10 MLB Players Likely to Be on the Move This Offseason
The MLB offseason is heating up and rumors of players on the move are beginning to emerge.
As we wait for the one move that truly defines this offseason, teams are behind closed doors addressing holes in their roster.
Whether it’s lowering payroll, improving a rotation or finding that final puzzle piece to a lineup, big names will inevitably be on the move throughout the MLB.
Over the next few months, the prospects for the 2013 season will begin to take shape and questions will be answered.
Here are 10 significant players likely to be on the move this offseason.
Chase Headley quietly had one of the best offensive and defensive seasons of any third baseman in baseball in 2012.
Headley flew well under the radar, playing for a San Diego Padres team that struggled to win games down the stretch in a traditionally weak division.
The 28-year-old Padres star batted .286 with 31 home runs and 115 RBI, taking home the Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove.
"I realize a lot of teams will be out there looking for starting pitching. It will certainly be a focus for us," general manager Josh Byrnes told Corey Brock of MLB.com.
Padres starters compiled an ERA of 4.44 last season and managed just 54 wins.
Headley will likely be the primary piece in the Padres acquiring some premier starting pitching to compete with division rival and World Series champion San Francisco Giants’ dominant rotation.
The Red Sox are showing interest in adding Shin-Soo Choo to join Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield, Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports.
Shin-Soo Choo’s tenure in Cleveland will likely be coming to an end this offseason.
Trading Choo would be a smart move for Cleveland, giving them a chance to potentially restock their depleted farm system after losing some big names in 2011’s trade for Ubaldo Jimenez.
Choo batted .283 with 16 home runs and 67 RBI last season.
With a relatively high trade value, now is the time for Cleveland to deal Choo.
Adam LaRoche was the veteran and leader of this Washington Nationals team in 2012.
He’s a free agent this offseason after declining his one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer last Friday, reported Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post.
As we move deeper into the offseason, it’s looking more like LaRoche will not be returning to the Nationals in 2013.
LaRoche batted .271 with career highs in home runs (33) and RBI (100). He took home the NL Silver Slugger Award, as well as the Gold Glove at first base.
The Nationals have a decision to make this offseason regarding who will be their first baseman in 2013.
Michael Morse has one year left on a two year, $10.5 million deal.
Bryce Harper, Jason Werth and Tyler Moore will likely make up the Nationals outfield next season, leaving little room for Morse.
The 30-year-old batted a respectable .291 last season with 18 home runs and 62 RBI.
Even if the Nationals pass on resigning LaRoche, management will likely still play the market and see what teams are willing to offer for Morse.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s career has been defined by hype and followed by disappointment ever since he was drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft.
The 27-year-old Red Sox catcher is entering the final year of his deal, and, after a horrible season in Boston, will likely find his way onto the Sox trading block.
Salty batted just .222 last season with 59 RBI, but hit a career high 25 home runs.
His 25 homers and consistency behind the plate will have him in relatively high demand this offseason.
With Santana struggling defensively behind the plate in Cleveland, keep your eyes open for a possible trade involving Choo and Saltalamacchia.
With one year left on his deal in Los Angeles, Aaron Harang could be exiting Los Angeles sometime this offseason.
Harang went 10-10 last season with a 3.61 ERA and 131 strikeouts, numbers good enough to make him a commodity in a market desperate for starting pitching.
Also, the Dodgers recently won the bidding battle for South Korean pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, so they’ll likely be looking to dump some salary to sign him.
Harang will draw interest, if he hasn’t already, from teams in need of a right-hander like the Orioles, Yankees and Cardinals, for example.
The Orioles, and all of baseball for the matter, is waiting for the day Brian Roberts finally rids himself of injury and makes a run at Comeback Player of the Year. Frankly, it’s beginning to seem more and more like that day will never come.
On the contrary, there are without doubt teams willing to take the chance on Roberts.
Roberts is entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal, one that has yet to pay dividends.
The Orioles would be naive not to play with the idea of shopping Roberts this offseason.
The long-time Orioles’ second baseman has just 459 plate appearances in his last three seasons.
Josh Hamilton has a chance to be the free agent signing of the year this offseason. The question is…can the Rangers keep their MVP award-winning outfielder?
Right now, all signs point to no.
John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus reported that Hamilton is looking for a seven-year, $175 million deal.
The 31-year-old Rangers’ outfielder is coming off a career high 43 home runs and batted .285 with 128 RBI.
The numbers may seem great, but after a scorching April and May, Hamilton hit just .245 for the remainder of the season.
Hamilton’s relationship with Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan took a hit back in October when Ryan questioned Hamilton’s use of smokeless tobacco.
It’s beginning to look like Hamilton won’t be back in Texas next season.
Melky Cabrera enjoyed the best offensive season of his career and was on pace to set career highs in almost every offensive category. But, on Aug. 15, MLB dropped the hammer on Cabrera, suspending him for 50 games after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
Luckily for the Giants, they went on to win their second World Series in three years.
So, do they Giants really need Cabrera?
He’s a free agent this offseason and won’t be worth bringing back to San Francisco after a tumultuous end to last season.
Regardless of his past, his numbers will have teams chomping at the bit to have a .340 hitter on their squad.
Once San Francisco decides Cabrera isn’t in their best interest, he’ll go fast in this market.
This may come as a surprise to most Yankee fans (or maybe not), but if the Yankees are offered a deal on A-Rod, there is little reason for them not to jump on it.
As anyone who even remotely follows baseball knows, Rodriguez has been a thorn in the Yankees side come playoff time.
The 37-year-old had the worst offensive season of his career, batting just .272 with 57 RBI and 18 home runs. Injury plagued him for a portion of the season, but even a healthy post-season A-Rod had trouble producing.
“Cashman said no team even inquired about Rodriguez’s availability Wednesday as the industry gathered at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa,” reported Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports. Cashman himself even released a statement saying the Yankees were not interested.
Cashman can say whatever he wants, if someone, anyone, whether it be the Miami Marlins or the Houston Astros, offers the Yankees a half-decent deal for Rodriguez at some point this offseason, the Yankees will have to consider dealing their slugger.