Top Offseason Storylines For 2012-13

Blockbuster trades, nine-figure free agent contracts and shrewd minor league signings will all be completed in the coming months, as MLB executives attempt to mold their rosters into World Series contenders. There are inevitably hundreds of rumors and deals to track, but rest assured that MLBTradeRumors.com will have constant updates before, during and after the biggest moves. Here’s a look ahead at ten of the offseason's biggest storylines…

1. Who will pay Josh Hamilton?

There’s no doubt Hamilton could make any team better. Yet so many questions surround the 31-year-old as he hits free agency for the first time. Can he sustain this level of production without landing on the disabled list? Might his poor plate discipline become a serious problem? Should teams worry about his past addiction issues? The Rangers are best-equipped to answer these questions, so other teams figure to monitor Texas’ bidding closely.

Hamilton has a case for a long-term deal worth considerably more than $100MM given his on-field production. Plus, team owners might expect him to generate fan interest and boost TV ratings.

2. Could Alex Rodriguez be traded?

General manager Brian Cashman has acknowledged that the Yankees don't consider Rodriguez a superstar caliber player anymore. Now 37 years old, Rodriguez doesn't resemble his former self. The Yankees know it, and so do the 29 other teams. Trading the three-time MVP will presumably be extremely difficult unless the Yankees absorb most of the $114MM remaining on his contract. That’d be unappealing for New York executives, especially at a time that the trade and free agent market for third basemen looks thin. Like it or not, it seems probable that Rodriguez will return to the Bronx for another year.

3. Who will win the bidding for Zack Greinke?

Greinke, the year’s top free agent starter, could draw interest from both Los Angeles teams. The Angels, who acquired the 29-year-old midseason, have interest in re-signing him. The Dodgers, now flush with cash after an ownership change, could also make an offer. Many other clubs will check in on Greinke, who could obtain the largest contract ever for a right-handed pitcher.

4. Will the Dodgers keep spending?

The Dodgers have made hundreds of millions in future payroll commitments since new ownership gained control of the team this spring. Expect a busy offseason now that they can finally bid on free agents. The Dodgers could pursue free agent starting pitchers such as Greinke, Jake Peavy and Hiroki Kuroda.

5. Will the Mets extend David Wright and R.A. Dickey?

There’s no guarantee Wright and Dickey will be playing for the Mets beyond 2013. Both players will hit free agency a year from now if they haven’t signed contract extensions. It’s difficult to imagine that ownership could convince Wright to stay without offering considerably more than $100MM. Determining Dickey's value is more difficult considering his rapid ascent from journeyman knuckleballer to Cy Young candidate.

6. Will the Rays trade pitching?

The Rays have enviable starting pitching depth and clear needs on offense, so they’ll exchange starters for hitters this offseason, right? Not necessarily. Executive VP Andrew Friedman has said the Rays might keep their starting pitching. 

David Price's salary continues rising, so it's time for the small-market Rays to consider a trade. He’s still three seasons away from free agency, which means there’s no rush to complete a deal. But at a time that Price’s salary could rise to the $10MM range through arbitration, Friedman will have to explore the possibility of dealing the left-hander.

7. Will the Indians trade Chris Perez and Shin-Soo Choo?

It could be time for the Indians to trade two of their most prominent players. Perez, the All-Star closer who publicly criticized ownership toward the end of the regular season, might never have more trade value. His salary projects to rise to the $7MM range this winter, not that that would be an obstacle for large market teams.

Choo will hit free agency a year from now, which means Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti has two chances to make a trade: this winter and at next summer’s trade deadline. It’d make sense for the Indians to trade Choo for a controllable, young player if possible, as a contract extension seems unlikely.

8. Will the new collective bargaining agreement make a difference?

Players, agents and team executives won’t have to overhaul the way they do business this winter, the first full offseason under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement. Free agents will be able to sign generous long-term contracts just as easily as before. In fact, the elimination of the Elias rankings system will be a welcome change for the middle relievers and role players who will no longer be linked to draft pick compensation. However, baseball’s luxury tax will continue to create a deterrent for large market teams who might otherwise spend more aggressively. The Yankees, for example, say they aim to avoid the tax by 2014, which means they’re not expected to be bidding quite as aggressively as in years past.

