MLB Rumors 2010: Where Will These 10 Superstars Live Next Year?
The World Series hasn't even started yet and already MLB rumors about trades and free agents are heating up. Texas Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee is once again at the forefront of the offseason rumors as he will be a free agent this offseason, and many teams are lining up to get his signature.
Besides Lee, this years crop of free agents is one of the weaker ones we have seen over the past few years.
In recent years, a weak group of free agents has led to teams overspending for mediocre talent. However, due to downfall of the economy many teams have less money and will be less willing to spend big on players.
This could lead to more players taking one year contracts to wait another season to test the market, which will lead to more players switching teams.
While it is still early, everything is speculation at this point. Here are some educated guesses on where 10 players will end up next season.
10. Manny Ramirez
Manny Ramirez is quickly turning into a vagabond outfielder. He is becoming quick to wear out his welcome with every team he plays for, and not to mention he has Scott Boras driving up his price tag.
The difference between this year and last year, when Manny remained unsigned for a while because he was asking for too much from the Dodgers, is that Manny is 38-years-old, and judging by his play this past year, he likely only has one more season left in him.
Manny is different from the other older veteran bats on the market this year because of his ability to still play in the outfield has not diminished. Having said that, his ability to play in the outfield was never that great. Thus he is likely to end up in the American League as a DH.
The Twins have shown that they will take their chances with aging sluggers and that worked out well with Jim Thome last season. The chance to acquire a dynamic slugger like Manny, and sell some jerseys nonetheless will be hard for the Twins to pass up.
9. Adrian Beltre
Adrian Beltre has a monster season during his contract year and signs a big deal. We've seen that before haven't we?
Beltre had a monster 2004 where he finished second in the MVP voting. He parlayed that into a big contract with the Mariners. Many people felt that after signing with the Mariners Beltre got complacent and lazy, and his numbers showed it.
Beltre had a big bounce back year this season in Boston, and surprise surprise, it was during another contract year.
While many would expect Beltre to be given another big contract two things will hurt him. First the lack of production he put up when he started making money will make teams less eager to splurge on him. Secondly, Beltre is six years older now then he was when he signed that last contract.
The Red Sox are sure to try to make a splash this offseason after falling behind both the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East this season. Many fans have become worried about how the Red Sox owner buying English Premier League club Liverpool FC will effect the Red Sox. The owners are looking to ease those worries, and the Red Sox need a third baseman.
With Beltre's last contract scaring teams away from giving him mega-dollars, the price will be just right for the Red Sox to retain their third baseman.
8. Adam Dunn
At first glance Adam Dunn seems like the big power hitter that Oakland A's GM Billy Beane loves. That is until you realize that Dunn will strike out 175 times a season.
Aside from the strikeouts though, Dunn will give you about 40 home runs and 100 RBI's through the entire season if he stays healthy. With his ability to play in the outfield and at first base, he is not restricted to just being an American League DH.
With the Nationals not looking likely to spend big bucks while they wait for them high priced prospects to mature, it is likely that Dunn's stay in the nations capital is over.
Rumors are already hot with Adam Dunn as reports have already suggested the Chicago Cubs are very interested in Dunn. Reports are saying that the Cubs will offer Dunn a three year deal, worth upwards of $40 million.
Even with the Cubs suffering from a down season, it will be very hard for Dunn to pass up on the money the Cubs are offering him.
7. Victor Martinez
Victor Martinez brings a lot of tools to the plate. He is a switch hitter, who consistently bats about .300 and he plays both catcher and first base. While he may not be the best defensive catcher he is very durable, allowing him to play many games behind the plate. Furthermore, his ability to play first base allows teams to keep his bat in the lineup on days when they need to give him a break from catching.
Martinez's poor defense bring him down a little bit, but teams will be interested in everything else that he has to offer.
With Jason Varitek being very old and only able to be a backup, the Red Sox still need a catcher and are likely to make a push to keep Martinez.
Another team in the mix is the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers will be looking to get back to the top of the AL Central and have a hole at catcher. They are expected to make a strong push for Martinez.
Both teams will be able to make good offers for the catcher so he will likely end up in one of those two cities.
6. Rafael Soriano
Rafael Soriano will benefit from playing the most overrated position in baseball. If a closer blows five saves, the team will look to get a new one. Never mind the middle reliever who let eight or nine leads slip away in the seventh inning, his job is safe, but the closer will have to go.
When a closer like Soriano picks up 45 saves and becomes a free agent, he will get paid. Soriano has even hired Scott Boras to be his agent, making it all but guaranteed that he will leave Tampa.
There are many teams in the market for a new closer, but now the question becomes who can afford Rafael Soriano. The Yankees sure can, and they are still looking for a reliable successor to Mariano Rivera, but it is unlikely that Soriano would want to take a back seat while he waits for Rivera to finish his career.
A team that has money and wants to solidify their shaky bullpen resides in Philadelphia. The Phillies have been the NLCS three years in a row, and are looking to get over the hump to get themselves back to World Series glory.
5. Carl Pavano
Everyone remembers the last time Carl Pavano was a free agent. He signed a big money deal with the Yankees and presumed to almost never play for the team. After a great bounce back year in Minnesota, Pavano is ready to hit the market once again.
The Pavano saga in New York is no doubt going to hurt Pavano this time around, but what he does have in his favor is a very weak free agent market for starting pitching.
Pavano won 17 games last season and pitched seven complete games. He is rumored to be commanding about a three year deal worth $30 million.
