MLB

2014 MLB Free Agency: 10 Elite MLB Players Who Will Enjoy Massive Paydays

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2014 MLB Free Agency: 10 Elite MLB Players Who Will Enjoy Massive Paydays

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David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

If you hate the business side of Major League Baseball then you are not going to like this. We are going to take a look at what will be this offseason’s biggest and ugliest contracts. They are actually going to be ugly only to a few people and then only if the player doesn’t live up to his new paycheck. By way of comparison we all knew last season that Josh Hamilton was going to be the big guy on the block when it came to his new deal. We all also now know how that turned out.

The idea of your favorite team shelling out millions of dollars is not to waste money of course but to win a championship and put rear ends in the seats. Usually the biggest of the big contracts go to players that seem to be a near can’t-miss as far as production value goes. This offseason there are quite a few ultra-reliable players on the market in various positions. It drops off fast though after the first 15 to 20 or so.

For our purposes we’ll focus on the players that could get the biggest contracts from an annual salary base. A player that is expected to make a ton of money for longer might likely be higher on the list but in general the idea is to focus on annual paydays. There is a ton of room for debate on this subject so please feel free to start any discussion you want in the comments section below.

David Miller is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidmillerrant, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Related:

2014 MLB Free Agency: The Top 5 Available Catchers

2014 MLB Free Agency: The Top 5 Available First Basemen

2014 MLB Free Agency: The Top 5 Available Outfielders

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10 – Kendrys Morales – 1B/DH

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Morales was about as productive as anyone could have been while playing for the Seattle Mariners in 2013. I don’t mean that as a total knock on the franchise that seems on the cusp of a GM change unless there are drastic changes this year. That probably won’t be Morales’ problem however. The Mariners should try to keep him but I doubt they will be able to pay his price. Some experts expect around $13M to $15M per season for a couple of years but it could be more impressive than that if more than one team gets involved.

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9 – Carlos Beltran – OF

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H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Beltran has had a solid few seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals that just goes to prove the value of fundamental baseball. Beltran is a master at playing the game the way it should be played and that along with his postseason brilliance is bound to earn him $15 to $18M annually. It won’t be a long contract because of his age but it will definitely be a big one.

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8 – Curtis Granderson – OF

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Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Granderson is just over 30 years old and has proven the ability to hit 35 to 40 home runs and drive in over 100 RBI over a full healthy season. It earned him a cool $15M from the Yankees this past season which he was unfortunately injured for a great deal of. His injury shouldn’t keep his contract down this time around and he is likely to get close to the same amount again from someone willing to assume his injury troubles are over.

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7 – Jacoby Ellsbury – OF

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Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Ellsbury has the advantage of playing in the World Series to assist in making a pretty penny from free agency. His better years might seem to be behind him but that isn’t likely or that big of a deal. He is capable of being the best in the game when healthy and full strength from a power standpoint. When he is not hitting for as much power he still provides plenty enough value to warrant what I would believe to be in the neighborhood of $15 to $17M per season. Considering his agent is the terribly hated Scott Boras, it could be more than that.

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6 – Mike Napoli – 1B

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Napoli had to prove his injury problems were a thing of the past and he has more than done that. His showing in the postseason is only going to boost what would have already been a very lucrative payday this offseason. Whether he returns to the Red Sox or not is questionable but whoever he plays for will have paid well for his services; somewhere in the same area as Ellsbury at $16M plus.

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5 – Ervin Santana – P

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Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals are still holding on to hope that they might be able to resign Santana because he comes with draft pick compensation. That is looking more and more unlikely especially for those teams with a protected first round pick next season. His age and success will likely get him $17 to $19M a year for at least 4 or 5 years. Chances are the Royals will have to move on without him.

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4 – Brian McCann – C

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Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Only by the rare fact that the Atlanta Braves have talented catchers coming up behind McCann is this talented catcher even on the free agent market. Nonetheless, he is here. McCann signing with an American League team could be the best bet because of the DH being available for off-days catching. Reports are that he could go to a team like the Red Sox or Rangers for upwards of $17M per year for a few good years.

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3 – Jhonny Peralta – SS

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Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Peralta certainly had to deal with his share of PED difficulties but don’t think for a second someone with money won’t go after his big bat and be very willing to pay for it. I think he could make every bit as much as most of the players on the free agent market. The New York Yankees might shy away from a PED guy for obvious reasons but they certainly would be one thought as a possible landing spot with the issues on the left side of their infield.

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2 – Shin-Soo Choo - OF

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Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Here is one of the two biggest boys on the market this offseason. Choo is considered by many an “On-Base Machine” and he proves it each time out. He is going to be well worth what someone pays for him and the list of teams interested is bound to approach the number 30. He is enough of a line-up changer that nearly every team including the Houston Astros are going to throw a hat in the ring. He is bound to make at least $20M per season for a while.

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1 – Robinson Cano – 2B

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The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

If the comfort of knowing their money will be well spent is what owners and GMs are looking for to shell out the biggest cash, it gets no better than Cano. He might be the best second baseman ever to hit the free agent market. At the age of 30 he has had over .300 average for seven of the last eight seasons. He is a proven 25-30 home run and 100 plus RBI guy every single season. Since he has never struck out 100 times in a single season, he also will provide a standard OPS of between .850 and 1.000 every year. Don’t be shocked when he drags in $23 to $25M per season next month or so.