PHOTOS: Top MLB free agents
2012 season: 148 games—.285/.354/.577—43 HRs—128 RBIs) The crown jewel of the 2013 free agency class, the 31-year-old Hamilton is coming off a somewhat disappointing 2012 campaign. While he set a career-high with 43 homers, he faded down the stretch, culminating in his performance against the Orioles in the AL Wild Card game where he went 0-4 with two strikeouts. Some team is going to pony up the big bucks for Hamilton, but the risk of injury and personal issues will always hang over the talented slugger. Capsules by Michael Huberman
34 starts—15-5—3.48 ERA—200 Ks Greinke is far and away the best pitcher available in free agency. Greinke figures to be in for a huge payday and some see the Los Angeles Dodgers and their abundance of cash, as the favorites to sign the talented 29-year-old righthander.
155 games—.274/.348/.391—96 runs—42 SBs Bourn offers a premium combination of speed and patience at the plate. He figures to be seeking a multiyear deal, and with his fellow centerfielder BJ Upton receiving a $75 million contract from Bourn’s former club, the 29-year-old could look at that number as a matching point with potential suitors.
154 games—.271/.343/.510—33 HRs—100 RBIs In 2012, LaRoche had a breakout year with the Nationals, setting a career-high in home runs while winning Silver Slugger and Golden Glove awards. The 32-year-old is said to be seeking a three-year deal, and his prowess at the plate and in the field make him an attractive target.
31 starts—9-13—3.86 ERA—167 Ks The 28-year-old righthander put up solid but unspectacular numbers with Miami and Detroit in 2012. However Sanchez picked a great time to shine, as he went 1-2 with a 1.77 ERA this past postseason with Detroit, highlighted by his seven scoreless innings against the Yankees in the ALCS.
154 games—.288/.338/.440—95 runs—29 SBs The fact that Pagan is a top free agent speaks to the lack of star players available this offseason. In fairness to Pagan, he did have a career year with the Giants in 2012 and the 31-year-old Pagan could provide similar numbers to Bourn, but he’ll likely come at a cheaper cost.
18 starts—8-6—3.24 ERA—73 Ks Any discussion with McCarthy has to start with his recovery from his frightening head injury last September. While he was healthy enough to join his teammates during the A’s postseason run, it remains to be seen whether he’s ready to pitch again. If he is, he could be a great find for a team. Though he had an assortment of injuries last year, McCarthy pitched well and for the second straight year finished with an ERA under 3.40.
148 games—.272/.364/.473—24 HRs—93 RBIs The biggest question with Swisher is whether he really thinks he’ll get the $100 million contract he thinks he’s worth. If that’s his asking price, good luck. While he may not be a $100 million dollar man, Swisher does provide nice pop with his bat as he’s hit more than 20 homers every year since 2005.