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 http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/04/2013-mlb-free-agents.html, 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?