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Trading Places: The 2013 MLB Free Agent Preview

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This year's free agent market fails to live up to last year's in terms of star power, but after a season with so much parity, it'll be interesting to see what changes happen. Many teams (Baltimore, Toronto, Pittsburgh) will be looking to get to the next stage and this offseason may be their best way getting there.

Josh Hamilton: He's definitely the most interesting (not the biggest) free agent in a long while. At times, he's been the best player in baseball, but his history of injuries and addiction (and a recent relapse) have made some teams weary of giving him a large, multi-year contract. The Rangers have taken an organizational stance to not commit long term to Josh. So what is his best-fit scenario? I think Baltimore provides a great situation for him. The Orioles, although they strongly over-performed this year, have a puncher's chance at winning a title and Josh could put the Orioles in position to take over the Yankees position at the top of the AL East and ward off the revamped Blue Jays. The Red Sox may take a shot at Josh but Boston will be a bad fit for Josh personally.

Zack Greinke: The 2009 Cy Young winner has had an up and down career, and this will be his first chance to bring in big free-agent money. I believe Zach should go down the freeway from his current job in Anaheim and join the Dodgers. He'd get to move back to the NL and get a great shot at winning a World Series. The Dodgers are willing to spend whatever it takes to sign him, and he won't have the pressure of being the No.1 in the rotation, a position Clayton Kershaw would presumably maintain.

Michael Bourn: A true five-tool player, Bourn will be a great consolation prize to whatever team lands him instead of Josh Hamilton. I think he is best off resigning with the Braves, however. The Braves, although they've had a series of two disapointing seasons in a row, are a good team with great potential. With Chipper Jones gone, Bourn could transition into being a leader in the locker room, and create another Braves dynasty.

Kyle Lohse: After putting together two solid years in a row, Loshe is primed to bring in a lot of money as the number-two pitcher on the market. He may not see the playoffs for a while in this case, but Boston should be his next home. They're looking to show the rest of the league they're still in it to win it and nabbing Lohse will be good enough for them. They'll probably be willing to go above and beyond what anybody else is offering, and I think Lohse will be looking to cash in right now.

Anibal Sanchez: At 28, he's actually the youngest pitcher on the market and may command a large, multi-year contract for being so. He's apparently looking for a six-year contract with $10-15 million a year. And I believe the Blue Jays will continue their new big-spending ways and nab him to round out the rotation. This will give Sanchez an opportunity to get his money and play for a contender for the foreseeable future.

Nick Swisher: As a Red Sox fan, the apparent bidding war between the Sox and Yankees for him is the only thing I've ever wanted the Yankees to win. The Red Sox have offered a $60 million/four-year contract, a contract a 32-year-old with a career .256 batting average does not warrant. Most of his value comes from his ability to play many different positions. However, Boston has so many holes at so many positions, Swisher may be calling Boston his home soon anyways.

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