Hot Stove (Defined): Baseball after baseball. The World Series is one of the most anticipated times of the year for sports fans every year. But for strictly baseball fans, the two months that follow the World Series are almost just as exciting. The other name for this time of year, “free agent frenzy,” is spot on. Free agents are looking for new beginnings, money, and/or desperately to keep their job, but for the most part it’s money and a desire to help a team in win the 2014 World Series.

Who’s out there: Prepare yourself. Robinson Cano, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Matt Garza, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, Brian McCann, Mike Napoli, Jhonny Peralta, A.J. Burnett, Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Grant Balfour.

Breaking this down, player by player. 

Robinson Cano New York YankeeRobinson Cano: (2013 stats) .314 AVG, 27 Home Runs, 107 RBI’s. Before the All Star Break, Cano made it known that whoever he signs with, best be prepared to pay him a large sum right around $300 million (MILLION). First thoughts is Cano must be crazy, but in the last 4 years, he has hit over .300 each year with 20+ home runs and 80+ RBI’s. That kind of consistency comes rare in baseball, only other players off hand that consistent are… Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera (who will both finish 1st and 2nd in MVP voting the past 2 years, depending on who gets 1st this season). MVP potential 4 years straight, teams will pay, they are nearly guaranteed a solid year every year.

Right away we can rule out any team with a low payroll (teams like OAK, KC, and MIA). Your top 3 teams in the Robinson Cano running are:

  1. The Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are stacked going into 2014, but we said this about the Tigers going into 2012 and 2013. With the Tigers saving money by letting Infante, Benoit, and Peralta go, there is some cap space, a dire need of a 2nd baseman, and owner Mike Illitch, who wants to see a World Series before his time is up.
  2. The San Francisco Giants. SF has been waiting for that one big hitter to go along with Buster Posey since Posey made it to the BIGS. SF has the money, they need the talent, a perfect fit for Cano.
  3. The NY Yankees. The Yankees need to keep Cano to keep their World Series chances alive. With their huge payroll and their desire to keep a winning team in NY, the Yankees will re-sign Cano (Happy fans, yayyyy).

Carlos Beltran St Louis CardinalsCarlos Beltran: (2013 stats) .296AVG, 24 Home Runs, 84RBI’s.  The NLDS and NLCS hero for the Cardinals, and another very consistent hitter all the way throughout his 16 year career. His top 3 potential teams:

  1. Washington Nationals. Washington is not a team that needs to be signing old players, they are a young team, but while they are young, they need to win, and they need another veteran hitter in the middle of their lineup. Someone to set the table for Harper and Zimmerman.
  2. St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals love Beltran especially for what he did for them in the postseason, and Beltran has made it clear that he loves the city. I would expect him to re-sign with the Cardinals except for…
  3. The Detroit Tigers. The Tigers need to win a World Series, and they need to win one ASAP. Beltran will go perfect with Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson in the outfield, and he will fit in perfectly in the lineup. The Tigers had a large struggle this previous postseason, hitting. Beltran is made for the postseason, another veteran hitter and a consistent postseason hitter, the perfect storm for the Tigers 2014 World Series hopes.

Jacoby EllsburyJacoby Ellsbury. (2013 stats) .298AVG, 9 Home Runs, 53RBI’s, 52 stolen bases. Ellsbury’s top 3 teams:

  1. The Cincinnati Reds. A team that is looking to build on what they have already accomplished, Ellsbury might be the one piece that is missing for the Reds to have that big postseason run.
  2. San Francisco Giants. SF runs their teams on small ball, get on base, steal yourself into scoring position, and let the big boys drive you in. Ellsbury who went 52/56 in stolen bases this year fits perfectly into their scheme.
  3. The Boston Red Sox. Ellsbury has all the reason to re-sign, Boston will have another great team which they expect to be led by Ellsbury from the leadoff spot.

Other players coming soon…