A new batch of free agent’s will prepare themselves to find a new contract for their 2013 team or find another place to call home.
While that group of veteran players are set to continue their careers, there are a couple players who are set to call it a career. One of those players is Todd Helton, one of my favorite players to ever cover first place is one of those for sure players who will walk away from this game.
The other is the long time White Sox Paul Konerko. Konerko is waiting to hear from management to see if they’re going to involve him in their plans for next year, if not he’s prepared to walk away from the game of baseball.
Both of these guys have played great in their careers and will surely be inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame when they’re eligible. But right now we can focus on the guys who are prepared to play next season and beyond despite an organizations plans.
First guy on the list right now is first basemen/catcher Mike Napoli. Napoli made it on my list for catchers, but since he’s also a first basemen he should get some attention for teams who could use him as a two position player. If they lack depth at this position, he could very well be a target. Napoli was diagnosed with a hip problem which knocked his long term contract from the Boston Red Sox, to pretty much a one year deal. This season he’s making some noise for the American League East champions and setting himself up to get a giant contract. He’s hit three grand slams this season along with 23 home runs, 91 RBI’s on a batting line of .257/.357/.482. His 91 RBI’s are a career high. He could very well end up returning to the Boston Red Sox, but may get a bigger pay check from an organization who is willing to dish out a couple figures to what they could offer.
Veteran left handed hitter Travis Hafner spent 98% of his career with the Cleveland Indians but spent this season with the New York Yankees. He’s more than likely going to be moving on from the Yanks so he should land with a team like the Houston Astros or any other team who is currently rebuilding and needs more time molding prospects at this position. Hafner could be a cheap pick up as he’s hit 12 home runs and drove in 37 runs through 81 games with the Bronx Bombers. His batting line isn’t the greatest, but it’s fair as it sits at .205/.300/.384.
Carlos Pena who lit things up with the Chicago Cubs for one season, ended up with Tampa Bay but saw his numbers drop in nearly every category. He then moved onto the Houston Astros then later ended up with the Kansas City Royals. He’s played through 89 games in 2013 between the two clubs but only has a total of eight home runs and 25 RBI’s so far this season. With a batting line of .209/.324/.350 and the Astros letting him go, he could very well stay with the Royals.
Former Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim switch hitter Kendrys Morales was known for nearly breaking his leg in half after celebrating at home plate following a walk-off home run. He hasn’t really played a full season (closest is this season at 154 games) only averaging 88 games a season. But this season he’s provided some offense for the Mariners with 23 home runs and 80 RBI’s but struck out 113 times. His batting line is currently .281/.339/.454 through pretty much the entire season. Great numbers that should get him a decent contract extension with the Mariners. He’s only 30 years old so he has a lot of baseball left in him.
Last guy on this list is long time Minnesota Twin and current Pittsburgh Pirates first basemen Justin Morneau was a trade chip that was just destined to be moved this season. With the Minnesota Twins pretty much folding their hand and possibly moving catcher Joe Mauer to first base permanently, there was pretty much no room for Morneau in Minnesota. So Pittsburgh right now has been a great landing spot and opportunity for him as the Pirates are a team on the rise. They’ve reached the playoffs this season for the first time in 20+ years and could lock down the first base position for a couple of more seasons since he’s only 32 years old. He’s hit 17 home runs and 77 RBI’s (3 RBI’s with the Pirates in 25 games) and a batting line of .260/.368/.315.