Now that I’ve worked through my turkey induced coma (not that I’m complaining mind you), I thought it would be wise to take a look around the landscape of major league baseball and give my thoughts on a few of the players who are rumored to be on the move either through trades or by signing with a new team do to their free agent status.
Orlando Cabrera: With the recent signing of other shortstops to decent sized deals, you would have to think that Cabrera is in line for at least a nice two year deal. Hell, Jack Wilson got 2-years and $10 million from the Mariners. Wilson is a fine defensive player, but he can’t hold Cabrera’s jock as an offensive weapon. Consider that Cabrera has hit at least .281 with 83 runs and 171 hits in each of his last four seasons. Wilson? He has hit .281 twice in his career, has never scored more than 82 runs and has only once eclipsed 171 hits in his nine years. How could Cabrera not get at least $10 mil armed with those facts?
Jermaine Dye: Jermaine has socked at least 27 homers with 78 or more RBI in each of the last five seasons. However, he will be 36 in January and hit a pathetic .179 with seven homers over his final 212 ABs causing a lot of teams some trepidation. Dye has attempted to rectify that feeling by offering to play first base to increase his versatility on the field, and it might be working. Rumors are swirling that he could end up in Texas or sign on the dotted with the Orioles, Giants, Mets or Braves. He still has 25 homer pop, but he might find it difficult to put up big time totals outside of the hitters’ haven that is U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
Roy Halladay: The biggest name on the market, every day seems to bring a new rumor (he has most often been linked to the Red Sox, Angels and Yankees – of course). What seems obvious is that the Jays are almost certain to move him and that the return will be plentiful for one of the top-5 hurlers in the game.
Matt Holliday: The top hitter on the market, Holliday appears rather content to go to the club that offers him the most loot – hardly and oddity considering that Scott Boras is his agent. He will break the bank with a flooring of $100 million merely being enough to get a conversation started.
Edwin Jackson: Coming off a career season (13-9, 3.62 ERA, 1.26 WHIP), Jackson’s name has been mentioned in a series of potential deals since the season ended. The Tigers need to cut payroll, Detroit has been especially hard hit with the economic downturn, and it looks like Jackson is their most moveable chip. It might also have something to do with his second half implosion (5.07 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, .290 BAA). Buyer beware here – we may look back on ’09 as a career best effort.
Ben Sheets: Floating out there after missing last year do to arm surgery. The Mets and Orioles appear to be the most interested in the moment, though many teams would bite at the right price (just as they would with Erik Bedard). It remains to be seen just what Sheets has left, but he posted a 3.09 ERA and a 1.15 ERA in 198.1 innings in 2008 and is one mighty intriguing option as a short-term, discounted pickup.
Marco Scutaro: Marco will not be back with the Blue Jays who seemed intent on moving on since the season concluded. To that end, they signed defensively gifted but offensively ineffective John MacDonald to a 2-year, $3 million deal. They then entered the free agent market and picked up Alex Gonzalez on a 1-year, $2.75 million deal. Gonzalez is also a fine defensive shortstop, and though he has some pop and offers more offense than MacDonald, he hit only .238 with 41 RBI for the Red Sox and Reds last season. I have no idea what Scutaro will eventually sign for, but seems to me that the Blue Jays could have offered him $4.25 a year (what they paid to the other two) on a multi year deal and had a chance to bring back a guy who, in the very least, will dwarf the others in his ability to get on base (he had a .379 OBP last year).
Billy Wagner: It looks like multiple teams are throwing their hats into the Wagner sweepstakes. This is hardly a shock given his track record and success last season when he returned from Tommy John surgery to post a 1.72 ERA while racking up 26 punchouts in a mere 15.2 innings. He could end up as a dominating setup man or a 1-year closer depending on who he signs with. The 38 year old still deserves serious consideration on draft day.
By Ray Flowers