2012 MLB Free Agency: 5 Players Who Have Earned a Big Paycheck

Dan BoldeContributor IIIOctober 13, 2011

2012 MLB Free Agency: 5 Players Who Have Earned a Big Paycheck

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    The 2011 MLB season is unfortunately and always quickly drawing to a close. What better to look forward to after baseball than more baseball? Once the season concludes, immediately the offseason begins. And with the offseason comes a free agency frenzy.  

    This offseason will be no different. We already know that superstars like Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder and St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols will be guaranteed massive contracts, but what about everyone else?

    We’ll examine the five players who have EARNED a big paycheck from whatever MLB team they sign with. Expect these players to be offered a lot of money this winter.

David Ortiz

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    Yes, he may be growing old, but talk about have a huge year at the last end of his contract.  He led the Red Sox in almost every power category.  His .309 batting average was .039 points better than last season, and had a ridiculous .952 OPS, which is 30 clicks better than his career OPS average.

    Unfortunately, because Ortiz is aging, he’ll have to accept less money than most big name free agents. Yet, Ortiz has certainly earned the money he won’t get.

    My bold prediction for who signs Ortiz? In a recent ESPN interview Ortiz stated that, “I don’t know if I want to be a part of this drama for next year,” in response to the recent events surrounding the Red Sox collapse for the playoffs. Therefore, I’ll take a wild guess that most New York Yankee fans wouldn't mind hearing: David Ortiz will sign with the New York Yankees. Hey, they’ll need a designated hitter.

Yadier Molina

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    No one really talks about St. Louis catch Yadier Molina and I just don’t understand why. He’s quietly the most consistent and best defensive catcher in the game. Catchers in baseball often come and go, and Molina is here to stay. His .305 batting average is a career high, and he hit almost double his career high in home runs, with 14.

    The only chink in Molina’s armor this year was his arm, he only caught 29 percent of stealing base runners. Yet, you can assume that next year will be improved, as his career percentage is 44 percent. He’s won a Gold Glove the past three years, and should do so again in the future.

    My prediction for who signs Molina? There’s no way in the world that the Cardinals will let Molina go. He’s been their franchise catcher for the past six years, and he’s there to stay. Rejoice Cardinals fans, rejoice.

Jose Reyes

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    A lot of doubt came into the 2011 season about the New York Mets shortstop and whether he could fully perform after an injury-riddled 2010 campaign. Jose Reyes proved all of his critics wrong. He won the Mets' first ever individual award with his .337 batting average title.

    Widely regarded as one of the most productive and dangerous leadoff hitters, Reyes would be an excellent fit for any MLB team. He can get on base, and is one of the speediest players in the MLB as a base stealing threat. Yet, he will demand, and get a lot of money from one MLB team. Expect around $15 to $16 million dollars a year for his services.

    My bold prediction for who signs Reyes? I’m leaning towards the Milwaukee Brewers. They’re going to have money to spend that they won’t be spending on Fielder, and a strong leadoff hitter would compliment fellow star Ryan Braun down in the lineup.

C.C. Sabathia

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    New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia will be a free agent only if he opts out of his player option for 2011. Following the demise of the Yankees in the playoffs against the Detroit Tigers, this just might be a possibility.

    He has four years remaining on his $92 million contract. That’s a lot of Benjamins. But he’s only 31 and realistically, he could earn a lot more money on the free-agent market.

    Sabathia has certainly earned more money than his already huge contract. He finished with another season with at least 19 wins, going 19-8 with a solid ERA of even 3. He is also a Cy Young candidate, just like every year in recent memory.

    My bold prediction for who signs Sabathia? A return to the Cleveland Indians would be nice for Sabathia, as he and Ubalbo Jimenez could join a formidable duo. Also, if the Red Sox really want to, they could try for Sabathia, considering they’ll need a lot of starting pitching acquisitions in the winter.

    I go with Cleveland…for now.

C.J. Wilson

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    The Texas Rangers pitcher had a phenomenal season, earning 16 wins and a career-best 2.94 ERA. Rumors have been speculating around the web concerning Wilson and the Yankees interest in the Rangers ace.

    Yet, he’s definitely earned a raise, and will expect to make around $14 million to $15 million per year with whoever he signs.

    If C.C. Sabathia opts out of his contract with the Bronx Bombers, the chances of Wilson heading to New York are larger.  Let’s see how he plays out in this 2011 playoffs before we can make a solid decision as to where he’ll land.

    My bold prediction as to who signs Wilson? Here it is: If the Rangers win the World Series, he’s certainly earned the money he’ll make, and will give them the hometown discount and stay in Arlington. If the Rangers fall short of the title, expect to see Wilson in pinstripes in 2012.