I haven’t done a player market in a while. There have been some rumors that the Padres could shop Jake Peavy around this winter. A lot of teams will be interested. Lets break it down.
Padres. (frontrunners) Even though the Pads will likely shop him around, I don’t think they’ll get the offer they want. I doubt they trade the face-of-the-franchise unless their blown out of the water.
Braves. (possible) They seem to be very interested, despite the possibility of redestroying their farm system the same way they did during the Mark Teixera trade. Also, since they have so much money to spend it might be smarter to sign a guy like Derek Lowe instead of trading the farm for Peavy. They could offer any group from this package: Tommy Hanson, Jason Heyward, Jordon Schafer, Brent Lillibridge, Brandon Jones, and others. Yunel Escobar and Khalil Greene could be part of a deal, too. So you can see they have the stuff. Peavy wants to go there on top of it. This one could work out.
Rays (possible) There is no frontrunner to aquire Peavy because he’ll probably stay. The Rays do make some sense, however. How about a package of Matt Gaza, Wade Davis, Reid Brignac, Desmond Jennings and Edwin Jackson. The Padres add two established starters, a high upside one, and get their future replacements for Brian Giles and Khalil Greene. The Padres would be at least tempted to take this offer. I don’t know if the Rays would offer it, however. With the Yankees possibly getting CC Sabathia, and the Red Sox possibly getting Ben Sheets, the Rays could jump in and add an ace for a second playoff push. And with those three aces, watch out if they do get in. Plus, Peavy wouldn’t just be a rent-a-player, since he’s signed for four more years with a club option for a fifth. Very cheap, too. It is possible that both teams say no, but both could also say yes.
Dodgers (not likely) I know they are in the same division as the Padres, so they’d have to pay a higher price than other teams. It would be risky for the Dodgers, but there could be a huge benefit. The Dodgers would have the pieces by offering someone out of the Matt Kemp, Clayton Kersaw, James McDonald, Chin-Lung Hu range. Who knows, it might take all of them. They have a chance.
Cardinals (not likely) They have been named as a possibility because they have Colby Rasmus to offer. They’d have to give up their best prospect, other prospects, and all of their money to get Peavy. With all of the other holes the Cards have, I don’t know if they would want to do that.
Red Sox (not likely) I don’t know if they have the pieces, but they’ll have to at least check in. It might be smarter for them to sign CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets, anyway. Why give out top prospects when you could just sign a starter for big money. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for them.
Yankees (not likely) They’ll at least try aquiring Jake, but I don’t know if they have the pieces to get it done. Even if they do, wouldn’t it just be smarter to overpay and sign Sabathia than to sell the farm for Peavy. I could only see this if they miss out on CC. I would be surprised to see him go there, even with Sabathia not in the Bronx.
Rangers (not likely) They would love to have him, and also have the pieces to aquire him. The only problem is Peavy’s no-trade-clause. Why would he waive it to go from Petcoe Park to Arlington. He has set himself up for another big contract after this one ends. He could lose millions by playing at Arlington over Petcoe. If one of the teams would pay him 20 million, he might waive it. But then the contract turns from what is an affordable 60 million to 80 million for 4 years. That isn’t much of a bargain anymore. So if Peavy didn’t have a NTC, then he could be a Ranger, but the problem is that he does.
It is possible the Royals decide to shop Zack Greinke. If he is available, there will be lots of suitors. Lets take a look at some.
Royals (frontrunners) Unless there is a knock-out offer, he’ll stay. The Royals think they can contend within the next two years, and know they’ll need Greinke. They’d also have to exhaust all contract negotiations. I think Zack will be in Royal blue next season.
Rangers (possible) I don’t think there is any frontrunner to aquire this guy; he’s too good. If he is available, look for the Rangers to be very interested. They have a huge catcher surplus and the need at starting pitching. They could offer Jarrod Saltalamacchia and a pitching prospect like Michael Main. Engel Beltre could also be included in the deal if need be. These two teams match up very well if Greinke becomes available.
Braves (possible) If the Braves strike-out on some of the top free agent starters, don’t be surprised to see them go hard after Greinke. It’s possible the Royals would have interest in Jeff Francoeur because of Dayton Moore. He’d be a throw-in, however. You’d think a package would have to be headed by Jordon Schafer. The Royals would definatly like to add a center fielder and then move David DeJesus to a corner. In fact, DeJesus could be part of the deal if the Royals could get a great prospect like Jason Heyward or Tommy Hanson in return. This is definatlty a deal that could happen if both sides are willing to trade.