9. What’s next for Melky Cabrera

Cabrera's free agent value plummeted once he received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone. But he could be an intriguing buy-low option for teams seeking an impact bat. He has put together consecutive All-Star caliber seasons and at 28, he's still in his prime. However, he’s hitting free agency at the same time as many other All-Star outfielders. There’s lots of competition with Hamilton, Michael BournB.J. UptonNick Swisher, Angel Pagan and Shane Victorino also seeking new contracts. Still, many teams will have interest in signing Cabrera for one year and a multiyear contract can’t be ruled out.

10. Where do the Red Sox go from here?

Replacing Bobby Valentine with John Farrell should be a positive development for the Red Sox, but they’ve still got lots of work ahead following their first 90-loss season since 1966. They'll need to obtain more starting pitching depth and add to their outfield. Plus, rival general managers will be interested to see if the Red Sox hold onto Jacoby Ellsbury or trade him with one year to go before free agency.


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56 Comments on "Top Offseason Storylines For 2012-13"


You Know Who
2 years 9 months ago

Let the offseason begin!

formerdraftpick
2 years 9 months ago

I nice article to get the rumors started. Good work!

Jwick22
2 years 9 months ago

Really hope to see a headline that bourn resigns with braves. Its not likely but one can hope for the best

rundmc1981
2 years 9 months ago

Bourn isn’t a must-sign. He wants to be paid and there are more with more money that covet Bourn. We should make a qualifying offer, and if he goes which he probably will, we’ll get a pick. We have enough to make him a good, but not winning offer and we shouldn’t go all-in. It’s the stories that don’t make storylines that usually make the most different in October.

Jwick22
2 years 9 months ago

he isnt must-sign but if they go after a lesser guy once losing out on him or try lipka or cunniham then have to make another deal at the deadline to acquire a centerfield/leadoff hitter then they really back to where they starter. i understand not overpaying by drastic amounts but if your close on the offer then i think they have to up it to keep him. i trust wren so what ever he does im ok with. he knows best

rundmc1981
2 years 9 months ago

I trust Wren, too, and that’s why he’ll give him what he deems is a fair deal without crippling the club. To say Bourn excels in our line-up is an understatement, but he’s not perfect. He’s not the RH hitter we need for a LH-hitting lineup. He has a great glove and can cover a lot of ground, but his speed is declining, as to say that in a 6-7 year contract, he won’t be worth the contract in the end. Also, if he had any power, he’d be one-of-a-kind, but I don’t know many teams crazy enough to give the rumored $100 million asking price for a guy that has 22 HR in a 7-year career. I know, I know he’s not a HR guy, but Bourn is a wannabe Juan Pierre that strikes out a lot more, gets on base less, and yet wants to get paid 2x Juan PIerre’s highest contract (5 years/$44 million) in 2006. Sorry, I’d rather be logical and pay someone like Victorino who has a lot more value than Bourn, especially in terms of years needed to get the deal done, not including the his NL East experience, and his tenacity on the field.

BetweenNames
2 years 9 months ago

11. Will the Royals EVER spend any of that money they pocket every year on pitching?

Otis26
2 years 9 months ago

Curious if you can tell me how many of the last 12 World Series teams (six years) were in the top 10 in salary. How many were in the bottom 10? Did the Rays have a lower salary than the Royals in 2008 when they went? How much payroll did the Marlins add last year? What was their resulting record? How much did the Royals spend on Gil Meche? How much for Jose Guillen?

boraswannabe
2 years 9 months ago

True. Both Detroit and San Francisco are prime examples of how not spending money can get you to the World Series….

Homerj24
2 years 9 months ago

Didn’t the Tigers just spend $200MM on Prince?

boraswannabe
2 years 9 months ago

Was being sarcastic. I believe the two teams were ranked 6th and 7th this season in payroll.

BetweenNames
2 years 9 months ago

It’s true you don’t have to out spend to win. Thank for sharing that knowledge with me because had no idea that the Yankees and Red Sox didn’t win the WS every other year.

Curious to ask you some thing Otis26… Did those teams, that won the WS have pitching in thier systems? Now do the Royals have 2 or 3 starters in thier system ready to step up next year as a frontline guys? The Royals need two or three pitchers to compete. I think they need to trade for one and sign at least one if not two starters to have shot at competing next year.

MetsMagic
2 years 9 months ago

Can you imagine how much the Royals would want to have a pitcher of Meche’s caliber (from the first two years of that contract) on their staff right now…

Guest
2 years 9 months ago

MLB should make a rule about some minimum percentage of earnings have to go back into the team

johnsilver
2 years 9 months ago

KC fires long time heroes who speak out on how poorly the organization is ran.. Ask Frank White.

