The 2013-14 MLB offseason is drawing to its close and with that, many of the top free agents have made their decisions on where they are going to play. From a fantasy baseball perspective, there are some players who got it "right", and there are a few who fantasy owners must be screaming about considering which team they signed with. There are five players in particular who signed with new teams that are going to disappoint their fantasy baseball owners in 2014. It should be noted that players who haven’t signed yet are not on this list because their value isn’t known. Here are the top five players that will make their fantasy owners pull their hair out at one point or another this season.
5 Free Agent Hitters With The Most To Lose
Robinson Cano - 2B, Seattle Mariners
The biggest move of the offseason was Cano going to Seattle. He hit 27 home runs with 107 RBIs last season for the New York Yankees. The problem with the move is that he has little protection and talent around him in the Mariners’ lineup, and he's struggled in the cold weather. While his batting average is likely going to remain around .310 in 2014, the RBI numbers and runs scored are going to go down and the home run numbers will likely do the same in a park that, while improved, doesn't compare with the short porch in the Bronx. Many people have Cano as a top-five player but going to Seattle moves him into a second-round position bound to disappoint.
Jacoby Ellsbury - OF, New York Yankees
Ellsbury made the move from the Boston Red Sox to the Yankees as the Bronx Bombers try their own version of rebuilding. While Ellsbury is a good player and the short porch in right field will help, the rest of the lineup around him isn’t that special outside of the newly-acquired Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. It is an old team and with Ellsbury’s tendency to get injured, the move is likely not to work out for him. He is a player that owners will want to take early but should resist the urge and let him sit until round three. Don't pay for his MVP quality season two years ago.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C, Miami Marlins
Saltalamacchia had the best three years of his career in Boston. He moves to the Miami Marlins and into a park that is cavernous compared with Fenway. The problems with their lineup are even larger. It is basically barren outside of Giancarlo Stanton and that means the numbers for the catcher are heading in a downward. The RBI numbers have been going up for Salty but are about to crash in Miami. A season with more than 60 RBI would be shocking even if he does hit in the middle of the order. It would be best to wait until the later rounds for this draft pick.
Curtis Granderson - OF, New York Mets
Granderson switches sides in New York going from the Bronx to Queens. He has been a very solid player in recent years but injuries derailed his 2013 season. Between these injuries and the enormity of Citi Field, it will be tough in 2014 to get back to his 2011 and 2012 levels. The short porch is now gone in right field moving across town and if Granderson can hit 25 home runs this season, it would be more than you should realistically be expecting on draft day. He is someone worth waiting on in fantasy leagues until a second or third outfield position.
Marlon Byrd - OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Byrd has bounced around a bunch in the past few seasons, playing on four different teams in the last two years. He moves to a Phillies team that is decaying in talent and even if Byrd can be in the middle of the lineup, his RBI chances are likely not going to be plentiful. It will be a challenge for Byrd to hit 20 home runs this season and his RBI totals are likely going to be closer to 70-75 than the 88 he had in 2013. It’s going to be hard to trust Byrd at age 36 to put up huge numbers in 2014.
Stay tuned the next few days as we look at the top 5 free agents hitters who will benefit from their new teams, as well as the top 5 pitchers who will benefit and lose with their new teams.