Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Prepping the Hot Stove

At this time of year, baseball fans of leading teams spend a few minutes now and then daydreaming of postseason possibilities. Summer is easier to let go of when Autumn strikes if your baseball team is in contention.

Fans of teams like the Chicago Cubs learn to lean on the hot stove. Let's throw together a quick guide for fans of teams who aren't more likely thinking about December than October.

Our first impression of the 2013 potential free agents list is that most will be entering, or are beyond, their post-prime seasons. The only players listed below who will be under 29 next season are Zack Greinke, Melky Cabrera, and B.J. Upton.

Would you want your team to commit
big dollars to 36-year old Pierzynski?
This could be a treacherous offseason for the teams looking to retool in free agency, as several upcoming contracts could be rapidly regrettable.

What follows are our choices for the best 2013 Free Agents by position, with their 2013 age in parenthesis.

For a comprehensive list from MLBtraderumors, click here.

Mike Napoli (31)
A.J. Pierzynski (36)
Russell Martin (30)
David Ross (36)
Chris Iannetta (30) - $5M club option / player can void

First basemen
Lance Berkman (36)
Adam LaRoche (33) - $10M mutual option
Carlos Pena (35)

Second basemen
Kelly Johnson (31)
Jeff Keppinger (33)

Stephen Drew (30) - $10M mutual option

Third basemen
Kevin Youkilis (34) - $13M club option / $1M buyout
Placido Polanco (37) - $5.5M mutual option
Mark Reynolds (29) - $11MM club option /$500K buyout
Eric Chavez (35)
Scott Rolen (38)

Left fielders
Josh Hamilton (32)
Ryan Ludwick (34) - mutual option

Center fielders
What will teams do with B.J. Upton,
who flashes tools and talent along
with underwhelming performance?
Michael Bourn (30)
Melky Cabrera (28)
B.J. Upton (28)
Shane Victorino (32)

Right fielders
Nick Swisher (32)
Cody Ross (32)
Torii Hunter (37)
Ichiro Suzuki (39)

Designated hitters
David Ortiz (38)
Travis Hafner (36) - $13M club option / $2.75M buyout
Jim Thome (42)

Starting pitchers
Zack Greinke (28)
Edwin Jackson (29)
Hiroki Kuroda (38)
Jake Peavy (31) - $22M club option / $4M buyout
Ryan Dempster (36)
Brandon McCarthy (29)
Anibal Sanchez (29)
Kyle Lohse (34)
Francisco Liriano (29)
Shaun Marcum (31)
Erik Bedard (34)

Relief pitchers
Rafael Soriano (33) - $14M player option
Mike Adams (34)
Mariano Rivera (43)
Jose Valverde (35)
Sean Burnett (30) - $3.5M mutual option
Fernando Rodney (36)
Jonathan Broxton (29)
Ryan Madson (32) - $11M mutual option
Joel Peralta (37)
J.P. Howell (28)

The following players have options we believe will be exercised. In the event the options are not picked up, these players would enter the free agent pool.

Robinson Cano (30) - $15M club option
David Wright (30) - $16M club option
Brian McCann (29) - $12M club option
Curtis Granderson (32) - $13M club option
Dan Haren (32) - $15.5M club option
Tim Hudson (37) - $9M club option
R.A. Dickey (38) - $5M club option
James Shields (31) - $9M club option
Paul Maholm (31) - $6.5M club option
Joakim Soria (29) - $8M club option
Gavin Floyd (30) - $9.5M club option
Grant Balfour (35) - $4.5M club option
Scott Feldman (29) - $9.25M club option
J.J. Putz (36) - $6.5M club / $1.5M buyout
Jhonny Peralta (31) - $6M club option
Jorge De La Rosa (32) - $11M player option
Jose Molina (37) - $1.5M club option
Matt Lindstrom (33) - $4M club option

How many top free agents will
Jeffrey Loria sign this off season?
Our top five potential free agents right now are:

1. Josh Hamilton
2. Zack Greinke
3. Edwin Jackson
4. Michael Bourn
5. Mike Napoli

How would you rank the upcoming free agent class? Which players look like the wisest investments? Who are the Marlins and Dodgers going to get?

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