One of the best 2b to play the game over the last 40 years, spoke the truth and got canned. A disgrace that never really made sports news out of that local area.

rikersbeard
2 years 9 months ago

Really wish that the Arod story wasn’t #2.

Alex
2 years 9 months ago

I think Josh Hamilton lands in LA.

Konrad Verloc
2 years 9 months ago

I’m predicting Atlanta.

2 years 9 months ago

keep dreaming. i will too, but not happening.

rundmc1981
2 years 9 months ago

No thanks. $100 million better get you dependability, and Hamilton is anything but that. He won’t be a CF through the end of the contract and that’s what we need, among other things.

vtadave
2 years 9 months ago

Pretty sure the Dodgers are set in the OF.

Snoochies8
2 years 9 months ago

11) Does Stephen Drew excersize or opt out of his $10 million option?

Goose_Gaskins
2 years 9 months ago

Good thing Bobby WIlson was already claimed, otherwise that would have been number one.

2 years 9 months ago

i would like to see Price land in Seattle. They have a young core, and could use a #2 behind King Felix. They do need more offense, but need to stop shelling out big contracts to scrubs.

East Coast Bias
2 years 9 months ago

They have a lot of (very good) pitching in the minors. Why would they trade for Price when their offense is anemic?

go_jays_go
2 years 9 months ago

If (and it’s a big if) the Angels are willing to raise payroll, perhaps:
– Price for Trumbo, Bourjos, Maronde (LHP prospect)

2 years 9 months ago

they will not compete in the West with a rotation full of prospects. They need to put together a stronger, proven rotation with dependable starters at the front of the rotation, and fill it out with prospects.

Guest
2 years 9 months ago

John Niese would be a good player for the Rays since his contract works well with their low payroll as a start in a trade for Price. If the Mariners have a similar player that is what the Rays need, a low cost decent arm, since they have proven no matter how good they are they will not draw fans

LazerTown
2 years 9 months ago

Not what the Rays need. $6M aav for Niese over next 4 years. Sure he could be a piece, but rays will be wanting another 2 top prospects. So many people think that one decent player on their team will net a very good player. Niese is more of a mid-rotation starter, and at that price don’t see the rays being interested.

Guest
2 years 9 months ago

my point is the Rays have to trade away their players as it gets more expensive since they don’t have the revenue to keep them, so I said a player ‘like’ Niese was a “starting” point. That is what the Rays HAVE to do, not what they would like to do (keep Price).

jumpstone
2 years 9 months ago

That much for Price? The Rays have no money to spend so look at it as a salarydump on the other end of the deal. So perhaps the Rays are forced to sell “low”?

frontdeskmike
2 years 9 months ago

I’d like to see Price land in [insert favorite team here].

2 years 9 months ago

problem with your logic is … i’m not a seattle fan.

zack
2 years 9 months ago

how do the red sox like dickey?

johnrhee
2 years 9 months ago

I totally agree for the Mariners to land David Price as number 2 pitcher. They also better think about acquiring Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold from the Baltimore Orioles for Pitcher Blake Beaven and infielder Brad Miller or Brendan Ryan (who can use a change of scenery). Awesome trade to consider from both GMs.

Max Pogacar
2 years 9 months ago

Actually, not a bad idea. I’m an O’s fan and hoping to see some sweet moves from Duquette this offseason. Reimold has the makings of an all star… if he ever gets a full season in. I’m not sure that the Mariners would really want Davis considering his downsides (when he isn’t crushing the ball he is whiffing badly) but they DO need some power, which he certainly has plenty of. I heard you guys are bringing the fences in this year. A whole new Petco. I’ve always liked Brendan Ryan, BA aside. He COULD use a new team. Good luck to both of us…

2 years 9 months ago

Awesome trade? Yeah, right.

Hodor
2 years 9 months ago

No way that ever happens. The Rays need offense and the last place anyone should be looking for offense is in Seattle.

dieharddodgerfan
2 years 9 months ago

The answer to #4 is obviously YES, BUT I don’t think they have a long shopping list.

My guess is they will go out and sign one out of Greinke, Kuroda, Peavy and Haren. Or they could trade for a guy like Shields or Price.

Then, they may try and trade for a SS or 3B, if one is made available (NOT ARod). If not, then maybe the go with Cruz or Gordon at SS and move HanRam back to 3B.

They also will likely look to lock up League and Choate and maybe sign the Japanese closer, Fujikawa to bolster the pen.

