A number of iconic players are in contract years, so ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark looks ahead to their free agent stock and provides other rumors from around the league. Here are the details:
- No one Stark spoke with predicts David Ortiz will leave the Red Sox for another team.
- Jose Reyes will be the number two free agent on the market this winter behind only Albert Pujols, according to one executive.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledges that it wouldn't be easy to replace Jimmy Rollins, even though the shortstop is no longer an MVP-caliber player. The Phillies ‘poked around’ for possible alternatives at short last offseason, according to Stark, who predicts a two-year deal for Rollins and the Phils this winter.
- Prince Fielder will no doubt sign a lucrative free agent deal, but one executive says the first baseman’s body will be an issue: "It has been since high school, and it always will be." Fielder is 27 now, so an eight-year deal would expire after his age-35 season.
- Pujols will test the market, but Stark and his sources find it hard to believe that he’d leave St. Louis for any old team. One executive predicts that the Cubs are the Cardinals’ main threat.
- The Cubs aren’t ready to start selling and haven’t started shopping Carlos Zambrano, despite his recent outburst.
- The Red Sox offered Miguel Olivo a one-year deal before re-signing Jason Varitek last offseason. Olivo eventually signed a two-year deal with the Mariners.
- The Rangers are ‘stepping up’ their search for a right-handed setup man and maintain interest in Nationals reliever Todd Coffey.
- Rival teams say the Tigers are looking for a left-handed reliever. Southpaws Daniel Schlereth, David Purcey, Charlie Furbush and Adam Wilk are currently in Detroit’s bullpen.