The MLB free agency period is starting to heat up as we inch closer to December, but none of the premiere free agents have found homes yet. Here is our prediction as to where the top-12 free agents on the market end up:
1. Albert Pujols, 1B- The best free agent to hit the market in years will easily be the winters most sought after prize, but after winning it all with St. Louis, I have a tough time seeing them let him walk. Re-signs with Cardinals, 8 year/$224 Million.
2. Prince Fielder, 1B- A great consolation prize in the Pujols sweepstakes probably won't sign until Albert is off the market. Milwaukee wants him back, but I see a bigger market getting involved and Prince following the money. Signs with Cubs, 7 year/$160 Million.
3. Jose Reyes, SS- An injury plauged 2011 really hampered what was going to be a great season. Even though he barely cracked 100 games, he still put up huge numbers, is only 28 and plays a premium position and he'll get paid accordingly. Signs with Marlins, 7 year/$115 Million.
4. C.J. Wilson, SP- He's been the Rangers' ace the last few seasons, but hasn't shown up when they've needed him in October. Still, he's been one of baseball's best lefties in recent years and is going to cash in. The Yankees or Angels appear the most logical fit with the most money to spend. Signs with Angels, 6 Year/$85 Million.
5. Yu Darvish, SP- The Japanese import will likely ink with some major league team this winter, and he comes over more hyped up than Daisuke Matsuzaka was back in '06. Reminds me a lot of Pedro Martinez with his had fastball, slider and off-the-table forkball (highlight video). Signs with Rangers, 4 Year/$55 Million.
6. Carlos Beltran, OF- The best outfielder on the market is coming off a very nice All-Star season, but still has some injury concerns as he hits his mid-30's. Still can rake though, and should easily get a 2-3 year deal with a team in need of hitting. Re-signs with Giants, 2 Year/$28.5 Million.
7. Jimmy Rollins, SS- Like the case with Fielder and Pujols, Rollins will probably fall to whoever comes up 2nd in the Jose Reyes sweepstakes. Rollins is older than Reyes and doesn't have the quality years that he 28 year-old has left, but should have no problem finding a 3-4 year deal. Re-signs with Phillies, 3 Year/$40 Million.
8. Roy Oswalt, SP- Flying a bit under the radar this winter, but still very effective into his mid-30's. Won't cash in like the younger left-handed Wilson, but on a 3 year contract, could be very efficient in this over-priced pitching market. Signs with Yankees, 3 Year/$39 Million.
9. Michael Cuddyer, OF/IF- I have him this high because of the kind of hitter he is and his ability to play multiple positions. He's probably the 2nd best outfield option on the market, and shouldn't break the bank to get signed. Signs with Boston, 3 Year/$33 Million.
10. Ryan Madson, RP- The market's clear-cut top closer with Jonathan Pappelbon now in Philly. Madson could very well be headed to Boston to now fill Pappelbon's old spot like Pappelbon did his. This market is stocked with closing options though. Signs with Boston, 4 Year/$42 Million.
11. Yoenis Cespedes, OF- The Cuban defector is getting a lot of hype heading into the winter. A lot of people see him as a younger, healthier option to Carlos Beltran. Still risky since he's never played in the Big Leagues, but he has tools very similar to a young Vlad Guerrero. Signs with Nationals, 4 Year/$52 Million.
12. Aramis Ramirez, 3B- He's asking for big money, but his declining defense at third base makes him best suited for the AL. Still can rake though as long as he's healthy, and a sure bet for .285 avg, 25+ homers and 90+ RBI with a full season. Signs with White Sox, 4 Years/$44 Million.
Other Prominant Free Agent Predictions:
David Ortiz, DH (2 Years/$25 Million w/Red Sox); Mark Buehrle, SP (3 Year/$40 Million w/Tigers); Heath Bell, RP (3 Year/$36 Million w/Rays); Grady Sizemore, OF (1 Year/$9.5 Million w/Cubs); Carlos Pena, 1B (2 Year/$22 Million w/Brewers); Francisco Rodriguez, RP (3 Year/$28 Million w/Blue Jays)