Hamilton’s off field issues have clouded his free agent status and made some teams weary. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Now that the Giants have won the World Series and the 2012 MLB season is officially over, the baseball world turns it attention to the offseason. The immediate part of that is free agency, which is already underway, so here are my predictions for the Top 25 free agents on the market. This year’s class has nowhere near the star power of last year’s that included Pujols, Fielder, Reyes and Wilson, but there are still some quality players. With less talent available, teams will end up overpaying and no one symbolizes the risk of that like Josh Hamilton.

1) Zack Greinke – He gets the top spot over Hamilton because he’s the safer bet over the long haul. He’s durable, strikes out alot of batters and limits walks. The Angels badly need him after the departure of Santana and likely departure of Haren, plus they gave up alot to get him in the first place. It will take a ton of cash to sign him, even more so if the cross town Dodgers join the fray.

2) Josh Hamilton – Normally the bidding war would be intense for a player of Hamilton’s stature, but injury history combined with lingering substance abuse issues will make teams wary. He’ll likely not get the massive contract he’s looking for and his time with the Rangers may be done. Some have tossed Boston and Baltimore as destinations, but the Brewers could swoop in. He’ll team with Ryan Braun for monster numbers, his former ‘life coach’ is there and  Milwaukee will be a more low-key environment for him.

3) Michael Bourn – His speed and ability to get on base are well documented and these just happen to be two things the Nationals need in a player. They want to move Bryce Harper out of centerfield, plus Jayson Werth is not an ideal leadoff man. A return to the Braves is not out of the question yet. This move would also greatly impact their decision on Adam LaRoche.

4) BJ Upton – The Phillies desperately need help in their outfielder and someone to replace Victorino and Pence. Upton provides speed and power and excellent defense. Philly’s hitting coach is Steve Henderson, who held the same title with the Rays in 2007 when Upton had his best season and it could be a major draw. The Nats, Rangers and Braves could be other destinations.

5) Nick Swisher – He isn’t a superstar, but Swisher is a reliable power source who won’t be back with the Yankees. The Orioles need to capitalize on a breakthrough year and Swisher would fit right in the middle of their order. He could play left field or even first base, depending on what the team does with Mark Reynolds. Other potential suitors include the Giants, Red Sox and Mariners.

6) Kyle Lohse – Lohse sure picked the right time to turn in a great season and will definitely cash in big time. With rotation depth a concern and plenty of money off the books, look for the Red Sox to land him and team him with Lester and Buchholz. The Dodgers are also a likely team to be in the running.

7) Edwin Jackson – Though he’s bounced around alot in the last few years, Jackson is nonetheless a player you can count to take the ball every fifth day. The Blue Jays need his consistency in a rotation filled with unproven youngsters. The fact that Jackson has dropped Scott Boras as his agent will only help with any team that is interested.

8) Dan Haren – A disappointing 2012 upset what was Haren’s track record as a durable and consistent #2 starter. Despite that he should return to form and the Cubs almost had him when a trade fell through. He could still wind up there, but he’s a West Coast guy and if the Dodgers lose out on Greinke, they could go after Haren. The Padres are another possibility.

9) Angel Pagan – He was such an integral part of the Giants during their World Series run that it’s hard to imagine them letting him go. The team might be hesitant to give another Rowand-type contract, but Pagan is not Rowand and has much more promise going forward.

10) Anibal Sanchez – Though he was shaky at first after being dealt to Detroit, he settled in and turned in good performances in the playoffs. The Tigers know what they’re getting from him and will look to keep their potent rotation together. The Dodgers, Blue Jays, Yankees or really any team needing starting pitching will look into Sanchez.

11) Rafael Soriano – Having gotten another taste for closing after filling in for Mariano Rivera, Soriano will be looking for the same gig, though it’s always possible he could return. Since Valverde is out the door, the the Tigers look like the logical place. However, if Boras insists on a huge contract, his client may be waiting well into next year.

A bounceback season has Adam LaRoche as one of the top bats available. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

12) Adam LaRoche After a big bounce back season, he’s well positioned to get numerous offers. There is mutual interest between him and the Nationals, so expect a deal to be hammered out, though Boston and Texas are on the radar. If they also sign Bourn or another outfielder, then that means Michael Morse will be traded.

13) Hiroki Kuroda – Even at a ‘old’ age Kuroda had a very impressive 2012 season. The Yankees will want him back due to that success, though it will probably be on another one year deal, possibly two, with a bump in salary.

14) Shane Victorino – He had a somewhat down year and the trade to the Dodgers didn’t help, but still retains the talent he’s shown in the past. He’s primed for a bounceback season in 2013 and will help the Braves replace Bourn if he bolts, though could draw interest from the Rangers, Orioles or Nationals.

15) Mike Napoli – He had a down year that somewhat diminished his value and wasn’t given a qualifying offer, plus reports suggest Texas is looking at one of Toronto’s catchers. While the Rays don’t usually sign big free agents, Napoli won’t be too expensive and would be a major boost to their offense.

16) Ryan Dempster – His time in Texas didn’t quite work out as planned, but Dempster could still be a steady veteran prescence in a rotation. That’s exactly what the Brewers need, to go with Yovani Gallardo and their collection of young arms.

17) Torii Hunter – With reports indicating that the Angels are unlikely to re-sign him, Hunter will be elsewhere in 2012. Texas could be a destination if Hamilton signs elsewhere and the Yankees have expressed interest. However, the Red Sox will land him, due to having big contracts off the books and Hunter’s friendship with David Ortiz

18) Shawn Marcum – Despite battling elbow trouble last season, Marcum still posted decent numbers and is drawing interest from the Cubs, Twins and Royals. The Padres are looking for quality pitching this offseason and Marcum would definitely benefit from playing in Petco Park.

19) Marco Scutaro – His trade to San Francisco might have been the best at the deadline. His role in the team’s World Series march cannot be understated, so expect the Giants to push hard to resign the NLCS MVP and one of the top options in a very thin middle infield market.

20) Melky Cabrera – Tarnished by a PED suspension, The Melk Man will likely settle for an incentive-laden one year contract to prove he can produce on his own. The team that signs him will face some media scrutiny, so the Mets seem like the best fit, plus they have a big need for some offense. The Red Sox are possible as well.

21) Cody Ross – He provided great value for Boston last year at a very reasonable price. Though the Red Sox won’t get the same bargain this time around, they’ll nonetheless look to keep him in Fenway.

22) Ryan Ludwick – A bounce back year in 2012 salvaged what seemed to be a downward trending career for Ludwick. He’ll want more then one year and the Reds have the resources to bring him back, though it might hamper their search for a better leadoff hitter.

23) AJ Pierzynski – After a massive power surge in 2012, Pierzynski will benefit even more from a weak catching market. He may be getting older, but still can produce, which is why the White Sox will do what they can to retain his services.

24) Mike Adams – Consistently one of the best relievers over the past few years, Adams will be highly sought after because of it. The Phillies tried several options as a bridge to Papelbon at closer, but none really worked. That’s where Adams comes in.

25) Joe Saunders – After Baltimore acquired him from Arizona, Saunders provided solid work in the rotation as well as a great start in the NLDS. The Orioles will want to keep him and his veteran prescence to help out their young pitchers such as Britton, Arrieta and Bundy.