As the 2011 season came to a close, the Marlins and Angels took the spotlight in the Winter Meetings held in Dallas. The Los Angeles Angels won the Pujols sweepstakes and Miami signed SS Jose Reyes, all-star closer Heath Bell and Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle. Only a few teams made noise at the Winter Meetings, the Rangers were holding out for Japanese mega star Yu Darvish, and Detroit slipped in and nabbed Prince Fielder after the injury to Victor Martinez surfaced. All in all, it was an eventful offseason, but what will next year bring?
There are only a handful of big names out there, most of which have club options for 2013, so we shall exclude them from this list, because you know the Yankees are going to exercise Robinson Cano for his $15 million owed in ’13. Boston’s Kevin Youkilis is set to receive a $13 million option next year, so who’s out there without club options? Here are our all-star free agents for 2013.
- Mike Napoli, C TEX, will be highly sought after mostly for his power (.312 ISO in 432 PAs). Napoli who will be age 32 next year and will most likely stay in the AL where that DH/C/1B role has suited him well.
- Lance Berkman, 1B/OF STL, was, in my mind, one of the best stories of ’11. Everyone all but wrote him off as he was a crucial part of a World Champion Cardinal team and has developed into a fan favorite. He will, at age 36, no doubt be trying to help fill the void left by Pujols.
- Brandon Phillips, 2B CIN, is undoubtedly one of the best, at a relatively thin position, look forward to pretty nice numbers, especially in a contract year.
- There are a trio of third sackers to keep an eye on for the 2012 season, first off Chipper Jones will be 41 in 2013, and I really don’t see him playing for anyone other than the Braves. Kevin Youkilis will be age 35 and Boston’s new GM Ben Cherington would be heavily scrutinized for moving who I think should be the new Red Sox captain. Finally, Baltimore’s Mark Reynolds, who has superhuman-like power, but is likely to pass Reggie Jackson as the game’s all-time strikeout leader in just half of the time, all have club options for 2013.
- Erick Aybar, SS LAA, is by all means a pretty durable shortstop, he shows signs of power (.142 ISO) and is an above average contributor with the glove (1.2 UZR), at age 28, it will be interesting to see what he does in this his contract year.
- One of the most sought after free agents next winter will undoubtedly be Andre Ethier, RF LAD, at 30, Eithier has shown the ability to put up HOF type numbers on the down side, he has been plagued with numerous injuries keeping him from taking full advantage of protecting or being protected by CF Matt Kemp. With the money put into the contracts of Kershaw and Kemp, it will be interesting to see if the Dodgers will be able to put down the funds to keep Ethier.
- The San Francisco Giants insist they will be able to afford the services of SP Matt Cain, age 27 next year, with an arbitration avoiding deal to land Tim Lincecum; San Francisco has one of the best one-two punches in baseball. Look for Cain to once again put up Cy Young quality numbers in his contract year.
- Other notable players that will be entering their contract year will include, PHI SP Cole Hamels, MIL SP Zack Greinke, DET LF Delmon Young, TB CF B.J. Upton, HOU 1B/OF Carlos Lee, and LAA OF Torii Hunter.