Even for contending teams, it’s commonplace to lose star players to free agency. But while subtracting an ace pitcher or slugging outfielder can create a huge roster void for teams, general managers must find ways to replace the departed.
In the case of the New York Yankees, the team might find themselves sporting a lineup without Robinson Cano for the first time since the homegrown star took the field in 2005. With poor internal options and uninspiring free-agent replacements, the Yankees might find themselves overpaying Cano to avoid a headache.
But not all teams are enduring sleepless nights. The Cincinnati Reds, for instance, will likely use super prospect Billy Hamilton to replace Shin-Soo Choo, who is projected to cash in on his superb 2013 campaign. And while Hamilton will never be the power hitter Choo is, the speedster does boast 395 career minor league stolen bases over just five seasons.
Read on to see all the backup plans for MLB contenders losing their own star free agents.
Note: DRS is a metric created by Fielding Bible, but FanGraphs.com lists it in their defensive statistics section for every player.