Predicting 10 Top MLB Free Agents Who Will Re-Sign with Current Teams
Tim Lincecum became the first big free agent to re-sign with his current team, agreeing to a two-year, $35 million deal with the San Francisco Giants. But the question remains as to who will be next.
Every year, teams go to great lengths to re-sign their stars who are headed toward free agency, and this year will be no different.
These are the top 10 guys who will re-sign with their current teams this offseason.
10. Bronson Arroyo
Current Team: Cincinnati Reds
2013 Stats: 32 GS, 14-12, 3.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 2.5 WAR
Bronson Arroyo might have considered leaving the Cincinnati Reds this offseason until they hired pitching coach Bryan Price as their new manager.
Arroyo and Price have a very close relationship, and with Price at the helm, Arroyo will have no desire to leave the team.
I think he'd be unbelievable. He's as organized as anyone in the game, he holds people as accountable as well as anyone I've seen. He doesn't buy into stereotypical things in the game, things that other people buy into that I don't feel are relevant. Price looks at evidence. He's a freaking smart guy, he makes his decision on reasonable evidence. Sometimes in baseball we go by hunches, what someone else said or they way things have gone in the past. He doesn't do that.
No one will be happier to see Price as the team's new manager than Arroyo, and that will be enough to convince him to stay with the Reds.
Expect Arroyo to be back for a ninth year with the Reds.
9. Derek Jeter
Current Team: New York Yankees
2013 Stats: 17 GP, .190/.288/.250, 1 HR, 7 RBI
Derek Jeter isn't technically a free agent yet, but he has the option to leave the Yankees this offseason, as his contract includes a player option for the 2014 season.
"The Captain" could potentially leave the Yankees and test the free-agency market if he wants, but there's no way that Jeter would leave the Yankees behind.
The 13-time All-Star has left zero doubt in the minds of fans that he will never leave the Bronx by choice, and these quotes from Jeter say it all, per Baseball Almanac:
God, I hope I wear this jersey forever.
I have the greatest job in the world. Only one person can have it. You have shortstops on other teams-I'm not knocking other teams-but there's only one shortstop on the Yankees.
Yankee Stadium is my favorite stadium; I'm not going to lie to you. There's a certain feel you get in Yankee Stadium.
Jeter started his career with the Yankees, and he'll finish it with them too.
8. Paul Konerko
Current Team: Chicago White Sox
2013 Stats: 126 GP, .244/.313/.355, 12 HR, 55 RBI
Paul Konerko is coming off his 13th year as the Chicago White Sox's first baseman, and now he faces the decision of whether to retire or not.
Teammates of Konerko believe that he will spurn retirement and opt to remain in MLB. Adam Dunn is one of the guys who would be shocked if Konerko decided to call it quits:
Adam Dunn said in his opinion there is a ZERO chance that Paul Konerko retires at the end of this season Sirius 209 XM 89— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) August 22, 2013
Konerko is still a productive first baseman. Though he was hampered by injuries in 2013, he batted .298 with 26 home runs in 2012.
The White Sox obviously still have interest in Konerko, and if he decides to come back for another season, he'll remain with his team.
7. Fernando Rodney
Current Team: Tampa Bay Rays
2013 Stats: 68 GP, 37 SV, 8 BLSV, 3.38, 1.34, 0.5 WAR
It's not going to be easy, but the cash-strapped Rays are still going to have Fernando Rodney as their closer in 2014.
The Rays don't have a lot of money to spend at the moment, and the only way they're going to be able to keep Rodney is if he takes a contract similar to the one he had for the 2013 season.
While that sounds like it will be a breaking point, Rodney has apparently implied that he will take a pay cut to remain with the team.
According to Bill Chastain of MLB.com, fellow reliever Joel Peralta says Rodney is willing to "sacrifice maybe some money to come back."
Rodney obviously wants to stay with the team that he's enjoyed more success with than any other. He converted 48 of 50 save opportunities to the tune of a 0.60 ERA in his first season with the Rays, and his 2013 campaign wasn't too shabby.
If Rodney wants to stay in Tampa and is willing to take a pay cut as Peralta suggests, we will surely see him sign with the Rays this winter.
6. Hiroki Kuroda
Current Team: New York Yankees
2013 Stats: 32 GS, 11-13, 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 4.1 WAR
Hiroki Kuroda has been one of the most consistent pitchers since he came to America and started pitching in the majors in 2008.
Never posting an ERA above 4.00—or below 2.00—Kuroda has been able to sustain success into his late 30s.
After another solid year in 2013, Kuroda is going to be one of the top free agents on the market this offseason, and the Yankees aren't going to let him walk.
Kuroda was the best pitcher the Yankees had this season, outperforming even CC Sabathia. His incredible performance night in and night out made him the team's most valuable pitcher, and general manager Brian Cashman has said that he wants Kuroda back.
While he hasn't yet made his intentions clear, Kuroda should be looking into coming back to New York. He enjoyed two successful years in the Bronx and has gone 18-9 with a 2.57 ERA in Yankee Stadium over the course of his career.
Kuroda found the perfect stadium for him in New York, and leaving it now would be crazy.
