The perfect destinations for the Top 10 remaining free agents:
1) Johnny Damon: We have discussed this at length, but he would be a perfect fit on the South Side of Chicago.
Best Fit: White Sox
2) Chan Ho Park: Park started the season in the Phillies’ rotation. Following seven unsuccessful starts, he was sent to the bullpen (on May 21) where he thrived. After that time, opponents slugged only .284 against him. He struck out 52 batters while only yielding 16 walks in his final 49 innings of work. By the end of the season, Park was also throwing harder than I can remember him ever throwing, often hitting 93+ (the gun on Fox had him higher but I’m a little skeptical).
He seems like a perfect candidate for a high-leverage setup role (8th inning guy) and if injuries struck in the rotation, he could also make spot starts.
Best Fit: Cubs - Park would also provide some insurance in Carlos Marmol was injured or struggles.
3) Felipe Lopez: One of the few players that developed patience at the plate as his career has progressed, Lopez can play a multitude of positions - although he probably projects best at second base. He won't hit for a ton of pop, but posts very respectable OBP numbers and can handle the bat. He rarely grounds into double plays another reason to trust him at the top of the order. He also switch hits, adding to his versatility.
Best Fit: Cubs - An upgrade over Jeff Baker who would thrive hitting in front of Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano.
4) Russell Branyan: Branyan posted career-best power numbers last year at the ripe age of 33. It was the first time he accumulated over 500 at bats, and he made the most of the opportunity. His health is the biggest concern as he has missed time due to a number of different injuries including back (the most serious concern), oblique, hand, ankle and knee. If he can avoid the injury bug, he can be a middle-of-the-order bat.
Best Fit: Marlins - He would hold down the fort until the prospects (Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison) are ready.
5) Hank Blalock: Blalock, a player who seems to have been around forever, will only be 29 on Opening Day. Injuries are a concern, but I am shocked no one has scooped him up. Lefty power does not grow on trees.
Best Fit: Rays - He would be a big lefty bat off the bench or a platoon-mate for Pat Burrell at DH.
6) Kiko Calero: Calero had a borderline-dominant season last year surrendering only one home run, 26 unintentional walks, and 36 hits while striking out 69 batters in 60 innings. The Marlins paid him $500k last season after he missed most of 2008 with injury. I can only venture a guess as to what he would be looking for this offseason, but at the right price, he might be worth the risk.
Best Fit: Diamondbacks
7) Rocco Baldelli: In a a recent article on FanGraphs, Jack Moore asked if newly-signed Endy Chavez was the perfect "5th Outfielder." Moore makes some interesting points about depth and defense while conceding Endy's bat leaves a bit to be desired.
A mitochondrial disorder prevents him from playing every day, but when given the opportunity, Baldelli displays a decent amount of pop and speed. He also rates as an above average defender.
Best Fit: Orioles - He would be a nice upgrade over Felix Pie and could DH against tough lefties in place of Luke Scott.
Best of the Rest: Jarrod Washburn (a team in desperate need of back end of the rotation starters - Mariners); Rod Barajas (owner of one of the ugliest DiamondView graphs of all-time - Mets); Jermaine Dye (brutal fielder but should be good for 25 homers - Angels)