Luhnow: 2013 Payroll to be $50-60M

Per Ken Rosenthal.

There were 2 important revelations in that article:

1. 2013 Payroll with start with a "5". That means somewhere between $50M and $60M.

2. Luhnow is likely to target multiple free agents in the $2-4M range.

After arbitration raises, Luhnow should have $25-35M to spend in free agency. That means upwards of 5 players in that less than $5M range can be brought in.

So what can we expect to see this fall/winter? Well, I think a lot of that depends on what answers the young players provide for the remainder of this season, but regardless I think we will see a handful of buy-low veterans brought in to fill the holes and bridge the gaps.

So who could that be? Browsing MLBTR's 2013 Free Agent List, here's the list of worthwhile vets I think could be had on short deals (1 or 2 years) for less than $5M/yr:

Catcher: I don't see anyone who would be an obvious upgrade over Castro/Snyder, as Martin, McCann, Napoli, Pierzynski, and Ruiz should all command more than $5M.

1B: Berkman, Branyan, Huff, LaRoche, Kotchman, Loney, and Lee could all be in the right price range. It's been widely discussed on this board that Berkman makes a lot of sense.

2B: Barring a shocking trade, Altuve has this position on lockdown.

SS: I've always been a Jeff Keppinger fan, but I don't see him as much of an upgrade over Matt Downs, Jimmy Paredes or any of the other internal bench options.

3B: Mark Reynolds, Teahan, Wigginton, Youkilis, and Eric Chavez may be worth checking on as players who could help at 3B and DH.

RF: Berkman appears to be the only truly intriguing option, as Torii Hunter, Ross, and Swisher are all very likely to exceed $5M/yr. Andruw Jones might be useful as a DH and backup outfielder.

CF: Depending on what the scouts say about his health, Grady Sizemore could be an excellent buy-low candiate. Victorino, Pagan, Bourn, and Upton likely will be too expensive, and players like Ankiel aren't an upgrade over Maxwell/Schafer/Barnes/Bogusevic.

LF: Delmon Young may be worth checking the price on. Carlos Lee and a few others may be bargain basement deals.

SP: The $5M ceiling puts a lot of the folks we've been talking about way out of range. Kevin Millwood, Rich Harden, Joe Blanton, Shaun Marcum, Joe Saunders, Randy Wolf, and Chris Young may be candidates. Bedard, Dempster, Floyd, Greinke, Jackson, Kuroda, Lewis, Liriano, Lohse, McCarthy, Oswalt, Sanchez, and Peavy are all likely to be too pricey.

RP: I'm not an expert on relief pitchers, but I'm sure there will be tons of options and this is an area where I would expect Luhnow to focus. Oviedo, Myers, Peralta, and Villanueva might be some names to watch. True closers like Street, League, K Rod, and Valverde will likely exceed $5M but there's a chance the market coudl be flooded and Luhnow could find a bargain. Maybe Ryan Madson's price will fall.

What say y'all? Were you expecting payroll next season to be higher, or lower? Which free agents would you target?
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