As the 2012 MLB playoffs continue to move along, the excitement over this year’s free-agent class has the hardcore baseball fans ready to find out where the biggest stars will land in 2013.
With huge names like Josh Hamilton and Zach Greinke finding their way to the open market, the excitement over which team will pull out the check book to ensure these talented stars come to their teams has fans across the league at a fever pitch.
All of the following MLB mega stars will be free agents in 2013, and these are the teams that will shell out the big bucks to lock them up long term.
B.J. Upton, OF
Most fans of Major League Baseball know that the Tampa Bay Rays don’t pay their top free agents when they have outplayed their contracts, and that means B. J. Upton will likely have to take his talents elsewhere.
While Upton didn’t have the greatest year—batting .246 on the year with a career-high 169 strikeouts—his unique mix of power, speed and baseball I.Q. has yet to be exploited to its fullest.
That’s where the Philadelphia Phillies and manager Charlie Manuel factor in.
With Philadelphia’s huge payroll and their need for a real outfielder, Upton will find himself under contract with the Phillies and under the tutelage of Manuel. Just like Jimmy Rollins flourished under the veteran coach, Upton will become a bona fide star.
Predicted Destination: Philadelphia Phillies
Zack Greinke, P
Despite an already impressive pitching staff, the Washington Nationals are looking to find the kind of starting pitcher who could be the team’s No.1 but doesn’t mind taking a backseat to Stephen Strasburg in terms of publicity.
That sounds like the perfect gig for veteran journeyman Zack Greinke. Despite being only 28 years old, the star pitcher has been on three teams in the last three seasons and is looking for long-term security.
With Strasburg’s injury concerns something the Nationals will always think about, Greinke is the kind of backup plan that could have brought this year’s Washington team to the NLCS or beyond.
Add in a healthy Strasburg, and the Nationals would be dangerous.
Predicted Destination: Washington Nationals
Josh Hamilton, OF
There is no doubt that the biggest free agent of the 2013 offseason will be outfielder Josh Hamilton. While the veteran comes with the baggage that follows a person that is still recovering from addiction, his commitment to sobriety and his stellar on-field prowess makes this a risk well worth taking for a prospective team.
With a .285 batting average this season, 43 home runs, 103 runs and 128 RBI, Hamilton was one of the best players in the American League and would have been a serious contender for MVP if minor injuries didn’t slow his pace.
As much as there was a strained relationship with the Texas Rangers at times during his tenure with the team, the organization knows what is best and letting Hamilton walk is not the right answer. They will square away their off-field differences and get the slugger signed long term.
Predicted Destination: Texas Rangers
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