Free agency looms after World Series concludes

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

58 PHOTOS
Royals-Giants World Series Game 3
See Gallery
Free agency looms after World Series concludes
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 24: Greg Holland #56 of the Kansas City Royals pitches in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game Three of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park on October 24, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 24: Greg Holland #56 of the Kansas City Royals pitches in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game Three of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park on October 24, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 24: Greg Holland #56 of the Kansas City Royals pitches in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game Three of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park on October 24, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 24: Greg Holland #56 of the Kansas City Royals fields a ball hit by Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning for the final out during Game Three of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park on October 24, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 24: Greg Holland #56 of the Kansas City Royals underhands the ball for the final out in the ninth inning during Game Three of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park on October 24, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Kansas City Royals' Greg Holland throws to first for the final out on San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence during the ninth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. The Royals won the game 3-2 to lead the series 2-1. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer celebrates after San Francisco Giants Hunter Pence grounded out to end Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. The Royals defeated the Giants 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in series. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 24: Eric Hosmer #35 and Greg Holland #56 of the Kansas City Royals celebrate the Royals 3-2 victory against the San Francisco Giants during Game Three of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park on October 24, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants Hunter Pence walks back to the dugout after grounding out in the ninth inning to the end Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. The Royals defeated the Giants 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in series. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
The Kansas City Royals celebrate after their 3-2 win over the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. The Royals lead the series 2-1. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer (35) celebrate after Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. The Royals won 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas celebrates after the Royals' 3-2 win over the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. The Royals lead the series 2-1. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
The Kansas City Royals celebrate after their 3-2 win over the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. The Royals lead the series 2-1. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals' Alex Gordon (4) celebrates with teammates after Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. The Royals won 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo throws during the seventh inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo throws during the seventh inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey hits a sacrifice grounder to score Michael Morse during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
San Francisco Giants Brandon Crawford, right, is congratulated by his teammates after scoring on Michael Morse's RBI double during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
San Francisco Giants' Brandon Crawford heads for home on an RBI double by Giants' Michael Morse during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Kelvin Herrera pitches during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Kelvin Herrera raises his cap after walking San Francisco Giants Gregor Blanco during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
San Francisco Giants Michael Morse reacts after hitting an RBI double to score Brandon Crawford during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
San Francisco Giants' Michael Morse hits an RBI double during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost talks to pitcher Jeremy Guthrie after taking him out of the game during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie is congratulated in the dugout as he leaves the game during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Kansas City Royals' Alex Gordon heads for home plate after an RBI single by Eric Hosmer, left, during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals Eric Hosmer hits an RBI single to score Alex Gordon during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Home plate umpire Jim Reynolds watches as Kansas City Royals Alex Gordon scores on the an RBI single by Eric Hosmer during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Hudson steps in the team's dugout after being relieved in the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Kansas City Royals' Alcides Escobar is congratulated by teammate Mike Moustakas after scoring during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer hits an RBI single during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer (35) hits an RBI single off San Francisco Giants pitcher Javier Lopez (49) during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer hits an RBI single during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Javier Lopez throws during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Javier Lopez throws during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Hudson, left, walks off the mound after being relieved during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Kansas City Royals Alcides Escobar runs to score on an RBI double by Alex Gordon during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Kansas City Royals' Alcides Escobar scores at home past San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey on a double by Royals' Alex Gordon during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals' Alex Gordon hits an RBI double during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
San Francisco Giants' Tim Hudson acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the game during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Kansas City Royals' Alex Gordon hits an RBI double during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals Alcides Escobar is congratulated by a teammate after scoring on an RBI double by Alex Gordon during the sixth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie pitches to the San Francisco Giants during the third inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Fans hold up signs in support of Stand Up 2 Cancer event during baseball's World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence catches a ball hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain during the fourth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie throws during the first inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)
San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Hudson throws during the first inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)
Kansas City Royals Lorenzo Cain catches a fly ball to right field by San Francisco Giants Travis Ishikawa to end the second inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Kansas City Royals' Alcides Escobar is out at first by San Francisco Giants' Brandon Belt during the third inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
San Francisco Giants Hunter Pence is tagged out attempting to steal second base by Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar during the second inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
San Francisco Giants' Travis Ishikawa catches a fly ball by Kansas City Royals Salvador Perez during the second inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Spectators cheer during Game 3 of baseball's World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Singer Huey Lewis cheers before Game 3 of baseball's World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, left, shakes hands with Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost before Game 3 of baseball's World Series Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
San Francisco Giants Bruce Bochy, left, speaks to former San Francisco Giants' Hall of Famer Willie Mays waits to be introduced before Game 3 of baseball's World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Former San Francisco Giants' Hall of Famer Willie Mays waits to be introduced before Game 3 of baseball's World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Confetti flies during the national anthem before Game 3 of baseball's World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Giants star Pablo Sandoval dug into the batter's box in Game 5 of the World Series, peering out at Royals ace James Shields standing on the mound.

