Ready to rebound in 2013

Players poised to bounce back next season, possibly for a new team

Updated: November 24, 2012, 9:48 AM ET
By Dave Cameron | FanGraphs

Rick PorcelloJohn Rieger/US PresswireRick Porcello would be a shrewd trade target for a club looking for a breakout candidate.

During the offseason, free agents get most of the attention. They're the ones that we know are available, and if they've made it this far into the winter without re-signing with their old teams, they're the ones probably looking for a change of address. However, free agents aren't the only players that teams can acquire without giving up a lot in order to get them.

Every year, there are a group of players who change teams because their prior organization didn't want to give them the raise they were due in arbitration. They're usually coming off poor seasons but are due significant raises anyway, as arbitration rewards players heavily for playing time, even if they didn't earn that playing time.

Last year, the poster boy for this situation was Angel Pagan, whom the New York Mets sent to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez in a change-of-scenery trade. Pagan was brutal in 2011 (.694 OPS) and was set to earn nearly $5 million in arbitration, so the Mets shipped him west rather than pay for the hope he would bounce back. He did bounce back, of course, and the Giants found themselves a quality center fielder at a marginal cost, while Torres was one of baseball's worst regulars and Ramirez was barely mediocre out of the bullpen.

Which players have the chance of being 2013's Angel Pagan? Here are three candidates.