World Series free agents: Stars playing for a ring ... and a contract
The Kansas City Royals and New York Mets are playing for a World Series championship and all the perks that go along with it. For some, that includes a nice bump in value as free agency looms. And although fans of these teams are focused on the present, there’s a strong chance each of these rosters could look much different next season. Some of the players who figure to cash in this offseason ...
Mets: LF Yoenis Cespedes
Arguably the acquisition that sparked the team’s World Series run, Cespedes is going to command big bucks -- likely more than the Mets are willing to spend. Although he has taken a backseat to Daniel Murphy this postseason, Cespedes’ raw power at the plate and overlooked defense in the field will be next to impossible to replace.
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesAlex Trautwig
Mets: 2B Daniel Murphy
Before he morphed into Babe Ruth over the past two weeks, not many were bemoaning the fact that Murphy’s days with the Mets likely were coming to a close. After his postseason heroics, however, it will tougher to let him walk. Suitors figure to line up for his newfound power, though the Mets could make him a qualifying offer.
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
Royals: LF Alex Gordon
The Royals drafted Gordon second overall in 2005 and watched him blossom into a superstar in recent seasons. Originally a third baseman, Gordon has transformed himself into a Gold Glove left fielder and a valuable offensive contributor. He has a $12.5 million player option for 2016 but is expected to decline it. At that point, the Royals will likely be unable to afford him.
Getty ImagesEd Zurga
Royals: IF/OF Ben Zobrist
Another deadline pickup, Zobrist has been everything the Royals expected -- and then some. He initially filled in for the injured Alex Gordon in left field before sliding over and becoming the everyday second baseman. That versatility -- along with his bat, defense and leadership -- will make him a highly coveted free agent.
Getty ImagesEd Zurga
Royals: SP Johnny Cueto
He certainly hasn’t been the ace the Royals expected when they acquired him in the pre-deadline blockbuster deal, but Cueto has shown some flashes of his Reds brilliance. Just not enough for Kansas City to consider offering the kind of deal it will take to keep him -- even with his value dipping after every not-so-impressive outing.
Getty ImagesJamie Squire
Mets: Bartolo Colon
With Zack Wheeler expected back from Tommy John surgery early in 2016, there might not be room (no pun intended) for the 42-year-old Colon in next season’s rotation, which also will feature Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jon Niese. Of course, Harvey or Niese could be dealt. Let’s just hope Colon stays in the NL if he departs; the DH would rob fans of so many entertaining Colon at-bats.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
Royals: RF Alex Rios
Rios has had a couple of big October moments this postseason, but the team almost assuredly will decline its part of the $12.5 million mutual contract option. Rios’ power has vanished, his on-base percentage has plummeted and his outfield defense is subpar (especially for the Royals’ standards).
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesLG Patterson
Royals: SP/RP Chris Young
Young ranks among the biggest bargains in baseball, having signed a one-year, $675,000 deal for this season. He has pitched well in relief and filled in admirably as a starter. His performance in both roles this postseason will result in a nice raise, and he is a player the Royals should prioritize as free agency looms.
Getty ImagesHarry How
Royals: RP Ryan Madson
Madson returned to the majors this season for the first time since 2011 and pitched well enough to earn a key late-inning role. He has struggled this postseason but performed well enough during the regular season to interest the Royals in a reunion -- especially with Greg Holland out for the 2016 season after Tommy John surgery.
Getty ImagesRob Carr
Mets: RP Tyler Clippard
A deadline pickup, Clippard has been one of the majors’ most reliable late-inning relievers over the past seven years. He pitched well after joining the Mets, but he will have plenty of suitors. In an effort to create payroll relief elsewhere, New York could let Clippard walk.