Though the 2013 class of MLB free agents may be shallow in some respects, there are a number of big-name power hitters who will be in search of new homes when the market opens on Saturday morning.
Time has run out for their current teams to retain the services of such star-caliber talents, so unless last-minute deals are brokered, they'll all be donning new jerseys when the 2013 MLB season gets underway.
Here's an early look at where some of the top available offensive threats will land once free agency opens for business.
As a big part of the defending NL East champion Washington Nationals, Adam LaRoche's value is at an all-time high, and for good reason.
After declining his half of the Nats' mutual option, LaRoche's days in Washington would appear to be numbered, but there's still a chance that the up-and-coming club will re-sign him.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, LaRoche wants a big-money, multi-year deal, and though he's set to hit the open market, the Nats are still very interested in bringing the recent Gold Glove winner back.
LaRoche hit 33 homers and drove in 100 runs this season while winning his first career Gold Glove at first base. His left-handed bat made a significant difference to the Nationals’ lineup this season after he missed the majority of last season with a torn labrum. The first base market is bereft of quality sluggers, and so LaRoche will be in high demand. He wants to stay in Washington, and the sides have been discussing a multi-year deal. The Red Sox and Orioles are the teams with the most obvious first base need.
Prediction: The Nats know they have something special with this current group, and they won't risk ruining that by allowing LaRoche to leave. They'll get his signature on a new contract, eventually.
With the 2010 AL MVP set to hit the market, according to ESPN, the Texas Rangers extended a one-year qualifying offer to their star outfielder on the eve of free agency.
Nonetheless, Hamilton won't be returning to Texas in 2013, and he'll entertain offers from all corners of Major League Baseball.
As a five-time All-Star and arguably the most dominant power hitter in the game, Hamilton will be pursued by a variety of teams, but maybe not the usual suspects when it comes to big-ticket free agents.
Prediction: Atlanta. The Braves, as Jon Merosi of Fox Sports pointed out, will be in search of an offensive dynamo to replace the soon-to-be-departed Michael Bourn, and Hamilton would serve that purpose rather nicely.
Despite the fact that B.J. Upton, at 28, has never being named to an All-Star team, he'll be among the most hotly-pursued players on the free agent market.
That's because Upton is coming off a career-year that saw him belt 28 home runs, and given his age and talent level, the best may be yet to come for the former No. 2 overall pick.
According to R.J. White of CBS Sports, the Rays have extended a qualifying offer to Upton, but he'll undoubtedly be wearing a new uniform in the spring.
Prediction: There will be a number of teams in the bidding, but in the end, the Rangers will snag Upton to help replace the offense they'll lose when Hamilton leaves town.
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