Rotoworld: Contract Year Players
Ryan Boyer runs down the players with extra incentive to perform this season given that they may be headed for free agency in 2014.
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The list of players that put up a career-best season in their walk year probably isn’t nearly as long as you’d think, but knowing a guy’s contract status is at least something to keep in the back of your mind at draft tables this spring. With that in mind, here are some of the more noteworthy potential free agents for next offseason.
2013 Contract Year Players: Summary
*Players with a 2014 option (team or club)
Brian McCann, Braves– How well McCann comes back from shoulder surgery will obviously have a big impact on his earning power. He’ll turn just 29 in February, so the six-time All-Star will get a huge deal if he shows he’s healthy.
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies– Ruiz is 34 and will serve a 25-game drug suspension, but after the year he had in 2012, he’ll get paid. Just don’t expect the deal to be terribly lengthy.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox– His BB/K ratio is woeful, but “Salty” is still young, and catchers with 20-homer power are rare.
Paul Konerko, White Sox– Konerko has hinted at retiring once his deal is up, but he remains awfully productive. If he does keep playing, it will likely be for the Pale Hose.
Justin Morneau, Twins– The 2013 campaign is a big one for Morneau in terms of re-establishing his value. He stayed relatively healthy in 2012, but he regressed at the plate.
Mark Reynolds, Indians– Reynolds certainly has his value, but he had to settle for a one-year deal this winter and doesn’t seem likely to ever net a long-term deal.
Carlos Pena, Astros– Pena hit under .200 in 2012 for the second time in the last three years, and this time it came with only moderate power. Slated to turn 35 in May, he’ll have to show his career isn’t on a slippery downhill slope.
Adam Lind (club option), Blue Jays– Lind has fallen on hard times since his breakout showing in 2009. He’ll need a big bounce-back year for the Blue Jays to even consider picking up his $8 million option.
Robinson Cano, Yankees– The Yankees rarely lock up their players before letting them test free agency, but they usually end up bringing them back. It would be a shock if they let Cano go anywhere.
Chase Utley, Phillies– How healthy and productive will he be in 2013? And how will a potential move to third base affect his market value?
Ben Zobrist (club option), Rays– The Rays hold a very reasonable $7 million option on Zobrist for 2014. He’s not going anyway.
Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks– Hill will strike it rich next winter if he’s able to follow up his terrific showing in 2012 with another strong year in 2013.
Omar Infante, Tigers– It’s hard to believe that Infante is only 31, as he’s been in the majors for over a decade. He’ll have no trouble finding work as a regular.
Kelly Johnson, FA– Johnson remained unsigned at last check. The 31-year-old’s average has lagged in recent years, but he offers some nice speed and pop at second base.
Brian Roberts, Orioles– Obviously, Roberts has much to prove. Even if the 35-year-old manages to stay healthy in 2013, it’s hard to imagine anyone giving him more than one year.
Stephen Drew, Red Sox– Drew will have no shortage of motivation as he looks to land a multi-year contract next winter after having to settle for a one-year deal this offseason.
Derek Jeter (player option), Yankees– Jeter’s $8 million player option for 2014 could increase to $17 million based on various incentives. Either way, it’s highly unlikely he’s going anywhere.
Jhonny Peralta, Tigers– After surprising production in 2011, Peralta’s 2012 campaign was arguably the worst of his career. He’ll turn just 31 in May, so a healthy multi-year pact next winter could happen if he bounces back.
Yunel Escobar (club option), Rays– It really just comes down to Escobar playing nice. Even if he doesn’t bounce back at the plate in 2013, his defense alone will be worth the $5 million option for 2014. That’s if he doesn’t burn any more bridges.
Rafael Furcal, Cardinals– Furcal will need to prove his elbow is sound and also show that his second-half fade was an aberration. He turned 35 in October.
Kevin Youkilis, Yankees– Youkilis had to settle for a one-year deal this winter after another injury-shortened, disappointing showing in 2012. Could he play his way into a multi-year contract with a bounce-back in the Bronx?
Martin Prado, Braves– Prado is 29, offers defensive versatility and has batted .300 with some power in three of the last four seasons. He’ll get paid.
Michael Young, Phillies– Young is 36 and coming off a bad year, but he’ll get to focus on one position in 2013 and is moving to another hitter-friendly park.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox– The Red Sox seem prepared to let Ellsbury go as a free agent, giving Shane Victorino the center field job in 2014. He’ll earn a pretty penny if he can come close to returning to his 2011 numbers.
Curtis Granderson, Yankees– Granderson still plays a capable center field and has hit 40 homers two years running. Someone will give him his money.
Shin-Soo Choo, Reds– Choo is being miscast as a center fielder in 2013, but he should fare well at Great American Ball Park and is plenty valuable as a corner outfielder.
