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Friday, November 8, 2013

Projecting the Top 2014 MLB Free Agents

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Projecting the Top MLB Free Agents
By Wild on Sports Analyst Jason Gillson

A look at the top 20 2014 MLB Free Agents and their most likely landing places...


1. Robinson Cano
Position: 2B
2013 Team: New York Yankees
Age: 31
Overview: Its hard to imagine Cano playing for a team other than the Yankees but something is going to have to give for that return to take place. Cano and his team of agents, led by Jay-Z are seeking to make Cano the first 300million dollar player. He is without question the best player at his position and a lock for 30+ home runs, 100+ RBI and very solid defense. At the end of the day we see him going back to the Yankees for something north of 200million. That said, there will be other suitors out there.
Possible Teams: Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers, Mariners, Cubs


2. Jacoby Ellsbury

Position: CF
2013 Team: Boston Red Sox
Age: 30
Overview: Injury concerns are the only thing holding back the former 30/30 player from becoming one of the league's highest paid players. He had a fine season for the Red Sox in 2013. He is a constant pest on the base paths and and ideal lead-off hitter. He also plays gold glove caliber defense. Everyone has been talking about a possible return home to the Mariners (he grow up in Oregon). I would have to imagine a number of teams will bid for his services including his Red Sox.
Possible Teams: Mariners, Rangers, Cubs, Phillies, Red Sox


3. Shin-Soo Choo
Position: OF
2013 Team: Cincinnati Reds
Age: 31
Overview: Choo is an on base specialist and emerging as a quality lead off hitter. He was 4th in the MLB with a .423 on base percentage in 2013, a stat that will not go unnoticed by interest teams. He can play all three outfield position, though defense isn't necessarily his strong suit. He will cost a team a draft pick but will be a nice consolation price for a team that loses the Ellsbury sweepstakes.
Possible Teams: Tigers, Mets, Mariners, Rangers, Cubs


4. Brian McCann
Position: C
2013 Team: Atlanta Braves
Age: 30
Overview: McCann is a power hitting middle of the order type bat and a catcher to boot. He plays solid defense but projects to move to DH in the later stages of his next contract. This leaves the door open to most teams, but would be particularlly idea for an AL team. He bounced back from shoulder surgery in 2012 to have a fine year for the Braves in 2013. He will be highly coveted.
Possible Teams: Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers


5. Masahiro Tanaka
Position: SP
2013 Team: Japan
Age: 25
Overview: Tanaka is expected to be posted by his Japanese team and will be the most highly sought pitcher in this year's class. At just 25 he has a lot of baseball ahead of him. He is projected to be a #2/3 type starter now with room to grow. Expect all the big boys to be in play on this one.
Possible Teams: Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Angels, Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers


6. Ervin Santana
Position: SP
2013 Team: Kansas City Royals
Age: 31
Overview: Santanta is one of the top pitchers on the market this season and will draw considerable interest from several teams. The Royals would love to keep him but he may seek more dollars and a chance to win elsewhere. He will cost a team a draft pick but proven starters are worth it these days.
Possible Teams: Royals, Yankees, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Dodgers

7. Matt Garza
Position: SP
2013 Team: Texas Rangers
Age: 29
Overview: Garza was delt to the Rangers at the trade deadline and because of that comes without draft pick compensation. That is a big bonus for teams looking for starting pitching. The hard throwing righty has been very successful int he past posting multiple sub-4 ERA season. He is likely to have a lot of suitors.
Possible Teams: Yankees, Nationals, Phillies, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners


8. Hiroki Kuroda
Position: SP
2013 Team: New York Yankees
Age; 39
Overview: Kuroda has been arguably the Yankees best pitcher in his two seasons in pinstripes. The Yankess would like to bring him back but there is the possibility that he returns to Japan to finish his career where it started.
Possible Teams: Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, Japan


9. A.J. Burnett
Position: SP
2013 Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Age: 37
Overview: Is has been reported that Burnett either wants to return to the Pirates or retire. At 37 he might still have another year or two in the tank so it is possible that a team could convince him otherwise.
Possible Teams: Pirates, Retire

10. Mike Napoli
Position: 1B/DH
2013 Team: Boston Red Sox
Age: 32
Overview: Napoli already has a multi-year offer on the table from Boston. He does have a history of injuries but he proved this year that he could be valuable both with the bat and glove for a full season as he helped the Sox to a Championship. Hard to imagine him not back in Boston.
Possible Teams: Red Sox, Orioles, Indians, Mariners

