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Top 40 Free Agents Before 2013

A look ahead at the free agents after the 2012 season

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Updated January 31, 2013

The free agent crop before the 2013 isn't going to set any contract records this offseason. It's got a few stars, but most of them are well past their prime. There's a significant drop-off after the top two as well. A look at the top 40 players on this year's free agent market, with their 2012 statistics and their ages as of Opening Day 2013:

1. Josh Hamilton (CF, .285, 43 HR, 128 RBI, .930 OPS, age 31): The stats scream that Josh Hamilton will get a very lucrative contract. Former MVP, only 31, talent oozing in all facetsof the game. But teams will always worry about his past with drug abuse, and that could cost him a few suitors. He's still, by far, the best position player on the market. (Signed with Angels, five years, $125 million)

2. Zack Greinke (RHP, 15-5, 3.48 ERA, age 29): A former AL Cy Young winner, his game fell apart in 2010, then he put it back together again. Now he's in the prime of his career and is looking for some security. He'll certainly find it. (Signed with Angels, six years, $147 million)

3. Michael Bourn (CF, .274, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 42 SB, .739 OPS, age 30): Speed guys aren't worth as much as they used to be, and it's buyer beware on them in modern free agency (see Crawford, Carl). But Bourn's WAR (wins over replacement) over the last three years adds up to 15, and only Hamilton's is higher among this year's free agents. Worthy of a four-year deal, but probably no longer.

4. Anibal Sanchez (RHP, 9-13, 3.86 ERA, age 29): Sanchez's career stats don't scream ace, but he's an effective innings-eater who came through for the Tigers on the big stage. He also threw a no-hitter early in his career. His stuff is good, and his contract will be, too. (Signed with Tigers, five years, $80 million)

5. Angel Pagan (CF, .288, 8 HR, 56 RBI, 15 3B, 29 SB, .778 OPS, age 31): Another player striking while the iron is hot, the world champions' center fielder will test the market and he should find it lucrative. Bourn is just slightly more attractive on the market than Pagan, who led the NL in triples. (Signed with Giants, four years, $40 million)

6. Adam LaRoche (1B, .271, 33 HR, 100 RBI, .853 OPS, age 31): He could disappear from this list quickly if the Washington Nationals decide to pick up a $10 million option on their first baseman, who had a career year in 2012. He'd like a long-term deal, and that great season is great leverage. (Signed with Nationals, two years, $22 million)

7. Rafael Soriano (RHP, 2-1, 2.26 ERA, 42 saves, age 33): The fill-in closer for Mariano Rivera and the Yankees turned down a massive option ($14 million) for long-term security? Why? He's by far the best closer on the market this offseason, and he's got a few years left in him. A contender will make him an offer he can't refuse. (Signed with Nationals, two years, $28 million, with option)

8. Nick Swisher (OF-1B, .272, 24 HR, 93 RBI, .837 OPS, age 32): He's been a consistent force in the Yankees lineup, but can he make it on his own in the middle of a lineup? That will be the rub on Swisher, who probably has priced himself out of the Yankees' range, as incredible as that seems. They have other priorities. (Signed with Indians, four years, $56 million)

9. Hiroki Kuroda (RHP, 16-11, 3.32 ERA, age 38): He's getting up there in age, but he held up strong in the Yankees' rotation last season and seems likely to get a good, one-year deal again, perhaps back in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, who need pitching desperately. (Signed with Yankees, one year, $15 million)

10. Edwin Jackson (RHP, 10-11, 4.03 ERA, age 29): Seems like Edwin Jackson should be older, right? But he's still under 30 and he's an effective innings-eater everywhere he's pitched, and his teams tend to find themselves in the playoff race, as he did with the Washington Nationals last season. (Signed with Cubs, four years, $52 million)

11. Shane Victorino (CF, .255, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 39 SB, .704 OPS, age 32): The flyin' Hawaiian isn't quite the same player as he was a couple of years ago, but his WAR over the last three years is 13, and putting him in the right spot in a good lineup should bring him back up again from his subpar year with the Phillies and Dodgers. (Signed with Red Sox, three years, $39 million)

12. Shaun Marcum (RHP, 7-4, 3.70 ERA, age 31): Seems a bit high for Marcum? He was looked at as a potential ace with the Blue Jays and then the Brewers just a few years ago. He did have Tommy John surgery and had some elbow issues last season, but he has a much higher ceiling than most pitchers on the market. (Signed with Mets, one year, $4 million)

13. Kyle Lohse (RHP, 16-3, 2.86 ERA, age 34): Lohse had his best season in 2012 for the Cardinals. Can he do it again? That seems unlikely for a player in his mid-30s who is basically a .500 pitcher in his career with a career ERA of 4.45. It seems like a recipe for a team to overpay him.

