93 – Number of days until pitchers and catchers report
140 – Number of days until Opening Day
The Hot Stove that is the major league offseason is about to reach a boiling point with General Managers and Owners meeting in Orlando this week. There are several key free agents this year, so this week at BEONDECK, I will give you my best free agents on the market and my predictions on where they will play in 2014. I will give you three players each day, so here are my top 3 free agents for this offseason.
He is clearly the best player avaliable, but plays a position where elite players rarely hit the free agency. There is little doubt that Can will get more than Dustin Pedroia's eight-year$110 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. He should not have a problem landing an average salary between $23 and $25 million. Many thought that the The Los Angels Dodgers may take a swing at Cano, but they just signed Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to play second base. The Chicago White Sox have some money to spend but its unknown if they will immediately invest.
PREDICTION: New York Yankees
When healthy, Ellsbury is capable of being one of the game's best players. He proved it in 2011, hitting .321 with 32 home runs and strong defense in centerfield. Health will be a big factor in his next contract because he was limited to 18 games in 2010 with a rib injury and then 74 games in 2012 by a shoulder injury. This year he played in 134 games, but power he showed in the past was not there. A contract with an annual salary between $17 to $19 million should get it done for Ellsbury. Ellsbury has ties to Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein, but its unclear if the Cubs will spend significant money this offseason this early in the rebuilding process. The Seattle Mariners might have some money, but don't provide an immediate opportunity to win. Keep an eye on the Cincinnati Reds to make a splash. Even with Jackie Bradley Jr. waiting in the wings, the Red Sox should still be considered a landing spot to re-sign him.
PREDICTION: Boston Red Sox
It's pretty rare for a catcher of McCann's caliber hits the market. John Buck's three-year $18 million deal with the Miami Marlins is the biggest free agent deal given to a catcher in the past seven years. McCann was able to recover from a shoulder injury, but his offensive numbers were down for the Atlanta Braves this year. With Yadier Molina's annual salary at $15 million with the St. Louis Cardinals, it seems that this is a fair place to start. However, if McCann gets less it will be because teams are concerned about his shoulder. The Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers are potentially losing Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski respectively and both could make a play for McCann. The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels will all be in the mix. Two other teams that may jump into the mix are the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.
PREDICTION: Los Angeles Dodgers