2013 MLB Free Agents: Latest Buzz Surrounding Top Available Bats

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 21, 2012

Aug 16, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Chicago White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis (20) gets ready to bat from the on-deck circle against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The White Sox beat the Blue Jays 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Veteran bats like Lance Berkman, Raul Ibanez and Kevin Youkilis could all be on the move this offseason as teams around the major league look to add a punch to their lineup in 2013.

All three players contributed considerable production to their teams last season and no doubt have plenty left in the tank as spring training fast approaches.

Here's the latest buzz surrounding some of the top available bats this offseason.


Lance Berkman Making a Return to Houston?

2012 Season Stats: 81 at-bats, 21 hits, 2 home runs, 7 RBI, .259 batting average

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane recently met with free agent first baseman Lance Berkman about his availability, according to FOX 26 Sports' Mark Berman

This was Crane on the meeting (via Berman):

We had a chat in my office, he was just seeing where we were at. He expressed some interest in maybe working a deal out. We haven't gotten to that (discuss contract). I think his knee is still up in the air. So we got to get that all worked out. It was a get-acquainted meeting, really.

Berkman played for the Astros from 1999 to 2010, and helped the team reach the World Series in 2005. He batted .259 with 21 hits in 81 at-bats with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012.


Raul Ibanez Wants to Remain a Yankee

2012 Season Stats: 384 at-bats, 92 hits, 19 home runs, 62 RBI, .240 batting average

New York native Raul Ibanez would prefer re-signing with the Yankees this offseason according to a recent report by the New York Post's Ken Davidoff, "If I get an opportunity to play for the Yankees again, it would be fantastic."

Ibanez will turn 41 next June, but is coming off a stellar postseason in the Bronx in which he hit .318 with seven hits and three home runs in 22 at-bats. Ibanez was arguably New York's best player in the playoffs and deserves to be rewarded for it.

Although the outfielder's .240 regular season batting average last year was the worst since his 2000 season with the Seattle Mariners, he did hit 19 homers and bat in 62 runs.


Will Youk Play at First or Third?

2012 Season Stats: 438 at-bats, 103 hits, 19 home runs, 60 RBI, .235 batting average

Free agent first/third baseman Kevin Youkilis is drawing the interest of several teams this offseason according to The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, "...according to his agent, Joe Bick. The Indians are looking at him as a first baseman, while the Phillies and Dodgers are considering him at third."

Although the Phillies and Dodgers would give Youkilis a better opportunity to win a World Series championship next season, the Indians can reportedly offer him a spot at first base, where he may be more interested in playing.

Youkilis will turn 34 before the start of the 2013 season, but is still a capable bat, tallying 69 hits and 15 home runs with the White Sox in 2012 after being traded to Chicago midseason.


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