|Free Agent Outlook II|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on November 16, 2004
Now that MLB’s GM meetings have ended, there are quite a few rumors floating around. I will try to decipher what they would mean, as well as some updates on the free agents.
Shawn Green/Mike Piazza Switch
In my opinion this deal only makes sense for the Mets. The Dodgers want to upgrade their production at the catcher position after trading away Paul LoDuca at the deadline, but Mike Piazza is not the way to go. Sure the Dodgers will get some publicity and their former face of the franchise back, but I don’t think adding an expensive 36-year-old catcher is the smartest move. I believe this would be a deal largely in favor of the Mets.
Beane May Break up Big Three
There have been some rumors floating around that Billy Beane might break up Oakland’s Big Three (Zito/Hudson/Mulder). For Beane to do this, he will have to get a power right handed hitter, preferably first or corner outfield position. The biggest rumor is sending Hudson (70-2 when his team scores four or more runs for him) to the Yankees with the A’s picking up some cheap talent. I think the A’s won’t get what they believe Zito is worth, they won’t fathom dealing Mulder, and would have to be blown away to deal Hudson.
Sammy Sosa Moving
The Cubs have discussed moving Sammy Sosa to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Shawn Green. This move would make little sense, as the Cubs’ fans love Sammy too much. There has been talk of the Orioles, Mets, and Marlins being interested. I don’t think the Orioles have enough to be a match, the Mets would have to start with Clifford Floyd, and the Marlins would probably want the Cubs to cover much of Sosa’s contract, which is not something they would do, unless Beckett goes to the Cubs (highly unlikely).
Top Free Agents
1. Carlos Beltran: Agent Scott Boras is repeatedly asking for a ten-year deal for his superstar center fielder. Everyone expects that the Yankees will sign Beltran for Derek Jeter money.
2. Adrian Beltre: The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly been on the market to keep their star third baseman, but no offers have been made public. There is a major market for Beltre, perhaps in Anaheim.
3. Pedro Martinez: The New York Yankees reportedly have interest in the starting pitcher, as do the Angels and Red Sox. The Red Sox are offering $27.5 million over the span of two years, which the Yankees would double the years and offer about one and a half times as much (4 yrs, 18 million per). The Angels can’t be considered a major player if this turns out to be a bidding war.
4. Magglio Ordonez: The injured right fielder told the New York Post that, “the door is still open for New York.” Whether he means Yankees or Mets remains to be seen, but I’m guessing he meant the Mets. The Yankees should definitely get into the bidding for Ordonez, as he will be a valuable addition to this team, if Beltran’s signing should fall apart.
5. Carlos Delgado: There have been reports that the Mets as well as the Orioles are interested in Carlos Delgado. I believe that the Orioles should make a serious run at Delgado and sign him to play first. The Mets shouldn’t get bogged down with his contract; they have not had much luck with those lately.
6. Richie Sexson: The Mariners reportedly have interest in Sexson, at least according to Peter Gammons. I think the Diamondbacks will be in the bidding for Sexson, but will not offer a long-term deal, but maybe a 1 or 2 year deal with plenty of incentive contracts.
7. Russ Ortiz: The market has just not developed for Russ Ortiz as I thought it would. I still think he’s a good pitcher and deserves to sign a Kelvim Escobar type of contract.
8. Roger Clemens: Clemens has now won his seventh Cy Young Award (even though in my opinion Randy Johnson was more deserving but more on that later). He is 99.9 percent retired, the same as he was last year. This likely means he’ll return for another season, but I’m not sure how much gas he has left in his tank. His stats definitely were slightly higher the second half, so perhaps a one year deal would be the best for him to sign.
9. JD Drew: The Next Mickey Mantle has not garnered much attention in the free agent market, so that might be a sign the Braves have a serious inside track on retaining him. He, like Ortiz, has been slipping under the radar quite a bit. Just because his name isn’t Carlos Beltran that doesn’t make Drew a bad player.
10. Jaret Wright: Jaret Wright turned things around this year and become a good pitcher over the span of the season however Wright definitely didn’t impress in the post-season, making him dubious for a contending team. If Wright doesn’t sign with the Braves, then look for a John Burkett flameout. I think a team like the Yankees would do good to sign him.
11. Jeff Kent: The Astros have declined their option of Jeff Kent, meaning the second best second baseman is available for signing. He will likely command around 2 years, $18 million, which the Yankees would gladly provide.
12. Nomar Garciaparra: It has been rumored that the Yankees are going after Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, but to play second base. He would be a nice number two hitter in the lineup, with Jeter ahead of him, and A-Rod hitting behind him. Other than the Yankees, Nomar’s name hasn’t cropped up with other teams.
13. Matt Clement: All teams could definitely use this fireballer who helped carry an injured Cubs rotation. Andy McPhail would be wise to use the money he saves on Moises Alou by going after the bearded one once again.
14. Odalis Perez: Perez’s name hasn’t come up much with relation to the Dodgers, but it is said that the Yankees might go after him, since they need some left-handed starters. The Braves also might be interested in their former pitcher, as they could use him along with Horacio Ramirez in the rotation next season.
15. Steve Finley: Seen as the “other” centerfielder on the market, Steve Finley would provide a pretty glove, bat, and leadership to whichever team he signs with. A guess for Finley is back with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Some teams should take interest in this guy, especially the Houston Astros.