10 MLB Free Agents Whose Prices Are Soaring
Free agency may be in full swing already this MLB offseason, but it will likely take some time before we see some of the biggest names sign contract extensions as they look to feel out the market and maximize their return.
A number of players have gotten speculation out of the way early, signing long-term extensions with their teams early on rather than deal with the process of testing the waters in free agency.
Many others, however, have entered free agency in the hopes of inking a lucrative deal on the heels of their 2012 performances.
In signing Edwin Jackson to a one-year, $11 million contract this past offseason, the Washington Nationals sent a clear signal that they were in it to win it this year. They have ace Stephen Strasburg set to hold down the top spot in the rotation, and they also acquired Gio Gonzalez from Oakland.
Jackson was solid in 2012 with a 10-11 record and 4.03 ERA, and the Nationals will likely need to offer him a considerable multi-year deal if they want to keep the Scott Boras client in their rotation for the foreseeable future.
His value may not be peaking yet, but as was the case last offseason, he'll probably hold out and let the market work itself out, at which point he will get a big multi-year deal.
After coming over from the Milwaukee Brewers prior to this year's trade deadline, Zack Greinke struggled somewhat upon his arrival in Los Angeles, as he went 6-2 but saw his strikeout averages drop while walk numbers increased.
He's still the top arm available this offseason, and while there hasn't been much in the way of offers yet, things should heat up as the GM meetings get under way.
Despite being sidelined after having Tommy John surgery this spring, Joakim Soria will still be an important part of the Kansas City Royals' plans for 2013 and beyond.
He's had a number of successful campaigns with the Royals in recent years and, when healthy, represents one of the best bullpen options in the league.
With Rafael Soriano out in New York, Soria's name has come up in conversations about an eighth inning role behind Mariano Rivera, something that could see the former Royals' closer's value increase as teams look to feel out the market.
Despite getting off to a slow start this past season, the Detroit Tigers made a great push through the postseason before ultimately losing to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
After a strong performance upon being moved from the Minnesota Twins halfway through last season, Delmon Young came back to Earth a bit in 2012, though he still played some very clutch baseball down the stretch, and even earned ALCS MVP honors.
Young can be a liability in the field at times, but with a lot of potential in the batter's box, he should be able to catch on somewhere and earn a decent payday.
Speedy outfielder Michael Bourn has led the league in stolen bases a few times already during his young career, twice swiping more than 60 bags.
On top of that, he appears to be improving at the plate every year and will no doubt continue to have his chances to steal bases.
You better believe that agent Scott Boras will do everything in his power to get him a massive contract.
With pitchers like Cole Hamels off the market this coming offseason, we'll see pitchers like Kyle Lohse come into play far more than previously expected.
Lohse went 16-3 this season with the St. Louis Cardinals, and with a strong 2.86 ERA to his name, he'll surely be sought after once he hits the open market.
He'll still have to wait for Zack Greinke to set the bar for pitcher paydays this offseason, but with a solid effort down the stretch this season, Lohse has certainly helped his cause heading into the winter.
Starting off the season with a team that had as much promise as any other in the league, Anibal Sanchez's season with the Miami Marlins wouldn't last long. The Marlins season-long struggles would ultimately lead to him being traded to the Detroit Tigers along with Omar Infante.
Sanchez was solid during his time with Detroit this season, though his clutch performances during the postseason will leave the best impression on any suitors this winter. The 28-year-old could be in position to cash in.
With Mariano Rivera lost early in the season, the New York Yankees had a big hole to fill as they looked to piece together the back end of their bullpen.
Rafael Soriano stepped up in a big way in 2012, posting a 2.26 ERA in 69 appearances while saving 42 games—three short of his career high.
In opting out of the final year of his contract with New York, Soriano promises to attract plenty of attention this offseason, as he is the best closer option in the free-agent market.
Of all the acquisitions that took place during this past summer, the Giants' trade to bring in Marco Scutaro was arguably the biggest.
After coming over from Colorado, Scutaro batted .362, driving in 44 runs in 61 games.
His performance in the postseason propelled the Giants to their second World Series title in three years, as he batted .500 during the NLCS, good enough to earn him series MVP honors and no doubt bolstering his value this offseason.
The Texas Rangers will have a huge decision to make when they finally sit down to hammer out a plan with Josh Hamilton's agent regarding the star outfielder's future.
With an astounding offensive outburst earlier this summer, Hamilton gave the entire league notice of what he's capable of.
He slowed a bit toward the middle of the season, but rebounded down the stretch and finished the season with 43 home runs and 128 RBI.
Hamilton may not end up getting what he's looking for this offseason, but in the meantime, he has set his expected value at seven years, $175 million.
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