2012 MLB Free Agency: 5 Key Players the Yankees and Red Sox Will Fight over

Brian Buckley@brianbuck13Contributor IINovember 28, 2011

2012 MLB Free Agency: 5 Key Players the Yankees and Red Sox Will Fight over

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    Neither the New York Yankees nor the Boston Red Sox ended their seasons with a win, which means they have work to do.  With two of the largest payrolls in Major League Baseball, it’s the general managers' turn to be the players. 

    In the 2012 offseason, both clubs are pursuing pitching. 

    Sure, they could use some slight tune-ups in other positions, but the hunt for hurlers has both teams wearing blinders.

    As in the past, the Yankees and the Red Sox will cross paths in their chase for the best player. 

    This year is no exception.


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5. Outfielder Yoennis Céspedes

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    Like Darvish, another talent with question marks is the young and explosive hitter Yoennis Céspedes.

    The outfielder from Cuba hit the airwaves with an unusual 20-minute YouTube video that displayed power, speed and the Christopher Cross 1980 smash hit "Sailing".

    The 26-year-old first garnered global attention at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. However, he played poorly and batted only .194.

    In a relatively lackluster free agent class, the unknown can go a long way.

    Both the Red Sox and the Yankees love clamoring for the newest international talent. The last bidding war on Cuban talent landed pitcher Jose Contreras in pinstripes, and led to Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino's infamous "Evil Empire" comment.

    Could it get this nasty again?

4. Starting Pitcher Edwin Jackson

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    It’s always about pitching with winning games, and both Boston and New York are well aware of it.

    In a lukewarm pitching free agency market, right-hander Edwin Jackson shines with the best of them. 

    Hard to believe a .500 career record (60-60) could be so attractive, but that’s where the West German native finds himself.

    Inconsistency and injuries have proven to be a “scarlet letter” of sorts for Jackson, but his potential makes him a must-look for any team. 

    Clearly, the heavyweights of the American League East have taken notice.

3. Starting Pitcher Yu Darvish

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    Jewels from the Far East are tempting, but the results have been mixed for both the Sox and Yanks. 

    The Bombers struck gold with Hideki Matsui, but were left foolish with an outlandish agreement with Kei Igawa.  Boston thought it had the cream of the crop with Daisuke Matsuzaka, but ended up with a bloated ERA and injury tribulations.

    The Yu Darvish situation presents an interesting situation for both teams.  The 25-year-old right-hander has a career record of 93-38 with an ERA of 1.99.  How does that translate in the MLB?  No one knows.  

    The whole production involved with acquiring a foreign player can be a costly experience.  The blind posting price in addition to a contract can become a hindrance to a team for years to come. 

    It’s a safe bet both clubs are willing to make that sacrifice in return for victories.

3. Outfielder / DH Carlos Beltran

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    The No. 9 position is a possible upgrade for both teams. 

    J.D. will leave Beantown, and it’s possible the Yankee’s brass will decide to trade Nick Swisher after picking up his $10.25 million option. 

    Both clubs, therefore, could be vying for the same man to take the reins in right field.

    Enter Carlos Iván Beltrán.

    The 34-year-old switch hitter has more than a few years left in him and is looking for a final home. 

    His 302 career home runs could fit exceedingly well in a BoSox lineup.  At the same time, the Yankees would love to “Welcome Back, Welcome Back” Beltrán to the Big Apple.


2. Starting Pitcher C.J. Wilson

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    Needless to say, both the Yankees and the Red Sox have pitching concerns. 

    The Yankees have an ace, a budding star and question marks.  Meanwhile, the Red Sox have pitchers with discipline issues and arms in need of Tommy John surgery. 

    Neither team is looking rosy.

    The premier pitcher on the market is left-hander C.J. Wilson.  Sporting a 16-7 record and 2.94 ERA in 2011, he was the ace of a squad that went all the way to the Fall Classic. 

    Wilson, however, has come under fire after his October baseball performance.   His 1-5 record and an ERA just under five have raised questions, but one stands out: can Wilson make it under the bright lights? 

1. Starting Pitcher Mark Buehrle

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    After spending his whole career in Chicago, starter Mark Buehrle is on the market, and he has piqued both clubs’ interest in his services. 

    The White Sox were under the impression that the left-hander would be a likely returner for the team.  However, a rumored 10 teams are trying to make him blush.

    Honestly, his numbers don’t blow anyone away (161-119 and a ERA of 3.83).  But his innings pitched stand out from the rest. 

    Outside of his rookie year, Buehrle has pitched over 200 innings every year.  If anything, he defines consistency. 

    Both the Yankees and Red Sox have high-powered offenses that can put numbers on the scoreboard.  What they are both lacking is a pitcher who can eat up innings and keep them in games. 

    Mark Buehrle could be that guy.