Every MLB Team’s Most Likely Free Agent Target This Offseason
Every MLB Team’s Most Likely Free Agent Target This Offseason
Major League Baseball’s offseason is built upon the ever rising cost of free agency. Once upon a time a great season for a MLB player just meant that they were achieving the best of their potential. Now that is largely ignored and a good season just means more money when the player hits the free agent market. MLB GMs are not simply ignorant however and they know to build their teams with both expensive and bargain priced free agents. This is a look at each MLB team’s most likely free agent target this offseason.
Not every need for a MLB team is filled through free agency of course. A great many teams prefer the trade market and will only sign one player at the most in free agency. Still others will look to rebuild entire sections of their roster from the free agent market. Regardless of the aim of the GMs from each team, they all have one more likely first target in free agency. That is what we’ll look at here.
This is based upon rumors and facts about what the teams are looking for and what they clearly need. Some GMs have clearly spelled out their free agent targets while others are quiet on the issue completely. They will be listed in alphabetical order by team name with A’s first and the Yankees last. The comments section below begs your opinion on each and every one of these slides.
Oakland Athletics – Kevin Gregg
With the expected loss of Grant Balfour to free agency, the A’s are bound to find a replacement either in a cheaper free agent option or from within. Either way, Gregg would provide a very substantial boost in the bullpen. Given his last few weeks in Chicago Cubs uniform, he might look to have something to prove in a closer role.
Los Angeles Angels – Grant Balfour
The Angels need a strong and reliable closer for their ninth inning now more than ever. With the struggles this team went through in 2013, every game they lead in the eighth needs to be one they win. Balfour could give them this certainty for a little less than Joe Nathan.
Houston Astros – Marlon Byrd
There will be a great few teams looking for Byrd’s services but the Astros could benefit more from his addition that the others. He is probably within their price-range and could make a huge splash by showing up in that outfield.
Toronto Blue Jays – A.J. Pierzynski
Pierzynski could be the best option to fill the Blue Jays void they say they have at catcher. He would be much less than the bigger name catching free agents but provide some offense and good experience as well behind the plate.
Atlanta Braves – Tim Hudson
The Braves are not the only team looking for Hudson but he is likely one of their only few free agent signings they will try for. Even though he is wanted by many teams, the Braves are certainly the front-runners.
Milwaukee Brewers – Corey Hart
The Brewers are not likely to do anything besides re-sign Hart for a pay cut in free agency this offseason. For whatever the trades they try to make, chances are this team will look very similar to 2013’s when they break camp in 2014.
St. Louis Cardinals – Jhonny Peralta
The Cardinals are basically set in a lot of places but have proclaimed a large need at shortstop. Peralta isn’t the best defensive option but the Cards have said specifically that they want an offensive boost from the position. For all the available men at that spot, Peralta likely provides the best option for a boost.
Chicago Cubs – Nate McLouth
The Cubs offseason has been consumed with a managerial search but with Rick Renteria filling that void, they can turn their attention to free agency. They aren’t actually likely to do a lot on the open market but might look for some outfield pop and consistency which McLouth could provide if they can pry him away from the standard Orioles spot he keeps.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Mike Morse
Morse is certainly no guarantee to compete for a gold glove in the outfield but he absolutely is a threat offensively which this year seems to be what Kevin Towers wants most. Morse could be a good one year deal to fill that temporary need for less.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Providing the Red Sox let him go looking elsewhere before they make an offer, the Dodgers might be a promising fit after letting A.J. Ellis go behind the plate.
San Francisco Giants – Javier Lopez
It is rumored that the Giants want Lopez bad enough that they were willing to let Ryan Vogelsong go to free up the necessary funds. Lopez certainly would prove worth the price in a postseason run if the Giants are able to achieve that goal in 2014.
Cleveland Indians – Tim Hudson
In addition to the Braves, the Indians could be a serious potential suitor of Tim Hudson. They have a strong clubhouse atmosphere and Terry Francona has already been in contact with Huddy. Grabbing Hudson would be a strong way to offset likely losing Ubaldo Jimenez to free agency.
Seattle Mariners – Jacoby Ellsbury
Though they won’t be alone in searching for Ellsbury’s services, the Mariners are rumored to be willing to go the extra millions to bring him in. If that is true he would be a good stable member of the outfield.
