MLB Rumors: 5 Most Likely Landing Spots for the Big Hitters in the Rumor Mill
With free agency coming closer to rearing its head, players with expired contracts are already trying to decide whether to stay with their current team or simply go where the money is.
They, however, at least know that they have to make that decision. For others, they may be a part of major offseason moves that they will not see coming, unless their name has been swirling in the rumor market.
The biggest names in the rumor mill, whether they are free agents or players under contract, could very well end up with the team everyone expects, but they could surprise us all. This takes a look at the former.
Alfonso Soriano quietly had his most productive offensive season in some time, hitting 32 HR and 108 RBIs. As a result, given his age and contract situation, if the Chicago Cubs want to get value back for him, now may be their last chance.
The American League is off limits since Soriano does not want to play DH, which hurts his value a bit since he's not much of a fielder at this point. His best bet moving forward seems to be the Giants.
The Giants need a power bat to work alongside Buster Posey, and if they stumble in the playoffs this year, it will feel like they only needed that one veteran bat; Soriano could be just that, though it is of course dependent on whether or not they bring Melky Cabrera back.
The Yankees have Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner locked into the outfield, and if they keep Ichiro, then that makes free agent Nick Swisher expendable.
Swisher is one of the most consistent players in this year's free agent market, and will likely get a nice long-term deal, most likely not from the Yankees. Where could he get a Jayson Werth-type deal, which he's projected to get?
It's a strange situation, because I feel like he's perfect for the Yankees, yet with the game three benching I can't see him sticking around. The Giants could certainly use him more than they could use Soriano, especially since Swisher would cost less and be worth more.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a couple spots where they seem to have a logjam. In the outfield, they may end up re-signing Torii Hunter for another season or two. If they do, trading Peter Bourjos is almost a certainty.
He struggled in 2011, but teams saw his potential the year before with 11 triples, so there would be interest in him. If the Braves decide to pass on Michael Bourn, they are the best possibility.
Bourjos offers a lot of what Bourn does, mainly on the defensive end. Add him to the young Braves lineup and they could be good for many years. The Angels would need pieces they could win now with though, which I'm less convinced the Braves have to give up.
The Colorado Rockies always need pitching, and at this point they may be willing to trade a good piece for it. Dexter Fowler had a great year in 2011, and his trade value is likely as high as it's going to get.
Fowler wants to stay with Colorado, but if there are any farm systems or teams loaded with pitching, such as Atlanta, Philadelphia or Oakland, then I could easily see the Rockies trading him, especially since pitching is that much harder for them to find.
At this point, it is safe to say that Josh Hamilton will not be in Texas in 2013. Even if Hamilton wants to stay, they won't be able to offer close to enough money. Where does Hamilton end up then?
He has top-tier stuff, though his age means he likely won't get a massive long-term deal. I feel like, given his numbers, that the Yankees would have a big push to sign him in right field, presuming Nick Swisher will be gone.
As long as the Yankees know not to overpay him, he could actually work there, even though right field is not his primary position. If any team can keep an eye on a possible relapse as well, it would be them.