While the 2012 MLB season has come to a close, general managers across baseball are busy planning for next season, and the 2013 class of free agents presents some names of intrigue for sure.
Here are five names that GMs would love to add this off-season.
1. Josh Hamilton: Texas Rangers
While there is no question that Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton will demand attention this offseason as a free agent, opinions have varied widely as to his value.
A former AL batting champion and MVP Award winner, Hamilton leads the majors as of Aug. 30 with 112 RBI, but after a torrid start to the season has cooled considerably. Injuries are always a concern, and teams may be wary of committing $100 million or more to a player with a sordid past.
2. Michael Bourn: Atlanta Braves
Center fielder Michael Bourn has been everything the Braves wanted thus far in 2012—a .283 average, nine HR and 55 RBI (both career highs) and an NL-leading 37 stolen bases.
Bourn’s agent is Scott Boras, who almost always encourages his clients to test the free agent waters. The Braves would love to keep Bourn long-term, but the Washington Nationals are known to have a huge interest in his services. It very well could come down to a bidding war.
3. Mike Napoli: Texas Rangers
After a career year in 2011, Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli has come back down to earth in 2012, hitting just .223 with 17 HR and 40 RBI. Napoli is currently on the disabled list nursing a sore left quadriceps, and hopes to return by Sept. 1 and help his team down the stretch. His play in the final month of the season could go a long way in dictating his value this offseason.
4. Ryan Dempster: Texas Rangers
Starting pitcher Ryan Dempster has turned things around after a rocky start with the Texas Rangers following his midseason trade from the Chicago Cubs. Dempster has won his last two starts and three of four since joining the Rangers on July 31.
Dempster figures to get a lot of attention this offseason despite his age (35). While a five-or-six year deal similar to what was signed by both Matt Cain and Cole Hamels earlier this season is highly improbable, a two-or-three year deal could be very palatable for several teams looking for a quality guy in the middle of their rotation.
5. Zack Greinke: Los Angeles Angels
When the Los Angeles traded two top-25 organizational prospects for the services of Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke in late July, the did so with the thought that they would have a great shot at signing him long-term.
Greinke will likely be on the highly sought-after free agents on the market, but is currently just 2-2 with a 5.22 ERA in six starts since joining the Angels.
The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner could well command a contract north of $100 million.
This is a guest post submitted by Ally Silva. Ally played all kinds of sports growing up and adamantly follows everything sports now, particularly Chicago sports. She works with Phoenix Bats, a company that creates world-class wooden bats for amateur and professional ball players around the world. Ally loves writing on different sports topics and is very grateful to be able to contribute here.