I decided to take the holidays off. Sorry I didn’t let you know before hand.
In an attempt to clear salary, the Cubs have traded Mark DeRosa to the Indians for minor league pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub. Another trade is in place that would send Jason Marquis to the Rockies for pitcher Luis Vizcaino.
I really like the Marquis trade for both teams. The Cubs will throw in 1 million and take on the entire 3.5 million owed to Vizcaino. So, it is a net dump of about 5 million. Dropping that 5 million will bring the Cubs’ payroll down to about 132 million. The final payroll will be in the 140-145 million dollar range. That leaves 8 to 13 million to spend; enough to sign a big bat for right field. Guys like Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley, and Bobby Abreu can be squeezed into the payroll now. Vizcaino provides depth. If he bounces back to form, it will give the Cubs another solid arm for the late innings. If not, then the Cubs can just release him. This is a solid trade for them.
The Rockies got a good deal, too. They receive a quality starting pitcher to slot into their rotation. He comes cheaply, too; only 5 million in net gain. They could’ve signed a guy like Tim Redding instead and gotten similar production, but Redding will probably require a 2 year deal at around the 5 million Marquis gets. So they get similar production and cut off a year. Good job by the Rox.
I’ll be honest by saying that I completely hate the DeRosa trade for the Cubs. This is a fantastic move by the Indians. The 3 prospects the Cubs have coming their way aren’t much at all. Jeff Stevens has some nice potential as a relief pitcher, but he isn’t any better than Jose Ceda, the player they sent to the Marlins in the Kevin Gregg trade. Yes, Gregg will be an important piece to the team by setting up for Carlos Marmol, but he is no where near as valuable as Mark DeRosa. Still, Stevens is a solid piece that could develop and give the Cubs some help in the pen. He has fantastic stuff. John Gaub also has good stuff; he struck out 100 batters in only 64 innings. He is a relief prospect at best, though. Good middle relievers are necessary to any team hoping to compete; Stevens and Gaub at least have the stuff to become very good ones. Plus, they are under control for 6 years as opposed to DeRosa’s 1 year under contract. The other prospect, Chris Archer, is more of a throw-in than a solid piece.
To help offset the move, the Cubs signed Aaron Miles for 2 years, 4.9 million. He is a solid middle infielder, and should keep the second base position respectable. He and Mike Fontenot could form a nice platoon at the bottom of the Cubs lineup.
I guess that this return isn’t terrible, but I expected more if the team were to trade DeRo. The trade may work out in the long run, but I don’t understand why the Cubs are going to hurt their team this year. It doesn’t make any sense at all unless…
Jake Peavy is the next move. Dumping the 5.5 million owed to DeRosa and the 9.9 million owed to Marquis opens up a lot of money. However, the Cubs will pay 1 million of Marquis’ contract and they take on the 3.5 million owed to Vizcaino as well as signing Miles for 2.2 million in the first year. So, these two trades dump a net total of about 9 million. Payroll is reduced all the way down to 128 million. This leaves the Cubs with 12 to 17 million to spend. I know that it’s unlikely that they can fit both a right fielder like Milton Bradley and Jake Peavy into the payroll, but it sure is possible. Hopefully, the Tribune company would be willing to extend payroll to about 150 million to accommodate these moves, if it allows Peavy to come to town. All they have to do is sign Bradley for 2 years, 20 million. Then, take on Jake Peavy’s contract of 11 million per year. It could fit. If not, then just backload Bradley’s contract. They’ll have to let Rich Harden leave after ’09, but that’s OK if Peavy is brought in. Of course, even if all of these finances are possible, the Cubs need to work out a trade. I think that they have the pieces after the DeRosa move. It could be a 3 team trade that looks like this…
- Padres get: Josh Vitters, Sean Marshall, Ronny Cedeno, Garret Olson, Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub.
- Cubs get: Jake Peavy
- Orioles get: Felix Pie
A trade similar to this one was accepted by Kevin Towers, but Jim Hendry declined because he couldn’t get ownership approval. Who knows, maybe now that Marquis and DeRosa are gone the trade could come back to life. It’s doubtful, but that is the only reason I can see for trading Mark DeRosa. Maybe they just needed to clear all of his salary. I don’t know.
By the way, DeRosa deleted everything he wrote on his MLBlog, The Pulse. It will now focus solely on the Indians.
