Let The Free Agent Frenzy Begin

A list of MLB’s top free agents this off-season and where they will play in 2012.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

The 2011-12 off-season might end up being one of the most exciting and active that baseball has ever seen. Not only do you have three MVP candidates up for grabs, but there is a solid group of veterans from both leagues that may end up looking for different homes. Here is a list of the top free agents that teams will be dying to sign this ‘hot stove’ season.


13. Rafael Furcal – When healthy, he is one of the best shortstops in baseball. Tremendous glove. He said he wants to stay in St.louis and the Cardinals have had a merry-go-round of infielders for years. I’m sure they would like to have a solid glove at short for at least a couple more years.

Outlook: Stays with Cardinals


12. Jason Kubel – A solid DH when he gets a hot bat. Kubel batted .300/28/103 just two years ago in an MVP candidate season. No one is sure if Justin Morneau will ever be the same after his concussion.

Outlook: Stays with Twins


11. Grady Sizemore – Doesn’t seem that long ago he was the face of the franchise, then he became injury plagued and seemed to never have been able to pick up where he left off. Cleveland declined his option this year after a season in which he only got to the plate 295 times, hitting only .224. Last time he was fully healthy, he averaged 28 home runs, 81 RBI’s, 31 stolen bags and 118 runs over a three year period from 2006-08. No one can tell if he is done, or if he is fully healthy again, which makes him the biggest risk/reward player on the market. Washington needs a centerfielder and Sizemore says he would like to stay at that position.

Outlook: Signs with Nationals


10. Michael Cuddyer – Every team needs that kick-starter. The utility guy that can play any position; there might not be a better player that fits that description than Cuddyer. He’s 32 years old, but could still have another solid 2 or 3 years, given his role. Many teams will be after him and he probably will not stay in Minnesota. Philly struggled offensively last year and it led to their demise in the NLDS.

Outlook: Signs with Phillies


9. Roy Oswalt – Another aging pitcher, but as we’ve seen in recent years, some of these guys have gas in the tank well past their 40th birthday (ie. Darren Oliver and Jamie Moyer). Oswalt had a decent year, but also had some minor injuries that limited his innings. I’m sure Roy would want to stay in the National League and compete for that World Series ring he still doesn’t have.

Outlook: Stays with Phillies


8. Jimmy Rollins – An icon in Philadelphia. His numbers have slightly been declining over the years, but he still has a tremendous glove and has flashes of greatness at the lead-off spot. No way he slips out of town.

Outlook: Stays with Phillies


7. Mark Buehrle – Speaking of another icon. Buehrle does have a World Series ring with the Sox and two no –hitters (one perfect game). Not to mention, he’s been their opening day starter for years. He did have a very strong relationship with former manager Ozzie Guillen, so while he is listening to other offers, some peg him to follow Guillen to the Marlins. I think White Sox GM, Ken Williams, is smart enough to pay him, especially after letting Edwin Jackson go last year.

Outlook: Stays with White Sox.


6. Aramis Ramirez – Ramirez is coming off a solid year and Theo Esptein is going to want to rebuild; that means shedding some cash. Baltimore needs a third baseman after moving Mark Reynolds to first base.

Outlook: Signs with Orioles


5. David Ortiz – And ‘Big Pappi’ has resurrected. Off to horrible starts the past few years, Pappi put together a solid 2011 that even shocked yours truly. Boston keeps him.

Outlook: Stays with Red Sox


4. C.J. Wilson – He’s the best pitcher in free agency and they need starting pitching in the Bronx…..bad. Very bad. See ya Texas.

Outlook: Signs with Yankees


3. Jose Reyes – When he stays away from the injury bug, he is about as exciting as a player can get. The man hit 16 triples last year. I like the idea of him being in South Beach at a brand new ballpark, with a brand new fellow latino manager. The Mets will part ways with an incredibly high-priced Reyes and stick with David Wright. If this happens, expect a Hanley Ramirez trade, as I don’t see him agreeing to play another position.

Outlook: Signs with Marlins


2. Prince Fielder – Beat out Albert Pujols for the Silver Slugger Award this year, that shows you how good he is. Milwaukee knew that 2011 was their year to accomplish their dreams, but they ran into St.Louis and the ‘rally squirrel’ in their loss of the NLCS. Theo Epstein wants a fresh start in Chicago and wants to turn things around fast. They won’t resign Carlos Pena, who hovers around a .200 average.

Outlook: Signs with Cubs


1. Albert Pujols – I’ll tell you where I think he will end up right now and then ask me tomorrow and I’ll change my mind; this goes the case for almost everyone surrounding baseball. Fact is, I’m sure Pujols doesn’t even know. I think he does have a little bit of ‘Lebron Syndrome,’ as I am calling it, in that the state of Missouri is all that Pujols has ever known in his adult life. He might want to expand his horizons and venture out to new experiences, finding his own proverbial South Beach. On the other hand, that means moving his family and starting all over, essentially leaving a city in which he has become immortalized.  In the end, I think the Cardinals will give him a very fair offer, probably somewhere around 8 or 9 years worth $210-230 million. That money goes a lot further in St.Louis than Los Angeles or Chicago.

Outlook: Stays with Cardinals