<bold>2013 Stats: </bold>.314 BA, .899 OPS, 27 HR, 107 RBI, 7 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Yankees <bold>Best fit:</bold> Yankees Will Jay-Z's client receive the $300 million deal he wants? No, of course not, and it's doubtful Cano even expects to. It's called a bargaining tactic. But Cano, an All-Star and top-six finisher in the MVP voting every year since 2010, is definitely the best player on the market, and he'll get by far the biggest contract. It wouldn't be at all shocking if another club -- it would take only one -- decides to go all-in with Cano, even a lower revenue team like the Marlins or Pirates. But the odds are that he will remain a Yankee, despite their commitment to lowering their payroll beneath the $189 million luxury tax threshold. One general manager guesses that Cano's deal will be for eight years and $178 million.
2 of 20Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF
<bold>2013 Stats: </bold>.298 BA, .781 OPS, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 52 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Red Sox <bold>Best fit:</bold> Mariners Ellsbury was perhaps the American League's best all-around player in 2011, when he hit 32 homers, but that power surge now seems like a fluke given that he has never had another season in which he reached double digits. So he is really a speed guy on the wrong side of 30, and one who is injury prone, as he has played in more than 135 games just once since '09. Still, as a prototypical leadoff hitter and excellent centerfielder, teams will covet him. The Mariners make sense because they need someone to fill both of those roles, they've been trying to make a free agent splash for years and -- if it matters -- Ellsbury, a native of Oregon, is from the Pacific Northwest.
3 of 20Carlos M. Saavedra/SI
Shin-Soo Choo, OF
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> .285, .885 OPS, 21 HR, 54 RBI, 20 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Reds <bold>Best fit:</bold> Astros Choo has many strengths -- he gets on base an awful lot (his 112 walks and .423 OBP were second in the NL), he's got good power and speed, he's a solid outfielder -- and one major weakness: he doesn't hit lefthanded pitchers. Against southpaws this season, he batted .215 with zero home runs in 221 plate appearances. Even so, he deserves to rank this high, relative to the competition. His good habits might prove particularly attractive to a rebuilding club hoping those traits will rub off on its quickly rising prospects, and that Choo will still be a lineup mainstay once it is ready to contend. The Astros, who have Carlos Correa, Jonathan Singleton and George Springer in the pipeline, are one such team.
4 of 20Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Brian McCann, C
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> .256 BA, .796 OPS, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 0 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Braves <bold>Best fit:</bold> Rangers This year's market features several quality catching options, but McCann is clearly the best of them. He rebounded from a 2012 season ruined by a shoulder injury to put together another strong offensive year, and he is still good defensively, is relatively young and is a clubhouse leader. McCann reportedly would like to play for an AL club, so that he can DH when not behind the plate, and the Rangers -- who have been looking for a long-term catcher for years and who tried to trade for him at this year's deadline -- fit the bill.
5 of 20Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
Masahiro Tanaka, SP
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> 24-0, 1.27 ERA, 0.943 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 1 SV <bold>Current team:</bold> Rakuten Eagles <bold>Best fit:</bold> Yankees No matter what you think of the win statistic, it is exceedingly difficult to go 24-0 in any professional league, including Nippon Professional Baseball. The consensus among MLB clubs is that while Tanaka is not quite as talented as Yu Darvish, he's fairly close -- and that makes him the top pitcher on an open market that is devoid of aces. (While Tanaka is not technically a free agent, due to the posting system, practically he is). Tanaka is easily the youngest starter available but, says one GM, "You don't know about his warts and hickeys as much as you do the other guys'." Tanaka will be very attractive to the Yankees, who need a starter and who can also commit as much money as necessary to his posting fee, which doesn't count against their payroll.
6 of 20Al Tielemans/SI
Mike Napoli, 1B
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> .259 BA, .842 OPS, 23 HR, 92 RBI, 1 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Red Sox <bold>Best fit:</bold> Red Sox Napoli originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with the Red Sox last offseason, which was eventually knocked down to one year and $5 million after his physical turned up a hip condition (though he actually made $13 million, after reaching all his incentives). There will be no such discount this year. Napoli isn't a catcher anymore, but he proved an excellent full-time first baseman (he actually led the league in FanGraphs' Ultimate Zone Rating), and he set a career high in plate appearances and RBIs. A multi-year reunion with Boston seems in order. Where else could he go with that beard?
7 of 20Charlie Riedel/AP
Ervin Santana, SP
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> 9-10, 3.24 ERA, 1.142 WHIP, 6.9 K/9 <bold>Current team:</bold> Royals <bold>Best fit:</bold> Royals The market for domestic free agent starters is relatively weak -- none of them is anything better than a No. 2 starter, possibly even a No. 3, and each has knocks against him. It is hard to separate the top three, but Santana represents the most attractive option. While the former Angel tends to have very bad years from time to time (his ERA exceeded 5.00 in both 2009 and '12), he seems to have matured as a pitcher, and his unimpressive won-lost record this year was belied by his excellent ratios (including his 2.2 walks per nine innings). The Royals will do what they can to make sure his stay in Kansas City lasts more than a single season.