Cardinals (unlikely) Because the Cards have such a great catching prospect, I had to name them. They could package a deal around Bryan Anderson. The only problem is other parts. Maybe they add Jamie Garcia, but he’s going to have Tommy John surgery. I don’t think the Royals would want Chris Perez since they have so many good relievers. I don’t know if the Cardinals would give him up, anyway. I guess they could attemp a quantity over quality deal, but it’s not likely the Royals accept. If the Cards had more prospects than just Anderson and the untouchable Colby Rasmus, a deal could get done. Too bad they don’t.
Dodgers (unlikely) They have a couple of guys that could appeal Kansas City, but I don’t think the Royals would trade Zack Greinke for Chin-Lung Hu and James McDonald. They’d get a shorstop and a pitcher, but these are not the type of guys you trade Greinke for. I don’t find this trade very likely.
Rockies (dark horse) How about this for a blockbuster. Zack Greinke traded straight up for Matt Holliday. The Rox want to add a top-of-the-rotation starter, and Greinke fits the bill. The Royals have been stated before as a possible dark horse suitor for Holliday. I know it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s something you can think about for fun this afternoon.
This is a post where you can click on any tag you want to. It will be a side-bar link.
The Baltimore Orioles finally have some good, young talent, especially pitching wise. There system is pretty loaded there. They have the recent drafted Brian Matusz and another top ten pitching prospect in Chris Tillman. Those two, combined with Jeremy Guthrie give the O’s pitching a bright future. They also ahve mid-tier pitching propsects like Troy Patten, Garret Olsen, and Radhams Liz. Those players can fill out the finale two spots. They could add one starter if need be, but it makes more sense to go after hitters. They have the best prospect in the MLB in Matt Wieters. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones solidify right field and center field. That’s three positions they don’t have to worry about in catcher, right field, and center field. They need a new infield, however. They also need a left fielder. They shouldn’t jump into free agency jusy yet. First, they need an infield. Offer a contract to Brian Roberts, if he declines, then trade him for an infielder. To the Dodgers for Chin-Lung Hu makes sense. They should also flip George Sherrill for an infielder. Maybe if the Angels resign Mark Teixera they’ll trade Kendry Moralas for Sherrill. Deal Ramon Hernandez, Melvin Mora, and Aubrey Huff if you can as salary dumps. Try to get some infield talent, and then in 2010, when all of their bad contracts will be off the books, then they should dip into free agency to fill their remaining holes. This team could be a contender by 2010 if they make the right moves.
I said this in the D’Backs Offseason Plan and will say it again, the winner of this division next year will depend on what the Los Angelos Dodgers do. They have a pretty big amount of needs, but then agian they have a lot of money to burn. They need two starters, a shortstop, a second baseman, and a third baseman. That’s a lot. This team needs to start of by keeping the pitching strong. They will be amoung the top contenders for CC Sabathia this winter. They also will be interested in resigning Derek Lowe, as well as another starter. Preferably, they would sign CC and Lowe. Worst case, I think they sign Jon Garland and Greg Maddux. They need to keep the pitching strong though, so decline the option on Brad Penny. (He is bad, injured, and doesn’t get far into games at all) Then sign two good free agents. Next, find a third baseman. They need to either resign Casey Blake or sign Joe Crede. If they want to become a world series caliber team, they can’t play Blake DeWitt every day at third base. They could consider playing him full-time at second base, but I would rather use him in a utility role. If they want to do that, they need to go out and get a second baseman. Orlando Hudson is the top free agent option, but I think the Indians will overpay for him. On the trade front, they could go after Brian Roberts. They could offer the Oriols shortstop Chin-Lung Hu. Then they would have to get a shorstop, which wouldn’t be that hard considering Rafeal Furcal wants to stay. If they resign him, could you imagine the top of their lineup with Rafeal Furcal and Brian Roberts? It’s almost a givin one of them will get on base in front of the other guys in the lineup. They would be losing Manny Ramirez, but he wouldn’t fit on there team unless they move Jaun Pierre and/or Andruw Jones, two very hard contracts to move. If this team follows my plan, they can win this division. If they waste more money the way they did with Jones, Pierre, Nomar Garciaparra, (thankfully a free agent) ect. ect. they will lose it to the small market D’Backs, again.
It’s finally time for free agency! Ever think on where the top 50 free agents will go? Well, I did and I wrote them down. Here they are. Ignore the bolded paragraphs. I tryed everything and it just won’t unbold. Sorry for the inconvenience.
