MLB Picks: 2013 Free Agents and Potential Trade Bait

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

While most baseball fans are focused on the World Series, the free agent period begins soon afterwards and there could also be trades involving huge names.

While it is understandable that most bettors are currently focused with their MLB picks for the World Series, it will not be long after this series is over that many players will become highly sought after free agents commanding mega contracts, and more often than not getting them.

Furthermore the two World Series participants, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox, could potentially lose some key contributors that got them to this point unless they dig deep into their respective pockets and give these players substantial raises, as they will command those big dollars on the open market.

We will look at three pending free agents for 2013 from the two World Series teams in a moment, but in addition to those, there could be a couple of Cy Young winners, one from last year and one that will probably win the award this year, that could very well be traded this winter as they will be free agents in 2014 and the teams, both of whom made the 2013 playoffs, may try to get as much as they can right now before losing these superstars for nothing next year.

First, here are the three pending free agents that are still playing baseball right now but may not return to their respective 2013 league champion next season.

Carlos Beltran (St. Louis Cardinals): Beltran is one of the best post-season performers of all time, and even though he is batting a modest .256 this post-season Beltran has made his hits count as he has two home runs, three doubles, one triple, and 12 RBI in 11 games. Beltran had 24 homers and 84 RBI with a .296 average during the regular season while playing a fine outfield, showing that he has not lost his skills at the age of 36. He has also been relatively injury free while making three straight All-Star appearances, so estimates have Beltran seeking a three-year, $60 million deal.

Jacoby Ellsbury (Boston Red Sox): Ellsbury missed most of last season with an injury, but he came back strong in this contract year with a .781 OPS out of the leadoff spot and 52 stolen bases in 56 attempts, and he had decent pop for a leadoff hitter with nine home runs, 31 doubles and eight triples. Perhaps most importantly of all, Ellsbury has continued to maximize his free agent value with a great post-season, as he is basting .400 with 16 hits in 40 at-bats and has had two three-hit games, one four-hit game and six stolen bases in seven attempts. Add in the fact that he is just 30 years old and Ellsbury could command over $100 million over six years.

Mike Napoli (Boston Red Sox): With all due respect to James Harden of the NBA, the MLB version of “The Beard” homered off of Justin Verlander for the only run of Game 3 of the ALCS and he then opened up the scoring with another home run in Game 5 to propel the Red Sox to another huge road win. Now, Boston was set to offer Napoli a three-year contract last winter but pulled out over concerns over his long-term durability due to a hip condition. Thus he will now hit the free agent market after the World Series and should probably have little trouble finding a suitor to give the 31-year-old a two-year deal at around $40 million.

Next, here are the past and probably present Cy Young Award winners that helped their teams make the playoffs this season but will probably be on the trading block, and can probably be acquired for less that they would command if they were not pending free agents in 2014.

David Price (Tampa Bay Rays): Price won the American League Cy Young Award last season and after a slow start to this year due to a triceps injury, he regained his Cy Young form after coming off of the Disabled List in July, and he then beat the Texas Rangers in a play-in game after Tampa Bay and Texas tied in the standings to propel the Rays into the playoffs. Unfortunately Price is pitching for a Tampa Bay team that is strapped for cash and is unlikely to resign him for the kinds of dollars he expects to command once his contract is up, so now seems like the perfect time for the Rays to get the maximum package they can for him while his value is probably at his peak. 

Max Scherzer (Detroit Tigers): Scherzer is the odds-on favorite to take home the Cy Young Award this year, and if he does win it as expected and is then traded, it would make him the second reigning Cy Young winner to be traded in as many years, following in the footsteps of R.A. Dickey after last season. Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts vs. 56 walks during the regular season, and he pitched well while going 1-2 during the post-season allowing six runs in three starts with 32 strikeouts vs. just one walk in 20.1 innings, but the shoddy Detroit bullpen blew two leads for him. Scherzer is seeking a long-term deal with Detroit, and if the two parties do not come to terms in the coming weeks, trading him after what up to this point had been a career year seems plausible before he walks next year.

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