One Player from Each MLB Team Who Will Be Gone in 2014
Every once in a while, art truly does imitate life.
Like Wayne and Garth in the comedy classic Wayne's World, baseball fans fear change.
By and large, fans tend to prefer that their favorite teams stick with what they've got and not make wholesale changes to the roster, opening the door to the unknown.
"Sure, Player X might be better than who we've got now, but what if he's not? What if he's (audible gasp)...worse?"
Yet change, in both baseball and in life, is inevitable.
Rosters around baseball undergo some sort of turnover each year, with some changes being more drastic than others.
That trend isn't about to stop.
Whether its perennial All-Stars or mere role players, some familiar names will be donning a cap with a different logo than what they're currently wearing within the next 12 months.
Let's take a look at which players would be well served to not make any long-term plans.
*All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.
*All contract details courtesy of Cot's Contracts unless otherwise noted.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Willie Bloomquist
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Willie Bloomquist has been a solid utility player for Arizona since joining the club before the 2011 season, with the ability to play multiple positions and a slash line of .283/.321/.368 in a Diamondbacks uniform.
But with shortstop Cliff Pennington signed through the 2014 season and prospect Didi Gregorius waiting in the wings, Bloomquist will be a victim of the numbers game in Arizona, which really isn't going to have a spot on the roster to offer him.
Atlanta Braves: Brian McCann
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After nearly a decade behind the plate in Atlanta, Brian McCann will be honing his craft for another team in 2014.
McCann, 29, struggled with a sore knee and a damaged right shoulder for much of the 2012 season, the latter an injury that required offseason surgery to repair. Assuming that McCann returns to his All-Star form, there will be no shortage of suitors for his services after the 2013 season.
The opportunity for McCann to extend the productive years of his career with an American League team, being able to spare his body from the beating it takes behind the plate on occasion as a designated hitter, may be too tempting for him to pass up.
For the Braves, there are a number of factors that play into the team's decision of whether to pay McCann market value (which I believe to be slightly below Yadier Molina's five-year, $75 million deal with St. Louis).
Gerald Laird is a capable backup who could split time with someone behind the dish in 2014, and the Braves have both Evan Gattis and Christian Bethancourt, named the team's third-best prospect by Baseball America, second-best by MLB.com, waiting in the wings.
Both bullpen catcher Eddie Perez and the ace of Atlanta's pitching staff, Tim Hudson (also a free agent at the end of the season), believe that Bethancourt is ready to contribute in Atlanta this year, as they recently told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Throw in the fact that many of the youngsters that form the core of the team, including Brandon Beachy, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Kris Medlen and Jonny Venters, will be due significant raises through arbitration, and re-signing McCann becomes even more daunting of a task for Atlanta.
Baltimore Orioles: Brian Roberts
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Once considered a durable second baseman and one of the elite leadoff hitters in the game, Brian Roberts is nearing the end of his career as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.
Roberts, 35, is in the last year of a four-year, $40 million extension that he signed with the team after the 2009 season—but a myriad of injuries has limited Roberts to only 115 games since then, including a career-low 17 in 2012.
With infield prospect Jonathan Schoop just about ready to make an impact at the major-league level and utility infielder Alexei Casilla under contract through 2014, there simply isn't room for the former star on the roster.
Boston Red Sox: Jacoby Ellsbury
There's no question that when he's healthy, Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury is one of the elite outfielders in baseball.
But staying on the field hasn't been something that Ellsbury has been able to do much of recently, playing in 250 of a possible 486 games for the Red Sox since 2010. That said, the injuries were fluke in nature and had nothing to do with Ellsbury's physical prowess or a lack of preparation on his part.
Yet they still occurred, and that is going to factor into negotiations on a new contract, whether it be with Boston or another club.
Represented by über-agent Scott Boras, Ellsbury isn't going to come cheaply for any team that tries to sign him, something Boras alluded to last season when he spoke with ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes: "We view him as a franchise player."
According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, Ellsbury is leaving his next contract in Boras' capable hands:
Jacoby Ellsbury said he loves playing in Boston but that he'll defer to his agent Scott boras on his contract situation— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) February 14, 2013
Translation: Ellsbury is going to sign with the highest bidder after the 2013 season.
With Jackie Bradley Jr. making it crystal clear that he's ready for an everyday spot in Boston's outfield this season, the Red Sox aren't about to get into a bidding war to retain the services of their All-Star center fielder.
He'll be patrolling center field somewhere other than Fenway Park in 2014.
