MLB Free Agent Predictions 2014: Finding the Perfect Match for Biggest Names

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MLB Free Agent Predictions 2014: Finding the Perfect Match for Biggest Names
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What's the best match for Ellsbury and his likely asking price?

When it comes to the top MLB free agents on the market, the high asking prices will limit the number of teams with a realistic chance of signing them. But it doesn't mean that they won't have a good number of options to choose from.

The ultimate choice will often come down to the team offering the most money, although it's not out of the question for a player to leave a few million dollars on the table to sign with a team that they feel more comfortable with for other reasons.

How much money a player is offered, however, certainly factors in heavily when finding the perfect match. So if team A meets the criteria in four of five categories that a particular player is looking for in a team and that fifth category is money, then we can conclude that the team is probably not a good match for the player.

In fact, even if no other team in the league can meet all five, or maybe not even three or four of the categories, that team that cannot come close to the asking price is still not going to be in the running. It weighs much heavier than the other factors involved.

With that said, here are the five categories, in order of importance, that will likely factor into a top free agent's search for a team this offseason.

  1. Money
  2. Chance to win (players who have already won a World Series title or players 30 of age or younger could be more willing to sign with a rebuilding team with a bright future, such as Houston, as opposed to a team built to win now)
  3. Familiarity with players, coaching staff, front office execs
  4. Location (some players prefer to sign long-term deals with teams who play in or near their hometown)
  5. Role on team (not as much of an issue with the top free agents but some may prefer to be the staff "ace" or the No. 3 hitter while that role might already be occupied on an interested team)

Using these five categories and my free-agent rankings at MLBDepthCharts, let's examine which teams could be the perfect match for the top 10 free agents on the board.

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