Play-By-Playmate: Figuring Out Free Agency

By Jaime Edmondson

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With MLB's Winter Meetings well underway, Jaime tries to figure out where the leagues top free agents will land.


I was pretty shocked to see the spring training countdown fall into double digits this past weekend. Less than 100 days until pitchers and catchers report? Wasn’t San Francisco just having a parade? When did this happen?

Doesn’t matter; it’s happening and happening fast. MLB teams are already in their winter meetings, which means fans are starting to get some answers to all the trade rumors flying around. B.J. Upton, for instance, is now a Brave. Mike Napoli is a Red Sox. And most of the Miami Marlins involved in Jeff Loria’s Ponzi scheme are Blue Jays. 

But there are still some huge names available for teams bold enough to make a splash in the free agent market, and I’ll run down two of the top names today along with some…ahem…cheaper options. For starters (literally):

Zack Greinke 

Greinke is the unquestionable ace of the offseason. Since moving out of Kansas City, his win percentage is well above average and he strikes out about a batter per inning, hitting the 200 mark in both of the last two seasons. He’s definitely a prize for any team, but he’s asking for a buck-fifty and seven years, so that limits his suitors. I’m inclined to agree with the talking heads that Greinke will go from one L.A. team to the other, but I think that the Nationals might make him an attractive offer, and if the Rangers let Hamilton go, I think he could be making the move to Texas.

Anibal Sanchez

The Tigers reportedly offered Sanchez four years and $48 million and he said that was insulting…Apparently Sanchez thinks he’s worth six years and $90 million, but come on, you can’t blame a team for trying, testing the waters to see if he would bite. Considering the difference in the two sides, I think it’s safe to say they might settle on five years and 70. That’s half the money Greinke is seeking, so Sanchez could be a good fit for the aforementioned’s former team, the Angels. 

Ryan Dempster

But if you want some real value, I think it’s in Ryan Dempster. The 15-year veteran is reportedly seeking three years at $25 million, and that’s pretty good for a guy who despite losing a little footing towards the end of last season went 12-8 with a 3.38 ERA. 

As for position players:

Josh Hamilton

It’s safe to say Hamilton is the best position player on the market: top-five hitter almost every year in every category and a perennial MVP candidate, but he’s got a bit of a history…both injury and otherwise. The Rangers don’t seem to be chomping at the bit to make him an offer, so it makes me wonder if they know something we don’t. Regardless, he’s in for a major payday, a Prince Fielder type payday, so the spots he could land are limited to big-budget teams. I don’t think the Red Sox are gonna break the bank on anyone this year, the Dodgers already have a lot of money in the outfield and the Yankees probably don’t need another expensive injury risk. That really only leaves the Rangers and…the Phillies! I think he ends up there. 

Michael Bourn

Bourn is also in for a big payday, about $100 million, and I’ve heard a certain Cubs GM say his team was in the market for outfielders and that he’d be willing to pay. Bourn would be a great fit for the Cubs, who are going to need some veteran leadership during their rebuild. 

Shane Victorino

With Bourn, Hamilton and a whole bunch of outfielders waiting to sign, The Flyin’ Hawaiian is holding back, waiting to see who signs where and for how much, hoping to bump his own value once the market thins out. Could be a pretty smart move, but whoever signs him is gonna get a deal. A steal, really: Victorino kinda fell off in 2012, but he had MVP-worthy numbers in ’09 and ’11 and for maybe $10 million a season could turn out to be the best signing of the offseason. 

Jaime's Fantasy Football Update

Last week of the regular season and shes a deusy. I'm leading Dawg Pound Dawgs, 93-85 but we;ve both got one players to play. Me: Pierre Garcon. Him? Lawrence Tynes. If Garcon doesnt show up it could come right down to the wire...

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