MLB Free Agency 2013: Clues to Where the Top 10 Players Will Land
During the MLB free-agency period, there will be a number of rumors floating around about the top players.
It is hard to make sense of all of this information and determine where a player will eventually end up.
However, there are some hints that point to the landing spots for these top MLB free agents during the 2013 offseason. For some players, it is an expressed desire to stay where they are; for others, it could be comments indicating that they are leaning towards leaving.
One can read too much into some of these hints, but they will be very accurate in some cases.
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It has been reported by T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com that the Texas Rangers will be looking for catching help this winter and that they could enter trade negotiations with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Based on this information, it appears likely that Mike Napoli will not be returning to the Rangers.
There are a few possible destinations for Napoli. The Chicago White Sox could be looking for a replacement for A.J. Pierzynski this winter, and Napoli would be a good option.
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Even though it appears that the Los Angeles Angels will not be picking up Dan Haren's option, that does not mean his tenure with the team will end (h/t Jon Heyman of CBS Sports). Haren will be come a free agent, but he might not go anywhere.
Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times has noted that Haren is open to returning to the Angels on a one-year deal. This could make sense for Haren given the struggles that he had this season. If he has a good season, he could raise his value significantly next winter and get the long-term deal that he wants.
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There have been multiple reports that the New York Yankees will not look to bring Nick Swisher back. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has stated that the Yankees will only give Swisher a qualifying offer so that they can get draft pick compensation. Joel Sherman of the New York Post has confirmed that the Yankees will not bring Swisher back.
A number of teams will be looking for outfield help this winter, and Swisher will be a popular alternative to Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn and B.J. Upton. Swisher could be a fit in Cincinnati if the Reds don't retain Ryan Ludwick.
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After resurrecting his career in 2012, Jake Peavy is in line for a big payday this winter. The Chicago White Sox pitcher had a 3.37 ERA, his best since 2008.
While the White Sox will decline Peavy's $22 million option, he might still be pitching in Chicago next year (h/t Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com).
Peavy has already indicated that he has enjoyed his time with the White Sox and that he would like to be back with the team next year if he is able to get a fair contract (h/t Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times).
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David Ortiz has been a member of the Boston Red Sox since the 2003 season. It seems likely that he will continue to play baseball in Boston.
The two sides have been in talks, although no deal is imminent (h/t Alex Speier of WEEI.com). As long as the Red Sox are willing to pay Ortiz close to what he wants, they will have him in their lineup next year.
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Following a 2012 campaign in which he went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA, Kyle Lohse will have a number of suitors when he is on the free-agent market. As one of the top pitchers available, Lohse will have his pick of teams.
Lohse has already indicated that he is only interested in playing for a team that will be a winner (h/t B.J. Rains of Fox Sports). The Washington Nationals have an opening in their starting rotation, and Lohse could be a good fit for it.
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It should come as no surprise that this season was likely B.J. Upton's last in Tampa Bay. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times noted that it seemed likely Upton would leave the organization.
The biggest question in regards to Upton is where he will end up. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com has mentioned that the Texas Rangers could have interest in Upton for a corner outfield spot. The Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants could also look at Upton this winter.
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While the Atlanta Braves would like to keep Michael Bourn around, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe does not think that is likely based on the team's past experiences with Scott Boras' clients.
If that is the case, there really will only be a few teams that have the money to bring in Bourn this winter. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports identified the San Francisco Giants as a possible destination for Bourn earlier this year, and the Washington Nationals have been mentioned by Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post.
Either of those teams would significantly increase their odds of making the 2013 World Series if they added Bourn.
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The best starting pitcher on the free-agent market this winter will be Zack Greinke. He is a potential ace who can immediately turn an average team into a contender and turn a contender into a World Series favorite.
Two American League West rivals could be fighting over Greinke this winter. Both the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers have made Greinke one of their top targets for this offseason (h/t Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times and T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com).
If these two teams get involved in a bidding war, Greinke could end up as the biggest winner of the 2013 MLB offseason.
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Josh Hamilton is both the best and most interesting free agent on the market this winter.
He has been dominant when he has managed to stay on the field, but Hamilton has had injury issues in the past.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox likely will not go after Hamilton. Rather, Heyman has identified the Milwaukee Brewers as a strong candidate to land the star outfielder if he leaves the Texas Rangers.