Finally, maybe the look for an upgrade for the 4th OF spot. Someone who can play CF and hit lefties. Not sure who they can target for that role off the top of my head.

vtadave
2 years 9 months ago

1. Rangers. Market won’t develop like he hopes and he’ll return to Texas for less than expected.
2. Yes he COULD, but I don’t see it.
3. Dodgers
4. See #3
5. Yes
6. Yes
7. Why not?
8. Not really
9. One year deal with plenty of incentives
10. Add a pitcher and a few tweaks here and there and they will be competitive again in 2013.

Ryan
2 years 9 months ago

I confused about how the the Dodgers keep getting mentioned as possible money players this offseason. From my quick searching, their projected payroll is $192 Million. Easily tops in the league ahead of even the Yankees. Add in the luxury tax and I don’t understand how everyone seems to think they have huge money to throw around.

vtadave
2 years 9 months ago

“Guggenheim Partners is a privately held global financial services firm with more than $160 billion in assets under management. We provide asset management, …”

dieharddodgerfan
2 years 9 months ago

IMO, the Dodger payroll will likely be around $240 to $250 million.

They have huge money to throw around because 1. The Guggenheim Baseball Group is LOADED with money. 2. The Dodgers will negotiate a new deal after this season for their TV rights that will be anywhere from $200 to $350 million/yr , depending on factors like what type of deal they make. I believe the Dodgers will only make around $50 million this year, the last year of their Fox deal. 3. The Dodgers need to INVEST in making as good a product on the field for ’13 so they can maximize their leverage on negotiating a new TV deal after the season.

northsfbay
2 years 9 months ago

I think that it is wishful thinking by Dodgers fans. That remains to be seen. The Giants have shown that you don’t need big spending to win and that good pitching will take you far.

dieharddodgerfan
2 years 9 months ago

No wishful thinking. Based on facts and informed opinions about the Dodgers’ next TV deal. If they form their own regional sports network (like the Yankees’ YES network), then they could eventually generate $300+ million/yr in revenue.

Yeah, the Giants are a great story and have a solid core built around pitching (Cain, Bumgarner, Voglesong, Lincecum), but the Dodgers have a strong staff as well and have improved their lineup significantly this past year.

Dodgers still need to do some upgrading, but they are not far off from being a very good team and undoubtedly they will be challenging for the NL next year.

Chiburgh
2 years 9 months ago

Hosmer for Price seems plausible

LazerTown
2 years 9 months ago

funny guy. Hosmer and Prospects is plausible.
Hosmer has plenty of potential, but he really has not proven anything yet, whereas price is one of the best in the AL. .262/.319/.411 is not proven. Rays could definetely use a 1B, but Hosmer alone is not nearly enough.

Max Pogacar
2 years 9 months ago

I concur with Lazer. And no matter how good Price is, the Royals need depth. Not just one ace. Dealing Hosmer now… I think you hang onto him and try to get some B pitchers to bolster your staff. You can’t trade homegrown talent (and lots of it) to get a better chance at winning 20% of your games.

go_jays_go
2 years 9 months ago

What is it that people even like so much about Hosmer?

Is the hype strictly based on potential?

rundmc1981
2 years 9 months ago

I know. I keep letting everyone praise Eric Hosmer while Freddie Freeman is a stud with the title of “a poor man’s Eric Hosmer”.

Hodor
2 years 9 months ago

yeah, we’ll take Hosmer, Perez, Escobar, and maybe Myers too. otherwise you can have Alex Cobb and a single A prospect.

2 years 9 months ago

The Sox have to trade Ellsbury or risk watching him walk at the end of the year–which is just about a sure thing. Resigning him would also be a huge risk, given his past injuries and the fact that he’s only had one good year. On with the Hot Stove League.

Oriolesfan90
2 years 9 months ago

Come to the inner Harbor Hamilton you can take out DH spot. Your father in law is from here you’ll love it.

Oriolesfan90
2 years 9 months ago

Melky should be banned.

Hodor
2 years 9 months ago

everyone deserves a second chance. we’ll take a chance and pick him up in tampa.

rundmc1981
2 years 9 months ago

I find it odd how the article refers to Melky’s past 2 season All-Star numbers as an indication that he could do that for a team that signs him, though he was using steroids during that time. Sure, he’s a buy-low option, but don’t be shocked to be signing a guy who plays nothing like 2011 Melky Cabrera and becomes more susceptible to injury…why…? A: Because he’s not taking steroids anymore.