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MLB Free Agency 2013: 8 Players Who Most Need a Change of Scenery

Mark MillerCorrespondent INovember 4, 2012

MLB Free Agency 2013: 8 Players Who Most Need a Change of Scenery

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    With 2012 rapidly winding down, teams across the league are working on positioning themselves for a run at a World Series title in 2013, both by addition and subtraction.

    A number of free agents have performed well enough this year to warrant significant contracts on the free market, but only time will tell as to whether or not their teams will let them go.

    Here are some players that could benefit from a change of scenery as they look to play deep into October next year.

Alfonso Soriano

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    Once considered one of the worst signings in baseball, Alfonso Soriano's 2012 campaign went a long way towards pushing those memories to the background as he solidified his standing as one of the game's star veterans.

    At one point this season, CBSsports.com's Jon Heyman brought up the possibility of the San Francisco Giants bringing in Soriano earlier this season, and though obviously nothing came to fruition, the discussion itself lent some value to the Cubs outfielder.

    As the Cubs find themselves making offseason plans, GM Theo Epstein has already noted (via ESPN Chicago) that Soriano is available, so talks could very well heat up and he just might end up playing for a contending team sooner rather than later.

Carl Pavano

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    The Minnesota Twins struggled mightily this season, and with much of the blame placed on the starting pitching, Carl Pavano probably realizes that his days in Minnesota are past him.

    2012 marked the final year of his contract, and after sitting on the disabled list for much of the season, Pavano will have plenty to prove as he signs what could be his final contract.

    With numerous front-office overhauls this offseason, the Twins also look to be going young in the rotation, meaning Pavano will need to think long and hard about where he can fit in and best position himself for a championship before retiring.

A.J. Pierzynski

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    Recently wrapping up the final year of his contract with the Chicago White Sox, you can't blame A.J. Pierzynski if he's upset about the team's hesitance to work on a new deal as he files for free agency.

    Given his performance in 2012 and the team's close call down the stretch in the AL Central, he'll no doubt be a valuable asset this offseason as the open market for catchers is relatively thin.

Shin Soo Choo

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    The Cleveland Indians are another team that looked good early on, only to fall back to the pack towards the end. And with plenty of decisions to make on their future, Shin Soo Choo could end up being a casualty.

    Choo was in the picture as a potential deadline pickup for the Pirates earlier this season, and if the Indians determine that they won't be able to re-sign him, the list of suitors will only increase.

    At 30, Choo's still got plenty of gas left in the tank, but he no doubt wants to win and win now.

James Shields

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    The biggest name of this offseason's market came off the board when Cole Hamels signed his mega extension with Philadelphia during the regular season, leaving teams in need of pitching with one less option.

    Zack Greinke will likely test the market, and though the Texas Rangers will probably kick the tires on him, they'll also want to throw some feelers out on James Shields.

    Shields could become a free agent after the 2013 season, and with the Rays continually facing payroll issues, it's unlikely he'd be a candidate to sign for the long haul.

    No serious contenders for Shields have emerged since CBSsports.com's Jon Heyman noted a number of suitors, but as the market continues to re-shape itself this winter, the calls could very well make their way into the Rays' front office.

Edwin Jackson

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    Pitching played a huge role in their success in 2012, and though Stephen Strasburg was shelved early on, he'll be back at it in 2013, something that the team may hope from Edwin Jackson as well.

    Jackson could make out huge in the free-agent market this offseason, as he went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 2012 and played an important role in the Nationals' push towards the postseason.

    He spent much of last offseason seeking out a multi-year deal, and when the offers didn't come, his one-year deal would prove to be another long audition for a bigger payday.

Torii Hunter

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    With a big decision to make this offseason when it comes to the potential of signing Zack Greinke to a long-term extension, the Los Angeles Angels may not have the money to keep veteran outfielder Torii Hunter around in 2013.

    Hunter may be willing to stay in Los Angeles even though he would most certainly have to take a significant pay cut from the $19 million he's making in 2012, but interest coming from other outlets could be changing that tune.

    Most recently, Hunter's name has been linked (via NY Daily News) to the New York Yankees, and while there doesn't appear to be anything concrete in the mix, the move could definitely revitalize the Yankees outfield.

Josh Johnson

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    As one of the most active teams last offseason, the Miami Marlins headed into 2012 with a very different look and high expectations to go along with it.

    They had a disappointing season on many accounts, however, and a number of stars including Heath Bell, Hanley Ramirez and manager Ozzie Guillen are now gone.

    It's hard to say whether or not there will be more moves made in the near future, but if there are, Josh Johnson has to be in the mix.

    He's shown some struggles when it comes to staying healthy, but he'd add an important element to any contending team and could be on the move if the Fish are in a selling mood this winter.

Jose Valverde

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    After receiving such lofty expectations heading into this season, it's almost hard to call 2012 a success for the Detroit Tigers as many pegged them as World Series champs in light of their offseason maneuvering.

    With big money handed out to Prince Fielder last January, Detroit's checkbook may not have much room to move and the disappointing Jose Valverde may be a casualty as the Tigers look to remain competitive in 2013.

    His postseason was far from spectacular, and as the Tigers have opted to let Valverde enter free agency, he'll have a chance to get back on the right foot with a new ballclub next year.

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