Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 9/21/13
Free agency is fun to predict, but sometimes, we can over analyze. All of the players below are set to become free agents once the 2013 season wraps up and while some will re-sign with their current employers, some could also jump ship.Either way, fantasy value will be altered some for better and some for worse. Here are 10 free agents I’m keeping a close eye on.Note: All stats are through Thursday, Sept. 1910. Jhonny Peralta, SS, DETPeralta should be motivated next year to prove that he can produce without the juice. The Tigers may resign him, or he might want to see what he can get on the open market. He can play either 3B or SS and teams like the Cardinals, Rays, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City might be interested. Off the juice, he probably projects more like Zack Cozart or Yunel Escobar – some pop with a .275 ceiling.9. Ervin Santana, SP, KCSantana will probably get paid much more than he’s worth after having a solid season with the Royals — 9-9, 3.23 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 155 K/46 BB in 197.2 IP. He’s not a horrible pitcher, it’s just that he’s mildly inconsistent and he’s currently in a contract year. He’s good as a SP 4/5 with potential to be a SP 3 if he doesn’t regress back to ineptitude like he has in every other year of his career.8. Ricky Nolasco, SP, LADLike Santana, Nolasco projects to me as a SP 4/5, but going from Miami to the Dodgers was a huge upgrade. Jose Fernandez and Jacob Turner (for a short time) proved that Miami wasn’t necessarily a wasteland for talent, but having an offense like the Dodgers backing him up was most certainly an upgrade. Nolasco has been more consistent this year with the change of scenery (13-10, 3.55 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 157 K/45 BB in 192.2 IP). Teams looking to upgrade pitching will, once again, likely overpay for his services.7. Brian McCann, C, ATLWith Christian Bethancourt and Evan Gattis already on the roster, I’m thinking that McCann is going to cash in this offseason. Most catchers can’t hit like McCann so he’s going to be highly sought after by a handful of teams. His calling of a game is highly underrated and if the Braves lose him, their pitching could regress slightly.6. Mike Napoli, C/1B, BOSNapoli originally inked a three-year deal with the BoSox but it was nixed in favor of a one-year contract after he failed a team physical. He’s been a valuable part of the Sox lineup, both on the field and in the beard-house. He’s most likely going to be a 1B/DH for the rest of the career, but if a team can put up with over 150 Ks, then they’ll take a stab at Napoli’s power upside.5. Matt Garza, SP, TEXGarza will be the most sought-after hurler this winter but he might stay with the Rangers. They’ll likely decide to keep him if none of their injured starters can return by next year. Garza is valuable for his track record in the AL East and NL Central, so he’s an upgrade for any team that signs him.4. Hunter Pence, OF, SFPence isn’t as sexy as Bryce Harper or Yasiel Puig, but I personally feel safer with taking him later in drafts rather than taking Harper/Puig where they are likely to go. His mechanics are ugly as sin, but they work for him and he can play for any team. His 2013 has been encouraging thanks to a torrid second half — 223 AB, .341 BA, 34 R, 11 HR, 45 RBI, and 7 SB. If you wait until after the fourth round for an OF, Pence is a safe, and well-rounded option.3. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, CINChoo is another proven commodity and for teams in need of a lead-off hitter they could do much worse. He won’t drive in a lot of runs, but he’ll score a ton (.426 OBP!) and provide 20 HR/20 SB. He’ll be a consolation prize for teams that fail to land Ellsbury, but Choo is a better lead-off man than he’s credited for.2. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, BOSI don’t see Ellsbury sticking around in Boston because the Red Sox won’t pony up the cash. Ellsbury leads the league in steals (52) and would easily score 100+ R if he could stay healthy for 150 games. That will always be a big if when talking about Ellsbury, but I think he will produce wherever he lands this offseason. Of course, some teams would help his offensive output more than others.1. Robinson Cano, 2B, NYYCano is the top free agent of 2014 and I can’t see the Yankees not giving him what equates to a blank check in order to retain his services. He’s represented by friggin’ Jay Z though, so who knows what the buck will happen. Z, as he has overstated to death, is a New York boy, so I’m sure he’ll want Cano to stay in an “Empire State of Mind.” Even if another team manages to pry him away from New York — who knows what the Dodgers are capable of, right? — he’ll still produce like one of the best players in the league.
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