Chicago Cubs: Carlos Marmol
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That an agreed-upon deal that would have sent Carlos Marmol to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for starting pitcher Dan Haren was called off at the last minute back in November doesn't mean that the 30-year-old closer has a long future ahead of him in Chicago.
It would be surprising if he finished the season wearing a Cubs uniform.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer, the team has told Marmol's representatives to expect their client to be traded at some point during the 2013 season.
This doesn't come as a surprise to anyone, as Marmol has been inconsistent at best in the ninth inning for the Cubs.
While adding Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa to the mix was a move made to strengthen the bullpen, not necessarily to replace Marmol, it's inevitable that Fujikawa will do just that as he continues to get comfortable in a new country and a new league.
Even if the team doesn't move Marmol this year, there's no chance that the Cubs would look to re-sign him after the season when he hits free agency.
Chicago White Sox: Gavin Floyd
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Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal wrote during this past offseason that the White Sox were looking to add a back-end of the rotation starting pitcher in order to facilitate a trade of 30-year-old right-hander Gavin Floyd.
While such a move never materialized, Floyd isn't a part of the long-term plans in Chicago.
The team is likely to keep Floyd around until left-hander John Danks, under contract through the 2016 season, has fully recovered from a shoulder injury that required surgery late in the 2012 season to repair.
Even if Danks doesn't return to form, the White Sox have a number of pitching prospects, namely Simon Castro, Nestor Molina and Andre Rienzo, who are biding their time in the minor leagues, waiting for an opening in Chicago's rotation.
Cincinnati Reds: Shin-Soo Choo
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While Shin-Soo Choo gives the Cincinnati Reds the on-base machine that the team desperately needed atop its lineup, his stay at Great American Ballpark will be a short one.
Acquired from the Cleveland Indians this past offseason in a three-way deal that also included the Arizona Diamondbacks, Choo, 30, is merely keeping center field warm for the team's top prospect, Billy Hamilton.
Hamilton, who stole a record-setting 155 bases (in 192 attempts) last season while splitting time between High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola, will start 2013 at Triple-A Louisville.
It's unlikely, but possible, that if Hamilton progresses quickly, Choo could be on the move at the trade deadline, should the Reds feel that they need to fill a hole elsewhere on the club.
Cleveland Indians: Ubaldo Jimenez
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Ubaldo Jimenez has been awful since the Cleveland Indians traded four prospects to acquire him from the Colorado Rockies at the trade deadline in 2011.
Over 42 starts for the Indians, Jimenez has gone 13-21 with a 5.32 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and hindered, not helped, the Tribe's attempts at returning to the land of playoff contenders in the American League.
For whatever the reason, Jimenez simply hasn't worked out in Cleveland.
With prospects like Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar waiting in the wings, Jimenez' inability to be even a serviceable starter for the Indians will find him struggling for another club in 2014.
Colorado Rockies: Ramon Hernandez
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With 24-year-old Wilin Rosario handling the everyday catching duties and 27-year-old Jordan Pacheco's ability to catch or play a corner infield spot, 36-year-old Ramon Hernandez serves as nothing more than a veteran mentor for the two youngsters in Colorado.
A few teams looking for extra catcher are talking to #rockies about ramon hernandez.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 17, 2013
It could be before the 2013 season starts, or it could be at the trade deadline.
Either way, Ramon Hernandez won't be swinging for the fences at Coors Field in 2014.
Detroit Tigers: Rick Porcello
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Where there's smoke, there's usually fire, and while Rick Porcello is a talented 24-year-old right-handed starter who is under team control through the 2015 season, trade winds continue to swirl furiously around the youngster.
Spending money to improve the team hasn't been a problem for owner Mike Ilitch lately, but the Tigers have some key players that will need to be re-signed after the 2014 season, none more important than Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
Moving Porcello's contract (he's due $5.1 million in 2013 and has two years of arbitration remaining) would free up some cash for the Tigers to do just that—and with prospects Casey Crosby and Drew Smyly waiting in the wings, Porcello's future lies elsewhere.
Houston Astros: Carlos Peña
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Carlos Peña can still go deep and knows how to get on base, but his days as a productive everyday player are firmly in the past.
With Houston still in the midst of rebuilding, a veteran like the 34-year-old Peña, who has failed to hit above .200 in two of the past three seasons, has no real future with the club.
Houston has no shortage of designated-hitter candidates, including current first baseman Brett Wallace, who is likely to be pushed from his current position by prospect Jonathan Singleton next season.