14. B.J. Upton (CF, .246, 28 HR, 78 RBI, 31 SB, .752 OPS, age 28): Upton isn't even the best Upton anymore -- his brother Justin is a better overall hitter these days -- which is why the Rays aren't likely re-sign him. He hit .300 in his first full season in 2007, but his .246 last season was actually a four-year high. So teams know what they're getting -- a decent power hitter, decent fielder and a guy that strikes out too much. That keeps him below Bourn, Pagan and even Victorino among center fielders on this list. (Signed with Braves, five years, $75.25 million)

15. Mike Napoli (C-1B, .227, 24 HR, 56 RBI, .812 OPS): If only Napoli would have been a free agent after last season, he would have taken a huge check to the bank. But a year later, the bloom is a bit off the rose for the Rangers slugger. He's still only 31, and he's got good power numbers, however. (Signed with Red Sox, three years, $39 million)

16. Dan Haren (RHP, 12-13, 4.33 ERA, age 32): Looked like he was a Cy Young winner waiting to happen, but took a step back for the Angels last season and will see if he can cash in as a free agent. He could be a sign-and-trade candidate for the Angels as well. (Signed with Nationals, one year, $13 million)

17. Torii Hunter (OF, .313, 16 HR, 92 RBI, .817 OPS, age 37): Getting up there in age, but he was a plus-defender for years and has made a good transition as a corner outfielder with the Angels. Teams need veteran hitters, and he might be the best outfield option. (Signed with Tigers, two years, $26 million)

18. Brandon McCarthy (RHP, 8-6, 3.24 ERA, age 29): Took that shot off his head, but showed this season that he's a solid pitcher with a good idea what he's doing out there, without powerful stuff. His injury history will keep some suitors away if he doesn't get arbitration from Oakland. (Signed with Diamondbacks, two years, $15.5 million)

19. Kevin Youkilis (3B-1B, .235, 19 HR, 60 RBI, .745 OPS, age 34): The White Sox could have kept him for $13 million, but decided against it. The stats show a player who has lost his touch. He's a veteran bat who was great at one point, however. (Signed with Yankees, oen year, $12 million)

20. Marco Scutaro (IF, .306, 7 HR, 74 RBI, .753 OPS, age 37): His versatility will be an asset, and he can hit a little, too, as he proved in the postseason for the Giants. He is 37, however, which means two years is probably all he can muster in a contract this offseason. (Signed with Giants, three years, $20 million)

Next 20 Noteworthy Free Agents

Name Pos. Age 2012 team 2012 stats
Ichiro Suzuki OF 39 Yankees .283, 9 HR, 55 RBI
A.J. Pierzynski C 35 White Sox .278, 27 HR, 77 RBI
Ryan Dempster RHP 35 Rangers 12-8, 3.38 ERA
Lance Berkman 1B-OF 37 Cardinals .259, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Cody Ross OF 32 Red Sox .267, 22 HR, 81 RBI
Ryan Madson RHP 32 Reds injured
Jeremy Guthrie RHP 33 Royals 5-3, 3.16 ERA
Stephen Drew SS 30 A's .223, 7 HR, 28 RBI
Francisco Liriano LHP 29 White Sox 6-12, 5.34 ERA
Joe Blanton RHP 32 Dodgers 10-13, 4.71 ERA
Delmon Young DH 27 Tigers .267, 18 HR, 74 RBI
Jonathan Broxton RHP 29 Reds 4-5, 2.48 ERA, 27 SV
David Ortiz DH 37 Red Sox .318, 23 HR, 60 RBI
Scott Baker RHP 31 Twins 8-6, 3.14 ERA
Scott Feldman RHP 30 Rangers 6-11, 5.09 ERA
Brett Myers RHP 32 White Sox 3-8, 3.31 ERA, 19 SV
Russell Martin C 30 Yankees .211, 21 HR, 53 RBI
Joe Saunders LHP 31 Orioles 9-13, 4.07 ERA
Francisco Rodriguez RHP 31 Brewers 2-7, 4.38 ERA, 3 SV
Jose Valverde RHP 35 Tigers 3-4, 3.78 ERA
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