If Pavano wanted to stay in Minnesota, he would have to give the Twins a little bit of a discount to that price, but there are reports that say he is willing to do that.
If Pavano does choose to leave, a return back to the NL East is likely, with the Atlanta Braves being a potential interested suitor.
4. Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke has two years left on his contract with Kansas City so he won't be a free agent just yet. But this is the reality of small market baseball, as the Royals will try to move him so they could get something back for him while his value is high.
With rumors circulating around about Cliff Lee's wife not enjoying New York and not being treated well by Yankee fans, there are some rumors floating around that the Yankees have blown their chance at signing Lee.
When one door closes, another door opens, and if the Yankees can't bring in Lee, they will likely make a push to try to acquire Greinke who had a dominant season in Kansas City with no run support.
Putting Greinke in New York with the Yankees run support could enable the right-hander to win 20 games easily.
3. Carl Crawford
arl Crawford was the longtime bright spot for the otherwise abysmal Tampa Bay Devil Rays. No matter how bad the Rays were, Crawford was always performing.
Now with the Rays being contenders for the last three seasons, they have announced they will be cutting payroll, and likely saying goodbye to Crawford.
Crawford is possibly the best all around outfielder on the market, but he does come with questions. He spent almost his entire career playing on the artificial turf of Tropicana Field, and a large part of his game is based on speed, which at 29 years old is going to start to diminish.
Nevertheless Crawford is going to be given a very large contract, meaning the very large contract giving teams are the only ones in play. The Angels, Red Sox, and Yankees are all lining up to sign him.
The Yankees are likely to make him their top non-pitching priority as they need to improve their outfield. However in order to make room for him they will likely need to trade either Curtis Granderson or Nick Swisher.
That leaves the door open for the Red Sox and Angels to bid for him while the Yankees try to move and outfielder and still get value in return. Still, when the Yankees want someone, they usually get him.
Crawford has been saying all the right things as he prepares to leave Tampa. He really seems like a down to earth player who wants to stay in Tampa, but is doing what is best for him. Still as nice and down to earth as he is, Crawford is likely to join the dark side and don the pint-stripes for next season.
2. Jayson Werth
Jayson Werth is possibly the biggest name on the list of free agent outfielders. He is likely to receive the biggest contract of all non-pitchers. He is also the most likely player to not live up to the number in his contract.
Werth signed agent Scott Boras earlier this season, and Boras has already compared Werth to outfielder Matt Holiday, who signed a $120 million deal last season.
Werth is definitely going to sign for big bucks, the question is where, and will he fit in there?
Werth's sample size is relatively small, but it has been impressive. He has been an integral part of the Phillies teams that have gone to two World Series' and have reached the NLCS each time in the last three years.
The Phillies are interested in signing him, and losing him would be a big loss as he is the big right-handed bat in their lineup. But with the Phillies recently giving out big contracts to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Roy Halladay, as well as trying to retain Roy Oswalt, it is unlikely they will have the money to sign Werth. After all, Scott Boras is not known for allowing his clients to take hometown discounts.
The Red Sox are also interested in Werth, and price doesn't seem to be a concern for them. But the Red Sox must be wary of how Werth came to be. Werth could very easily be a product of the bandbox that is Citizens Bank Park, a move to Fenway could cause a drop in Werth's production, and lead to some very angry Red Sox fans, making angry comparisons to J.D. Drew.
The team that will likely step in and swoop Werth away from Philly once again resides in the Bronx. If the Yankees can move Swisher or Granderson, they may choose to go after Werth instead of Crawford. We have seen how the short right field in the new Yankee Stadium can be a haven for right handed hitters who go the other way.
1. Cliff Lee
What is all this talk about Cliff Lee?
Over the last few seasons Cliff Lee has become one of if not the most dominant pitcher in baseball. So far during the 2010 playoffs, he is making a case to be considered the most dominant playoff pitcher of all time.
The one thing that has not been consistent for Lee recently, has been his uniform. Lee started the 2009 season in Cleveland, before being traded to the Phillies, where he got the win in both of the Phillies World Series wins. He was then traded to Seattle, before getting a mid-season trade to Texas, where he has led the Rangers to not only the franchise's first ever postseason series win, but to their first World Series.
That will change this winter when Lee will sign a long term contract somewhere. Texas will do everything in their power to keep Lee down in Arlington. But Texas also doesn't want to have repeat of the A-Rod contract when they devoted so much money to Alex Rodriguez that they couldn't afford to put a team around him.
The Yankees are the front runners to land the left hander. The Yankees don't like it when other teams have players better then their own, and they will look to add Lee to a rotation that will have question marks for next season.
The Yankees have long made clear their desire to bring Lee to the big apple, and with CC Sabathia needing to undergo knee surgery it will only increase their desire. The Yankees are capable of offering Lee a larger contract then the one given to Sabathia, who is currently the highest paid pitcher in baseball.
It will be very hard for Lee to turn down the Yankees mammoth offer. The only hope I could muster up is to think back to the winter of 2004, when almost the entire world agreed that it was a foregone conclusion that the Yankees would sign both Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, the top two players on the market, during the offseason. The Mets had just hired a new GM and a new manager to change their identity and they swooped in and stole both of them from the Yankees.
Perhaps this winter, with the Mets once again hiring a new GM and manager they could provide a surprise swoop for Lee and steal him from the Yankees once again.
Oh yea, then I remember the Mets lost all their money with Bernie Madoff and Cliff Lee will be pitching in the Bronx next season.