible McCarthy could return, if the deal were in the $5 million-$6 million range. McCarthy has shined at O.co Coliseum with a lifetime 3.21 ERA in 25 starts.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins are desperate for pitching. They just might be desperate enough to take a chance on McCarthy.
Toronto Blue Jays: The Jays can't be happy with their current slate of starters. GM Alex Anthopoulos could take a peek here.
You're simply not going to find many late-inning relievers steadier than Mike Adams of the Texas Rangers.
Adams will actually finish the regular season this year with his highest ERA since the mid-2000s, although a 2.79 ERA is nothing to sneeze at.
Adams will no doubt be in high demand this winter.
Texas Rangers: The Rangers may not be willing to offer up a multi-year deal for the 34-year-old reliever, but Adams has handled the transition to the American League quite well.
Philadelphia Phillies: A combination of Adams and Jonathan Papelbon at the back end of the bullpen would look nice indeed.
Milwaukee Brewers: With Francisco Rodriguez likely headed out of town, could Adams fill his shoes?
This season, Boston Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross has played himself back into some potential money.
With a .270 average, 21 HR and 77 RBI, Ross asserted himself as a viable free-agent outfield option this winter. In a weaker market, it could mean a bigger payday.
The biggest problem is the fact that Ross may be regarded more highly by the Red Sox than anyone else. Away from Fenway Park, Ross has hit only .237 with eight home runs.
Boston Red Sox: Considering his home/road splits, Ross may be better off staying where he is. In turn, the Red Sox know what they're getting for the money.
Cleveland Indians: The Indians need help in left field, considering the fact that manager Manny Acta has used 10 players who have combined to hit just .211 with 10 HR and 50 RBI.
Atlanta Braves: If former teammate Dan Uggla has his way, Ross will be in Atlanta next year. Unfortunately, it's not up to Uggla, but GM Frank Wren could take a look, considering current left fielder Martin Prado could be taking over at third base for the retiring Chipper Jones.
New York Yankees: Could be replacement for Nick Swisher.
So, just what becomes of Melky Cabrera next season?
That's one of the bigger questions heading into the offseason for sure. Teams certainly aren't sure whether Cabrera has turned a corner as an elite player or if his numbers were bloated by his use of testosterone.
There's no question a lucrative multi-year deal is off the table. But there will still be teams willing to take a chance on at least one year.
San Francisco Giants: Given the massive negativity surrounding the Giants with the suspension of Cabrera on top of an earlier suspension handed out to reliever Guillermo Mota, I honestly don't see any chance of GM Brian Sabean offering up a deal.
Houston Astros: Houston is going to need some offense, enhanced or not. They certainly have payroll flexibility.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Even the 2011 version of Melky represents a huge upgrade over current Pirates' left fielders (.219 average, 12 HR, 44 RBI).
The 2012 version of Jose Valverde wasn't quite as lights-out as last season, when he converted all 49 of his save chances for the Detroit Tigers.
Valverde has converted 31 saves with five blown chances this year with a 4.02 ERA. A repeat of a three-year, $23 million contract may not be in the cards.
New York Mets: The Mets could be looking at just about every reliever on the market, considering their last bullpen re-build didn't work out so well.
Detroit Tigers: The Tigers could bring Valverde back. With a not-so-strong market this year, it could be a case of "better the devil you know."
Los Angeles Angels right fielder Torii Hunter is on the way to the best batting average of his career, hitting .305 as of Tuesday night.
In addition, Hunter is approaching the 90 RBI level, a feat Hunter has achieved twice in four previous seasons. There's no question the production is still there, and Hunter could be up for a possible 10th Gold Glove Award as well.
Not too shabby for a 37-year-old.
Los Angeles Angels: I don't think Hunter is going anywhere. He has repeatedly stated his desire to remain in Anaheim and finish his career. GM Jerry DiPoto has indicated mutual interest as well.
"His desire to be here is certainly shared,” DiPoto told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. “We'd love to have him. Now if that's the smartest thing for the Angels to do, we'll do it.”
Hunter also said money won't get in the way of him remaining with the Angels. His desire at this point in his career is simply to win.
"For me, it's not about greed and getting all you can get," Hunter said. "I've made good money. Now I just want to win. And I can see this team winning in the near future. Whether it's this year, whether it's next year, I can see it...the potential. Why would I want to leave a place I want to stay and I know is going to win?"
A right elbow injury put Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum on the disabled list for over two months this season. But it won't stop teams from showing interest this winter.
Marcum made $7.73 million this year, posting a 3.86 ERA in 19 starts thus far. A healthy Marcum would be of benefit to any team, but the elbow issues could limit the length of his deal.
Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox are clearly in need of starting pitching, and Marcum could work well with a one- or two-year deal.
Kansas City Royals: Signing with the Royals would be a homecoming of sorts for Marcum—he was born in Kansas City and starred locally before being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2003.
The Flyin' Hawaiian has been grounded thus far in Los Angeles.
