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MLB Free Agency 2013: Playing Fact or Fiction with All the Hottest Rumors

Doug MeadCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2012

MLB Free Agency 2013: Playing Fact or Fiction with All the Hottest Rumors

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    The MLB free-agency class of 2013 continues to slowly get smaller and smaller. However, several major players are still left without a job, and rumors continue to flow about their possible employers for the 2013 season and beyond.

    But are these rumors fact or fiction?

    Technology has allowed fans to instantly access the latest news regarding free agency. Oftentimes, this "news" is more along the lines of speculation, proposed landing destinations and pure fantasy.

    Rumors regarding the available free agents left on the market continue to flow in great numbers. We will take a look at the most recent rumors and deem whether or not they are indeed fact or fiction.

    Trade rumors will be mixed in as well, just to keep things interesting.

Kevin Youkilis Will Sign with the New York Yankees

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    With star third baseman Alex Rodriguez facing a long recovery from a second hip operation to be performed in January, the New York Yankees are looking for external candidates to fill the void.

    One of those candidates is free-agent infielder Kevin Youkilis.

    Youkilis has been offered a one-year, $12 million contract from the Yankees and, according to ESPN.com, is mulling it over.

    It had been reported that Youkilis also received an offer from the Cleveland Indians. However, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, there is no offer currently on the table.

    It's also much less likely now that the Indians have signed Mark Reynolds to a one-year, $6 million contract.

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted on Sunday that the Yankees aren't the only team interested in Youkilis, so it's certainly no guarantee that Youkilis will be in pinstripes next season.

    Fact or Fiction: Fact.

    The Yankees have already let several free agents slip through their fingers, Youkilis may be the one that doesn't get away.

Ichiro Suzuki Will Sign with the New York Yankees

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    Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki provided a huge spark for the New York Yankees down the stretch and in the postseason last year.

    Suzuki hit .322 in 67 games for the Yankees, matching his career average and a far sight better than his .261 mark with the Seattle Mariners. Suzuki then chipped in with a .353 average in the four-game loss to the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Yankees are "all over" Suzuki in attempts to get him signed for next season.

    Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com had previously reported that the Yankees were conducting ongoing negotiations with Suzuki as well.

    Fact or Fiction? Absolutely fact.

    The Yankees thrived with Suzuki as a presence in their lineup, and he gives them versatility in the outfield as well as a capable bat at the top of the lineup.

R.A. Dickey Will Be Traded to the Texas Rangers

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    With Zack Greinke now officially off the free-agent board, the previously slow progress in signing pitchers could now speed up.

    It could also give even more of a push to the New York Mets to deal starting pitcher R.A. Dickey if the two sides can't reach a deal.

    According to Buster Olney of ESPN, Dickey's extension demands seem reasonable compared to the signings seen thus far.

    Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweeted on Sunday that the Mets offered up Dickey to the Texas Rangers for prospect third baseman Mike Olt.

    Fact or Fiction? Likely fiction.

    Davidoff also tweeted that the Rangers' lack of a counter-offer indicates they don't believe that there is common ground between the two teams.

Josh Hamilton Will Be Signed by the Texas Rangers

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    With the Texas Rangers losing the bats of both Mike Napoli and Michael Young in the past week, they're already a looking different offensively, and not in a good way.

    Add to that the fact that star slugger Josh Hamilton is far from a lock in re-signing with Texas.

    Or is he?

    On Sunday, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted that general manager Jon Daniels has not engaged in a final conversation with Hamilton.

    Buster Olney of ESPN opined that the Rangers could sign Hamilton and trade for Justin Upton in a counter-strike in the wake of losing out on free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke.

    Rangers manager Ron Washington said last week that Hamilton would circle back to the Rangers before coming to any decision.

    Fact or Fiction? At this point, it has to be fact.

    Losing Napoli and Young is a huge blow to the Rangers offense. The Rangers simply aren't going to let three key offensive contributors leave.

Anibal Sanchez Will Sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers

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    The Los Angeles Dodgers spent a cool $183 million over the weekend.

