The new year is here, but that doesn't stop baseball teams from backing down on their offseason plans. Many top free agents are left, and let's take a look at the top remaining free agents (visit my first rankings here) and where I believe they will end up within the next couple of months.
1. Masahiro Tanaka (Last Ranking: NR*) -- Yankees
The Yankees have the money for Tanaka, and we all know that New York is a very desirable place to play. They've already met with Tanaka's agent, Casey Close, and seem to want to "get the show on the road." It's too early to tell how much the Cubs and Diamondbacks want Tanaka, but it is rumored that the D-Backs would go to Japan to meet with the pitcher. However, the Yankees have tons of question in regards to their rotation in 2014, and need one young link that can solidify the rest of the rotation. Tanaka can be that link.
2. Matt Garza (Last Ranking: 5) -- Diamondbacks
Matt Garza is probably the best pitcher stat-wise left on the free agent market. The market for Garza is seeming somewhat slow as of right now, but the Diamondbacks seem like the best fit for the pitcher. They don't seem like serious suitors for Masahiro Tanaka, as it looks like he'll head somewhere else. They aren't apt to give up a draft pick for pitchers such as Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez. It still seems like they want a pitcher. Who's the best fit? It seems like Matt Garza.
3. Ubaldo Jimenez (Last Ranking: 8) -- Blue Jays
One of the Blue Jays most evident needs was in their starting rotation, ranking 29th among the MLB in starters ERA. After a report stated on Tuesday that Jimenez could be looking at a deal worth $68-80 million over four-years, I believe it's no longer possible that the Yankees sign Tanaka and Jimenez. The Yankees will likely sign one or the other, and since I have them signing Masahiro Tanaka, it seems like the Blue Jays could make a move on Ubaldo Jimenez.
4. Ervin Santana (Last Ranking: 6) -- Angels
The Mariners have been really the only team to show constant interest in pitcher Ervin Santana, but I do not believe that they will be the team that ultimately land the pitcher. I can see a reunion between the Angels and Santana. The Angels really haven't spent a ton on free agents this offseason, and need to improve their starting pitching. The interest in Santana hasn't picked up, probably waiting upon the decision of Masahiro Tanaka. Since Santana asks for $100 million, and Tanaka will likely get over $100 million, it makes more sense to spend the money on a younger pitcher with more upside in Tanaka. Santana's market will likely develop once Tanaka signs.
5. Nelson Cruz (Last Ranking: 15) -- Mariners
The Mariners need another serviceable outfielder, covet right-handed power, and are running out of options for these needs. Cruz's price tag was rumored to be five-years, $75 million, and it seemed like the Mariners had supposedly offered Cruz that (it was never confirmed). Now, reports are saying that Cruz's price tag could lower to around four-years, $60 million. The Mariners are probably the best option for Nelson Cruz at this point.
6. Stephen Drew (Last Ranking: 12) -- Mets
What is up with Stephen Drew? The Yankees won't be in on the infielder, and it seems like the rumors are starting to dwindle. I originally predicted Drew to head to St. Louis to become a member of the Cardinals, but they signed another shortstop in Jhonny Perralta. The Mets are leaning towards having Ruben Tejada start at shortstop, but remain in contact with Scott Boras, Drew's agent. They may just be playing the waiting game with the shortstop.
Previously ranked free agents who are not ranked: A.J. Burnett (Last Ranking: 9)
*Masahiro Tanaka had not been posted at the time of last rankings