8 of 20Fred Vuich/SI
Ubaldo Jimenez, SP
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> 13-9, 3.30 ERA, 1.330 WHIP, 9.6 K/9 <bold>Current team:</bold> Indians <bold>Best fit:</bold> Orioles After two and a half years of struggles, Jimenez regained his elite form in the second half of 2013, in which he had a 1.82 ERA -- tops among AL starters in that category -- and struck out 10.7 batters per nine. Teams will be wary of the way in which his long-limbed delivery can break down for significant periods of time, but he still has the chance to be a star. He would instantly be the best starter on an Orioles team that has the offense to be a serious contender, but is in need of an upgrade to a rotation that ranked 27th in ERA at 4.57.
9 of 20Daniel Gluskoter/Icon SMI
Matt Garza, SP
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> 10-6, 3.82 ERA, 1.236 WHIP, 7.9 K/9 <bold>Current team:</bold> Rangers <bold>Best fit:</bold> Angels Garza missed the first month and a half of the season while recovering from a strained lat, and while he pitched well as a Cub (6-1, 3.17 ERA) he disappointed after being traded to the Rangers (4-5, 4.38). He has, however, been generally consistent in a career that has already run through four organizations -- his ERA has been between 3.32 and 3.95 in every season since 2007 -- and the Angels are in desperate need of consistency in a rotation that seems to have two open spots behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards.
10 of 20Porter Binks/SI
Nelson Cruz, OF
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> .266 BA, .833 OPS, 27 HR, 76 RBI, 5 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Rangers <bold>Best fit:</bold> Royals It's important to note that Cruz put up his excellent power numbers in only 109 games. Had he played a full season, he would likely have approached 40 homers. Of course, the reason that Cruz missed so much of the year was because of a 50-game PED suspension, which will give his suitors pause as they consider one source of his strength and how he might perform in the future. Still, Cruz is clearly the market's top righthanded-batting outfielder, and he'll be in demand. The Royals, whose rightfielders last year combined to hit .258 with 12 homers and 71 RBIs, could use him.
11 of 20Chuck Solomon/SI
Carlos Beltran, OF
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> .296 BA, .830 OPS, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 2 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Cardinals <bold>Best fit:</bold> Yankees During the playoffs Cardinals GM John Mozeliak noted that at one point in his career, Beltran may have been "the best player on the planet." He's now a decade past his prime, though, and while his two-year, $26 million deal with St. Louis worked out extraordinarily well as far as production (he slugged 56 homers and drove in 181 runs), even more startling might have been his durability. Beltran played in 151 games in 2012 and 145 in 2013, after having played a combined 145 in 2009 and '10 as a Met (he played 142 in a 2011 season split between the Mets and Giants). The impending arrival of prospect Oscar Taveras makes it likely that Beltran will move on from St. Louis. While his age and injury history might make him too big of a risk for even a middle class team, he could prove a tolerable, high-ceiling gamble for a wealthy one like the Yankees, who have long been after him.
12 of 20Porter Binks/SI
Hiroki Kuroda, SP
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> 11-13, 3.31 ERA, 1.162 WHIP, 6.7 K/9 <bold>Current team:</bold> Yankees <bold>Best fit:</bold> Dodgers Kuroda was a legitimate Cy Young contender through Aug. 12, when he was 11-7 with a 2.33 ERA, but a rough final eight starts (in which he went 0-6 with a 6.56 mark) put an end to that. Still, the Yankees would very much like him back -- he was their best starting pitcher last year -- but Kuroda has always approached free agency his own way. He has signed three straight one-year contracts when he could have had longer deals so that he could maintain flexibility and even preserve the option to go back to Japan. He might go home, but another sensible move would be to go about a third of the way there -- back to Los Angeles, where he pitched for the Dodgers from 2008 to '11, and where he'd nicely slot in behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
13 of 20Guillermo Hernandez Martinez/SI
Curtis Granderson, OF
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> .229 BA, .723 OPS, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 8 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Yankees <bold>Best fit:</bold> Giants Granderson's walk year was painful. He suffered a fractured forearm when he was hit by a pitch during his spring training debut, and then a broken knuckle when he got struck again just a week after he'd returned, in May. Suitors will overlook the poor numbers that he produced in the 61 games he played in 2013 and focus instead on those from the previous two seasons, when he combined to hit 10 more home runs than anyone else. Any club with a need for a power-hitting outfielder (the Cubs and Phillies are among them) will talk with Granderson, but the Giants could represent a sensible destination, as their lefties produced just 40 homers and an OPS of .692 in 2013.
