MLB Rumors: Predicting Where the Top 15 Free Agents Will Go

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MLB Rumors: Where The Top 15 Free Agents Will Go

Free Agent
Matthe Emmons- US Presswire

Free agency can be one of the most exciting events during an offseason for any league. That holds true for the MLB.

All 30 teams are going to be looking to upgrade their team. Teams that have money to play with are going to do that through free agency.

Free agency can be painful for some fans. Seeing your favorite player in another uniform can look weird. I still remember seeing Frank Thomas in an Oakland Athletics uniform, it just didn’t make sense and it looked wrong.

Last year the two biggest names on the market were Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols. The Detroit Tigers surprised everyone by snagging Fielder. Fielder wasn’t expected to go to the Tigers but with the money that the Tigers offered how could he turn them down?

The team that also made a big surprise signing was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim when they signed Pujols. No one expected the Angels to offer the type of contract that Pujols wanted or the money.

There are always surprises in free agency and this year shouldn’t be any exception. Usually there is always a surprise team that signs a big name free agent or offers a contract that doesn’t make sense. Remember when the Washington Nationals signed Jayson Werth to that ridiculous contract?

I decided to take a look at the top 15 free agents available and what team or possible teams they could sign with. There might be some surprise teams in this list. Let’s get started shall we?

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Josh Hamilton

Hamilton
Kevin Jairaj-US Presswire

Hamilton is the biggest position player in free agency right now. He once again put up great numbers for the Texas Rangers in 2012 and was an All Star. There are still some questions regarding Hamilton. It has to do with his addiction issues. Hamilton did suffer a relapse in February but was able to bounce back. This might or might not affect how much money Hamilton gets in a contract.

There are two teams that are looking at Hamilton. One team is the Tigers. The Tigers want to win while Fielder and Cabrera are young and signing Hamilton might finally bring the team there. The Tigers also have money to spend.

Another team that would fit in with Hamilton would be the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers want to make a splash and adding Hamilton would do the trick. An outfield with Hamilton and Ryan Braun would be pretty impressive. The one thing that could restrict the Brewers with signing Hamilton would be how much money he would want.

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Zack Greinke

Greinke
Kirby Lee- US Presswire

Greinke is the biggest non-position player in this list. With both the Brewers and the Angels, Greinke was 15-5 and posted a 3.48 ERA. Those are pretty good numbers for pitching in both the American and National League in 2012. With the market not saturated with All-Star pitchers, Greinke is going to be asking for a lot of money. Rumors are that he is asking for $150 million and a six year contract.

There aren’t a lot of teams that like giving pitchers a six year contract for $150 million. There are two teams who are going to bid for his services however.

The Angels are going to try and keep Greinke since they need starting pitching. The Angels might bite and offer Greinke whatever he wants to keep him.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are going to come after Greinke also. After the Angels signed Pujols, the Dodgers pretty much became the second team in Los Angeles. The Dodgers want to compete and be relevant again. If the Dodgers sign Greinke then they will do that, and they will also compete with the San Francisco Giants in the West which doesn’t hurt.

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Michael Bourn

Bourn
Howard Smith-US Presswire

This young outfield played great for the Atlanta Braves in 2012. He batted .274 and was an All-Star. He is going to want a lot of money. With the amount he is probably asking for I don’t see him resigning with the Braves.

That leaves one team that has been pursuing Bourn forever and that would be the Nationals. If the Nationals sign Bourn then they will have a stacked outfield. Image the outfield with Bryce Harper, Werth, and Bourn. The Nationals would become instant favorites to win the East again as soon as they sign Bourn.

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B.J. Upton

BJ Upton
Kirby Lee-US Presswire

While Upton didn’t have a great year in 2012 for the Tampa Bay Rays he is still a coveted free agent. He is young, fast, and still a raw talent. A change of scenery might be best for the young outfielder.

The team that is going to come after Upton is going to be the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies desperately need a centerfielder. Another reason the Phillies will come after Upton, he’s young and he brings power which the Phillies need. The Phillies also have money to spend so unless Upton is asking for the kitchen sink look for Upton to be playing in Philadelphia.

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Nick Swisher

Swisher
Anthony Gruppuso-US Presswire

It seems that Swishers time with the New York Yankees is up. He won a World Series with them, and was named an All-Star. However after his comment in the playoffs that he couldn’t play when the home team fans were booing him was probably the final straw for the Yankees. That and he didn’t hit very well in the ALCS.

Swisher is still 31 and can still hit for average. Besides the one disastrous year with the Chicago White Sox, Swisher has put up consistent numbers his whole career.

Swisher is going to ask for a lot of money and a long contract. Free agency is filled with outfielders like Hamilton and Bourn who will drive the market.

I think that the Seattle Mariners are going to be the surprise team and sign Swisher. The Mariners are young and need a veteran like Swisher. They also need a good first baseman and outfielder and Swisher fits that role. Signing Swisher might also bring fans back into Seattle.

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Anibal Sanchez

Sanchez
Rick Osentoski-US Pressiwre

Sanchez is young and still has a good arm. He was traded from the Miami Marlins to the Tigers and the Tigers got what they needed from Sanchez. He was only four and six but he did post an ERA of 3.74. He also helped the Tigers with the backend of their rotation

I actually see Sanchez staying with the Tigers. I think that it makes sense for both parties. The Tigers still need to have someone on the backend of their rotation and Sanchez is a solid number three or number four starter.

For Sanchez, staying with the Tigers could mean another trip to the World Series.

