MLB Rumors: Latest Buzz on Biggest Names on Free-Agent Market

Ryan DavenportContributor INovember 11, 2013

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 27:  Carlos Beltran #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals runs to first after hitting a single to center field in the third inning against Clay Buchholz #11 of the Boston Red Sox scoring teammate Matt Carpenter #13 during Game Four of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The free-agent market is open for business, and all 30 Major League Baseball teams will be looking to improve their rosters in preparation for the 2014 season.

As is the case every year, there are high-profile names at every position, so the bidding will be fierce for a number of star-caliber talents up for grabs this winter.

Seeing as there's been little movement thus far, here's a look at the latest buzz surrounding some of the most coveted commodities on the market.


Yankees looking to add at least one big name

After a disappointing season, the Yankees are expected to be trying to secure at least one high-profile addition this summer, but how many and which ones remain to be seen. 

They'll obviously be among the front-runners in the bidding of Brian McCann, but beyond him, according to the New York Post's George A. King III, New York has a variety of options if they can't sign the star catcher. 

Also on the Yankees’ radar is Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and Indians pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.

And they will be serious players for Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka, easily the premier pitcher that will be on the market, once MLB and Nippon Pro Baseball agree on a new posting system.

Given the number of older stars the Yankees have accumulated in recent years, Beltran seems like the least likely target, even after the slugger's standout performance in 2013.

Sep 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (30) is congratulated by starting pitcher Justin Masterson in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TO
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The two players that make the most sense for New York if the team misses on McCann are Jimenez and Tanaka, as both pitchers would provide the Yankees with upgrades on the mound.

As is the case with McCann, the competition for Tanaka will be fierce, but as CBS Sports reported, the team is going to do everything it can to sign the heralded Japanese star, and he's apparently the team's biggest priority behind re-signing Robinson Cano.


Nolasco to Minnesota?

As one of the most touted pitchers up for bidding this winter, Ricky Nolasco will certainly draw attention from a number of different teams, and according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN1500 (via Brandon Warne), that will include the Minnesota Twins.

The report states that the Twins "have expressed interest in right-handed starters Ubaldo Jimenez and Ricky Nolasco, as well as lefty Jason Vargas." But Tom Schreier of Yahoo! Sports believes that Nolasco should be Minnesota's top priority.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15:  Ricky Nolasco #47 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, Californi
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It won't be an addition that comes cheap, as Nolasco is said to be looking for a deal worth upward of $80 million, but given that the crop of starting pitchers is on the lighter side this winter, he'll probably get somewhere close to that figure over five years.

He's been a consistent starter for the last eight years, with 10 wins in each of his full MLB seasons, so he'd be a valuable addition to virtually any starting rotation.

The Twins will be on the market for a pitcher, so expect Minnesota to be in the running to get Nolasco, especially if Ervin Santana goes elsewhere. 


Boston eyes Beltran

Coming off a stunning turnaround in 2013 that culminated in a World Series victory, it looks the Boston Red Sox will have to re-tool a bit this winter if they have any intention of repeating.

That's because as of now, it looks like there's a very good chance that Jacoby Ellsbury will be looking for a contract too rich for Boston's taste.

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28:  Carlos Beltran #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals talks to David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox on first base after hitting a single in the second inning of Game Five of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 28, 2013 in
Elsa/Getty Images

If that's the case, Carlos Beltran appears to be a strong candidate to land in Boston, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. 

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports believes Beltran would be a good fit for the Red Sox lineup.

He fits the Red Sox mold as a hitter who works deep counts, fouls off a bunch of pitches and hits for power. As a bonus, he's a switch-hitter and his generation's best postseason hitter. There is no concern about him in a pressure-packed market like Boston.

Beltran's performance during the 2013 playoffs certainly proved that the eight-time All-Star has more than enough left in the tank to be a valuable contributor on a legitimate contender.

The Red Sox are an organization that values clutch players heavily, and that's only one reason why Beltran would be a sensible signing for Boston.