When St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Curt Flood rejected a trade that would have sent him to the Philadelphia Phillies following the 1969 season, his actions opened the floodgates and started the era of free agency in baseball.
Previous to 1975, the reserve clause in baseball stated that players were property of the teams that originally signed them, and they were subject to contract renewals with the same club without their authorization. When pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally finally demanded free agency in 1975 and won their cases through arbitration, the baseball landscape was changed forever.
Now, some 36 years later, there will be dozens of free agents who will be vying for as much money as they can get, either with their own team or whatever team deems their services more valuable.
So, just who are the free agents who will be available at the end of the 2011 season? While not necessarily a class loaded with superstars, there are stars at the top of the list who will absolutely command top dollar for their services, chief among them, Albert Pujols.
There is always the possibility that many of the players on the current list could sign extensions with their teams before the end of the season. However, once the season ends, for many players it’s “may the best bidding offer win,” so to speak.
We will take a look at the current list of top players in Major League Baseball who will be looking for big bucks at the end of the season.
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