Position Analysis For The 2013 Free Agent Class

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?

Catcher

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.

First basemen

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.

Second basemen

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

Shortstops

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.

Third basemen

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.

Left fielders

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.

Center fielders

Hamilton can play some center, but this is a deep group with Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino, Melky Cabrera, Marlon ByrdGrady Sizemore, and Angel Pagan

Right fielders

Andre Ethier, Carlos Quentin, and Nick Swisher will be seeking big paydays.  Ichiro Suzuki and Torii Hunter will represent the old guard.

Designated hitters

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. 


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42 Comments on "Position Analysis For The 2013 Free Agent Class"


jammin502
3 years 6 months ago

I think that Marlon Byrd will be a free agent after the 2012 season as well.

3 years 6 months ago

Probably merits a mention.

vtadave
3 years 6 months ago

Barely.

ea19
3 years 6 months ago

Byrd is listed under the center fielders

jammin502
3 years 6 months ago

Tim edited him in after my mention.

FS54
3 years 6 months ago

Hard to imagine Ichiro as a free agent.

3 years 6 months ago

If the Rangers won’t TCB, prepare for the Mike Napoli bidding war…

Hermie13
3 years 6 months ago

Heads up on mark reynolds….he is not eligible to be a free agent even if the O’s decline his option. He will be arbitration eligible as he won’t have 6 years service time. O’s would have to non-tender him

3 years 6 months ago

Nice catch.

3 years 6 months ago

Nice to see ATL might finally have some decent LF/CF options with some money to spend. I hope we don’t have to depend on a 3B option. What a bleak free agent position.

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

I see Sanchez getting a contract sometime this year, but the rest of the named SP hitting the market.

Next year should be a bounty for SP and the NYY maybe getting 2? Many have already put Hamels in pinstripes, but could anyone imagine those people with a front 3 of Sabathia-Cain-Hamels?

Think about if everyone.. Burnet will be gone, they are spending nothing this year, jeter will be gone after 2013.. They CAN afford it…

0bsessions
3 years 6 months ago

They CAN afford it, but indications are that they’re allegedly trying to get under the luxury tax threshold over the next few years because of the steeply escalating penalty. If they aim for that, signing two pitchers who will, in all likelihood, cost in excess of $100MM a piece is unlikely.

I would bet one of each winds up in NY and Boston with Burnett and Matsuzaka on their way out, though. Additionally, if Middlebrooks is ready, Ortiz will probably be shown the door in favor of Youk at DH for his last season.

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

I would like to see 1 in Boston, granted.. Matsuzaka is “only” 10m however and Ortiz 13m range. Boston will have several other issues coming up and have a few more years of Lackey, beckett to deal with.

Jeter will be coming off of the books @17m after 2013. I just see them making a hard push to get an impact rotation, but don’t get me wrong.. would really like to see Cain in that Sox rotation… I just don’t see them springing for it.

Guest
3 years 6 months ago

Both the Yankees and Sox face the same looming financial issues. The only difference is that Yankees have just a touch less dead weight present day and for the Yankees, a lot of money will start opening up soon again. The Red Sox issues are just in the beginning stages imo. The Yanks are in the middle of theirs by now. 

Savings for the Yankees however will be offset by players like Cano, but you can bet that the Yankees keep it cheap at SS in 2 years, Mason Williams could bud into a huge player/prospect (already talk within the Yanks he could be one of their best prospects yet and has all tools) he could take any OF position and complimenting the other two spots really isn’t that difficult. I don’t see Granderson obtaining a HUGE HUGE deal, so I think we’ll see him in New York for an additional 3-4 years at about $12.5 per year, not terrible. When Mo retires, the Yanks will still have Robertson, Joba and possibly Soriano so I am not too concerned about the closer, for now. 

0bsessions
3 years 6 months ago


The only difference is that Yankees have just a touch less dead weight present day and for the Yankees”

The Sox have Matsuzaka and Lackey as legitimate dead weight and Matsuzaka’s coming off next year putting them at equal footing on legit dead weight when the Yankees have Burnett as legit dead weight.

