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MLB Free Agency 2013: An Ideal Move for Every Team This Offseason

Joel ReuterFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2017

MLB Free Agency 2013: An Ideal Move for Every Team This Offseason

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    The playoffs are in full swing, but for the 26 teams not still in the running for this year's World Series title, attention has already been turned to the offseason and the upcoming free-agent market.

    This year's free-agent class is not as loaded at the top end as last year's, but it is deep, and there are a number of impact players who will be changing teams prior to next season.

    Here is a look at each team's ideal free-agent signing, the one player they would love to add above all others to fill out their roster for 2013.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Anibal Sanchez


    Why Signing Sanchez Makes Sense

    The Orioles got as far as they did this season in spite of a shaky starting rotation that was seemingly in a constant state of flux all season.

    The trio of Chris Tillman, Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen likely have spots locked up for next season, but questions remain beyond that. 

    With the team dedicated to building itself from within and not over-spending on the free-agent market, Sanchez represents a solid second-tier arm who could bolster their staff without breaking the bank.

Boston Red Sox

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Brandon McCarthy


    Why Signing McCarthy Makes Sense

    What does a team do when it has roughly $80 million in payroll space suddenly made available? One option would be to go nuts on the free-agent market. But the Red Sox won't do that, as they now have a chance to reshape the franchise from the ground up.

    Instead, expect them to spend on high-upside guys for now while some of their premiere minor league talent makes its way to the big leagues. And in a season or two, they'll make some significant signings to build around.

    For now, signing someone like Brandon McCarthy looks to be a wise move. He's capable of being a staff ace if he stays healthy, but will come relatively cheap because of his injury history. And the Red Sox are in a great position to take that risk in 2013.

New York Yankees

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Hiroki Kuroda


    Why Signing Kuroda Makes Sense

    After they opted against signing any big-name starters last offseason, it appeared as though the Yankees were positioning themselves to sign either Matt Cain or Cole Hamels this coming winter.

    Instead, both of those players were extended by their current teams. As a result, the Yankees' best option for bolstering their staff appears to be bringing back Hiroki Kuroda, whom they signed to a one-year, $10 million contract last offseason.

    The 37-year-old went 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA during the regular season and gave the team a legitimate No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia. The team's biggest priority will likely be hammering out extensions for Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, but bringing back Kuroda should be viewed as a must as well.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Ideal Signing

    1B James Loney


    Why Signing Loney Makes Sense

    The Rays have some clear-cut needs in their lineup, with glaring holes at catcher, first base and whatever middle infield position Ben Zobrist isn't playing.

    Jose Molina will likely have his option picked up and spend another season behind the plate, while Hak-Ju Lee could prove ready to step into the starting shortstop position by early 2013. First base appears to be the area they're most likely to address.

    While the team could still opt to re-sign Carlos Pena, his second go-around in Tampa Bay did not go particularly well, and my guess is they'll go in a different direction. Loney was never able to live up to expectations in Los Angeles, but he is still just 28 and could be a in for a nice turnaround in what will be his first full season away from the Dodgers.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Zack Greinke


    Why Signing Greinke Makes Sense

    The Blue Jays were hit hard by injury this past season, especially in their rotation. But even before that, the team lacked a true staff ace.

    Ricky Romero looked ready to step into that role entering the season, but he took a step back and struggled mightily as one of the few guys to stay healthy all season.

    With a solid offense, expect the team to make a run at the best arm on the market, Zack Greinke, to front the staff. The team fits the bill of the smaller market that Greinke is looking for, and with some money to spend, it should have a solid chance at adding the right-hander.

Chicago White Sox

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    Ideal Signing

    C A.J. Pierzynski


    Why Signing Pierzynski Makes Sense

    While most catchers' careers are generally wrapping up at the age of 35, Pierzynski enjoyed the best offensive season of his career this year with a .278/27 HR/77 RBI line.

    Not only is he an asset offensively, but he's an important presence in the White Sox locker room andis as important a player as their is on the Chicago roster.

    Fresh off of a two-year, $8 million deal, Pierzynski should be the team's No. 1 priority this winter. And while he could be in line for a raise somewhere in the neighborhood of a two-year, $12 million deal, my guess is he ends his career with the White Sox.

Cleveland Indians

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    Ideal Signing

    LF Delmon Young


    Why Signing Young Makes Sense

    The Indians have a long road ahead to return to contention, but they've already taken a big step forward in bringing Terry Francona aboard to manage the team.

    The team certainly needs to add some pitching, but left field was a glaring hole this past season.

