The free agency period of 2013 promises to be much different than those of 2011 and 2012. After seeing the mega-contracts handed out to the likes of Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Alex Rodriguez, and even Jayson Werth pan out so badly, we shouldn't be expecting any more record-breaking free agency deals for older players in the foreseeable future. Around the league you see more and more teams are locking up their young talents before they have a chance to test free agency, leading to less quality on the market and less teams willing to break the bank even on All-Star level free-agents. However, that doesn't mean we won't see a lot of quality players in new cities or at least with shiny new contracts.
Robinson Cano: Even with Cano's high profile switch from super-agent Scott Boras to Jay-Z's sport agency, the Yankees second baseman won't find the kind of contract he's looking for. People have been tossing around numbers like 10 years, $300 million for him, and perhaps last year we would have seen that contract get done. But now even the Yankees are renouncing their high spending ways, and they've publicly rejected the idea of giving Cano a deal with that kind of length. The only other team capable of breaking the bank in that same way, the Dodgers, already found their second basemen of the future in 22-year-old Cuban Alex Guerro. A surprise team could swoop in with a godfather offer, a la Angels with Pujols and Hamilton, but expect Cano to end up resigning with the Yankees for a lot less than his desired $300 million.
Jacoby Ellsbury: A current player under Scott Boras, Ellsbury is hoping to cash in on another quality season with a contract in the ballpark of Carl Crawford's seven years, $142 million contract. He and Dustin Pedroia came up as rookies together in 2007, and while this year Pedroia reigned for a fairly modest eight years, $110 million contract, Ellsbury seems much more eager to test the free agent market and is far from a sure thing to re-sign with the Sox. The biggest potential suitor seems to be the Tigers, who have a history dealing with Scott Boras and are desperate for fielding and speed, both of which Ellsbury can provide. Other potential suitors include the Mets and Mariners, both of whom have the pockets to offer a large contract to Ellsbury's liking.
Brian McCann: Although he's a30-year-old catcher coming off a year where he missed time with a shoulder problem, he's seeing a lot of interest from the league's top teams and could crack a $100 million contract. The lifetime .272 hitter has drawn interest from the Yankees and Red Sox among others, and apparently is expected to sign a contract running five to six years with about $16 million in average value. The Red Sox should be able to retain free-agent to be Jarrod Saltalamachia to tie down the catcher position, so perhaps they're trying to drive up the price on the Yankees as the Evil Empire did with Carl Crawford not too long ago. At this point it seems highly unlikely that Atlanta will be able to resign McCann and we should expect him to sign somewhere in the AL where he can transition to DH later in his career.
Ervin Santana: There aren't any Cliff Lee's or Zach Greinke's on this year's market, but Ervin Santana can provide a solid 200 innings to anyone who signs him. He's coming off his best year as a pro, pitching 211 innings with a 3.24 ERA and will likely receive a qualifying offer from the Royals, meaning that any other team that signs him will have to give Kansas City a draft pick. The loss of a draft pick and Santana's inconsistency from year to year will most likely scare off other teams, and the Royals should be able to resign Santana.