Kansas City Royals: Luke Hochevar
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A failure as a major league starter, pitching to a 5.44 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 128 career starts, Luke Hochevar finds himself out of the rotation mix in Kansas City.
CBS Sports' Danny Knobler says that while the Royals are willing to move the 29-year-old, selected first overall by the team in the 2006 MLB draft, the asking price is incredibly high, all but assuring that he'll start the season throwing out of the bullpen.
Whether he can reinvent himself as a solid reliever remains to be seen, but the Royals have some minor-league arms waiting for a chance to show what they can do at the major-league level.
With that said, I can't imagine that Kansas City will be willing to pay Hochevar more than $5 million next year, a figure he'd likely receive in his fourth and final year of arbitration after making a $4.56 million salary in 2013.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Ryan Madson
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Not yet ready to throw off of a mound—something he's done only twice since the beginning of February—Ryan Madson will start the 2013 season on the disabled list for the Angels as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery that ended the 32-year-old's 2012 season in Cincinnati before it even began.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels are hopeful that Madson will be ready to join the team by the end of April.
With no shortage of relievers hitting free agency after the season and a handful of potentially useful bullpen arms in the minor leagues—including left-hander Nick Maronde, the team's top pitching prospect who had success in 2012 pitching out of the Angels' bullpen—Los Angeles will have plenty of options when it comes to selecting Madson's replacement.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Ted Lilly
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Veteran southpaw Ted Lilly has spent the last two-and-a-half years of his career with the Dodgers, delivering a solid 24-19 record, 3.74 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 53 starts.
Sidelined for most of the 2012 season by a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery to repair, the 38-year-old will be the team's long reliever in 2013, the only open spot in a pitching staff that has a plethora of starting pitching.
Lilly, along with fellow veteran starters Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, whom the team holds club options on for the 2014 season, will be pitching elsewhere in 2014.
Miami Marlins: Ricky Nolasco
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On the heels of Miami's firesale this past winter, one that saw nearly every established major leaguer on the roster traded to Toronto for prospects and middling major-league talent, Ricky Nolasco's agent, Matt Sosnick, told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that his client wanted out of South Florida.
Nolasco, 30, the ace of Miami's staff, has since backed off that stance, telling Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post "I'm just moving forward. Anything that has happened in the past is not going to be talked about anymore.’’
Entering the last year of his contract, Nolasco could very well be moved at the trade deadline to acquire more pieces for Miami's rebuilding process. Even if he finishes the year as a member of the Marlins, Nolasco will be moving on via free agency this winter.
Milwaukee Brewers: Mike Gonzalez
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Now pitching for his fifth team in the past five years, Mike Gonzalez has officially joined the club of journeymen relievers.
Once one of the premier left-handed relievers in the game, Gonzalez, 34, has pitched to a 3.88 ERA since 2010—nearly a full run higher than his career mark of 2.94.
Signed to a one-year, $2.25 million deal this past winter, Gonzalez will join a crowded free-agent market of relievers—from both sides of the mound—after the season, affording the Brewers the chance to make a longer-term commitment to a younger reliever.
Minnesota Twins: Justin Morneau
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No longer a perennial MVP candidate, Justin Morneau overcame his lengthy injury history to put together a solid season for Minnesota in 2012, hitting .267 with 19 home runs and 77 RBI.
A free agent after the season, Morneau's penchant for getting on base and his power from the left side make him an intriguing addition for contenders at the trade deadline. While the Twins improved in some areas this past winter, the team is still a long shot to contend for a playoff spot in 2013.
It'll take young pitching to get him, but there's no doubt that if healthy, Morneau's name will be one of the most bandied-about on the rumor mill as we get closer to the end of July.
Should he still be in Minnesota at the end of the season, the Twins don't stand a chance of re-signing him, given the teams with deeper pockets that will be looking to add his bat to their lineups.
New York Mets: Johan Santana
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Everyone knows that the Mets are going to decline the $25 million team option they hold on 33-year-old Johan Santana after the season, making the two-time Cy Young Award winner a free agent.
According to John Harper of the New York Daily News, the thought of hitting the open market is likely to bring a smile to Santana's face:
In Lakeland w/Mets, was told Santana remains bitter toward ballclub re: his readiness to pitch. Barely communicating with club officials.— John Harper (@NYDNHarper) March 11, 2013
Andy Martino, Harper's colleague at the Daily News, says that Santana's resentment stems from GM Sandy Alderson's comments earlier in spring training that the former ace of the team's rotation was not in "pitching shape."
