2013 MLB Free Agency: Whose Stock Is Soaring and Whose Is Plummeting?

Matt DagostinoContributor IJanuary 2, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Michael Bourn #24 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after he struck out swinging with bases loaded in the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field on September 6, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Most of the big Major League Baseball free agent names have decided where they will play in 2013. 

Of those who remain unsigned, which names are on the rise?  And which names are losing popularity?



All the confetti has been cleaned up after ringing in the New Year.  For some free agents, the time to strike has already come and gone. 

Michael Bourn

It was thought that Bourn might be able to land a deal in the neighborhood of B.J. Upton, who got $75 million over five years with the Atlanta Braves.

Bourn's former team signed Upton.  The Philadelphia Phillies traded for Ben Revere.  The Washington Nationals traded for Denard Span.  The Cincinnati Reds traded for Shin-Soo Choo to play center field.  Angel Pagan re-signed in San Francisco.

The options are dwindling for Bourn.  He may have to accept a one-year deal and re-enter the free agent market next offseason.  If anybody is going to offer up a multi-year deal, here are some options for Bourn.

Kyle Lohse

Coming off a season in which he went 16-3, Lohse figured to have many suitors this offseason.

But like Bourn, Lohse has seen teams go in different directions.  The Nationals went after Dan Haren.  The Boston Red Sox signed Ryan Dempster.  The Los Angeles Angels traded for Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas, and signed Joe Blanton.  Toronto traded for R.A. Dickey and Kansas City dealt for James Shields.

Lohse, 34, is just nine games over .500 for his career.  Perhaps teams are expecting a drop-off after a career year and are wanting to pay for future expectations, not last year's outlier.

He, like Bourn, may have to wait out teams to see if they get desperate enough to give him a multi-year deal.  ESPN's Jim Bowden says Baltimore may be a good fit.

Rafael Soriano and Jose Valverde

Both closers are still available.  But, perhaps for different reasons.

Soriano declined the New York Yankees' arbitration offer, meaning any team that signs him will have to forfeit a compensation draft pick.  That is having an adverse affect on Soriano's signability.

Valverde's decline and subsequent removal from the closer's role in Detroit during the postseason has hurt his stock. 

Both are in their mid-30's and would be good on a short-term deal.  But not many teams are willing to give them the long-term contracts they are seeking.



Shaun Marcum and Joe Saunders

Middling free agent pitchers such as Marcum and Saunders owe a big thank you to Francisco Liriano.  After Liriano landed a two-year, $14 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the market for pitchers towards the back end of a rotation climbed.

Instead of having to settle for a one-year deal, reliable guys like Marcum and Saunders can reasonably expect to get two years.  Even if they do not get deals for the same average annual salary, they will likely see more guaranteed dollars thanks to Mr. Liriano.

For teams not wanting to invest in Lohse, Marcum and Saunders are the prime targets left on the market.

Brian Wilson

Not impressed by or moved to sign guys like Valverde and Soriano? 

Why not try and go the buy-low route and pick up a proven closer like Wilson.

Wilson is coming off Tommy John surgery and is said to be ready for spring training

Sure, he is a little quirky and that beard just might need its own zip code soon enough.

But Wilson has averaged more than40 saves a year in his last four healthy seasons and helped the San Francisco Giants to a World Series in 2010.

Many teams would be wise to offer him a one-year, incentive-laden deal with an option for 2014.  Let him work his way back slowly and hope he is fully healthy by mid-season. 

Several teams have interest in Wilson's services.


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