By next month, both of them could be wearing different jerseys.

San Francisco was trying to wrap up its third championship in five years when it returned to Kansas City for Game 6 on Tuesday night. But once the Fall Classic ends, the attention will shift in a matter of days to next season, and the free agency that looms for several players from both pennant winners.

"It's the business of baseball," Royals outfielder Josh Willingham said.

Sandoval is the biggest name looming for San Francisco, but there's also World Series starters Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong, reliever Sergio Romo and outfielder Michael Morse.

Shields is the most critical piece in limbo for Kansas City. Willingham and fellow outfielders Nori Aoki and Raul Ibanez also face uncertain futures. Designated hitter Billy Butler has a pricey club option for next season, so he could be hitting free agency for the first time, too.

"Everyone wants to get to free agency, to have some control over where they go and their circumstances," Willingham said. "A lot of people think it's only the money. The money is a big part, but there are other things, too, like playing in a place where you can win. I'm sure Shields and the other guys will factor those in."

Many in this year's World Series will have no shortage of suitors.

Sandoval, the MVP of the 2012 Series, has driven his stock up with another spectacular postseason, piling up eight hits and driving in four runs in the first five games against Kansas City. The Giants would love to keep him hitting in AT&T Park for the next few years, but with few quality third basemen on the market, several big-budget teams such as the Boston Red Sox figure to drive up the bidding.

Then again, the Giants tend to spend lavishly on their postseason heroes.

After their 2012 title, outfielder Angel Pagan got $40 million over four years. Last offseason, Hunter Pence inked a five-year, $90 million deal, and two-time Cy Young Award winner-turned-reliever Tim Lincecum signed a two-year, $35 million deal.

The Giants adore - and perhaps need - Sandoval as much as any of them.

"He's right up there with some of the great players I've had, the great talents," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He has that enthusiasm, that infectious laugh when he's out there in the dugout. He's a very loose guy that has a lot of fun playing. He's not a guy that puts pressure on himself, but your good players do that, and he's a really good player."

Likewise, the Royals would love to keep Shields, who bounced back from a rough postseason with a strong start in a losing effort Sunday night. But just like Sandoval, there figures to be plenty of bidding for a workhorse who has rarely missed a start over his nine-year career.

The Red Sox and Tigers, who also have deep pockets, could be in the mix.

"The only way you tilt the field in your favor, especially in these markets, is to have quality starting pitching out there every single night," said Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who plans to at least make an effort to re-sign his prized right-hander.

Still, the game's finances might force the Royals to walk away from Shields, who helped to turn around a losing clubhouse culture when he was traded from Tampa Bay two years ago.

"When I got traded over here, my mindset was just to be myself and have fun, and I feel like I take every single day like that," said Shields, who like Sandoval has skirted all questions about his uncertain future. "I came over here with one mindset and that was just to be myself."

Regardless of who stays and goes in the uncertain world of free agency, one thing has been assured: The Giants and Royals players have reveled in their wild-card rides to the World Series, even those who may be playing elsewhere next season.

Read Full Story

People are Reading