In MLB, free agency is a swinging door. Too often, fans (and even some GMs) think of it solely as a way to add players. Small-market franchises who lose players like Prince Fielder and Carl Crawford every winter know well what many small businesses know, too: It's more efficient to retain a longtime client (or in this case, player) than to sign a new one. All else being equal, or even close to equal, every MLB team should strive to keep its better players even as they near the free-agent market.
Inevitably, though, every team faces the specter of losing a key player at some point each offseason. This year, even the New York Yankees have that sort of dilemma before them, as they prepare to do what it takes to keep CC Sabathia even if Sabathia opts out of the final four years of his contract.
In what follows, you'll find the most important pending free agent on every MLB roster, and a prediction of whether or not their incumbent team hangs on to them.