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MLB bargains can still happen

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 08: Jed Lowrie #8 of the Oakland Athletics runs the bases after hitting a two run home run in the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park on October 8, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Leon Halip/Getty Images

Jed Lowrie

While Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury will likely get huge free agent dollars this offseason, 2013 showed spending big money isn’t necessary to putting together a winning team.

A look at some of 2013’s best bargains, excluding budding superstars like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Giancarlo Stanton, whose huge paydays are soon to come:

Catcher

Carlos Santana, Indians 2013 salary: $550,000

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Second in OBP, fourth in OPS, HRs among full-time catchers.

First base

Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks $500,000

His five-year, $32m extension still a bargain but hard to top 36 HRs, .551 slugging, .952 OPS for half a mil.

Second base

Daniel Murphy, Mets $2.9m

In fifth full season, showed some pop: 13 HRs, 78 RBIs.

Shortstop

Jed Lowrie, A’s $2.4m

Produced in first season playing more than 100 games: .290, 15 HRs, 75 RBIs.

Third base

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates $700,000

Still struck out a ton (186) but had career highs of 36 homers, 100 RBIs.

Outfield

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates $4.5m

Signed six-year, $51.5m extension in 2012 but still a bargain. His .317/.404/.508 stat line in 2013 is MVP worthy.

Carlos Gomez, Brewers $4.3m

Career bests across the board: topped .500 slugging (.506), .800 OPS (.843) for first time.

Brandon Moss, A’s $1.6m

In seventh season, showed what he can deliver playing full-time: 30 HRs, 87 RBIs.

Starting rotation

Max Scherzer, Tigers $6.7m

The likely Cy Young winner finished 21-3; free agent year means big raise.

Bartolo Colon, A’s $3m

18-6, 2.65 ERA -- numbers not seen from Colon since Cy Young season in 2005.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers $2.5m

Korean’s first year in the majors a success: 14-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.203 WHIP.

Chris Sale, White Sox $850,000

Went 11-14 for a bad White Sox team, but fourth in K’s with 226, 10th in WHIP at 1.073.

Madison Bumgarner, Giants $750,000

Finished 13-9 but had career bests in ERA (2.77), WHIP (1.033), K’s (199).

Closer

Craig Kimbrell, Braves $655,000

A 50-save season, his third straight of 40 or more, all for under $1 million.

Contract source: Cots baseball contracts

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