Perfect Landing Spots for the Nine Best Remaining Free Agents
Now that Brian Fuentes is off the market, I see a clear delineation between the top nine remaining free agents and everyone else.
1. Manny Ramirez, OF - Criticize Manny's attitude all you'd like but there's no questioning his production. Whichever team signs him will, hopefully for their sake, watch him chase the elusive 700 home run plateau.
There has been way too much posturing by both sides of the Dodgers-Boras negotiations that it's starting to remind me of a high school prom, but the Dodgers now have all the leverage.
Side note: Manny might not be an intelligent guy, but he is certainly smart enough not to sign with the Nationals no matter the dollars they throw his way.
Perfect Landing Spot: Angels
Will End Up: Dodgers
2. Adam Dunn, OF - I find it hard to believe he's having so much trouble finding work as he's a perennial lock for 40 home runs (five straight years) and a .380+ OBP (four of the past five years). Sure, he strikes out a lot (understatement of the week) and his defense is pitiful, but it can be argued that his recent offensive production has been better than that of Mark Teixeira.
Dunn might come at a 60% discount to Teixeira, too.
Perfect Landing Spot: Orioles
Will End Up: Angels
3. Derek Lowe, SP - Lowe, ever the dependable innings-eater, has made at least 32 starts and won at least 12 games in each of the past seven seasons. Like Leona Lewis, it seems Lowe is getting better in time (Editor's note: bad joke allotment has been reached). In 2008, he posted his lowest WHIP, ERA, and walk totals since his Cy-worthy performance in 2002. Lowe has to be considered the safest of the remaining free agent pitchers.
Perfect Landing Spot: Mets
Will End Up: Mets
4. Oliver Perez, SP - His agent, the incomparable Scott Boras, claims Perez is one of the top five left-handed pitchers in baseball. Having watched every one of his outings over the last two plus years, I can tell you this is absurd. However, part of Boras' brainwashing / negotiation ploy has always been to set expectations sky-high. Even if he gets Perez a deal equivalent to the tenth best LHP, he will have succeeded. Also, as much as Perez struggled in New York, he did resurrect his career here.
Perfect Landing Spot: Mets
Will End Up: Mets
5. Milton Bradley, OF - Bradley's '08 season was a sabrematrician's dream as he led the AL in Adjusted OPS, Adjusted Batting Runs, Batting Wins, and Offensive Win %. Like Manny, however, Bradley can be considered a "head case." Unlike Manny, Bradley has been plagued by injury throughout his career. He's a switch hitter who would look great in a Cub uniform next year (strictly platonic).
Perfect Landing Spot: Cubs
Will End Up: Cubs
6. Ben Sheets, SP - As discussed in a previous post, Sheets cannot be depended upon to anchor a staff. His upside, as witnessed by his NL-leading three complete game shutouts, is as high as anyone in the league when healthy. Unfortunately, he's only made 30 starts in one of the previous four seasons. He slots in perfectly as a number two starter but will probably earn an ace's paycheck.
Perfect Landing Spot: Rangers
Will End Up: Rangers
7. Orlando Hudson, 2B - Being a good "locker room guy" can only get a player so far (see: Millar, Kevin). However, despite posting somewhat pedestrian offensive numbers, O-Dog seems to be in rather high demand. Further, Hudson's defense has been declining steadily. By some metrics, namely Range Factor, Hudson ranked as the 18th best second baseman last season.
Perfect Landing Spot: White Sox
Will End Up: Braves
8. Pat Burrell, OF - 145 games, 30 home runs, 90 RBIs, 90, walks, .390 OBP, and .500 Slg. Book it... unless he plays all of his home games at Shea, err, Citi Field in which case double the home run and RBI totals.
Perfect Landing Spot: Indians
Will End Up: Rays
9. Bobby Abreu, OF - It has been rumored that no human being has ever seen Bobby Abreu dive head-first. This includes his time on the basepaths and in the outfield. In spite of this and his declining power (steroids?) and speed, Abreu has knocked in 100+ runs in each of the past six seasons and has played in at least 151 games in every season since he became a regular (11 straight years).
Perfect Landing Spot: A's
Will End Up: A's
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