MLB Free Agency 2013: Teams Ready to Break the Bank
The 2013 offseason could be one of the biggest free agent-spending frenzies that the MLB has seen in years.
With the likes of Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Dan Haren and so many more big names possibly hitting the free agent market, you can bet general managers will be opening their wallets to bolster their roster heading into the 2013 season.
We saw the Los Angeles Dodgers—led by Magic Johnson—break the bank towards the latter portion of the 2012 season, and I think you can expect them to be buyers again this offseason.
Let's examine which MLB clubs are ready to spend some cash this offseason.
Boston Red Sox
Following another dismal season in Boston, the Red Sox should be buyers this winter.
After trading away Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, Boston has a lot of shoes to fill for the 2013 season and there are plenty of free agents on the market to do it.
One move I'm looking at for the Red Sox is signing free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche. For now, James Loney is listed as the first baseman, but LaRoche would be a major upgrade. He was arguably the Washington Nationals' best offensive player, batting .271 with 33 home runs and 100 RBI during the regular season.
Boston has a glaring need at shortstop, as Mike Aviles was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays as part of the deal to bring over new manager John Farrell, so we could see Boston spend some cash on a shortstop, or possibly make a trade with the Texas Rangers for Elvis Andrus, as the emergence of Jurickson Profar has Rangers' executives high on his talent.
The Red Sox could also stand to add an arm or two for the starting rotation, as they dealt Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers and saw Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront struggle last season.
With a ton of solid starters set for free agency this winter, including names like Dan Haren, Zack Greinke, Edwin Jackson, Kyle Lohse, Brandon McCarthy and more, you can expect GM Ben Cherington to be active during the free agent period.
Los Angeles Angels
Even with potential MVP candidate and Rookie of the Year Mike Trout taking the MLB by storm and adding Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and Zack Greinke to the roster, the Los Angeles Angels spent the postseason at home.
On paper, the Angels were supposed to give the Texas Rangers a run for their money in the AL West division; instead, both teams were overtaken by a scorching Oakland Athletics team.
That said, the Angels will be seeking starting pitching this offseason. According to Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors, Los Angeles will decline the options on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, leaving room for improvement in the rotation that can be filled during the free agent period.
The Angels will look to resign Greinke, who will hit the open market this offseason, but as I've noted in a few slides already, there's a lot of starting pitching out there this winter (via MLB Trade Rumors).
Clearly, after the acquisitions of Pujols and Wilson last offseason, the Angels aren't afraid to open their wallets and lay some cash down to put together a winning team. Regardless of who they go during this offseason, it's likely going to cost them and I don't think it'll be a problem for GM Jerry Dipoto.
With Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino now absent from Philadelphia's outfield, going after Bourn makes sense. He hits for average, is arguably the fastest guy in the league and plays tremendous defense in center field, which would undoubtedly fill the void left by Victorino when he was shipped to the Dodgers.
After Bourn, Philly could use some help at third base and at the back end of its rotation. For that purpose, someone like Drew Sutton or Alberto Gonzalez could fit the mold for the Phillies, and regarding the rotation, someone like Francisco Liriano could be tempting because of his upside.
There's no telling what GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will do this offseason, but if he wants to continue putting butts in the seats, he's going to have to pull the trigger on some free agents to build his roster.
With Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee already anchoring the rotation and Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz supplying some offense, Philadelphia has some pieces in place to contend next season, but they'll need to do some spending this offseason to contend with the big guns in the National League.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Under new ownership, the Los Angeles Dodgers went buck-wild last season, spending crazy amounts of cash to acquire Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Shane Victorino.
Even after making all of those moves and sporting the highest payroll in baseball (according to MLB Trade Rumors), the Dodgers are still bound to spend more cash this winter.
If you look at MLB Trade Rumors' Ben Nicholson-Smith's offseason outlook for the Dodgers, you can get an idea of just how much the Dodgers already owe and how much more they're willing to spend to bring a championship to LA.
Nicholson-Smith believes that pitching will be what the Dodgers seek this offseason, and I can't argue with his assessment. Even after beefing up its roster down the stretch, Los Angeles still missed the playoffs and pitching had a lot to do with it.
Guys like Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Josh Johnson could be possible free agent/trade candidates for a squad that already boasts Clayton Kershaw at the top of its rotation.
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