Last offseason, Milton Bradley signed a 1 year deal with the Rangers. He was just supposed to be a stopgap DH for them, but Milton ended up having a career year, and even started at DH for the AL All Star team. He has always had the talent, it’s just that Bradley has never managed to stay healthy. Does one good year get him the four he’s asking for? Does it even get him three? And will the Rangers resign him? Well, the Rangers did have the best lineup in the MLB last year, so they can afford to let him leave, but he could definatly have a major impact by protecting Josh Hamilton in the lineup. I know that people will think it’s smarter to sign a starting pitcher instead, but hitters will take discounts to go to Arlington, while you’d have to overpay a pitcher. So just stack up your team on hitters. It doesn’t matter if you win games with offense like a 12 to 10 win, or with pitching like a 3 to 2 win. You just want to win. They do have tons of offensive talent in the minors, but thoses players could be used as trade bait to fetch some pitching. Just like the Rangers will probably deal a catcher for a starter. If the Rangers do decide that they don’t want Bradley back, then possible suitors would be the Blue Jays, Rays, and Angels. But the Jays might opt for Giambi instead since he’ll come with less years and less injury risk. The Rays don’t have much to spend, and if the Angels sign Mark Teixera or CC Sabathia, then they’ll only have 10 million left. It would be smart for them to use the 10 million to add depth to the bullpen, outfield, and rotation rather than bringing in one bat. So none of these teams are perfect fits. I still think in the end he will remain in Texas with the Rangers.
I though of a potentially good trade between the Rangers and Reds. As you can see from the Reds Offseason Needs, they need both a catcher and a shortstop. The Rangers need some pitching. Could the Reds trade Homer Baily to the Rangers for Gerald Laird and Elivis Andrus. They would love to add a great pitching prospect like Baily, especially one with his upside. I don’t think the Reds would do Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Baily, and the Rangers wouldn’t do Salty and Andrus both for Homer. So, they compromise with Laird replacing Saltalamacchia. The Rangers still keep all of their young catchers, but still move part of that surplus. They sacrifice Andrus, but he isn’t that neccessary for the team because they have Michael Young. The Reds lose a pitching prospect that still has a lot of upside, but they fill two key positions in the process. Two scarce positions, as well. It would also allow both teams to spend their money to fill different holes because they would be filling holes without spending money. The Rangers could spend it on Milton Bradley, the Reds on an outfielder. Remember, these two teams hooked up on the Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez trade last winter, so obviously they aren’t afraid to trade high-upside players such as Andrus and Baily.
We all know that Scott Boras will ask for the moon for Oliver Perez because of his upside and age. Lets look at some teams that might pay-up.
Mets (frontrunner) The Mets will definatley want him back. They love his potential and he still puts up solid numbers even though he isn’t as great as he could be. Plus, they probably want young pitchers that aren’t injury prone since they have had so many injuries this year. This one makes a lot of sense if the Mets don’t sign a better pitcher.
Dodgers (frontrunner) They will be looking for pitching this offseason, and if they miss out on other targets then I could see them overpaying for whatever Oliver Perez wants. This might be the place he ends up.
Rangers (frontrunner) Perez lives in Mexico, and Texas is very close. The Rangers have a lot of money available and probably will look to sign Perez because he is young and will be getting into his prime right when the rest of the Rangers’ players are. This could be a very good fit if they don’t spend their money on Milton Bradley instead.
Astros (frontrunner) Again, Perez lives in Mexico and Houston is close by. They also will be interested because they will be going after nearly every pitcher. They work well with Scott Boras, so there will be no trouble there, and it’s likely Draton McLane goes all in for 2009, adding a staring pitcher.
Cardinals (possible) They Like the Astros, the Cardinals will probably be going after every free agent starter available. Perez is probably a little bit out of their price range, but they do have a lot of money to spend. Even though the fans will hate it, the Cards will probably just sign another one of those bargain-basement type pitchers.
Royals (dark horse) You could see the Royals go after him because he is a lot like Gil Meche was, and that signing has worked out great so far. They get a young, high upside pitcher. The Royals might decide to spend their money on something else, such as an outfielder or a shortstop, but if they miss out on those targets they could go all in for Perez.
It has been said that the Rangers would consider trading Matt Cain for the right package. I think they match up well with the Texas Rangers on a possible deal. How about Cain for Elvis Andrus, Engel Beltre, and Michael Main. I know the price is steep, but that’s what it’s going to take to get a cheaply signed fringe ace, great #2. This also doesn’t break the bank so they can afford to resign Milton Bradley. They also still can trade one of their catcher for another starter to replace Main in the minors. They have Michael Young at shortstop, so Andrus is available, and Engel Beltre won’t be needed with Mlton Bradley resigned. Imagine a Ranger rotation of Cain, Naftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Eric Hurley, and Michael Bowden (the latter could be aquired in a Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade). That would be sick just like their offense. This team is primed to contend in 2010, especially if the Angels can’t lock up all of their young stars. The Giants get to fill their shortstop and right field holes, and get a good pitching prospect that could eventually replace Cain. Another possibility is to get Justin Smoak in the deal. He was the Giants backup plan to Buster Posey, but ended up falling all the way down to the Rangers. Maybe they substitute Smoak and another prospect like Blake Beaven and take out Main and Beltre. Both could work. Another possibility is for a three-way-trade where the Rangers trade a catcher somewhere and that team sends the prospect to the Giants. So a three team trade between the Giants, Rangers, and Red Sox.