At the same time, the Yankees are paying $12.5 million to a setup man worth half that, even more to a SS worth less than half that and are paying A-Rod an AAV around $25MM through the next six years.

If it’s true the Yankees want to get under the luxury tax, they’re going to have a much harder time of it than the Sox by virtue of the $50 million tied up between A-Rod and Sabathia alone.

“I don’t see Granderson obtaining a HUGE HUGE deal, so I think we’ll see him in New York for an additional 3-4 years at about $12.5 per year, not terrible.”

You’re nuts. Granderson just put up a .916 OPS at CF and unlike Ellsbury (Who as much as I’d like to say otherwise, will regress powerwise at least) has flashed the kind of power potential he showed last year for years. Granderson’s in line for $15MM annually MINIMUM and $20MM+ annually unless he completely bombs 2012 and 2013. Werth and Crawford set the bar for corner outfielders at over $20MM and six years, Granderson’s better than either of them and plays CF.

East Coast Bias
3 years 6 months ago

Absolutely right. Grandy for 12.5m a year, on a 3 year deal is a joke!

Also, on the lux tax… Yanks are aiming to be below the 189m by 2014, where they’re taxed at 50%! That works out because AJ and Jeter will be gone in 2013, or Jeter’s player option kicks in for 8m for 2014. If a team stays under the lux tax for one year, the percentage drops to 17-18%, so they can go under one year, then start splurging next few years until hitting the dreaded 50%, rinse, repeat. 

Paying Grandy and Cano, while staying under budget will be their big financial struggle for the future.

0bsessions
3 years 6 months ago

The problem is that it’s really hard to stay under for “just one year.” It’ll take a lot of planning and luck of the market breaking just the right way to be able to do a hard reset on the luxury tax without staying really close regularly. The Red Sox should be able to do it because they’re generally within spitting distance of the tax any given year and one contract rolling off and a couple of shrewd moves can be the difference, but the Yankees have been hovering regularly $20-30MM over for years and with as many long term big money deals as they have, clearing that much will be tough. Once A-Rod’s out of there, it’ll all become much easier, but his deal is really going to hurt the prospect of maintaining their talent level while dropping below the threshold from time to time.

slider32
3 years 6 months ago

I can’t take the Sox and Yanks serious when they talk about staying under the cap. The Yanks make too much money too be worried about the cap.

slider32
3 years 6 months ago

There’s too different kinds of dead weight, Dice-K and Lackey give you nothing in return; Burnett at least gives you innings and wins-11 the last few years.

3 years 6 months ago

Burnett gives you wins, no, the yankees offence gives burnett wins…would you say that Lackey gave the red sox wins last year, because he had more than AJ!

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

Oh I don’t think the overall situation is that close now. Boston will let the veterans walk when their time is done, or nearing the end and that will become apparent when Youk’s contract gets close, or has already shown itself when Tek was forced to come back for nearly nothing.

They have no qualms in letting over paid, or nearing the end players go elsewhere.

Now.. Cashman I think feels that way also. It is not him who is responsible for most of the issues.

Think the Sox will also let people such as Lester, Pedroia walk when their time comes in 2015 as well if they will not return on their terms, or replace them from within. Ellsbury could be the one you have in mind and I for one think he will be gone after 2013 after he hits the open market, just getting that super deal, as in more than CC just got if he continues the production put up in 2011 and Boston will not/should not pay that.

Ta-Kuan Fuan
3 years 6 months ago

No doubt they can afford it, but they’ll also be staring at filling up a LOT of holes. Rivera’s contract is up at the end of this year, Cano is in for a HUGE payday (I’m guessing it’ll be somewhere in the 6yr/$120MM neighborhood), Swisher’s contract is also up, and both Burnett and Jeter’s are up at the end of 2013. Unless they’re looking for cheap, in-house alternatives, they may have to spread that money around to fill those holes.

