On paper, the free agent class of 2013 for Major League Baseball would really not be considered by most experts as a bumper crop.
With Josh Hamilton and Zach Greinke leading most general manager’s shopping lists this off-season, we are going to see some big overpays of players to fill the needs of teams that want to stay on top or push to get into a position to claim one of the extra wild card spots.
While 2013 will be the second season that baseball has expanded the number of teams making the playoffs from eight to 10, the decision to actually expand the playoffs came to close to spring training to really figure into the plans of most general managers.
Will we see the general managers of teams that are on the verge of contending get the extra money to spend to make a run? How much harder will teams try and keep those players that have dollar signs dancing in their heads to try and stay at a top level?
Those are the big questions as we head towards the holiday season and the winter meetings now that we are officially into free agency.
Defining whether a player is overvalued or undervalued does not mean a player is overrated or underrated, it means we expect the player to sign for a deal that is either too big or too long in length, or take a discount or shorter deal to try and win.
Teams should finally start to take heed of such classic overspending teams such as the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Miami Marlins.
The Red Sox splashed the cash like a teenage girl with her father’s American Express card at Abercrombie and Fitch a few years ago by signing Carl Crawford to a ridiculous contract, only to see him play about one full season and be shipped off to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Angels signed pitcher and hometown guy C.J. Wilson to a long-term big-money contract that did not pan out this past season and gave the bank vault to Albert Pujols.
Miami tried to buy a trip to the playoffs in their first year in their new home downtown and that experiment was done before July ended.
Greinke and Hamilton could really be blue chip signings that could give their 2013 teams a serious run at a pennant, or a Red Bull-driven headache. It all depends on how high the bidding for their services gets to be and if that leaves them with any realistic way to fulfill their new contracts.
Here is a look at 12 free agents that could be a bargain or a bust.
*All statistics via Baseball-Reference.