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals– Beltran faded in the second half of 2012, but he showed that he’s still plenty capable with 32 homers. His days of multi-year deals might be over, though.
Hunter Pence, Giants– Other than in the motivational speaking department, Pence was a bust for the Giants down the stretch. There’s a strong chance he rebounds, though, even in that home park.
Corey Hart, Brewers– Hart wants a three-year extension, but the Brewers only want to give him two. His bat may talk them into a third year if it can produce another 30 homers in 2013.
Nelson Cruz, Rangers– Cruz has dealt with leg issues and is coming off a relatively down year, but his bat has been dynamic at times.
Michael Morse, Nationals- Even if Adam LaRoche isn’t re-signed, there’s a good chance the 2013 season is Morse’s last in Washington, as the Nats have Anthony Rendon and Brian Goodwin on the way.
Jason Kubel (club option), Diamondbacks– Kubel is a trade candidate with the D’Backs’ glut of outfielders. If he remains, his $7.5 million option is quite reasonable.
Norichika Aoki (club option), Brewers– Aoki had a nice rookie season and can be kept cheaply ($1.5 million) in 2014.
Carlos Gomez, Brewers– Gomez, 27, could make himself a lot of money if he can repeat his surprising production from 2012.
Chris Young (club option), Athletics– It’s possible Young could bounce back and make picking up his $11 million option for 2014 a viable strategy. The A’s have other outfield options, though.
Coco Crisp (club option), Athletics– One of those options is bringing back Crisp, who is coming off a better season than Young and who would be much cheaper ($7.5 million) for 2014.
David Murphy, Rangers– Murphy has been an underrated performer for the Rangers and could net a multi-year deal on the open market.
Kendrys Morales, Mariners– Morales returned healthy in 2012, and he could be even more productive in 2013 another year removed from his broken ankle.
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals– The Cards plan to discuss an extension with Wainwright’s agent during spring training and seem likely to lock him up.
Roy Halladay (vesting option), Phillies– Halladay’s $20 million option vests if he pitches 215 innings in 2013. Before 2012, that would have been a guarantee, but it’s up in the air now with Doc having shoulder issues.
Jon Lester (club option), Red Sox– As long as he doesn’t get hurt, Lester’s $13 million option for 2014 will be picked up, or he’ll be extended before then. The lefty can void the option if he finishes first or second in the Cy Young voting in 2013.
Matt Garza, Cubs– The Cubs’ multiple starting pitcher signings have many thinking they’re prepared to trade Garza. They have discussed extending him in the past.
Tim Lincecum, Giants– As it turns out, Lincecum would have been wise to accept the Giants’ $100+ million extension offer last spring. He’ll now need a big bounce-back year if he wants to strike it rich.
Tim Hudson, Braves– Hudson signed for well below market value during his last extension, but, given that he’ll turn 38 at midseason, he’s lost his chance for a big deal.
Josh Johnson, Blue Jays– Johnson could be in line for a big payday if he stays healthy in 2013. He’ll be 29 entering next season.
Chris Carpenter, Cardinals– Carp will turn 38 just after Opening Day but plans to pitch a while longer if health allows.
Brett Anderson (club option), Athletics– The A’s have an $8 million option on Anderson for 2014, which they will undoubtedly pick up as long as he’s healthy.
Ryan Vogelsong (club option), Giants– Vogelsong’s $6.5 million option for 2014 will be a bargain after he showed in 2013 that his 2012 campaign was no fluke.
Johan Santana (club option), Mets– The Mets aren’t going to be picking up Santana’s $25 million option for 2014. It will be interesting to see how much the 34-year-old can get on the open market.
A.J. Burnett, Pirates– Burnett bounced back nicely in 2012 in his return to the National League. He’ll probably want to remain in the NL when he signs his next deal.
Wandy Rodriguez (player option), Pirates– Rodriguez has a $13 million player option for 2014, but it’s possible he’ll decline and pursue what would likely be his final long-term deal.
Dan Haren, Nationals– Haren has much to gain (or lose) by trying to show in 2013 that his hip isn’t an issue.
Colby Lewis, Rangers– Lewis won’t return from elbow surgery until June and will turn 34 in August. He could still net a multi-year deal if he shows he’s healthy, though.
Gavin Floyd, White Sox– Floyd is just 30 and has been quite durable for the White Sox. He would be served well in changing ballparks.
Ted Lilly, Dodgers– Lilly is 37 and coming off shoulder surgery, so he has much to prove in 2013.
Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees– Kuroda chose to only sign a one-year deal this winter so that he can return to Japan in 2014 if he so chooses. If he decides to remain in the states, he’ll likely re-sign with the Yankees.
Bronson Arroyo, Reds– Arroyo will turn 36 in February, but his durability should allow him to net at least a two-year deal.
