A very early look at the top 5 free agents in baseball

August 10, 2010: Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Carl Crawford ( ) during game action between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Rays defeated the Tigers 8-0.

The Giants haven’t been World Series Champions for 24 hours yet, but it’s never too early to take a look at which names will dominate the headlines this winter.

Here’s a very preliminary look at the top-5 free agents in baseball for 2011.

1. Carl Crawford, OF, Rays
Mark my words: The Yankees and Red Sox will be battling over this guy for the next couple of months. The Bombers could fall behind as they focus their attention on Cliff Lee, but you know their wallets are deep enough to best any offer that teams come to the table with for Crawford. There’s little to no chance he returns to Tampa next year and I fully expect him to man one of the outfields in either New York or Boston next season.

2. Cliff Lee, SP, Rangers
He probably cost himself a couple of million by throwing a 2-0 cutter in the zone to Edgar Renteria (who put it over the wall) in Game 5 of the World Series, but every team knows Lee is one of the best. And he’s certainly the best free agent pitcher on the market this offseason. Will he take the money and head up to the Big Apple or will he stay with the Rangers? Texas probably has a leg up, but it needs to put together a decent offer because in the end, money talks. The Yankees will do everything they can to get Lee in pinstripes next season.

3. Adrian Beltre, 3B, Red Sox
Beltre continues to be one of the best defensive third basemen in the league and he’s coming off a solid season in Boston. He has a player option for the 2011 season, but chances are he’ll move on and try to sign a multi-year deal elsewhere.

4. Jayson Werth, OF, Phillies
Personally, I think Werth is a tad overrated. I think he’s Aaron Rowand re-born and some team will foolishly overpay for his services. But he’s a middle-of-the-order power threat, so he’s worth the shot. The question is whether or not the Phillies pony up to retain him or if he heads off to greener pastures. Call it a hunch, but I think he stays in the NL.

5. Victor Martinez, C, Red Sox
The Tigers have already been linked to V-Mart, but the Red Sox could wind up re-signing him when it’s all said and done. At 32 his skills are declining but he’s a .300 lifetime hitter with a little pop, which is always big from the catcher’s position.

Other names to keep an eye on: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Aubrey Huff, Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Adam Dunn.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts