MLB Free Agents 2011: 10 Predictions for Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols & Top FAs
The free-agency carousel has been spinning for what seems like centuries, yet we've been unable to predict the destinations for the top players available.
Today we will put an end to that misfortune and predict the futures of the top free agents available upon the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Where will Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols and other top names end up?
Let's take a look.
Jose Reyes Will Be Anywhere but New York
Rumors surrounding Jose Reyes' trade status remains up in the air, but don't discount the possibility of the Mets allowing his current contract run out to keep fans in the stands.
Let's be serious: these Mets have financial troubles of their own, and re-signing Jose Reyes to a multi-year contract seems all but impossible at this stage of the game.
Let the bidding wars begin.
The Indians Will Pick Up Grady Sizemore's 2012 Option Worth $8.5 Million
The Indians can pick up Sizemore's $8.5 Million option for 2012, but I'm not completely sold on his status with the team as a whole.
Over the past few seasons, Sizemore has quickly become one of the most injury-prone superstars the league has to offer, and if these woes continue, he may be reduced to a lesser role with a desperate team in the near future.
Still, the talent is there, and the Indians are clearly a team on the rise with tremendous potential.
Don't be surprised to see Sizemore in a Cleveland uniform in 2012.
San Diego Will Not Re-Sign Heath Bell
At 33 years old, Bell is widely considered one of the best closers in the game.
Is that enough incentive for the Padres to resign him?
By the looks of it, Bell should be able to test the highly anticipated free-agent market at the end of the season, and could be headed to many potential destinations.
This season, Bell is off to another tremendous start carrying a 1.20 ERA and nine saves, which should only boost his status once free agency gets under way.
CC Sabathia? He'll Stay in the Big Apple
Unlike most of the players mentioned on this list, Sabathia is technically under contract until the 2015 season. A clause in his contract, however, states he is able to opt out after the 2011 season.
I can't see any real scenario where the Yankees let Sabathia go, as he makes up for the lack of depth in the New York bullpen with his incredible stamina allowing him to go deep into games.
Either way, Sabathia is in for a real payday.
Chris Carpenter Will NOT Re-SIgn with the Cardinals
This is a tough one.
The Cardinals are already in for an extensive offseason with Albert Pujols, and trying to resign Carpenter seems almost out of the realm of possibility at this point.
St. Louis can either pick up Carpenter's 2012 option worth $15 million, and if worse comes to worst, they might have to settle for resigning Carpenter and leaving out Pujols.
That being said, Pujols is the face of the franchise, and Carpenter now becomes an expendable service.
Albert Pujols Will Re-Sign with the St. Louis Cardinals
Albert Pujols claims to be worth a $30 Million salary, and the Cardinals should be well aware of his current contract set to expire at season's end.
Whether or not teams are willing to sign him to that deal remains to be seen.
However, can you truly see Pujols in anything other than a Cardinal uniform?
He may be asking a whole lot from a franchise with little to give, but Pujols will certainly be a Cardinal in 2012.
Roy Oswalt Will Not Remain in Philadelphia
Most of Philadelphia's money will be spent on keeping key pieces such as Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay for the next few years, and though Oswalt has been solid since joining the club last season, I can't see the Phillies even attempting to resign him.
That begin said, Oswalt still has a considerable amount of talent left in him, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's snatched up at the winter meetings next December.
Aramis Ramirez Will Not Return to Chicago
Ramirez has seen a steady decline in his production over the past few seasons, and 2011 isn't doing him any better: accounting for just 1 HR, 15 RBI, and .350 OBP.
Granted, Ramirez probably has a good chunk of his career left in him, and odds are some desperate team will look to sign him in the offseason should the Cubs exercise their $2 million buyout option.
Moreover, Chicago has a plethora of young infielding talent already moving their way up, which makes Ramirez's return only that more unlikely.
Jonathon Broxton Will Be a Dodger in 2012
Broxton has been arguably the pest pure closer in the majors over the past three seasons (excluding Mariano Rivera), and the Dodgers' bullpen cannot afford to lose such an arm.
However, consistency has become a problem dating back to the middle of last season.
Are those inconsistencies enough for the Dodgers to allow Broxton to pursue the free-agent market?
My guess is as good as yours.
Prince Fielder Will Not Return to Milwaukee in 2012
I'll probably get a lot of heat for this, but it makes the most sense in my mind.
Fielder will see his current contract with the Brewers run out at season's end, leaving Milwaukee with two options: trade him away, or allow him to explore the free-agent market.
All signs point to the Brewers making a serious run at a World Series in 2011, and without Fielder in the lineup, that goal is anything but achievable.
Moreover, Fielder is due for a major payday that will prove too much for Milwaukee to handle.
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