Both Santana, who has battled injury for much of his time in New York and the Mets, who have top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler waiting in the wings to replace him, would benefit from going their separate ways.
New York Yankees: Curtis Granderson
With the Yankees intent on getting their payroll under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold for the 2014 season, the team is faced with a choice: re-sign second baseman Robinson Cano, a perennial MVP candidate, or center fielder Curtis Granderson, one of the premier sluggers in the game.
A mediocre fielder, Granderson has become a one-dimensional player. Either he drives the ball into the stands, or he causes a substantial breeze as he misses the opposing pitcher's offering.
With the team's glaring need to get both younger and more athletic, re-signing a soon-to-be 33-year-old outfielder doesn't help the Yankees reach either goal.
For once, the Yankees aren't going to have their cake and eat it too. One of the two won't be wearing Yankees pinstripes next year, and you'd better believe that it'll be Granderson who finds himself on the move.
Oakland Athletics: Chris Young
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Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks this winter as part of the three-way deal that saw shortstop Cliff Pennington and Miami's Heath Bell head to Arizona, center fielder Chris Young will spend the 2013 season wearing multiple hats in the Bay Area, according to MLB.com's Jane Lee:
Melvin views Crisp as THE center fielder. Young will move around all three outfield spots.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) January 27, 2013
Young, 29, is now one of the game's most highly-paid fourth outfielders, earning a team-high $8.7 million in 2013, nearly $2 million more than Coco Crisp, the man who beat him out for the starting job.
Oakland holds team options on both Crisp and Young for the 2014 season, and it's highly unlikely that the team will keep both.
Crisp's option is for $7.4 million, with a $1 million buyout. Young, however, is due $11 million, with a $1.5 million buyout.
It doesn't take rocket science to conclude that Crisp, set to make nearly $4 million less than Young in 2014, will be the last one standing in center field for the A's, while Young looks to latch on with another team—that is, assuming GM Billy Beane doesn't move him at this year's trade deadline, something that is always a possibility.
Philadelphia Phillies: Roy Halladay
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Make no mistake about it: Roy Halladay will be a free agent after the 2013 season. There's no possible way that he throws the 259 innings needed to trigger the $20 million option in his contract for 2014.
At this point, the Phillies would be ecstatic if the "Doc" had 159 quality innings left in his arm, something he couldn't give the club in 2012.
Sidelined by a right shoulder injury for a chunk of the season, Halladay barely resembled the pitcher who finished in the top five of the Cy Young Award voting for six consecutive seasons, winning in 2010.
Halladay finished the season with a 4.49 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 156 innings of work—decent numbers for an average pitcher, awful numbers for Halladay.
While the Phillies remain optimistic about Halladay's chances of getting back on track in 2013, the 35-year-old has been roughed up in spring training, allowing nine earned runs and 13 hits in 12 innings of work.
Halladay, who turns 36 in May, has averaged 214 innings pitched a year since 2002, leading baseball in the category four times. It's not out of the question that years of wear-and-tear on his arm have finally begun to take their toll.
While the Phillies would gladly pay the Halladay of old top dollar to stay in Philadelphia, you start to get the feeling that that pitcher no longer exists—and what remains isn't something the Phillies need to keep around.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jose Tabata
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Once considered the future of Pittsburgh's outfield, 24-year-old Jose Tabata has been passed on the Pirates' depth chart by Starling Marte, relegating him to fourth-outfielder status for the 2013 season.
Under team control through the 2017 season on a team-friendly deal, Tabata is out of minor-league options—likely the only thing keeping him on Pittsburgh's roster over Alex Presley at the moment.
With Pittsburgh's outfield set: Travis Snider in right, Andrew McCutchen in center and Marte in left, Tabata's playing time is going to be sparse.
The Pirates will deal him at some point during the season to fill a need, whether it's one caused by injury or ineffectiveness.
San Diego Padres: Chase Headley
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One of the hottest names in baseball as the 2012 non-waiver trade deadline approached, Chase Headley is under team control through the 2014 season and is coming off of a breakout season that saw him lead the National League in RBI.
Josh Byrnes:"We've worked hard to put together a good offensive team(1st OPS+ last 2 months). We're not breaking it up now." Headley thus...— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 8, 2013
not avaliable right now. They have 2 years, see where they are in July— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 8, 2013
It will take a significant package of major league-ready players and prospects to pry the All-Star from San Diego, but before Opening Day in 2014, Headley will be manning the hot corner in one of the other 29 major-league stadiums, not Petco Park.