    Young is still only 27, and while he has yet to live up to the hype of being a former No. 1 overall pick, he remains a solid offensive contributor—one capable of taking the next step and putting together a breakout season.

Detroit Tigers

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    Ideal Signing

    RP Rafael Soriano


    Why Signing Soriano Makes Sense

    Current Tigers closer Jose Valverde is a free agent this offseason, and the 34-year-old likely won't be back after posting his worst numbers since 2006. His struggles this postseason have only compounded his regular season struggles.

    Soriano has a $14 million option for 2013, and early indications are that he'll opt out and look to land a long-term deal as the top closer on the market.

    The Yankees will no doubt try to retain him, but they have options if he walks, including the potentially returning Mariano Rivera, setup man David Robertson and top prospect Mark Montgomery. That could be enough for the Tigers to swoop in and offer Soriano more money to come to Detroit.

Kansas City Royals

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Zack Greinke


    Why Signing Greinke Makes Sense

    The 2009 AL Cy Young winner while playing for the Royals, a homecoming from Greinke makes a lot of sense for both sides.

    Kansas City gives Greinke the small-market atmosphere he's looking for, and adding Greinke to the top of a shaky rotation would be huge for the Royals.

    With an ever-improving lineup, it is the Royals' pitching that is holding them back at this point. And while it would represent the biggest signing in team history by a long shot, it could be exactly what the team needs to jump into contention.

Minnesota Twins

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Jeremy Guthrie


    Why Signing Guthrie Makes Sense

    The Twins had a solid offense this past season, but their horrendous pitching staff effectively held them back and was enough for the team to lose an AL-high 96 games.

    Starters Scott Baker and Carl Pavano are on their way out, which leaves the Twins without any veteran options in their rotation. In fact, Scott Diamond is the only real starter locked into a rotation spot next season after a good rookie year.

    While it wouldn't be the most exciting signing, adding Guthrie would give the team a veteran innings eater capable of fronting its young staff at a low price. He was a different pitcher after joining the Royals at the deadline (5-3, 3.16 ERA in 14 starts), and he could help take some pressure off of the rest of the Twins' staff.

Houston Astros

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    Ideal Signing

    RP Francisco Rodriguez


    Why Signing Rodriguez Makes Sense

    For a young, rebuilding team like the Astros, nothing will frustrate their players faster than blowing the few leads they're able to get because they don't have someone to slam the door in the ninth inning.

    While he's served as a setup man the past year-and-a-half with the Brewers, Rodriguez has made it clear that he prefers to close, and a move to Houston could be a chance for him to do that once again.

    The Astros won't be very active in signing free agents, but shoring up the ninth inning with a veteran arm like K-Rod may be a wise move for the present and future success of the team.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Zack Greinke


    Why Signing Greinke Makes Sense

    The Angels gave up three of their top 10 prospects to acquire Greinke from the Brewers at the deadline, including shortstop Jean Segura, who ranked as Baseball America's No. 55 prospect entering the season.

    He pitched well enough after joining the Angels, but that was not enough to push the team over the top and they failed to make the postseason.

    Ervin Santana and Dan Haren could both be on their way out, as their options will likely be declined, and that should be all the more reason for the team to push hard to re-sign the top arm on the market.

Oakland Athletics

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    Ideal Signing

    SS Stephen Drew


    Why Signing Drew Makes Sense

    While he wasn't amazing, Drew did provide the A's with an upgrade at shortstop, hitting .250 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 39 games.

    The 29-year-old was one of the game's top offensive shortstops just a couple years ago, and after missing much of 2012 while recovering from a broken ankle, he could be in line for a bounce-back year in 2013.

    He has a $10 million team option that will almost certainly be declined, but the A's could look to bring him back after they decline it. A low-cost one-year deal could benefit the A's and would put Drew in a good position to earn a multi-year deal with a strong performance.

Seattle Mariners

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    Ideal Signing

    LF Nick Swisher


    Why Signing Swisher Makes Sense

    The Mariners have assembled a good core of talented young players, and there are more on the way this coming season—especially on the pitching side of things.

    However, they struggled mightily in the run production category. They got especially poor production from the outfield, where Michael Saunders was the only consistent contributor.

    Signing Swisher would add a veteran presence to the young team, bolster the middle of the lineup and give the M's some flexibility given his ability to play both first base and the outfield.

Texas Rangers

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    Ideal Signing

    OF Josh Hamilton


    Why Signing Hamilton Makes Sense

    The marquee name of the free-agent class, Josh Hamilton recently put the odds that he returns to the Rangers at 50/50 (h/t Dallas Morning News). So he will test the open market, if nothing else.