Miami Marlins – Wilson Betemit
There is a need at third base for the Marlins but it is a short-term need. There are several that could be a good fill for that spot but Betemit is one that seems to fit the situation the best and could provide more than they think in that role.
New York Mets – Rafael Furcal
For whatever reason the Mets really seem to be in on the Furcal sweepstakes. There are other teams that are interested as well but the Mets surely have the resources to bring in the mid-30s shortstop.
Washington Nationals – J.P. Howell
The Nats don’t have a lot of needs now that they have a promising new manager in Matt Williams but they do need to do some work in the bullpen. Lefty J.P. Howell would be a welcome sight that is well within price-range.
Baltimore Orioles – Ricky Nolasco
The Orioles are likely to try and bring in a couple of pitchers over the free agent market but none are as promising as Nolasco who could be just the right fit and is a familiar face to a few there.
San Diego Padres – Bronson Arroyo
The Padres need a little bridge building in the starting rotation and Arroyo could be a surprisingly good addition to this staff. The front office is mum on all dealings right now but don’t be surprised if someone like Arroyo or even he himself arrives in San Diego.
Philadelphia Phillies – Carlos Ruiz
Quite a few big name trades are on the radar of the Phillies but the free agent market will probably be quiet for them other than attempting to re-sign Ruiz to be their catcher once again.
Pittsburgh Pirates – A.J. Burnett
For all the young promising pitching the Pirates have, they really need another season from their resident veteran ace. Burnett has kicked around the idea of retirement but look for the Bucs to push very hard to bring him back for another season.
Texas Rangers – Brian McCann
If McCann doesn’t end up with the Rangers it will not be because they didn’t want or couldn’t afford him. They have the right spot, cash and attitude to land McCann for a big long-term deal.
Tampa Bay Rays – Fernando Rodney
Rodney refurbished his entire career in the last couple of seasons with the Rays and might be likely to re-sign for less there than he would demand elsewhere. The Rays would have to grab at a few straws if he left so they really would be better off by re-signing him for a decent deal. Look for them to go for this hard.
Boston Red Sox – Mike Napoli
Napoli is one of quite a few free agents that the Red Sox have on their World Championship hands but he is more valuable than the others because he would be much harder to replace. The first baseman market in free agency isn’t great and Napoli is doubtlessly at the top. Re-signing him would make the most sense for them.
Cincinnati Reds – Shin-Soo Choo
The Reds won’t do a lot in free agency but they are probably going to try to bring back Choo. They won’t do what some others will do but it is very possible that they could make a much bigger play for his return than some think. I think in the end he’ll go elsewhere but not for lack of effort on the Reds part.
Colorado Rockies – Brian Wilson
The Rockies could really use a fun adventurous personality like Wilson in the clubhouse. No matter how I feel about his hair and beard, he brings that and a top of the line closer ability to the Rockies. He could setup or close either one and probably prove successful for slightly less than his worth because he is largely unproven since surgery.
Kansas City Royals – Dan Haren
There has been rumored interest from the Royals in Haren and he would seem to be a very good option to solidify the rotation. Though his success is not a guarantee, he is a proven competitor and could rebound with a huge season at virtually any time.
Detroit Tigers – Joe Nathan
The Nathan sweepstakes will probably come down to the Tigers and the Yankees. Price will be similar with Nathan probably choosing the most probable competitor over the recent struggles of the Yankees.
Minnesota Twins – Ubaldo Jimenez
The Twins have repeatedly been interested in free agent pitching this offseason already. Though they are probably just out of the sweepstakes of the higher priced guys, Jimenez might fall perfectly. His draft pick compensation status will keep some teams away while the Twins have a protected first round pick. He is likely the biggest name they have chance at.
Chicago White Sox – Curtis Granderson
The White Sox are prepared to make a bigger splash in the outfield free agent market than many probably think. If they could sign Granderson who they have been rumored interested in, it would obviously be a huge burst in the outfield for them.
New York Yankees – Ervin Santana
Though the Yankees likely will have to throw a lot of money at Robinson Cano, they are probably the only ones willing to pay his price. That brings us to starting pitching and they would probably look at Santana’s price as a bargain assuming he continues performing the way he did recently for the Royals.