MLB Free Agents 2013: Outfielders That Will Cash in on Open Market

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 19, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 03:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on October 3, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Once the World Series is over, big-name outfielders across the MLB will be reeling in a lot more than fly balls. 

That's because the 2013 free-agent class is deep with talented outfielders, each ready to begin entertaining offers from general managers looking to improve their rosters this winter. 

Here's a look at some of the best free agent outfielders who will be signing lucrative deals once the market opens for business after the 2012 MLB Playoffs. 


Josh Hamilton 

Yes, the Rangers were unimpressed with Hamilton's play down the stretch, but there's no questioning the five-time All-Star's place among the game's top outfielders. 

Coming off a season in which the 31-year-old hit a career-high 43 homers, Hamilton is in line to receive one of the largest free agent contracts in history, and for good reason. 

At this point, there's no question that Hamilton won't be returning to Texas, as NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth's Adam Boedeker recently pointed out:

The Rangers have, in a veiled way, told Hamilton he's not coming back in 2013, making it known that he should go test the waters and see how things go. That's front office speak for 'we don't want you anymore.'

Free agents of Hamilton's calibre don't come around often, so he'll assuredly garner big-money, long-term offers from deep-pocketed teams with World Series aspirations. 


B.J. Upton

Coming off a career-high 28 homers in 2012, B.J. Upton picked a good time to have a big year for Tampa Bay, but he won't be back with the Rays in 2013. 

Upton isn't the high-end offensive threat that Hamilton is, but he's still just 28, and has the potential to be an All-Star calibre outfielder wherever he lands next. 

Thus far, Upton hasn't become the superstar center fielder he was once projected to be, but free agents with his talent level and offensive abilities are rare, so he'll sign a deal upwards of $70 million this winter. 


Michael Bourn 

Atlanta's Michael Bourn has established himself as one of the game's top outfielders, which is why he'll get offers from all corners of the MLB this winter. 

A two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, Bourn is a valuable player on both sides of the ball, and though he's not a power hitter like Hamilton or Upton, he led the NL in stolen bases in 2010 and 2011. 

At 30, Bourn will be productive for a while longer, and after being traded twice between 2007 and 2011, he'll be looking for some staying power on the open market. 


Nick Swisher

As Newsday's Anthony Rieber recently pointed out, "Swisher, 31, will be a free agent once the World Series is over; the Yankees are not expected to bring him back."

It's too bad, because Swisher has been loved by Yankees fans since arriving in New York in 2009.

An All-Star in 2010, Swisher is good for somewhere around 25 homers a year, and is a character guy that every team loves to have.