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The conclusion of the World Series on Wednesday means that free agency is nearly upon us.

This year’s free-agent class features three high-end pitchers in Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields, as well as a few middle-of-the-order hitters such as Hanley Ramirez, Victor Martinez and Pablo Sandoval.

However, there’s an even longer list of less notable players entering free agency, including Aaron Harang, Jed Lowrie, Colby Rasmus and Brandon McCarthy. While they could offer great value to the right team, they also come with considerable risk—usually as a result of injuries or underwhelming production in previous years.

With that in mind, here’s a look at four soon-to-be free agents that are either currently in a decline or likely to decline in the coming years. They should therefore be avoided by teams looking to make a meaningful upgrade during the offseason. 

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The 2014 season came to an end Wednesday night, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of the World Series, 3-2, to claim their third title in the last five years.

Madison Bumgarner further etched his name in baseball history with five scoreless innings out of the bullpen, and he did it on two days’ rest after firing a four-hit shutout in Game 5. In his third trip to the World Series, the 25-year-old Bumgarner went 3-0 and allowed just one earned run in 21 innings. And for the second straight postseason series, the left-hander walked away with MVP honors.

While Bumgarner’s domination of the Royals on three separate occasions deservedly captured all the headlines, the standout performances by players on both teams in the series also offered a preview of Major League Baseball’s next wave of potential stars, including Yordano Ventura, Eric Hosmer and Joe Panik.

With that said, here are the biggest takeaways/lessons learned from the 2014 World Series.

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Koji Sasahara/Associated Press

With the 2014 Major League Baseball season set to end Wednesday night with Game 7 of the World Series, teams will soon direct their focus toward the free-agent market.

Even though this year’s class features top-tier pitchers such as Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields, as well as a few middle-of-the-order hitters such as Hanley Ramirez, Victor Martinez and Pablo Sandoval, organizations may be more interested in what the international market has to offer.

As of now, Yasmani Tomas is expected to be the most coveted player. Teams have flocked to see the Cuban outfielder in various showcase events over the last two months. However, he is only one of numerous international players who are capable of making an impact in the major leagues as early as the 2015 season.

But which teams are most likely to make a run at this year's top international talents?

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In a postseason that has been nothing less than spectacular, it’s only appropriate that it all comes down to Game 7 of the World Series.

Two days after being shut out by Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the Fall Classic, the Kansas City Royals turned the tables on the National League champions in Game 6 with a 10-0 rout at Kauffman Stadium, knotting the series at three games apiece.

Now, the Royals and the Giants will play one final contest to determine baseball’s best team.

Game 7's pitching matchup will be the same as Game 3's, with Jeremy Guthrie starting for the Royals and Tim Hudson taking the mound for the Giants. However, with both teams featuring numerous well-rested arms in their respective bullpens, there’s a realistic chance neither starter is around for long in the winner-take-all game.

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If you love prospects, then it doesn’t get any better than the Arizona Fall League.

With six teams comprised of players from all 30 organizations, the prestigious AFL offers top prospects an opportunity to refine their skills long after the end of the minor league season.

For some players, the competition in the AFL is superior to anything they’ve previously experienced as a professional. For others, it’s a chance to prove to their organization that they’re ready to be challenged at the highest level.

But playing in the AFL after a full minor league season is easier said than done, which is why every year there’s a contingent of big-name prospects that put up disappointing numbers.

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It's win-or-go-home time for the Kansas City Royals.

After losing 5-0 to Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the World Series, the Royals find themselves in a 3-2 hole heading into a must-win Game 6 on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

But this is familiar territory for the American League champions. In the Wild Card Game against the Oakland A's, the Royals rallied for four runs after the seventh inning to force extra innings, tying it once more in the 12th before Salvador Perez's walk-off hit in the following inning. That being said, the Royals will have to beat the Giants in back-to-back games to claim their first World Series title in 29 years.

The Giants, meanwhile, have an opportunity to win their third World Series in the past five years and further solidify the franchise as a dynasty. Unfortunately, the team likely will be without Bumgarner the rest of the way, at least not in a starting role, though San Francisco will still have veteran right-handers Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson on the mound in Games 6 and 7, respectively.

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The San Francisco Giants evened the 2014 World Series at two games apiece Saturday, as the National League champions scored seven unanswered runs to defeat the Kansas City Royals 11-4 in Game 4.

The Royals are two wins away from their first World Series title since 1985, while the Giants are nearing their third title in the past five years.

Ace Madison Bumgarner will take the mound for the Giants in Game 5 on Sunday night, while James Shields will attempt to right the ship after a poor showing in Game 1.

Predicting who will shine in the World Series, or the playoffs in general, is always tricky, and oftentimes, it's the players you least expect who come up with the key hit. That said, what follows is an effort to handicap the odds for World Series MVP honors based on players' performances to this point in the series as well as their potential impacts in the remaining games.

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The offseason has already begun for every team but the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, and once the World Series is over, teams will begin to address their biggest needs through trades and/or free-agent signings.

Right now, though, every club is busily putting together its offseason to-do list, identifying players who could be good fits in their organization as well as those who could be problematic, for one reason or another, down the road.

However, putting together a to-do list and executing the moves are two entirely different practices—practices that have the potential to separate great teams from good ones.

With that being said, here are all 30 MLB team’s biggest roadblock to a successful offseason.

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Elsa/Getty Images

If you love prospects, then it doesn’t get any better than the Arizona Fall League.

With six teams comprised of players from all 30 organizations, the prestigious AFL offers top prospects an opportunity to refine their skills long after the end of the minor league season.

For some players, the competition in the AFL is superior to anything they’ve previously experienced as a professional. For others, it’s a chance to prove to their organization that they’re ready to be challenged at the highest level.

But playing in the AFL after a full minor league season is easier said than done, which is why every year there’s a contingent of big-name prospects who put up disappointing numbers.

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Koji Sasahara/Associated Press

With the 2014 Major League Baseball season coming to an end, all 30 teams will soon direct their focus toward the free-agent market.

Even though this year’s class features top-tier pitchers such as Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields, as well as a few middle-of-the-order hitters such as Hanley Ramirez, Victor Martinez and Pablo Sandoval, organizations may be more interested in what the international market has to offer.

As of now, Yasmani Tomas is expected to be the most coveted player. Teams have flocked to see the Cuban outfielder in various showcase events over the last two months. However, he is only one of numerous international players who are capable of making an impact in the major leagues as early as the 2015 season.

Here’s an early look at a few of this year’s top international free agents along with their potential suitors, as well as one player who could soon hit the market.