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Free Agent Predictions

Let’s go with a little more MLB-centric post for today. It’s time for my first annual Free Agent Frensy predictions for the top 15 free agents. I used the order used by MLBTradeRumors.com to determine how these are listed. Away we go…

1. Cliff Lee – I think Lee stays with the Rangers. He seemed to enjoy pitching there, it’s close to his home and his wife wasn’t spit on. Realistically, that probably won’t play as big a part as the media would like you to believe, but it’s still a fun story to talk about. 6 years/$126 million

2. Carl Crawford – Crawford is the type of guy who will have a lot of suitors as is not often the case with free agents. I think ultimately, the Angels are embarrassed by their 2010 and are going to re-load on the free agent market this off-season and that begins with Crawford. As a help to the Angels, Crawford’s best friend is right fielder Torii Hunter. 5 years/$100.1 million

3. Adrian Beltre – Beltre’s fate with the Red Sox lies in their ability to acquire Adrian Gonzalez. Ultimately, I think they do, so Beltre doesn’t have much of a place in Boston. Instead, he’ll sign with the Tigers, which will be pretty much a repeat of his Mariners years in that stadium and they’ll regret the deal in two years. 4 years/$60 million

4. Jayson Werth – You all know that I’d love the Royals to sign Werth to a high annual salary, lower years deal, but let’s not kid ourselves and realize that will not happen. He, like Crawford, is going to be highly sought after. The Red Sox have seemed to zero in on him, and I think they will sign him after trading Jacoby Ellsbury to San Diego as part of the Gonzalez deal. 5 years/$85 million

5. Adam Dunn – He doesn’t want to DH and he likes the National League, so he’s limiting his options. His options are limited even further when you look at the large amount of star first basemen in the National League. He still makes sense for a few teams. I think the Brewers might be the front-runner here if they trade Prince Fielder, but it’s hard to assume that, so I won’t. I think this will be the first legitimate free agent surprise. The Giants will not resign Aubrey Huff, but will sign Adam Dunn. 4 years/$44 million

6. Victor Martinez – The market for an All-Star catcher is going to be surprisingly thin this year. While lots of teams could use his bat at catcher, it just doesn’t seem like teams are jumping at the chance to go after Martinez. The Tigers are his main suitor if reports are correct, but I think Martinez surprises and signs with the Mets. 3 years/$32 million

7. Rafael Soriano – Some of these predictions are just straight guesses (obviously), but this one I’d be surprised if I was wrong. The Angels need a closer. The Angels are going to spend big money this off-season. Rafael Soriano is a closer. I did the math and it added up to the Angels writing another big check. 4 years/$40 million

8. Mariano Rivera Yankees. 2 years/$22 million

9. Paul Konerko – There are teams who would want him, but I think Konerko ultimately stays with the White Sox for a couple more years. 2 years/$25 million

10. Derek Jeter – It may get ugly, but he’ll be a Yankee in 2011. 3 years/$33 million with two mutual options for $11 million each

11. Hiroki Kuroda – Kuroda may end up being the steal of the free agent period. He’s a solid pitcher who will give you innings and keep your team in the game. He’s a candidate for a lot of teams, but I think he’ll surprise and sign with the Brewers. 3 years/$24 million

12. Jorge De La Rosa – Many are calling De La Rosa a redux of Oliver Perez, but I believe he’s better than that. Some team will overpay for him, though, and be disappointed with the production they receive. Two years ago, this smelled like an Orioles move, but I think they’re going in the right direction, so I predict he’ll end up signing with the Dodgers to replace Kuroda. 3 years/$29 million

13. Carl Pavano – He’ll ultimately re-sign with the Twins as too many teams have questions about his attitude and durability. The Twins do not have those questions. 2 years/$19 million

14. Jake Westbrook – He’ll re-sign with the Cardinals as they like him and he likes them. Look for a Cy Young caliber season within a couple of seasons. 3 years/$22 million

15. Aubrey Huff – With Dunn in San Fran, I think the Cubs sign Huff and actually end up better off as Huff is passable in the outfield and above average at first base. They’ll be disappointed at first, and at some point in the contract, he’ll have a down year, but all in all, it’ll be a bargain. 3 years/$21 million

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