1. Mark Teixera- Angels. This is a very close one between the Yankees and Angels. I will go with the Angels, though, because the Yankees primary target is CC Sabathia, not Mark Teixera. I think they will end up with Sabathia, leaving the Angels for a return of Tex.
2. CC Sabathia- Yankees. The Yankees are going to throw around a lot of money this offseason. Just like the Mark Teixera prediction, it is a 2 team battle between the Yankees and a different LA team: the Dodgers for Sabathia. The Yankees are very likely to sign at least one of them. I was going to put CC with the Dodgers, but I think Frank McCourt will not let GM Ned Coletti go out and waste his money on a signing that could end up looking like the Jason Schmidt one.
3. Manny Ramirez- Dodgers. Did you know that the Dodgers made an extra 7.6 million in revenue just from Manny. So, subtract 7.6 from his yearly salary and they have a bargain. There are no great fits for Manny, and the Dodgers might not bring him back because of the outfield surplus. They could look to trade an outfielder, though. Andrew Jones in unmoveable, but could be released. Jaun Pierre will be tough to move, but if they eat a lot of money it could happen. Andre Eithier and Matt Kemp would have a lot of value, but they shouldn’t trade them. I think it makes more sense to trade Pierre and release Jones.
4. Pat Burrell- Mets. After missing out on the top-of-the-rotaion starting pitchers, they decide to add a big bat like Burrell. Not many teams are good fits for “Pat the Bat” so he may even come slightly cheaper than others. I know that people want to go with Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis, but they could trade Ryan Church for Edwin Jackson. That would fill the pitching void cheaply while adding offense. Murphy and Tatis would then move to right field. This idea could work.
5. Adam Dunn- Nationals. The Nationals have been after Adam Dunn for ever. I have a feeling that Jim Bowden is going to want to try to make a big free agent signing to save his job. Dunn would add a powerful punch to that lineup, but they still would be the worst team in the NL East.
6. Ben Sheets- Red Sox. If there is one team that can easily afford an injury to a starting pitcher, it’s the Red Sox. They have 30 million to toss around this winter and seem primed to sign either Mark Teixera or a high end starter. Because of the depth in the Red Sox rotaion, they can afford an injury to Sheets while many other teams can’t.
7. Milton Bradley- Rangers. Bradley likes the Rangers, and the Rangers showed confidence in resigning him by not trading him at the trade deadline. They have an open DH spot, so he wouldn’t get injured as much, and he likes Texas. The Rangers have to do this to keep their offense as it was this year.
8. Francisco Rodriguez- Mets. Billy Wagner is out for the 2009 season, so the Mets need a closer. Some have said it would make more sense to add a cheaper closer like Brian Fuentes and use the rest on starting pitching. I agree, but I doubt Omar Minaya does.
9. Ryan Dempster- Cubs. There will be a massive bidding war for him, but he loves Chicago and I’m sure the Cubs would like to keep their championship, type club intact. Their going to have to raise the payroll into the 140 million range, but I think the new ownership will, because The Cubs will be should for 1 billion dollars.
10. Derek Lowe- Braves. They want to add a starting pitcher this offseason. With 45 million to spend, they should easily be able to afford him. Heck, they could fit both Jake Peavy and Lowe into the budget and still have over 20 million to spend. They make the most sense.
11. AJ Burnett- Yankees. The Yanks would like to add two starters this offseason. With CC Sabathia headed to New York, Burnett would be that second guy. Just think about how nasty a rotation of CC Sabathia-Chein-Ming Wang-AJ Burnett-Andy Pettitte-Joba Chamberlian would be. I can’t see how they don’t make the playoffs with that kind of talent.
12. Mike Mussina- Retirement. It seems as though he is finally ready to hang it up. Rather than playing for the next three years and reach 300 wins, he’ll go out on a high note and retire. I think Mussina will delay it untill the Yankees are forced to move on. Then he’ll anounce it.
13. Orlando Hudson- Cardinals. They have a lot of money to spend and will need to sign Hudson in order to truly solidify their offense. He would look really nice batting in that #2 hole and playing some great defense.
14. Orlando Cabrera- Twins. They seem like the most reasonable team. They need a shortstop, and have money to spend. Also, he fits nicely into their grind-it-out style of play. There’s not a great fit here, but this one sure makes a lot of sense.
15. Joe Crede- Giants. Even though the Giants are suposed to be rebuilding, Brian Sebean won’t be able to resist and will sign Crede.
16. Bobby Abreu- Cubs. Now that they need a right fielder Abreu makes a lot of sense. It will be hard to squeeze him into their payroll, but there aren’t any better options. There aren’t many teams that need a right fielder and have the money to go out and get one. Plus, the Cubs would’ve gone after him if his option was declined.
