The Seattle Mariners were a terrible team last season, but with a new manager in Lloyd McClendon and some young talent, could the team be ready for some changes with big name signings like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo or Matt Garza?
The team has money to spend and new manager and with Ellsbury having grown up in the Pacific Northwest and attending Oregon State, could the team sway him to return? MLB.com is reporting that the M's will chase Ellsbury as well as Shin-Soo Choo or Matt Garza as they try to add two0 bats and an arm this offseason with Jack Zduriencik leading the way.
Ellsbury should be one of the top free agents on the market after playing in the World Series and despite being injured in 2012, he had a great season in 2011 and this year he hit near .300 and stole over 50 bases and he could be a centerfield option for the team if they let Curtis Granderson go. The Yankees are hoping to sign Cano at less than 10 years and that would enable the team to go after more free agents, including some of the names listed above. Carlos Beltran is a player they have coveted for quite some time and after dealing with issues at catcher this season, they could be in the market for someone like McCann.
The Boston Red Sox are World Series champions and now that they have defeated the St. Louis Cardinals for the title, it's time to move into the offseason and while the team doesn't have as many issues as others in the MLB, they have plenty of questions, including free agent targets as well as the possibility of losing players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew are all free agents this winter and things will become official on Tuesday, as that marks the sixth day after the World Series and that means free agency officially begins. According to ESPN.com, Napoli, Drew and Ellsbury all are receiving qualifying offers from the Red Sox and while that doesn't mean they will re-sign all those players, it means that the team protects itself if they leave, as they will get draft picks as compensation if they sign with another club. This season the qualifying offer is at $14.1 million and those three players will be interesting to watch, as they all could end up leaving the Sox.
Napoli, Ellsbury and Drew all came through at various times for the team in the playoffs and the World Series and all were very solid during the season. Napoli was very solid at first base after coming over from the Texas Rangers, has he hit nearly .260 with 23 home runs and over 90 RBIs, while Drew added 13 home runs and 67 RBIs while hitting just over .250, very respectable for a player at his position and he was excellent on defense all year and in the World Series. Drew was slumping hard in the postseason, but he came through with some clutch hitting, including a home run in Game 6.
According to ESPN.com, Ellsbury will be getting a qualifying offer and he is the most likely player to leave the Red Sox, as he will have suitors like the Yankees, Texas Rangers as well as the LA Angels. Ellsbury hit nearly .300 this season and stole over 50 bases and after playing very well in 2011, he should get some nice offers and with Scott Boras as his agent, he will be making plenty of money. Ellsbury easily could get a $100 million contract this offseason and teams like the Yankees and the Rangers could use a centerfielder and Ellsbury could be their man, as the Red Sox likely will be fine to move on if Boras asks for too much.
The top free agent targets for the Red Sox likely will be Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, especially if Ellsbury leaves. The team has solid pitching at the top, but they may want some more depth and adding a player like McCann would be an upgrade over David Ross, Jared Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway. Tanaka is a young stud in Japan and after watching the way Yu Darvish has pitched, he could be a top option and he went oh just 24-0 last season with a sub 1.30 ERA and that could mean big spending this offseason from teams.