Friday, November 27, 2009

Players Start Moving as Free Agency Begins

In case the Turkey yesterday put you to sleep, there was big MLB news as former Red Sox shortstop Alex Gonzalez signed with the Blue Jays.  Well maybe it's not big news but until some of the bigger dominoes start to fall, this is the excitement baseball fans can look forward to this off-season.  Gonzalez is one of the first few recognizable names to move teams.  The White Sox have been busy, signing Andruw Jones and Omar Vizquel to bolster their depth (I guess they want to re-live 1999), but all has been quiet on the John Lackey-Matt Holliday-Jason Bay front.  In the spirit of Black Friday, let's examine where some of baseball's free agents could wind up.

John Lackey - The Mets have some dollars to spend and Lackey has some dollars to earn.  The biggest prize in this year's free agent class goes to Queens to become starter 1A behind Johan Santana

Jason Bay - San Francisco has a strong young pitching staff but is extremely short on bats.  Adding Bay could put the Giants in position to challenge the Dodgers in the NL West in 2010.

Matt Holliday - They may not offer the most money, which could be a problem for his agent, Scott Boras.  Holliday is a great fit in St. Louis and provides the Cardinals with another bat in the middle of the order to help Albert Pujols.  After a disastrous first half of the season in Oakland, I think Holliday re-signs with the Cardinals.

Orlando Hudson - You're going to think I'm nuts, but Hudson signs with the Mets.  Sure, they have some waste named Luis Castillo manning second right now and he's signed through 2011 for $6 million a year, but if the Mets want to contend they need an upgrade at second and Hudson is just the guy.

Marco Scutaro - Scutaro came out of no where to hit 35 home runs this year, surpassing his previous career high of 32.  Predominantly a shortstop, Scutaro is versatile to play any other infield position or a corner outfield position, which adds to his value.  Since Toronto signed Gonzalez, they have no need for Scutaro.  Look for him to play for the Red Sox in 2010.

Adrian Beltre - Looking to upgrade at third base, the Phillies would be an excellent fit for Beltre.  Beltre is one of the best defensive third basemen in the game and can still hit, although his days of hitting 40+ home runs are over.  Imagine that infield.  Howard/Utley/Rollins/Beltre.

Chone Figgins -The White Sox could use a lead-off hitter, but don't expect the Angels to let Figgins go without a fight. My guess is that Anaheim outbids the White Sox for his services.

Johnny Damon - If they can get him for two years, Damon will re-sign with the Yankees.  Despite Scott Boras' wishes that he signs for four years, Damon has made it abundantly clear that he wants to stay in New York, which hurts any bargaining power Boras has.  Damon will be back in New York.

Vladimir Guerrero - Vlad once had the best arm in baseball, and while he can still throw, he can barely move.  Guerrero moves out of Anaheim and goes and spends time as a DH.  He would be a great fit in Texas.

Erik Bedard - Bedard is an interesting case.  He's very talented but hasn't pitched 200 innings ever in his career, although he did pitch 196 in 2006.  Boston GM Theo Epstein has shown he likes taking flyers on pitchers (see: John Smoltz, Brad Penny) and the Red Sox could use another pitcher, so look for an incentive deal for Bedard to sign in Boston.

Jose Valverde - The Astros would like to have Valverde back and only a handful of teams are in need of a closer.  If Philadelphia loses faith in in Brad Lidge, they could be a dark horse for Valverde, otherwise, expect him to stay in Houston.

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