5. Ervin Santana
2013 Team: Kansas City Royals
Coming off a 9-10 season in which he posted a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings pitched, Ervin Santana will be a very sought after pitcher this offseason. In a market of starting pitchers that are in their mid/late 30's, Santana will be 31-years-old on Opening Day and that will get a few teams reaching further into their pockets. Santana recently said he'd like a five-year $100 million contract, and with him very likely to sign with a contender this winter, expect Santana to get the hefty contract he feels he deserves.
4. Matt Garza
2013 Team: Chicago Cubs/Texas Rangers
Let's face it, Matt Garza struggled while playing for the Texas Rangers. To make matters worse, he struggled against National League batters in 2013 as well. His ERA against the NL in 2013 was 4.38, as opposed to his 3.55 ERA against the Junior Circuit. He was paid a little over $10 million in 2013, so with an ERA like his he's certainly not worth $10 million a year. He'll be 30 on Opening Day, and like Ervin Santana, he's one of the younger starting pitchers in the market that will prompt teams to burn through a little more money to acquire his services.
3. Grant Balfour
2013 Team: Oakland Athletics
Grant Balfour will be 37-years-old on Opening Day, and with his recent success on the mound he should get a hefty pay-day. Balfour is one of the best closers on the market, if not the best, and with that being said a lot of teams will be trying to go after him. A 37-year-old is obviously a risk to be spending big money on, but nonetheless, Balfour has proven to be a great closer. However, paying a player of his age $10-$15 million to close games for your team might be a mistake.
2. Jacoby Ellsbury
2013 Team: Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury's agent has expressed that his 30-year-old client is seeking a long term deal worth around $150 million. That's about the equivalent to former Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford's seven-year $142 million deal back in 2010. Ellsbury deserves a nice big check, but $150 million? No way. If a team is going to meet Ellsbury's contract criteria, they'll be overpaying him by a lot.
1. Robinson Cano
2013 Team: New York Yankees
Robinson Cano is the best second baseman in the MLB. However, that doesn't mean he deserves to be the highest paid player in MLB history. If any team is crazy enough to pay this guy $300 million (which sadly some are) they will be making a big mistake. No player in the league deserves that kind of money, especially when they aren't the best player in the MLB.
This was a featured article that I wrote for The Whistle.
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