11. Ubaldo Jimenez

Position: SP
2013 Team: Cleveland Indians
Age: 30
Overview: Just a few years ago he was in the conversation for best starter in the game. After a touch couple seasons of injuries he refound himself in Cleveland this year positing a 3.30 ERA. Despite costing a draft pick, he will have a lot of suitor this off-season.
Possible Teams: Indians, Yankees, Blue Jays, Mariners, Nationals, Phillies, Giants, Cubs

12. Carlos Beltran
Position: OF/DH
2013 Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Age: 37
Overview: Beltran is a big bat and about as clutch in October as you can find for a guy not named David Ortiz. He is also 37 which means his days running around in the outfield and stealing homeruns are likely numbered. He could probably play another year in the field but his best move may be to the AL as a DH. The Yankees are the most logical choice but there are plenty of other teams that have already begun showing interest.
Possible Teams: - Yankees, Rangers, Orioles, Red Sox, Cardinals

13. Curtis Granderson
Position: CF
2013 Team: New York Yankees
Age: 33
Overview: Granderson misses most of the 2013 season with injuries but still should be considered one of the top players on the market. He has a pair of 40 home runs seasons to his credit and has garnered rave reviews from every team he has been a part of. The Yankees made him a qualifying offer so it is possible that he returns there for one year to show he can stay healthy and put up big numbers again. He also is likely to grab the interest of the other team in New York who is desperate for an out field upgrade.
Possible Teams: Yankees, Mets, Cubs, Phillies.


14. Stephen Drew
Position: SS
2013 Team: Boston Red Sox
Age: 31
Overview: The Scott Boras client will enter the off season looking for a multi-year deal. He is the best of a weak SS class. While his bat has been inconsistent at times there is not questioning his slick glove. The Red Sox made him a qualifying offer but many feel they would just as soon see him walk so they can give the full time job to rookie phenom Xander Bogaerts.
Possible Teams: Red Sox, Mets, Cardinals, Pirates, Yankees


15. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Position: C
2013 Team: Boston Red Sox
Age: 28
Overview: He was not offered a qualifying offer by Boston, which he almost certainly would have accepted. There is still a chance he goes back to Boston if Ellsbury, Drew and/or Napoli go elsewhere. He had the best all around year of any of the free agent catchers in this class and at just 28 still has a lot of baseball ahead of him. There will certainly be suitors. He may be one of the more interesting cases to watch.
Possible Teams: Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, Phillies, White Sox

16. Nelson Cruz
Position: OF
2013 Team: Texas Rangers
Age: 33
Overview: His market will be hurt by the fact that the Rangers made him a qualifying offer. He will likely have to wait and see where the dust settles after Ellsbury and Beltran sign to determine his market.
Possible Teams: Rangers, Phillies Royals, Mets, Pirates, Diamondbacks

17. Joe Nathan
Position: CL
2013 Team: Texas Rangers
Age: 38
Overview: Not a huge market for closers this year but given Nathan's track record he will find a home. Could he be a short term replacement for Marino Rivera in New York?
Possible Teams: Yankees, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Red Sox

18. Ricky Nolasco
Position: SP
2013 Team: LA Dodgers
Age: 31
Overview: Nolasco is not far removed from being the highly coveted anchor for the Florida Marlins. After a couple of down season, Nolasco really bolstered his stock following a trade deadline move to the Dodgers. At 31 he should have several more solid years ahead of him and likely a number of interested teams.
Possible Teams: Dodgers, Phillies, Giants, Angels, Rockies


19. Jhonny Peralta
Position: SS
2013 Team: Detroit Tigers
Age: 32
Overview: Peralta is one of the better hitting shortstops in the game. He was suspended in 2013 for PED's but that shouldn't hurt his market too much in a weak SS free agent class.
Possible Teams: Cardinals, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Pirates


20. Bartolo Colon
Position: SP
2013 Team: Oakland A's
Age - 41
Overview: Colon seems to continue to reinvent himself with age as the 41-year old has been one of the more productive starters in the AL West the past two seasons. There are a lot of questions as to how much those numbers are impacted by PED's (Colon was suspended 50 games in 2013 for a failed test). Regardless, there is always a market for useful starting pitching.
Possible Teams: A's, Indians, Giants, Mets, Blue Jays


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