Shane Victorino has hit just .225 in 44 games entering play on Tuesday night since joining the Dodgers. His trade from the Philadelphia Phillies did not provide the lift or production expected by GM Ned Colletti when the deal was consummated.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Victorino would love to stay in LA, considering his family lives in nearby Las Vegas. He has stated a willingness to re-sign, but only as a full-time player, not as a backup to Carl Crawford or anyone else. Don't see that happening.
New York Mets: Andres Torres just hasn't worked out in New York, hitting just .221 with two homers and 33 RBI. Victorino would absolutely be an upgrade.
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse could well be this year's version of a poster child for a player putting up huge numbers in his walk year.
In the final season of his four-year, $41 million contract, Lohse is 16-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 32 starts. Lohse is easily having the best of his year statistically in most major and peripheral stats.
St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals have engaged in no negotiations whatsoever concerning an extension for Lohse. The signing of Jake Westbrook to an extension, however, almost seemed to sound the death knoll for Lohse's career in St. Louis. Letting an All-Star walk after the best year of his career seems odd, but it's about numbers. The Cardinals have Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Westbrook, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller in the fold already.
Detroit Tigers: Lohse in the mix with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister would be enticing. Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly and Anibal Sanchez are in the group as well, but Lohse represents a sizable upgrade over that trio.
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers certainly have the money, and after two stellar seasons, Lohse could be worth a three-year deal for LA.
So, which Mike Napoli will show up in 2013?
The 2011 version of Napoli was fun to watch—a .320 average with 30 HR and 75 RBI. This year's version, however, has been painful at times to watch. As of Tuesday night, Napoli was hitting just .229 with 20 HR and 46 RBI, striking out once every 2.8 at-bats.
Napoli spent over a month on the disabled with a strained left thigh muscle, returning to the lineup last week.
Texas Rangers: There simply aren't many better options behind the plate on the free agent market. To be fair, Napoli has battled through several nagging injuries this year aside from thigh issue as well. I see a three-year, $30 million deal.
Tampa Bay Rays: If Napoli and the Rangers can't come to terms, could Tampa Bay come calling? Offense behind the plate in Tampa has been close to anemic this season (.219 average, 10 HR, 54 RBI).
Boston Red Sox: How about Napoli's swing at Fenway Park? Jarrod Saltalamacchia does have 24 home runs, but with a .228 average, and prospect Ryan Lavarnway has yet to impress with just a .169 average. Change is in the air in Boston; maybe Napoli is a change in the right direction.
Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is having a career year, already setting a career high in home runs (26) and on the verge of setting a career-high in RBI (74).
Earlier this month, MLB shot down rumors that Pierzynski was about to be suspended for using a banned substance, assuring the White Sox that Pierzynski was indeed clean.
Chicago White Sox: I don't see any way Pierzynski leaves the South Side. Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune believes that Pierzynski is worth a two-year, $16 million deal, with an option for 2015.
I happen to agree.
After a somewhat shaky start, Texas Rangers pitcher Ryan Dempster has found his groove in recent weeks.
Dempster has won six of his last seven starts, doing more than his part to keep the Rangers at the top of the AL West Division standings.
Dempster's 3.15 ERA has shown that his game works in the American League as well after 14-plus years on the senior circuit.
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers had targeted Dempster this summer but failed in their efforts to wrap up a deal. They'll no doubt be in play once again this winter.
Atlanta Braves: The Braves were also unable to land Dempster this summer after he failed to waive his no-trade rights as a 10-5 player. The Braves settled on Paul Maholm, now 3-4 with a 4.09 ERA in nine starts.
San Diego Padres: With new ownership now in place and a favorable pitcher's park, Dempster could be in play for the Padres.
On Tuesday night, Anibal Sanchez came through in a big way for the Detroit Tigers.
His three-hit shutout of the Kansas City Royals pulled the Tigers into a tie with the Chicago White Sox atop the AL Central Division standings with eight games to play.
This is the Sanchez the Tigers envisioned when they acquired him from the Miami Marlins in late July. His win improved Sanchez's record to 4-6 since joining Detroit, lowering his ERA to 3.95.
So, Sanchez keeps Detroit in the dance, but is it enough to keep him in Motown beyond this year?
Detroit Tigers: I don't see the Tigers offering Sanchez a deal above and beyond his current salary of $8 million. They could be after bigger fish this winter.
San Diego Padres: I love Sanchez in San Diego. Petco Park would be even more to his liking than pitcher-friendly Comerica Park.
Toronto Blue Jays: According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, Sanchez is on the radar for 2013 with the Blue Jays.
New York Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has faded a bit in September, but is still putting forth a stellar 2012 season.
Kuroda is 14-11 with a 3.34 ERA thus far in 31 starts.
New York Yankees: If the Yankees make the postseason and Kuroda bounces back with a strong push, the Yankees could be up for offering at least another one-year deal with an option.
San Diego Padres: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com believes the Padres could be targeting Kuroda this winter in an effort to become contenders in 2013.
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz will likely finish the 2012 season in frustration.
Ortiz's balky Achilles heel hasn't allowed him to return to the lineup, and he's clearly frustrated about how the 2012 season turned out as well.
Hitting .318 with 23 HR and 60 RBI in 90 games, Ortiz was well on his way to a banner year before injuries shut him down.
