Coco Crisp, CF ($7.5 million club option, $1 million buyout)
2013 regular season stats: .261/.335/.444, 22 HR, 22 2B, 3 3B, 66 RBI, 21 SB
2013 postseason stats: .389/.455/.611, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 SB
If Coco Crisp was a real free agent, he'd be pretty high on this list. However, the Oakland Athletics have a club option on the outfielder. They'd be crazy not to pick it up at that price, and Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com reported that the club will exercise the option.
Crisp's 22 home runs led all leadoff men, and he can still swipe bases. His option will make him one of the best values of those looking for a contract, either with an option or through free agency.
Robinson Cano, 2B
2013 regular season stats: .314/.383/.516, 27 HR, 41 2B, 107 RBI, 7 SB
Calm down. Is Robinson Cano the best free agent available? Yes, and it's not even close. However, his contract demands aren't going to be easy to justify. ESPN's Buster Olney reported that Cano wants $305 million over 10 years. The second baseman is worth a huge deal, but $30 million per year is tough to say it would be a good value.
Cano was the only New York Yankees projected starting infielder not to get hurt this season. He provided stability to the middle of the lineup, and he continues to put up great numbers.
We have seen big contracts come back to bite teams, so the Yankees may not give him the money.
Cano would be an upgrade at second for every team, but his demands keep him from making this list.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF
2013 regular season stats: .285/.423/.462, 21 HR, 34 2B, 2 3B, 54 RBI, 20 SB, 112 BB, 26 HBP
Shin-Soo Choo impressed many in Cincinnati. He finished second to Crisp for most homers by a leadoff man. He led the league by getting plunked 26 times, and he was one of only three MLB players with at least 100 walks. He got on base 300 times this season and finished second in the National League to teammate Joey Votto in OBP.
However, there are areas that Choo struggles in. He wasn't terrible in his first year in center, but he certainly has room to improve. His biggest weakness is hitting against southpaws. The 31-year-old hit .317 with 21 homers against right-handers, but he hit only .215 against left-handers. He did not hit a home run against a southpaw until his final at-bat in the Wild Card Game.
Choo may get a deal worth $100 million, but those struggles make it tough to justify such a big contract.