Guest
3 years 6 months ago

AJ has two years left, although, pending his pitching results this season, he could be gone anyway. It would just be determining how much value he has, if any, in a trade. If he goes out and wins 15 and loses 10 with a sub 4.00 ERA, they may be able to pull a Derek Lowe and move $5mm-$6mm. Regarding Hamels, I am not so sure I have heard the same definitive “we are signing Hamels” thing just yet. He’s a great young pitcher, but he’s had his ups and downs as well and I’m not ready to hand out big money for him just yet. This season is a big season for Hamels, probably the most important of his career. Unlike Greinke, Hamels hasn’t won a Cy Young. Unlike Matt Cain, Hamels doesn’t have much post season success on his resume. We should just slow down the Hamels talk a little. I think the Yankees are done handing out $150mm + contracts to pitchers for a long time. It just isn’t worth it. Pending 2012 results, I figure Hamels will get in the range of $85mm-$90mm over 5/6 years and Cain maybe slightly higher in the $100mm range. I like Sanchez the best out of all these guys to be honest. He could probably be had for $60mm over 5 years.

chrisn313
3 years 6 months ago

Not much post season success? Wasn’t Hamel’s a world series MVP?

Guest
3 years 6 months ago

Was he? Serious question. If so, I apologize. Must have been a non event if so, because I have zero recollection of that moment. 

chrisn313
3 years 6 months ago

Well, in 2008 he was the NLCS MVP, followed by the WS MVP. His playoff numbers are good, though a bad game against the Yankees in ’09 and a couple against Col have them inflated.
Point is, he’s gonna get over $100 mil.

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

yeah, Like that other poster said.. Hamels will probably be paid handsomely for his previous NLCS succes, but I agree that Sanchez will eventually be the best of the lot if for no other reason than have watched many of them as a Fish fan.

Also think that Hamels is below both Cain and Sanchez, but Hamels will the the one targeted for his vast post season trials and yes.. success.

There is very little chance Sanchez will make it to FA IMO.. He is still the rock behind JJ, I have little to no faith in Buehrle being ever more than a #3.

dylanp5030
3 years 6 months ago

Sanchez better than Hamels? I’ll have what he’s smoking.

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

Did u even bother paying attention to the entire post?

Long term..  Hamels has a LOT of wear and tear on his arm and Sanchez has very, very little thus far, especially after the TJ and other injuries he went thru.

dylanp5030
3 years 6 months ago

Um, so since Hamels actually pitched instead of getting TJ surgery, he’s not the prize of the offseason and teams should value Sanchez more, yeah, I doubt it.

Hamels has suffered minor injuries and has always been very durable. He is around the same age as Sanchez, and not even close to being in the same category, and prob will never be a top 10 pitc

Guest
3 years 6 months ago

sanchez has never had a 200 inning season, i would wonder about his durability.

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

He fought arm issues until the last 2 seasons. The question with Sanchez was never anything else. He has suffered from TJ, sprains, pulls and everything else until the last 2 seasons and why many teams (IMO) would think he would be highly desirable with so little mileage on his arm.

The last 2 seasons however he has been the rock with JJ out so much and really don’t think they will let him reach FA as he is the best one can count on with JJ still always a DL candidate and little faith Buehrle will be any more than a #3, even in the NL.

3 years 6 months ago

you sir are drunk, cause thats how free agency works, injury prone player recieve larger contracts…WTF, i guess bobby Jenks must be in for a whopper next year too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 years 6 months ago

Non-event? Hamels was amazing in the 2008 WS and short of 2 or 3 bad games would have been given as much Cy Young consideration as Lee or Halladay this year. And Cain better than Hamels? You’ve got to be kidding me. And Sanchez shouldn’t even be a part of this conversation all he does is walk batters.

3 years 6 months ago

Good catch. I was about to say…

redsx968
3 years 6 months ago

I guess the SP market is the real prize of the 2013 free agent market, but damn that’s pretty thin at most of those positions, especially infield.

slider32
3 years 6 months ago

I think the outfield postions are weaker.

Guest
3 years 6 months ago

edit

3 years 6 months ago

Will Votto be the jewel of 2014 then?

yabud
3 years 6 months ago

I bet he gets moved and extended before that happens.

gotoguy1
3 years 6 months ago

Being Molina has not reupped with the cards already tells me he plans on not being with them next year

3 years 4 months ago

what about jhonny peralta im pretty sure he hits free agency after 2012