Boston Red Sox: There's only one destination here. The Red Sox need Ortiz, and Ortiz does not want to leave.
“I’m wide open to come back and play here," Ortiz told the Boston Herald. "I know I’m up to the challenge. But at some point, it’s not on me.”
The Red Sox found out just how bad their offense is without Ortiz in the middle of it. This is a deal that gets done quickly.
The New York Yankees have a decision to make on two-thirds of their outfield at the end of the season.
They'll need to decide on whether to pick up the 2013 option on center fielder Curtis Granderson for $13 million.
They'll also make a decision on whether to let right fielder Nick Swisher walk.
Swisher's end-of-year numbers will look eerily similar to that of his first three seasons in the Bronx. That's not a bad thing—Swisher has provided consistent production throughout his stay in New York.
New York Yankees: If recent reports are to be believed, Swisher is looking for a contract similar to the one signed by Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth. No way the Yankees fork out anywhere close to $126 million for seven years.
Boston Red Sox: Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported last month that Swisher could be on the Red Sox radar for 2013, provided he doesn't ask for a Jayson Werth-type deal.
Other destinations are possible, but Swisher will have to back off his demands to be in play.
Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn has struggled through a tough month of September, hitting just .203 with one RBI.
Still, Bourn has added a leadoff presence to the Braves' attack that will have him highly sought after this winter.
Atlanta Braves: The fact that Bourn and the Braves have had no talks regarding an extension doesn't bode well for his return to Atlanta.
Washington Nationals: Bourn could be very tempting to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo. Bourn in the middle of corner outfielders Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth would indeed be fun to watch.
Philadelphia Phillies: Bob Brookover of Philly.com believes that the Phillies are doing a major reset for the 2013, including acquiring an impact outfielder. Bourn will certainly garner a look.
Edwin Jackson is still seeking a long-term deal. He may finally get his wish this winter.
Jackson has been a stalwart in the rotation for the Washington Nationals, with a 9-10 record, a 3.77 ERA and 181.2 innings pitched over 29 starts.
Jackson could earn even more with a stellar postseason, as his Nationals bring postseason baseball to the nation's capital for the first time in 79 years.
San Diego Padres: Jackson will join others that the San Diego Padres could pursue as they vie to contend in 2013.
Boston Red Sox: Jackson is a grinder and an innings-eater, qualities the Red Sox were sorely lacking in all season long.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Can the Dodgers really be counted out of any quality free agent at this point?
Washington Nationals: Jackson has indicated he'd love to stay in D.C. if the Nats are interested in offering a multi-year deal.
There doesn't appear to be any scenario in which center fielder B.J. Upton signs a long-term deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Upton has had a productive second half for the Rays, now hitting .250 with 26 HR and 74 RBI. His offensive surge may not be enough to get his Rays in the postseason, but it won't hurt his value this winter.
Philadelphia Phillies: As mentioned in an earlier slide, the Phillies could be looking to acquire an impact outfielder this winter. If the Phillies pass on Michael Bourn, they could set their sights on Upton.
Washington Nationals: While the Nationals were hot on Upton's trail last year, the interest may have cooled somewhat. However, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs will have some financial flexibility this offseason with all of their recent wheeling and dealing. Adding Upton in the outfield with a young Brett Jackson could be tempting for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
San Francisco Giants: If the Giants don't re-sign Angel Pagan, GM Brian Sabean could set his sights on Upton.
When the Los Angeles Angels acquired Zack Greinke from the Milwaukee Brewers in late July, they gave up three top-25 organizational prospects in return.
Jean Segura, John Hellweg and Ariel Pena significantly bolstered the Brewers' farm system, and Greinke is now fighting to put his new team in the postseason.
Los Angeles Angels: GM Jerry DiPoto wouldn't have sacrificed three top prospects if he didn't think he had a good shot at signing Greinke long-term.
Atlanta Braves: The Braves have long coveted Greinke. That likely hasn't changed.
New York Yankees: If the Yankees fail to make the playoffs or get bounced out in early October, things could change in the Bronx in terms of their more fiscally conservative ways. A spending spree could be in order, and Greinke could well be on their shopping list.
Without question the prize of this winter's free-agent market, Josh Hamilton will not just draw considerable interest, debates will rage on regarding his worth.
Hamilton's substance-abuse issues and injury history will both be topics to consider for GMs attempting to figure out what kind of offer to make.
Texas Rangers: The Rangers have guarded their feelings about Hamilton and a contract extension like a mother protecting their young. Depending on what you read or who you listen to, the Rangers will either make Hamilton an offer that keeps him Texas for the rest of his career, or they simply let him walk.
New York Yankees: If the Yankees allow Nick Swisher to test the free-agent waters and/or decline the 2013 option for Curtis Granderson, they could certainly be in play for Hamilton's services.
Boston Red Sox: Highly unlikely, but rumors persist. Some would have you believe that the Red Sox shed the contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford for the purposes of going after Hamilton. GM Ben Cherington was non-committal in his thoughts about Hamilton.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners will all be in pursuit of Hamilton as well.
Is that all?
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.