San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum
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It's fitting that Tim Lincecum is almost unrecognizable without his trademark shoulder-length locks, considering that the pitcher who went 62-36 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.17 WHIP from 2008 to 2011, winning a pair of Cy Young awards along the way was nowhere to be found in 2012.
In the last year of a two-year, $40.5 million extension that he signed before the 2012 season, Lincecum, 28, will be one of the hottest names on the free-agent market this coming winter. Pitchers with his track record of success—that are under 30 years old—don't hit the open market often.
If his struggles from 2012 continue this season, the Giants likely wouldn't want to bring him back anyway. If he returns to his prior form, there will be quite the bidding war for his services from big-market clubs.
Either way, his days in San Francisco are numbered.
Seattle Mariners: Brendan Ryan
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As solid a defensive shortstop as you'll find in baseball, Brendan Ryan is almost an automatic out in Seattle's lineup, shown by his .222/.296/.302 slash line in a Mariners uniform.
With prospect Nick Franklin expected to be ready to contribute to the cause in the Emerald City in 2014, it makes little sense for the Mariners to keep Ryan in the mix, as he's unlikely to be interested in serving as a full-time backup or late-inning defensive replacement at this point in his career.
St. Louis Cardinals: Carlos Beltran
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In 2014, the St. Louis outfield will consist of Matt Holliday in left field, the underrated Jon Jay in center and über-prospect Oscar Tavares, who has drawn comparisons to Vladimir Guerrero, in right.
That leaves Carlos Beltran, entering the final year of the two-year, $26 million deal that he signed with the club before the 2012 season, on the outside looking in.
ESPN St. Louis' Brian Stull reported earlier this year that Beltran, 35, would like to stay with the Cardinals past the 2013 season.
Not wanting a timetable, Carlos Beltran shares he would like to stay in STL and hopes to have talks w team about future plans. #stlcards— Brian Stull (@StullySTL) January 21, 2013
With no designated hitter spot for him to occupy, coupled with the fact that Beltran isn't about to accept a deal that pays him as a fourth outfielder, he just doesn't fit on the Cardinals' roster next year.
Tampa Bay Rays: Luke Scott
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With top prospect Wil Myers only a few months away from making his major-league debut, Tampa Bay's outfield will be set in stone, with Myers in left, Desmond Jennings in center and Ben Zobrist in right.
That leaves Sam Fuld, Matt Joyce and Luke Scott to serve as the fourth outfielder and primary designated hitter.
Fuld is under team control through the 2016 season, while Joyce doesn't hit the open market until the end of the 2015 campaign. Scott, primarily the team's designated hitter, hits free agency (again) after the 2013 season.
Like Carlos Beltran in St. Louis, there just doesn't seem to be a roster spot for Scott in 2014.
Texas Rangers: Elvis Andrus
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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that unless the Rangers can reach a contract extension with Elvis Andrus before the end of the 2013 season, the team will look to trade its 24-year-old All-Star shortstop within the next 10 to 12 months.
The Rangers have tried to sign Andrus to extensions twice before, only to be rebuffed each time. With top prospect Jurickson Profar waiting in the wings, keeping Andrus in the mix isn't a necessity—though it'd certainly be nice to have Andrus at shortstop and Profar at second base.
But with Ian Kinsler entrenched at second, Andrus looks to be the odd-man out in the equation. The package that Texas would fetch for Andrus would be significant, and it would free up some cash for the team to make other additions as it tries to keep pace with a rapidly improving AL West.
Toronto Blue Jays: Adam Lind
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Toronto holds team options on Adam Lind from 2014 through 2016 for a total of $22.5 million, with the ability to buy out all three for a grand total of $3.5 million.
Lind, 29, hasn't come close to living up to the extension that the first baseman/outfielder/designated hitter signed with the club before the 2011 season, with a .246/.296/.428 slash line over the past three seasons.
It's all speculation at this point, but I fully expect the Blue Jays to buy Lind out of his deal and bring Justin Morneau, currently with the Minnesota Twins, back to his home country to finish out his career in a Blue Jays uniform.
Washington Nationals: Dan Haren
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As the team did with Edwin Jackson before the 2012 season, Washington went out and signed a veteran starting pitcher to a one-year deal to round out its rotation, landing Dan Haren for $13 million in 2013.
As with Jackson, Haren's time in our nation's capital will be short. There will be no shortage of mid-level veteran starters available via free agency for which Washington can choose from to replace Haren heading into 2014, pitchers that likely wouldn't cost nearly as much as Haren did this past offseason.
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