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Dan Haren

Haren
Kelley L. Cox-US Presswire

I’m actually a bit surprised that Haren is on this list and a free agent for two reasons. One is that he really wanted to stay with the Angels but they didn’t offer him a contract. The second is that he was originally traded to the Chicago Cubs but the Cubs managed to mess that up.

Haren had some injury issues in 2012 which is why the Angels probably didn’t want to resign him. Yet it is perplexing since besides 2012 he hasn’t really had a bad season. In fact, in 2011 with the Angels he posted a 3.17 ERA.

I see Haren going back to the National League with either two teams. The Cubs might go after Haren again since they were going to trade for him anyway. Having Haren on the team would help the Cubs rotation.

Another team that Haren would fit in with is the San Diego Padres. Petco Park would help Haren get his ERA down since it is a pitcher friendly ballpark. Also, the Padres need just as much help at pitching as anyone in the league.

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Edwin Jackson

Jackson
Brad Mills-US Presswire

Jackson is another player who I’m surprised is on this list. The Nationals wanted to resign him, yet he turned them down and wanted to see what was available in free agency.

Jackson didn’t have a great year with the Nationals which is why I’m surprised he turned down their offer. I don’t know what he expects to get in free agency.

Jackson is a solid number four or five starter for a rotation. He is still a strikeout machine. Even for the Nationals he struck out 168 batters.

Jackson is going to have his passport on him in 2013 because I think he is going to be playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays want starting pitching and want to contend for the East and Jackson would help.

The Blue Jays are always that team that I want to pick to win the East but pitching always seems to plague them. With Jackson, they would be contenders again.

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Mike Napoli

Napoli
Matthew Emmons-US Presswire

While Napoli only hit .227 with the Rangers in 2012 don’t let that statistic fool you. He is still one of the best catchers in the game offensively. In 2011 he drove in 75 runs and in 2012 he drove in 56 runs.

He has put up over 20 home runs every year since he has been in the MLB, except for 2006 and 2007.

Two teams stick out to me who will want Napoli’s services. The first team is the Rangers. The Rangers like Napoli and like I said he put up great numbers for them in his two years there.

The second team would be the White Sox. If the White Sox don’t resign A.J. Pierzynski and don’t trust Tyler Flowers to start everyday then Napoli would be their man. He brings good offensive numbers and probably isn’t going to be demanding a lot of money.

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Angel Pagan

Pagan
Tim Fuller-US Presswire

Pagan only played one year for the Giants and already has a World Series ring. He put up great numbers for the Giants as well in the regular season and post-season.

He is incredibly fast and smart on the bases and He is going to be a hot commodity this year in free agency.

Don’t worry Giants fans; I don’t see Pagan going anywhere. Like I said, he won a ring with the Giants and seems comfortable there. He enjoys playing in San Francisco and the players on the Giants love him.

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Kevin Youkilis

Youkilis
Tim Heitman-US Presswire

Youkilis is in the twilight years of his great career and he is finally hitting free agency. It comes at the right time for him. It might be the most money he will make in a contract. The reason I say this is because there aren’t many other good third basemen available.

There are two teams where I can see Youkilis going. The first is the White Sox. The White Sox desperately need someone at third base. That’s the reason they traded for him in the first place. Youkilis would also be a stopgap for the White Sox until they can develop someone at third base.

The other team that would be interested in Youkilis would be the Cleveland Indians. The Indians wouldn’t mind having Youkilis playing third base. He would also be reunited with Terry Francona who helped Youkilis win a World Series ring.

Sorry Boston Red Sox fans, I don’t see Youkilis coming back to Boston even with Bobby Valentine gone.

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Hiroki Kuroda

Kuroda
Anthony Gruppuso-US Presswire

This is probably the easiest name on the list to guess where he is going. Kuroda has already said that he either wants to play for the Yankees again or he will go back to Japan.

I do think that if Kuroda was offered a huge amount of money from another team other than the Yankees he would go to that team, but I don’t see that happening.

Either we will see Kuroda back in a Yankees uniform, or out of the MLB.

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Toriie Hunter

Hunter
Gary A. Vasquez

Hunter might be under the radar to most teams because of Hamilton, Swisher, and Bourn being available. Don’t let that fool you though. Hunter had a great year for the Angels in 2012. He hit .313 and drove in 92 runs.

He might not have the same speed that he used to have patrolling the outfield since he’s 36 but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a good fielder anymore.

Look for Hunter to be wearing pinstripes in 2013. The Yankees want another strong outfielder and someone to replace Swisher and Hunter would be their guy.

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Ryan Dempster

Dempster
Kevin Jairaj-US Presswire

I think that Dempster just wants out of the American League. He posted a 5.09 ERA for the Rangers after he was traded from the Cubs.

I don’t foresee Dempster trying the American League again unless someone offers him a lot of money.

Don’t worry Cubs fans I think you will see Dempster again, just not in the way you expect.

I foresee the Brewers signing Dempster. The Brewers would add another piece to their rotation and Dempster would be back in the National League, a league that he has dominated over the years.

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Shane Victorino

Victorino
Gary A. Vasquez-US Presswire

The last name on our list, but that shouldn’t take anything away from Victorino.

2012 wasn’t one of Victorino’s best. He only hit .255 for the Phillies and Dodgers and drove in 55 runs.

I think that Victorino is going to remain in the National League and will even see the Phillies again. However, he won’t be playing in Philadelphia. Victorino will be a Brave.

The Braves are going to need a high caliber player to replace Bourne and Victorino is that player.

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