Major League Baseball's hot-stove season is heating up, as teams continue their pursuit of coveted free-agent talent.
As reported by Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, the New York Yankees made big waves on Tuesday with the signing of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who agreed to a monumental seven-year deal worth roughly $153 million. The Bronx Bombers hope the postseason stud can help them deliver their 28th World Series championship in the near future.
But even with Ellsbury locked up, there are still a handful of notable talents on the market as the first week of December winds down.
Let's take a look at the top names to watch for moving forward.
Robinson Cano, 2B
Dynamic Yankees slugger Robinson Cano is likely going to wind up re-signing with New York when it's all said and done, but for now he's still on the market. Therefore, the 31-year-old second baseman is the top available player out there.
Having knocked in at least 25 home runs in each of the past five seasons and at least 107 RBI in three of the past four seasons, Cano is a genius at the plate and a player worth breaking the bank for.
Keep in mind that he hasn't batted below .302 since 2008 and has only done so twice in nine major league seasons.
According to FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi, Ellsbury's massive seven-year, $153 million deal isn't good news for Cano. At the same time, it doesn't necessarily kill his chances of returning to the Big Apple.
Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
Japanese pitching ace Masahiro Tanaka is drawing interest from several teams around the majors, including the New York Yankees.
According to The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough, the Yankees have been pursuing Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander who has been lighting up Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) since 2007.
Tanaka made his debut more than six years ago, but has gone 99-35 as a starter since (24-0 in 2013), posting an impressive 2.30 ERA over that time. He has more than 1,200 strikeouts in NPB.
A five-time NPB All-Star, Tanaka would be a huge boost to any starting pitching rotation. However, it remains to be seen if he's worth the hefty price tag.
Shin-Soo Choo, CF
Veteran center fielder Shin-Soo Choo has caught the eye of several teams this offseason, but has yet to ink a new deal.
Which of these players will make the biggest impact in 2014?
According to The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant, the Texas Rangers are one of the teams interested in acquiring the 31-year-old, who has also been targeted by the Detroit Tigers. Grant points out Choo's "discipline" at the plate and his "on-base ability" as the Rangers' two favorite traits.
Choo starred for the Cincinnati Reds last season after coming over from Cleveland, where he spent six-and-a-half seasons with the Indians. He turned in career bests in on-base percentage (.423) and walks (112) in 2013.
Choo was also a stud in the outfield last year, finishing the regular season with a .989 fielding percentage and only committing four errors in 153 appearances.
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