5. A.J. Burnett
Current Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
2013 Stats: 30 GP, 10-11, 3.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 1.7 WAR
A.J. Burnett hit a rough patch in his career before he came to Pittsburgh, posting an ERA above 4.00 in four straight seasons and above 5.00 in back-to-back campaigns.
However, the city of Pittsburgh righted his wrongs, and he has gone 26-21 with an ERA of 3.42 during that span.
Burnett has been on fire in PNC Park as well, going 14-11 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He has found a ballpark that he can dominate in, and it wouldn't be a smart move to throw that away by signing with another team.
Burnett has also been lucky enough to enjoy the best couple of years of baseball with the Pirates in two decades. He has experienced the best atmosphere Pittsburgh has to offer, and being one of the aces who led the city's team to the postseason for the first time in two decades has to feel good.
All of this has culminated in Burnett wanting to stay in Pittsburgh, and he has said that he will either play in Pittsburgh next season or retire.
The only question surrounding Burnett right now is whether or not he'll retire. However, after two great years in Pittsburgh, Burnett won't be hanging up his cleats this year. He still has enough left in the tank for another postseason run, and that should be enough for him to re-sign with the Bucs.
4. Jhonny Peralta
Current Team: Detroit Tigers
2013 Stats: 107 GP, .303, .358, .457, 11 HR, 55 RBI
Jhonny Peralta might not have had the perfect season after being suspended 50 games for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
However, he came back strong, and he is in line for a very solid contract this offseason from whoever signs him.
Peralta knows that his home lies in Detroit, however, and he would even play left field if it meant that he could stay with the Tigers.
The only question about Peralta's future is whether or not the Tigers want him back.
Frankly, the team would be stupid not to take him back if he converts to left field. The team has had issues with left fielders all season, as they batted .261 with 16 home runs and 65 RBI through the first 158 games of the season.
Peralta, on the other hand, was a fantastic hitter, and re-signing him as a left fielder would make the Tigers lineup a force to be reckoned with.
The Tigers are going to make an offer to Peralta, and you can bet that he'll accept it.
3. Nelson Cruz
Current Team: Texas Rangers
2013 Stats: 108 GP, .266.327/.506, 27 HR, 76 RBI
Nelson Cruz looked like he was on his way to a career year this season with the Rangers before he was suspended for 50 games due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
While he wasn't able to finish the year with a bang, Cruz was still a dominant presence in the lineup for the Rangers. He impressed everyone in the baseball community, and he will have his pick of teams to sign with...so long as they meet his demands.
Cruz has said that he wants to return next year as a Ranger, and that makes perfect sense.
Over the course of his career, Cruz has batted a hair under .300 with 92 home runs in 400 games in Rangers Ballpark. He has been on fire in Arlington, and he obviously wants to stay there because of it.
The Rangers have the desire and the money for Cruz, and he wants to stay in Arlington. This is a no-brainer.
2. Carlos Beltran
Current Team: St. Louis Cardinals
2013 Stats: 145 GP, .296/.339/.491, 24 HR, 84 RBI
Carlos Beltran is arguably the second-biggest free agent available this offseason, and he will stay with the St. Louis Cardinals when it's all said and done.
After batting .295 with 35 home runs and 115 RBI in his career in Busch Stadium, Beltran knows that he is at his best in St. Louis.
Apart from his personal success, Beltran has also enjoyed more success with the Cardinals than any other team in his career. It took 16 years, but he finally made it to the World Series this year with the team, the first of his career.
Beltran has also seemed more comfortable and happy in St. Louis than at any other point in his career. As Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes:
[Beltran's] comfort and happiness with the organization is striking. He is at a stage of his career where the postseason is important, and St. Louis appears to set up better than the Yankees next year for a championship run (it's the difference between system loaded with high-end talent, and a system seeking a way to replace its fading icons).
The Cards' fan base responds viscerally to Beltran, cheering him as the clutch hero that he actually is; this must feel like an immense relief from his Mets years, when many New Yorkers fixated on the Wainwright moment, failing to realize that he was the greatest free agent signing in franchise history.
Beltran has his pick of where he wants to play next season, as no team would be stupid enough to let him walk without making him an offer if he were to express interest.
The Cardinals obviously want to keep their star outfielder, and he should be back for a third season with them in 2014.
1. Robinson Cano
Current Team: New York Yankees
2013 Stats: 160 GP, .314/.383/.516, 27 HR, 107 RBI
Robinson Cano is the biggest name on the free-agency market this year, and with good reason. The All-Star second baseman had another great year, and he is looking to cash in on it.
Cano is reportedly seeking a 10-year, $305 million contract this offseason. It seems unlikely that he will get it, but he will certainly be paid handsomely.
It looked like the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees would get into a bidding war over Cano. However, with the Dodgers signing Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero, it looks like they are out of the Cano sweepstakes.
The Yankees are now the richest team in the running for Cano by far, and they will supposedly offer him a "solid" contract, per Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York.
Cano is looking for a lot of money, and there simply aren't any other teams who can afford to offer him that kind of cash. Unless he takes a big hit to his contract, he'll be back in the Bronx in 2014.