    They inked free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke to a six-year, $147 million contract and then signed Hyun-jin Ryu to a six-year, $36 million the following day.

    And they may not be quite done yet.

    Scott Miller of CBSSports.com believes that the Dodgers aren't done wheeling and dealing and that Sanchez could still be in their sights.

    Fact or Fiction? Fiction.

    The Dodgers may be shelling out enough money to fund some state budgets, but they're not stupid, either.

    They will likely explore trade options for both Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, especially now with seven starters signed for the 2013 season. However, adding Sanchez for six years just doesn't seem like an investment that Dodgers president Stan Kasten would be willing to approve.

Ryan Dempster Will Sign with the Milwaukee Brewers

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    Starting pitcher Ryan Dempster had never pitched in the American League before last season, and if he has his way, he won't do it again anytime soon.

    Peter Gammons of MLB.com tweeted last week that Dempster prefers to stay in the National League and would rather play for a team that trains in Arizona.

    That narrows the list down to eight teams—the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants.

    Dempster has already turned down a two-year, $25 million contract offer from the Boston Red Sox. Probably understandable, as the Red Sox train in Florida.

    The D-Backs, Cubs, Rockies, Giants, Padres and Reds are likely out, so that leaves the Brewers and Dodgers.

    Fact or Fiction? Could be fact, but only if the Brewers add a third year to the mix.

    According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Dempster has three teams interested—the Red Sox, Kansas City Royals and Brewers. Whichever team offers the third year could be the lucky one.

    However, if we're to believe Gammons and go with Dempster's preferences, Milwaukee would appear to be the choice.

Edwin Jackson Will Sign with the San Diego Padres

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    The market thus far for free-agent Edwin Jackson has been soft—almost a carbon-copy of last offseason when his demands of a multiyear contract scared teams off.

    However, there could be some interest from a team familiar with Jackson. Or at least a general manger who's familiar with him.

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the San Diego Padres might be in play due to the relationship between Jackson and Padres GM Josh Byrnes.

    Fact or Fiction? It could be fact.

    Rosenthal also mentioned Jackson's connection with Padres scouting VP A.J. Hinch, who managed Jackson with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    However, if Jackson insists on a four-year deal, he could be waiting all winter once again.

A.J. Pierzynski Will Sign with the New York Yankees

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    With Russell Martin and Mike Napoli now off the market, free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski is the top backstop available on the open market.

    Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted on Saturday that the New York Yankees didn't seem especially keen on signing Pierzynski.

    With Martin now out of the picture, the Yankees are looking at Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine as possibilities behind the plate.

    Fact or Fiction? This could be fact.

    The Yankees clearly don't appear ready to give the full-time job to anyone in their organization at this point. While Pierzynski's defense may not be in favor, the bat certainly is.

Justin Upton Will Be Traded to the Texas Rangers

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    The Texas Rangers have coveted Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton for most of the offseason.

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted on Saturday that the Rangers are still interested, even after losing out on Zack Greinke.

    Fact or Fiction? Has to be fiction right now. The Rangers have been loath to part with one of two players the Diamondbacks want back in the deal, Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar.

    It's certainly become an ongoing thing now with Upton and his future. However, it's apparent that the Diamondbacks are not willing to settle just for the sake of trading him.

Cody Ross Will Sign with Seattle Mariners

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    The Seattle Mariners signed outfielder Jason Bay to a one-year contract last week. They're clearly hoping that Bay can resuscitate an anemic offense.

    Well, that's not entirely true.

    Yes, the Mariners signed Bay, but they don't believe for one second that Bay is the answer to what ails them.

    However, the Mariners might believe that Cody Ross could help them them score more runs.

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Ross is definitely on the radar for the Mariners as they seek to end their four-year reign of last-place finishes in the American League in runs scored.

    Fact or Fiction? This could well be fact.

    With the fences being moved in at Safeco Field next season, Ross could be a very welcome addition in the outfield. The left-center field dimensions go from 390 feet to 378 feet, playing right into Ross' strength.

    In addition, Ross would be much less expensive than Nick Swisher, allowing general manager Jack Zduriencik to consider other complementary pieces as well.

     

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.

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