17. Oliver Perez- Dodgers. With Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, and Brad Penny all leaving, the Dodgers need to add at least one starter this offseason. I know they seem more focused on offensive players like Manny and Furcal, but you always need pitching. Look for the Mets to be serious contenders for a Perez reunion, but I think they’ll beaf up the offense instead.
18. Jon Garland- Tigers. They need reliable starting pitching. I know a lot of people think Garland will be overpayed because of a lack of strike-outs and an ERA in the 4.00 to 4.50 range. However, he’s one of the most consistent starters out there and he eats up a ton of innings. To me the Tigers make a lot of sense and they’ve shown a willingness to spend for mediocrity. Example: The Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis extensions.
19. Kerry Wood- Rangers. The Cubs have moved on, so count them out. The field will be wide open, but I think he returns home to Texas to close games for the Rangers. The Red Sox could also be possible if he’s willing to be a set-up man. Last year Boston made the highest offer, but Woody wanted to stay in Chicago.
20. Brian Fuentes- Brewers. They could have up to 20 million to spend if they are willing to raise payroll to 100 million. That’s more than enough to lock up Fuentes with. You migth think they don’t want to spend big on closers, but they were among the top bidders for Francisco Cordero last year. If the price is crazy they won’t make the move, but if it’s decent, he could end up a Brewer.
21. Trevor Hoffman- Indians. He won’t be back with the Padres. The field is wide open on where he’ll go, and I think the Indians are the best fit. They can sign him cheaply to fill their hole at closer. Plus, they almost signed him when he was last a free agent. I think they go get him.
22. Rafeal Furcal- Dodgers. He wants to be back and the Dodgers want him back. They might have a hard time craming all of his salary in because of the other holes, but I think they can sqeeze him in. There will be a very large market for him, so don’t be surprised to see him bolt for more money elsewhere.
23. Greg Maddux- Retirement. The Mad Dog looks like he’s finally ready to end his Hall Of Fame career. The only teams he’d play for would be the Padres, Dodgers, Braves, or Cubs. The Cubs have a ton of pitching depth; count them out. The Dodgers would probably rather go with younger pitchers. The Braves seem more likely to bring back Maddux’s friends: John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. The Padres make sense if they move Jake Peavy to clear salary. If they don’t, there will be no fit and he will retire.
24. Andy Pettitte- Yankees. I was going to predict him to retire, but now that I think about it, the Yankees might not want to give Phil Hughes a free spot in spring training. They could resign Pettitte and use Hughes in the minors untill someone gets hurt, which is likely with Joba Chamberlain and Chien-Ming Wang last year and Burnett has a history of injuries.
25. Randy Johnson- Angels. With Jon Garland leaving, the Angels will need a starter because of Kelvim Escobar’s injury. Johnson can come in and fill the void untill Escobar gets beack; creating a surplus. This isn’t a great fit, but there are none now that his D’Back career is over.
26. Jason Giambi- A’s. A think Giambi will end up ending his career in the same place he started it: Oakland. The A’s have a lot of money to spend, and I think they’d be very interested on a 1 or 2 year deal. This is even more likely now that they have Matt Holliday on their team.
27. Pudge Rodriguez- Mets. They need a catcher and Pudge is the best one available. There aren’t many teams in need of a catcher other than them. I know they view pitching as a more urgent need than hitting, but for the expected price, you can’t pass it up.
28. Casey Blake- Indians. The Indians want Blake back, and Blake would like to return to the Indians. Despite there being a rather large market for him, Blake will take a small discount to return home to the Tribe. They don’t add one of their main two targets: Brian Fuentes or Orlando Hudson, but they get a solid closer and one of the best third basemen available.
29. Raul Ibanez- Braves. This team has a boatload of money to spend. They can more than afford Ibanez and probably view this smarter than overpaying for Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez, or Adam Dunn.
30. Jamie Moyer- Phillies. He is having a great year, and said he wants to play untill he’s 50. The Phils need to bring him back just to have a respectable rotation. They could use a second starter as well if they are open to trading Kyle Kendrick.
31. Braden Looper- Pirates. With the Cardinals probably moving on, Looper should be open to all teams. He is a solid back-of-the-rotaion option and should be affordable on a one year deal. Plus, the team can always switch him back to relieving if they desire to. The Pirates would like to add a veteran starter, and Looper comes cheap with tons of experience.
32. Mark Grudzielanek- White Sox. Their looking for a second basemen after losing Orlando Cabrera. The want to move Alexie Ramirez to shortstop, but want to sign a free agent that won’t block Gordon Beckham. Grudzielanek is the perfect fit.
