With the MLB playoffs underway, the 22 teams who did not make the postseason have turned their focus to free agency. Last season we saw the Los Angeles Angels make another big splash signing OF Josh Hamilton to a five-year $125 million contract a year after signing 1B Albert Pujols to a 10-year $240 million contract. That raises the question, which teams will spend big this year with hopes of getting back to playing October baseball?
Let's take a look at three teams who will open their wallets and sign the biggest names this offseason.
New York Yankees
Surprise, Surprise. The Yankees currently have the highest payroll in the big leagues, and with the majority of it on the disabled list this year, they will be buyers again this offseason. While they may not sign many players, a lot of their money will go to resigning 2B Robinson Cano. Cano reportedly wants a 10-year $305 million dollar contract.
Talks between the Yanks and Cano are way off as far as contract length and amount, but it’s hard to imagine Cano landing anywhere else. New York and Cano will eventually agree on a more reasonable contract closer to $185-$200 million, which will still put them in the upper echelon of free agent spending.
The Yankees also need pitching help and will look to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda to a long-term deal to sure up the starting rotation. Last year Kuroda had a 3.31 ERA and tallied 11 wins for the Yanks. It shouldn’t come as a shock that the Yankees will be spending big this offseason, but if they keep missing the postseason, they may want to reevaluate their spending.
The Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel this year and will be looking to put together a competitive roster immediately. While the Phillies had a top-five pay roll this past season, they will still go out and try to sign big names. The biggest name to look out for is OF Nelson Cruz.
Cruz was suspended 50 games this season, but was able to play in the Rangers' play-in-game loss to the Rays. Cruz historically has been a huge bat in the middle of the lineup, something the Phillies desperately need. Cruz has hit at least 22 homers in his last five seasons and could be a great signing for the Phillies.
Philadelphia is also in the market for a veteran pitcher and could try and bring back Roy Halladay for a year. The Phillies are a win-now franchise and will need to make a splash in free agency to compete in the NL East.
The Mariners finished 20 games below .500 this year, but played some inspired baseball compared to years past. The Mariners are not that far off from competing for the AL West crown and could be big spenders this offseason in order to do so.
Two big names that could head to the Pacific Northwest could be CF Jacoby Ellsbury and pitcher Tim Lincecum. Ellsbury was banged up this year, but is still considered one of the best young center fielders in the game and he will be looking for a big payday.
Lincecum has had unbelievable success in San Francisco, however struggled this year with an ERA of 4.37 while losing 14 games. Both players will be looking for a team to pay them more than their worth. Seattle has been rebuilding for the last five years and has developed a strong core of young players that, if surrounded by veterans, will thrive.
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