    He's battled injuries, but there have been few hitters as productive as the 31-year-old when he's on the field. He hit .285/43 HR/128 RBI this past season.

    Hamilton will be looking for a contract well in excess of $100 million. While they have the money, the Rangers will be competing with the free-spending Dodgers, among other teams, for the slugger's services in 2013. 

Atlanta Braves

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    Ideal Signing

    CF Michael Bourn


    Why Signing Bourn Makes Sense

    One of the premiere leadoff hitters in the game and a Gold Glove center fielder to boot, Bourn is in the second tier of free agents this season and should get a sizable contract from whoever winds up signing him.

    The 29-year-old has swiped at least 40 bases each of the past five seasons, and he's tallied double-digit triples in three of the past four years. That speed makes him one of the game's most electric players.

    The Braves will make a run at someone else—like Nick Swisher or second-level outfielders like Cody Ross or Angel Pagan—this offseason if they lose Bourn, but they'll look to retain Bourn first and foremost.

Miami Marlins

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    Ideal Signing

    CF B.J. Upton


    Why Signing Upton Makes Sense

    Following a deadline fire sale of sorts, the Marlins will enter the 2013 season with significantly different expectations than they had entering this past season.

    One hole in the roster, provided they shift Logan Morrison into first base as expected, will be in the outfield. Budding star Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Ruggiano will fill two of the spots, but the team could look to make a significant signing to fill the third spot.

    Upton has yet to match his 2007 line of .300/24 HR/82 RBI, but he did set a career high with 28 home runs this past year. He still has some of the best raw tools in baseball, and a change of scenery could be just what he needs.

New York Mets

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    Ideal Signing

    RP Mike Adams


    Why Signing Adams Makes Sense

    At 4.65, the Mets had the second-worst bullpen ERA in all of baseball this past season. And that inability to close out games was a big part of why they fell apart in the second half.

    The team will likely go after a closer of some sort.  Jonathan Broxton could be a target, as could Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria.

    However, in this particular free-agent class, the prize reliever is not a closer but a setup man: Mike Adams. There could potentially be more teams pursuing Adams than anyone else on the market, and the Mets will undoubtedly be among those teams after him.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Ideal Signing

    CF Michael Bourn


    Why Signing Bourn Makes Sense

    With Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Juan Pierre gone, the Phillies have a clear need in the outfield. And they'll be looking to add a spark to a lineup that has begun to show signs of age.

    They need a table setter more than they need a middle-of-the-lineup slugger, so Bourn makes more sense than someone like Cody Ross or Nick Swisher.

    Bourn was a fourth-round pick by the Phillies back in 2003, but he was first traded prior to the 2008 season in the deal that brought Brad Lidge in from Houston.

Washington Nationals

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    Ideal Signing

    CF B.J. Upton


    Why Signing Upton Makes Sense

    The Nationals have been in the market for a long-term solution in center field for several years now, and it seems likely that this will be the season they address that.

    Both Michael Bourn and B.J. Upton could be a fit, but I think the younger Upton makes more sense and will likely be the one the Nationals pursue first.

    Signing a center fielder would mean shifting Bryce Harper to right field, Jayson Werth to left field and Michael Morse to first base, with Adam LaRoche gone in free agency after he opts out of the final year of his current deal.

Chicago Cubs

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Brandon McCarthy 


    Why Signing McCarthy Makes Sense

    Despite their current rebuilding approach, the Cubs will likely opt to spend some money on pitching this offseason in an attempt to shore up their rotation behind Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza.

    They likely won't spend big, but could go after a second-tier starter or two, and the most intriguing of that group this year is the 29-year-old McCarthy.

    He represents a high-upside signing, and while there will be enough teams vying for his service that he won't come terribly cheap, he'll likely wind up signing a one- or two-year deal wherever he ends up.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Ideal Signing

    RP Mike Adams


    Why Signing Adams Makes Sense

    The Reds dealt for Royals closer Jonathan Broxton at the deadline and plugged him into the right-handed setup role. The big right-hander is a free agent now, and while the team could look to bring him back, they should go after Adams first.

    The best setup man in baseball, Adams will be heavily pursued this offseason, starting with the Rangers, who will no doubt try to bring him back.

    Adding him to a back end of the bullpen that already has two of the best in the business, Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman, would make a good Reds bullpen that much better.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Ideal Signing

    RP Jonathan Broxton


    Why Signing Broxton Makes Sense

    In 2011, John Axford was one of the game's breakout stars. He led the NL with 46 saves, posting a 1.95 ERA and finishing ninth in Cy Young voting.

