2011 MLB Playoffs logo2011 MLB Playoffs

2011 MLB Playoffs: 10 Players Who Have Boosted Their Value in the Playoffs

Scott BarzillaContributor IIIOctober 14, 2011

2011 MLB Playoffs: 10 Players Who Have Boosted Their Value in the Playoffs

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    It seems that the playoffs make or break a player's reputation. Reggie Jackson will forever be known as Mr. October. Derek Jeter will be known as Mr. November. On the other hand, Alex Rodriguez seems destined to be known as a goat. Bill Buckner had more than 2,500 hits and nobody remembers a single one of them.

    These days, the postseason not only can boost your legend, but it can also boost your wallet. As always, several players have made quiet a bit of money for themselves. Of course, if your contract is up and you are raking, you are in very good shape.

Nelson Cruz

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    Current Salary: $3.65 million

    Status: Arbitration Eligible



    His five home runs in the ALCS is a record and the clock is still ticking. Two of the home runs came in the Rangers' final inning. His salary cannot go up a ton, but the Rangers would be wise to talk long-term contract with him this offseason.

Mike Napoli

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    Current Salary: $5.8 million

    Status: Final year of arbitration



    Under arbitration rules, his agent can compare him with any free agent with any amount of experience. He has only one home run, but he is hitting over .300 and he has shown that he has better catching skills than some thought in prime time. Like Cruz, the Rangers will want to talk long-term.

Delmon Young

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    Salary: $5.38 million

    Status: Team Option for 2012



    If you asked anyone in baseball about Young in August, they would have laughed at the notion of the Twins or Tigers picking up his option. Now, that seems like a good possibility. In the span of two months, he has gone from possible unemployment to become their regular left fielder. His five home runs in the postseason is impressive given the fact that he's missed most of the ALCS with a pectoral injury.

Doug Fister

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    Salary: $437,000

    Status: Arbitration Eligible



    Doug Fister earned himself a lot of money this season. He probably earned more money based on his last two months than the playoffs, but he has a 2-1 record this postseason. His win is the only thing standing between the Tigers and a fishing trip.

Don Kelly

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    Salary: $423,000

    Status: Arbitration Eligible



    Kelly has been a utility guy for his entire career, but injuries to Magglio Ordonez and Brennan Boesch have given him an opportunity. He is hitting .300 this postseason with a key home run in New York. 

Aaron Hill

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    Salary: $5 million

    Status: Team Option



    Hill has a very peculiar contract. The Blue Jays gave him three team options that total $26 million. The Diamondbacks have to either decline all of them or pick all of them now. Based on his performance in Toronto there would be no shot. He hit over .300 in Arizona down the stretch and hit .278 with a home run in the NLDS. It makes for a very interesting decision.

John Axford

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    Salary: $443,000

    Status: Club Control



    John Axford came out of nowhere to be dominant this season. That makes most people wary. This is especially true when you have that kind of pitcher in the postseason. Axford is still a year away from arbitration, but the Brewers will think long and hard about buying his arbitration years early. He has been nails in the postseason, so he is for real. 

Hunter Pence

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    Salary: $6.9 million

    Status: Arbitration Eligible



    Pence hit .324 down the stretch in Philadelphia and became one of the most popular players on that team overnight. His postseason numbers don't look great, but endeared himself to the Phillies and their fans through his hard-nosed play. He has two more arbitration years, but he may get a long-term deal this offseason.

David Freese

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    Salary: $416,000

    Status: Team Control



    Before the playoffs, it would have been fair to question the long-term future of David Freese in St. Louis. You can't do that anymore. The Cards have one more year of club control. Given their upcoming contract battle with Albert Pujols, the Cards probably don't want to give Freese a significant raise. In normal circumstances, they would.

Rafael Furcal

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    Salary: $13 million

    Status: Team Option



    The Cardinals may not pick up Furcal's option, but they definitely want him back. He floundered in LA this season, but had a .735 OPS in St. Louis. More importantly, he showed the speed on the basepaths and athleticism in the field that made him such a hot commodity years ago.

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