FREE AGENTS: C Dioner Navarro, RHP Kevin Gregg, RHP Scott Baker, RHP Matt Guerrier
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better backup catcher in baseball than Navarro. He was a valuable mentor to Welington Castillo, and he had a career year at the plate, batting .300 with 13 home runs, several of them big. It would behoove the Cubs to re-sign him, but they may not be able to afford him. Gregg is likely a goner, and Baker would have to give the Cubs some sort of "hometown discount" after he essentially used the entire season to rehab for $5.5 million. Guerrier missed the last seven weeks of the season due to an elbow injury.
FREE AGENTS: CF Shin-Soo Choo, RHP Bronson Arroyo, LHP Manny Parra, RHP Nick Masset, LHP Zach Duke, INF Cesar Izturis
Choo and Arroyo are likely to be too expensive. Parra, who revived his career under pitching coach Bryan Price, now the Reds' manager, probably could be signed to a reasonable deal.
FREE AGENTS: 1B Corey Hart, INF Yuniesky Betancourt, LHP Michael Gonzalez
Hart expressed a desire to stay in Milwaukee but after two knee surgeries in 2013, he presents a real gamble should the Brewers commit to him at first base. They will need to be confident in his medicals to do so, but have no other great option at this point. Betancourt and Gonzalez, who declined as the season progressed, likely will move on.
FREE AGENTS: SS Clint Barmes, C John Buck, RHP A.J. Burnett, RF Marlon Byrd, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, RHP Jeff Karstens, 1B Justin Morneau.
Burnett has hinted at retirement and says he will only pitch for the Pirates if he decides to keep playing, though that could change after he was bypassed in favor of rookie Gerrit Cole to start Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals. Byrd and Morneau, who were acquired in late-August trades, could be back if neither tries to break the bank. The Pirates have some interest in retaining Barmes, but he would need to take a significant pay cut from his $5.5 million salary of 2013 while also accepting a reduced role. It seems unlikely the Pirates will bring back Buck, Farnsworth or Karstens, who missed the entire season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
FREE AGENTS: OF Carlos Beltran, RHP Chris Carpenter, SS Rafael Furcal, RHP Edward Mujica, RHP Jake Westbrook (mutual option)
Beltran further solidified himself as a clutch postseason performer during the Cardinals run, but at his age he needs numerous days off to survive the grind of the regular season. He will generate plenty of interest should he get to the free agent market. Furcal missed the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. At age 36, his value figures to be diminished this winter, so it is possible the Cardinals could give him another look. Carpenter's career might be over due to a nerve problem in his right shoulder. Mujica lost the closer role in September and turned into a relative non-entity in the postseason. Westbrook's mutual option is for $9.5 million, and he would receive a $1 million buyout if the Cardinals decide to pass, which is the likely scenario. After a mediocre regular season, Westbrook was dropped from the postseason roster.