MLB Free Agents Doomed to Have Letdown Seasons in 2013
With this offseason's free-agency market heating up—as big name players like Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke ink their new deals—fan bases all over the country are speculating over how the big acquisitions might make the difference for their team's lineup next season.
A number of top players are set to sign huge contracts and will undoubtedly change the face of any franchise they sign with in an instant.
Behind all of these lucrative deals lies an agent that has put in countless hours of work in determining their client's worth, and then seeking out the best deal that they can get. Their job will always entail bringing home the biggest payday.
Yet this is something that can lead to high expectations that ultimately won't be lived up to, and the following slides will take a look at some of this offseason's free agents that are doomed for a letdown heading into the 2013 season.
Joakim Soria has had a number of successful campaigns with the Royals in recent years, and when healthy, he represents one of the best bullpen options in the league.
Coming off Tommy John surgery, however, the expectations of the old Soria need to be tempered, as he posted an ERA over 4.00 in 2011, following four consecutive sub-2.50 ERA seasons.
After wrapping up the final year of his contract with the Chicago White Sox—one that saw him put up career numbers—you can't blame A.J. Pierzynski if he's upset about the team's hesitance to work out a new deal. That is why he filed for free agency.
Given his performance in 2012 as well as the team's strong play down the stretch in the AL Central, the White Sox are wise in their interest to re-sign Pierzynski, though they'll only do it if the price is right.
Even if he does end up back in Chicago next season, it'll be hard to see Pierzynskiy replicate the season that saw him hit nine more home runs than he has during any other season of his career along with a solid OPS that he has not produced since his days in a Twins uniform.
With top pitchers like Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez off the market this offseason, we'll see pitchers like Kyle Lohse come into play as teams look to address their needs.
Lohse went 16-3 this season with the St. Louis Cardinals with a strong 2.86 ERA and the best winning percentage in the league.
No matter where he ends up, it'll be tough to duplicate numbers that were easily the best that he has ever posted in his career.
After spending three seasons in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform, Raul Ibanez donned the pinstripes in 2012 as a member of the New York Yankees.
He saw his batting average continue to decline from his .278 career average, but managed to go deep nearly 20 times in only 130 games with the Yankees.
This offseason, he'll mostly be remembered for the clutch hitting he displayed in the postseason, batting .444 in the ALDS while hitting two key home runs.
Ibanez will turn 41 next season, and while he's averaged 21 home runs per season over the past 12 years, it shouldn't be expected for him to continue to post these same numbers as he continues to age.
The Chicago White Sox narrowly missed postseason play this fall. This was after the team regressed from its standing atop the AL Central and eventually succumbed to the Detroit Tigers in the season's final weeks.
The White Sox did, however, have some strong performances from their starting pitching, and Jake Peavy became the pitcher they expected him to be when they traded for him back in 2009.
He'll be back in a White Sox uniform again in 2013, and though he made his first All-Star appearance in a handful of years last season, his history of injury troubles could inch back into play at any moment.
Leading into the end of the summer, it looked like Melky Cabrera could be an MVP candidate and, in turn, work his way into a huge contract this offseason.
But that all changed when he was handed a 50-game suspension in August after testing positive for a performance-enhancing supplement.
He'll have plenty to prove as he looks to show everyone in baseball that his superb season wasn't due to the supplements, but if the pressure gets to be too much, Cabrera could very well fall short of the output he showed in 2012.
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 didn't last long.
The Marlins' season-long struggles would ultimately lead to him being traded to the Detroit Tigers along with Omar Infante.
After signing a five-year, $80 million contract to re-sign with the Tigers, there are plenty of expectations for Sanchez leading into 2013, and filling the shoes that go with a contract of that magnitude can be a tall order.
Of all the acquisitions that took place during this past summer, the San Francisco Giants' trade to bring in Marco Scutaro was arguably the biggest.
After coming over from Colorado, Scutaro batted .362 and drove 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.
I have no doubt that Scutaro will once again play a vital role in the successes of the Giants as they look to defend their title, but after a season that good, it's hard not to regress to a certain extent.