    However, he struggled with consistency this season. Although he saved 35 games, he also blew nine saves and had a 4.67 ERA.

    That should be reason enough for the Brewers to look for late-inning relief help. Broxton is the best closer on the market outside of Rafael Soriano, if he decides to opt out of his deal with the Yankees.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Ideal Signing

    SS Marco Scutaro


    Why Signing Scutaro Makes Sense

    The Pirates made an ill-advised move in signing Clint Barmes last offseason two a two-year, $10.5 million contract.

    He did little to shore up their hole at shortstop, hitting just .229/8 HR/45 RBI, and that could be reason enough for the Pirates to go after a shortstop this offseason.

    Scutaro is really the only shortstop worth a starting job available this season, and given his overall versatility and plus offensive skills, he may wind up being out of the Pirates' price range. Still, they'd be wise to make a run at him.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Ideal Signing

    RP Jeremy Affeldt


    Why Signing Affeldt Makes Sense

    The Cardinals have just one left-handed reliever on their postseason roster in Marc Rzepczynski. He pitched early and often this season, appearing in 70 games and posting a 4.24 ERA.

    The team will no doubt look to add another southpaw in free agency, though it does have a potential internal option in Barret Browning.

    Affeldt represents the best left-hander on the market this winter, and while it will be tough to pry him away from the Giants, the Cardinals will no doubt at least inquire about what it would cost to add the 33-year-old.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Ideal Signing

    SS Marco Scutaro


    Why Signing Scutaro Makes Sense

    After trading Stephen Drew to the A's at the deadline, utility man John McDonald stepped into the starting shortstop role for the Diamondbacks.

    While the 38-year-old McDonald is signed through next season, he can't be expected to log everyday at-bats and will no doubt return to the utility role next season.

    The free-agent shortstop class starts and end with Scutaro as far as impact players are concerned, and the Diamondbacks would be wise to make a run at him. Otherwise, they may wind up settling for someone like Alex Gonzalez or Yuniesky Betancourt to fill out the position.

Colorado Rockies

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Brandon McCarthy


    Why Signing McCarthy Makes Sense

    The Rockies need pitching, pitching and more pitching, as they posted an MLB-worst 5.22 ERA this past season. But they will look to address that this offseason.

    Getting a full season from Jhoulys Chacin and continued improvement from Drew Pomeranz will help, but the team will likely look to sign at least a veteran or two to bring some stability to its rotation.

    Brandon McCarthy is an interesting option for the Rockies, as he has a high ground-ball rate and is capable of pitching atop the rotation if he can stay healthy.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Zack Greinke


    Why Signing Greinke Makes Sense

    The Dodgers were originally expected to be front-runners to acquire Josh Hamilton, but after adding Carl Crawford in their blockbuster deal with the Red Sox, they have a full house in the outfield now.

    Instead, they'll turn their attention to filling out the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw. And they will likely start at the top and make a run at right-hander Zack Greinke.

    Los Angeles is a fairly large market. But Greinke proved capable pitching for the Angels to close out the 2012 season, so he may very well opt to stay in town and move to the Dodgers, where the team appears willing to do whatever it takes to field a champion.

San Diego Padres

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    Ideal Signing

    SP Jake Peavy


    Why Signing Peavy Makes Sense

    The Padres opted to hold onto potential free agents Carlos Quentin and Huston Street and locked the duo up with extensions before they hit the open market.

    With their mix of incumbent core players and upcoming minor league talent, the Padres should be a team on the rise the next few seasons. And they could become bigger and bigger buyers in the years to come.

    Pitching will be their biggest issue to address, and one interesting name on the market this year is Jake Peavy, who played the first eight seasons of his career in San Diego. A reunion with the Padres could be in the works, and Peavy would no doubt welcome a return to Petco Park.

San Francisco Giants

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    Ideal Signing

    OF Nick Swisher


    Why Signing Swisher Makes Sense

    The Giants will push to re-sign Angel Pagan in center field, but they will also look to add an impact bat in left field, as Melky Cabrera is likely on his way out of San Francisco.

    While Josh Hamilton remains an option, Swisher should come with a smaller price tag and shorter contract while still providing an upgrade at the position and an impact bat in the lineup.

    Swisher would likely be signed as an outfielder, but he is also capable of playing first base and could spell Brandon Belt at times as well if they youngster continues to struggle at the plate.

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