Plenty has been written about the potential starting pitching depth of the 2013 free agent class, which could include Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy, and more. But how does next offseason's free agent market look for position players?
This could be the deepest free agent catching class in a long time. Yadier Molina will set the market, while Chris Iannetta, Russell Martin, Miguel Montero, Mike Napoli, A.J. Pierzynski, and Yorvit Torrealba join him. It's rare to find offense at catcher, but there is plenty in this group. Napoli and Molina seem most likely to be extended prior to reaching the open market.
Napoli and Lance Berkman head up the group, with second tier guys like Aubrey Huff, Adam LaRoche, Carlos Lee, and James Loney also in the mix. They'll be joined by Casey Kotchman, Carlos Pena, and Derrek Lee if they sign one-year deals. Overall, there's a case to be made for a non-contender to sign Prince Fielder if they're looking forward to this group.
Howie Kendrick signed an extension over the weekend. If Brandon Phillips follows suit and obvious options are picked up on Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler, the best available might be Kelly Johnson, Maicer Izturis, and Freddy Sanchez.
Erick Aybar is the best option, but the Angels could extend him too. Stephen Drew could get a big contract with a healthy season, while Marco Scutaro and Alex Gonzalez will be looking for everyday jobs.
The third base market may be bleak once again. David Wright could be a free agent after the 2012 season if he's traded before it ends and chooses to void a 2013 option, or if the Mets simply decline the $16MM option. Kevin Youkilis' $13MM option will probably be exercised. Additionally, Scott Rolen and Placido Polanco are likely free agents.
Josh Hamilton is the big name. His contract will depend heavily on his 2012 season. Delmon Young will have age on his side at 27 years old. Several others who are currently penciled in at center or right field will be options in left.
David Ortiz will again be the best available; we'll see if he gets the equivalent of an arbitration offer from the Red Sox. Edwin Encarnacion could be interesting, while Bobby Abreu and Travis Hafner will be fighting for regular work.