Red Sox get: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Rangers get: Matt Cain,
Giants get: Elvis Andrus, Jed Lowrie, and Engel Beltre
So the Red Sox trade Lowrie for Salty, the Rangers trade Andrus, Salty, and Beltre for Cain, and the Giants trade Cain for Andrus, Lowrie, adn Beltre. I like this deal for all teams. I think both could work. There are going to be many suitors for Cain, but I think the Rangers would be the most aggresive team if he is made available.
This is a post where you can click on any tag you want to. It will be a side-bar link.
The terrible, then great, then terrible Texas Rangers will be looking for more consistancy in 2009. One thing they had, though, was consistancy bad starting pitching. This team has no starting rotation at all, yet have an outstanding offense. They are the classic Texas Rangers. This team need to resign Milton Bradley, their only key free agent. If they want to compete, they need to protect Josh Hamilton, and Bradley is a perfect cleanup hitter. The other thing they need to do is get pitching. This team does have many trade chips as well as three great power arms in the minors in Naftali Feliz, Derek Holland, and Michael Main. They have a huge catcher surplus. The Rangers have four starting catchers, all big league ready. They need to decide which one or two of Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Max Ramirez they should keep, and which ones they should move. Many people think Laird and another will be traded, probably Salty. I have said before that Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Michael Bowden would make sense. I still believe that. Gerald Laird to the Reds for Bronson Arroyo and cash makes a lot of sense as well if the Reds don’t sign Jason Varitek. Elvis Andrus and Engel Beltre could also be moved in the right deal. It is possible that the Blue Jays would make Roy Halladay avalable, or the Padres with Jake Peavy. If they are, I’m sure the Rangers would be at the top of the list. With all the young talent they have to trade and the need for an ace, it just makes a lot of sense. Also, I think they are an interesting dark horse for CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. It is very likely that the Rangers trade at least one catcher and aquire at least one pitcher in the offseason. This is a team that could be competing by ’09. If not, then by ’10. They have a very bright future.
The Tampa Bay Rays, the biggest surprise of the 2008 season, will hopefully build on their successfull 2008 season with a good offseason. In my top 50 free agents, I predicted they would dole out the cash and sign Adam Dunn. If they do, their offseason would be just about done. The only needs they have are DH and right field. They sign Dunn for DH, and could resign Eric Hinske or pick up Cliff Floyd’s option for ’09. Then trade for Matt Murton. They have always liked Murton, and tried to trade for him when he was with the Cubs. Murton seems to be avalable with the A’s because they have Travis Buck, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeny and eventually Aaron Cunningham for the outfield. Murton shouldn’t be too hard to pry loose from Billy Beane, a GM always open to making a deal. Maybe offer them a Jason Hammel and Mitch Talbot. Neither guy has anywhere to go in the Rays organazation. Platoon Hinske with Murton and you have a successfull right field. If the Rays can’t get Dunn, they could still go after other DHs like Milton Bradley, Pat Burrell, Raul Ibanez, and Jason Giambi. They can keep the same right field. They could even sign Bobby Abreu and have him play right field and DH switching off with the platoon of Murton and Hinske. They will have to move a starter in the offseason. Either Andy Sonnanstine or Edwin Jackson need to be traded to open up a spot for stud prospect David Price. Maybe instead of using the platoon of Murton and Hinske they can trade Sonnanstine or Jackson for a right fielder. The Tampa Bay Rays have options, and are only one Adam Dunn type player awaty from contending for a world series.
The offseason plan for the Los Angelos Angels of Anahiem is pretty simple: Resign Mark Teixera. They need this guy back badly. They can afford to lose Francisco Rodriguez. They can sign Brian Fuentes who I think makes a ton of sense here to replace K-Rod. Fuentes wants a closer job on the west coast for a contending team. He gets all three if he signs with the Angels. Garret Anderson and Jaun Rivera, the other two key free agents for them, are easily replacable and might be resigned. Jon Garland, another good free agent that could leave, is not needed with Kelvim Escobar returning from injury and with a great pitching prospect in Nick Adenhart sitting in the minos. There are two scenerios, depending if the Angels resign Tex or not.
If they resign Teixera: If the Angels find a way to convince Tex to stay with the Angels instead of going to the Yankees, they will be a lot better off. Then, all they’d have to do is get a closer like Fuentes, and get a left field/DH type. I could see them resigning Rivera or Anderson to fill this void. Or they could sign Raul Ibanez or Jason Giambi to fill the hole. I don’t think, but it’s possible they sign Tex and a Pat Burrel, Milton Bradley, Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez to be the DH.
If they don’t resign Mark Teixera: This is not going to improve their team, but if they make the right moves it won’t hurt the team, either. They need to add a big bat. If Tex leaves they’ll go after a Burrel, Dunn, Manny, Bradley type player to play left field and DH. I still think they’ll go after and sign Brian Fuentes. They also will want to sign a player out of the Giambi, Anderson, Ibanez, Rivera group to play first base. Kendry Morales could also get some playing time. This team is not as good as the other, but not that much worse.
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.