14 of 20Brad Mangin/SI
Bartolo Colon, SP
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> 18-6, 2.65 ERA, 1.166 WHIP, 5.5 K/9 <bold>Current team:</bold> Athletics <bold>Best fit:</bold> Indians Whatever its source, Colon's very late resurgence is real: He's thrown 507 innings since 2011, and his number have gotten better in each season since then, to the point that he might get Cy Young votes this year for the first time since 2005 (when he won the award). The Indians figure to lose at least a few starters, Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir, and could consider giving even a two-year deal to the man who was their ace from 1998 to 2002.
15 of 20Al Tielemans/SI
Stephen Drew, SS
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> .253 BA, .777 OPS, 13 HR, 67 RBI, 6 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Red Sox <bold>Best fit:</bold> Cardinals Until Drew's World Series Game 6 home run, he had barely hit at all throughout the playoffs, and he still finished with a postseason batting average of .111. Shortstop-needy teams won't care at all, not in a winter in which he is by far the best option, and especially not after a year in which his solid production and slick fielding led to a WAR of 3.1. The Cardinals, the team that surrendered Drew's World Series homer, are in want of basically nothing except for an upgrade on Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso at shortstop, and should have some money to spend after shedding Beltran's contract. Add in the fact that Drew has a relationship with St. Louis after spending boyhood time there while his older brother J.D. was a Cardinal, and there might be no better fit this off-season.
16 of 20Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Bronson Arroyo, SP
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> 14-12, 3.79 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, 5.5 K/9 <bold>Current team:</bold> Reds <bold>Best fit:</bold> Yankees Those who don't know or haven't closely followed Arroyo see the long hair and the guitar playing and assume that he is flaky, but the truth is the opposite. He has never missed a single start in his professional career, and he is extremely consistent. Except for a hiccup in 2011, his ERA over the past five years has ranged from 3.74 to 3.88. The Yankees could lose three members of their starting rotation -- only CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova are sure to return -- and they might search for a guy like Arroyo, as they can confidently slot him in somewhere behind those two and then worry about other things.
17 of 20John Iacono/SI
Joe Nathan, CL
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> 6-2, 1.39 ERA, 0.897 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 43 SV <bold>Current team: </bold>Rangers <bold>Best fit:</bold> Tigers In a fairly strong year for free agent closers, Nathan is clearly the best. He very smoothly came back from 2010's Tommy John surgery to reestablish his dominance in his two years as a Ranger, saving 80 games in 86 chances. The Tigers bullpen doomed them against the Red Sox in the ALCS and will clearly be a major area of focus for Detroit this off-season, especially as Joaquin Benoit is himself a free agent. The Tigers could spend for Nathan's dependability, as well as his influence on Bruce Rondon, who remains their hard-throwing closer of the future.
18 of 20Rod Mar/SI
Kendrys Morales, 1B
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> .277 BA, .785 OPS, 23 HR, 80 RBI, 0 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Mariners <bold>Best fit:</bold> Indians The Cuban switch-hitter will likely never again be the MVP caliber slugger he was before he cracked his leg in two while celebrating a walk-off grand slam as an Angel in 2010. His one season in Seattle, though, should provide a preview of what he'll be for the next several years: a perfectly solid, if unspectacular, run producing designated hitter who can play a little first base. He'd fit in very well in Cleveland, which could use a DH other than the re-signed Jason Giambi, and where he could provide middle-of-the-order support to the trio of Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana.
19 of 20Robert Beck/SI
Ricky Nolasco, SP
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> 13-11, 3.70 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, 7.4 K/9 <bold>Current team:</bold> Dodgers <bold>Best fit:</bold> Padres The longtime Marlin was fantastic in his first 12 starts after being traded to the Dodgers -- 8-1, with a 2.07 ERA -- but then allowed 20 earned runs in just 17 innings over his final five, the last an NLCS loss to the Cardinals. That finish could depress the price of Nolasco, who might represent a very good alternative to the top three domestic options of Santana, Jimenez and Garza, and who is about the same age. Nolasco seemed to genuinely value pitching in Southern California, where he grew up, and the Padres could keep him there in the hope that Petco Park helps him replicate his early Dodgers' tenure over the long haul.
20 of 20Porter Binks/SI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
<bold>2013 Stats:</bold> .273 BA, .804 OPS, 14 HR, 65 RBI, 4 SB <bold>Current team:</bold> Red Sox <bold>Best fit:</bold> Red Sox The clear second option on the market among catchers, Saltalamacchia became the second option on his own team when it mattered most: David Ross, his backup, started four of Boston's six World Series games. Even so, Saltalamacchia was a key component of the Red Sox' championship team -- until you've observed his long curls dripping with champagne, you can't appreciate the full potential of what hair can be -- and ranked sixth among all catchers in OPS. Whereas Boston overhauled its roster last winter, it will now likely seek to keep it as intact as it can, and re-signing Saltalamacchia (and Napoli) would be a great start.
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