33. Ray Durham- D’Backs. They clearly need a second baseman after losing Orlando Hudson. They can’t afford to bring him back, but have no one to play sencond base. Durham seems like a very good and affordable option.
34. Edgar Renteria- Cardinals. Edgar is coming off a bad year, but has high upside. If he can do 3 4ths of his 2007 performance, he’ll be a great bargain. He has played for the Cardinals before, and they need a shortstop. I think they sign Edgar to fix there middle infield problems.
35. David Eckstein- Oriols. They had a interest in him at the trade-deadline and could sign him this offseason as a stopgap option. This won’t stop them from looking for shortstops via trade, however.
36. Brad Penny- Blue Jays. The Jays had interest in Penny through trade in the past and they seem to make a lot of sense for Penny. He could be great starter for them if he remains helthy.
37. Russ Springer- Cardinals. They could use some bullpen help, so that means they have to at least bring back their old relievers. Springer reportably still wants to play and wants to play for the Cardinals.
38. Mark Kotsay- Reds. I was going to put him back with the Braves, but they recently traded him to the Red Sox, so I will put him with another team in need of a center fielder: the Reds.
39. Jim Edmonds- Braves. The Cubs don’t want him back. The Braves are in need of a center fielder, and they would probably be very interested in Edmonds. If he can do what he did with the Cubs last year, he’ll be a very useful piece.
40. Will Ohman- Cardinals. It seems as though they are willing to spend some money on a lefty reliever. Ohman is the best one available. Bringing him in will help reshape their bullpen. It will help a lot.
41. Jason Varitek- Red Sox. There is no better alternative for the Red Sox since the market for catchers is so bad. The Captian, Jason Varitek seems destined to return to the Red Sox. I don’t think this would stop them from going after his predecessor, however. They coudl trade for a young catcher to start in 2010. If Boras demands Varitek for a 2 or more year deal, don’t be surprised to see them decline and agressivly pursue Bengie Molina.
42. Nomar Garciaparra- Dodgers. Because the Dodgers will be out of money after making all of these singings, they will have to go back to Nomar at third base next year. This will be risky because of his injury risk, but it is their only option.
43. Darren Oliver- Angels. I have said that relief signings are very tough to predict, but I will guess that Darren Oliver resigns with the Halos. They need a lefty reliever if they plan on using Brian Fuentes at closer, and if the don’t, he won’t sign there. So Oliver is needed back in Anaheim. Plus, since he’s a probable type A free agent, he might decide to accept arbitration. There won’t be many teams wanting to give up big money plus a draft pick for Oliver.
44. Juan Cruz- Tigers. The Tigers can offer him almost no other team can: a closing job. While some big-money teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets will be in on him, I think in the end he hooks on in Detroit.
45. Brandon Lyon- Red Sox. They’d like to add a ground ball pitcher and Lyon is one. The way he ended the year will take his “closer” tag away, but he should get some reasonable money anyway.
46. Juan Rivera- Phillies. The Phillies make a lot of sense for Jaun Rivera; Rivera makes a lot of sense for the Phillies. The Phils get their cheap replacement for Pat the bat Burrell, and Rivera gets to go to a hitters haven: Citizens Bank Park. He could go there on a 1 year deal, play every day, have a career year, and then hit free agency again and sign for some big money.
47. Randy Wolf- Astros. He enjoyed his time in Houston and the ‘Stros have the money to sign him. There should be a rather large market for him since he will be affordable and not that much worse than other free agent options. I think the Astros win the sweepstakes.
48. Paul Byrd- Brewers. Byrd will be a hot commodity once better free agent options leave. He’ll give you league average production on a one year deal. I think the team that ends up signing him is the Brewers. They seem smart enough to go after him instead of a pitcher like Perez or Garland on a multiyear deal. The Brew-Crew have 20 million to spend, so they can afford him for one year. He will stabilize their rotaion as their fifth starter.
49. Jeremy Affeldt- Reds. The Reds want him back and with the amount of money they have, they’ll get him back. If the Reds can bring back their relievers and some young players break out, they could contend.
50. Freddy Garcia- Giants. They have a lot of money to spend and have their heart set on trading Jonathan Sanchez. Garcia, if healthy, would be able to step in and eat up some innings at a cheap price. Plus, if the Giants are out of the race in July they could always flip Garcia into some nice prospects.
There we go, thats it. The top 50 free agents. I know I left out a few teams, but it is hard to predict that every team will make a splash. I try to predict what teams will do, not what they should do.