Edinson Volquez, Padres– Volquez had a decent bounce-back year with the Padres, but he was still erratic and can’t be trusted over a long-term deal, despite obviously having good stuff.
Barry Zito (club option), Giants– The most maligned deal in baseball history could continue on in 2014, as Zito’s $18 million option for 2014 will vest if he reaches 200 innings in 2013.
Paul Maholm, Braves– Maholm produced his best season ever in 2012, and he could be in line for a nice chunk of change if he follows it up with another solid showing in 2013.
Jorge De La Rosa (club option), Rockies– It all depends on his health. If De La Rosa stays off the DL in 2013 and pitches well, his $11 million option for 2014 will seem quite reasonable to the pitching-starved Rockies.
Ricky Nolasco, Marlins– The Marlins aren’t expected to grant Nolasco’s wish and trade him, at least not yet. He almost surely won’t be back in 2014, though. The bigger issue is that the 30-year-old’s performance has really gone downhill.
Scott Baker, Cubs– Baker is expected to miss at least the first month of 2013 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he could earn a multi-year deal next winter if he returns to pitch well.
Ubaldo Jimenez (club option), Indians– Jimenez’s production has fallen back dramatically the last couple years, but the Indians will surely ultimately decide that he’s worth bringing back for $8 million in 2014.
James Shields (club option), Royals– The Royals hold a $12 million option for 2014 on their big new acquisition, which they will obviously pick up.
Phil Hughes, Yankees– Hughes has overall been a disappointment to this point, but someone will surely still see untapped upside. The 26-year-old will get a nice deal.
Jason Hammel, Orioles– Hammel will not only try to show in 2013 that his knee is healthy, but also that his breakthrough in 2012 was no fluke.
Jason Vargas, Angels– With the fences coming in at Safeco, Vargas’ move to Anaheim, where he’ll be backed by a terrific outfield defense, might actually be a good thing for the flyball pitcher.
Chris Capuano (mutual option), Dodgers– Capuano and the Dodgers seem destined to part ways after 2013, if not sooner. The lefty might not have a rotation job, and he should find more than $6 million on the open market.
Aaron Harang (mutual option), Dodgers– Harang might also be out of a rotation job and appears likely to be traded from L.A.
Jake Westbrook (mutual option), Cardinals– Westbrook’s $9.5 million option is reasonable, but the Cards have lots of pitching coming and seem likely to decline it.
Ervin Santana, Royals– Santana needs a strong showing in 2013 in order to re-establish his value.
Andy Pettitte, Yankees– Pettitte seems likely to retire again after 2013, and if he doesn’t he’ll almost surely re-sign with the Yankees.
Fernando Rodney, Rays– Last year’s surprise relief sensation will get a big free agent deal from someone next winter if he can come remotely close to repeating his 2012 showing.
Joel Hanrahan, Red Sox– Hanrahan wasn’t as good in 2012 as he was the previous two seasons, but he’s still a potentially elite closer and is relatively young (31).
Carlos Marmol, Cubs– Marmol continues to be erratic and probably won’t be trusted as a closer on his new contract.
Ryan Madson, Angels– Madson could set himself up for a big payday next winter if he can make good on his one-year deal with the Halos.
Brian Wilson, FA– Wilson remained a free agent at press time and seems likely to ultimately go the one-year route like Madson, hoping to re-establish his value.
Rafael Betancourt (mutual option), Rockies– Betancourt will turn 38 in April, but unless he just really likes it in Colorado, he seems likely to decline his half of the $4.25 million option for 2014.
Mariano Rivera, Yankees– Like Pettitte, Rivera will either retire after 2013 or return for another season in pinstripes.
Grant Balfour, Athletics– Balfour will try in 2013 to make it through a full season as a closer for the first time. If he does, it could set him up for a multi-year deal next offseason.
Joe Nathan (club option), Rangers– Unless he unexpectedly falls off in 2013, Nathan’s $9 million option for 2014 will be exercised.
Casey Janssen (club option), Blue Jays– Janssen has been fantastic the past two seasons, making his $4 million option for 2014 look like a bargain.
Scott Downs, Angels– Downs will be 37 in March but remains very effective. It’s not out of the question that he could get another multi-year deal.
Joaquin Benoit, Tigers– The Tigers were hammered pretty hard for giving Benoit the deal he got two winters ago, but he’s been very good for them. He’ll turn 36 just before the All-Star break.
Joba Chamberlain, Yankees– It will be interesting to see if anyone has interest in Chamberlain as a starter. At the very least, he’ll hold appeal as a setup man.
Matt Thornton (club option), White Sox– Thornton has been good but not great the past two seasons for the White Sox, but his $6 million option for 2014 is relatively reasonable.
Frank Francisco, Mets– Francisco can’t stay healthy and is coming off a dreadful season. It’s doubtful anyone will trust him with a close job again.
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