Baseball Free Agency Players (143 so Far)

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The only one on the list from the Reds that I wish they would keep is Rich Aurilia because he is such a versatile player.
 
Mike Mussina and the New York Yankees have agreed to a two-year, $22.5 million contract extension, the New York Post reported, citing unnamed industry sources. Mussina, 38, was 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA for the Yankees last season. The team had until Wednesday to exercise a $17 million option, which carried a $1.5 million buyout, or renegotiate with the right-hander.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2662633

CHICAGO -- Mark DeRosa became the first major league free agent to switch teams this offseason, agreeing Tuesday to a $13 million, three-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2661869


NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have so much confidence in 41-year-old Orlando Hernandez, they're ready to keep him for two more seasons.

Hernandez and the Mets agreed Tuesday to a $12 million, two-year contract, filling a spot in an aging New York rotation that was ravaged by injuries during the team's playoff run last season.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2661979
 
I found this on FOXSPORTS.COM. It is a great read and a BULLSEYE rundown of the freeagents:

Baseball's free-agent marketplace opened on Nov. 12, so expect the spending to get stupid.

Many franchises are starved for proven talent. And many franchises are flush with cash. Look for a seller's market as agents start auctioning off their clients to the highest bidder. The Yankees fell well short of the World Series, again, and George Steinbrenner isn't getting any younger. So Boss George's harried minions will spend frantically this winter, forcing the rest of the American League to chase.

After watching the 83-victory Cardinals win the National League pennant, the Mets, Cubs, Astros, Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, Padres and Phillies should all be busy.

Will we see some unfortunate impulse buys? Of course we will. But there is still time to avert tragedy.

As a public service to baseball executives in both leagues, the FOXSports.com commissioned a shopping guide to help team executives sort through the long list of 2006 free agents.


THE NEIMAN MARCUS CATALOG
Ah, we love the Neiman Christmas book. Among the special gifts up for grabs this season are Sports Celebrity Dream Packages, offered as charity auction items. Among the dream packages is a trip to the NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas and dinner with Magic Johnson. Bidding starts at (gulp) $250,000.

(Joking about "The Magic Show" in Earvin's presence could run up the tab some more.)

That's crazy money unless you're wealthy. And baseball owners are wealthy, so their shopping habits may differ from yours. If they really want something, they just go out and buy it. This explains the over-pricing of high-end free agents.

Each autumn, recently productive veterans hit the marketplace. Their high performance — combined with intense demand among buyers — creates utterly irrational bidding for their services.

Adrian Beltre is one of the poster boys for this phenomenon. Carl Pavano is another. A.J. Burnett is a third. Aramis Ramirez just re-upped with the Cubs for five years and $73 million after walking away from the last two years and $22.5 million of his old deal with the Small Bears.

Here are the '06 examples:


Alfonso Soriano, OF-2B: His people are seeking "Carlos Beltran money," a euphemism for "absolutely insane money." (Beltran is collecting $119 million over seven years from the Mets.) Soriano is a unique offensive weapon, offering the rare speed/power combo, so teams are willing to overlook his inability to play any defensive position well. Soriano marketed himself magnificently with 46 homers and 41 stolen bases during his walk year.

Barry Zito looks to cash in big time this off-season. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)


Barry Zito, SP: Legitimate top-of-the-rotation lefties are nearly impossible to acquire, so Barry won't be eating off the $1 value menu this winter. Although he has been merely good the past few seasons, he is clearly the best free-agent starting pitcher in a depleted marketplace. The bidding will start around $15 million per year. Must be nice.

Carlos Lee, OF: He is the only conventional power-hitting outfielder up for grabs this season, since the Twins picked up their Torii Hunter option and the Yankees did the same with Gary Sheffield, albeit to trade him. Lee should send both teams a fruit basket, because the supply-demand factor will earn him at least 50 percent more than the $10 million per year he is really worth.

J.D. Drew, OF: He opted out of the final three years and $33 million of his Dodgers contract. Why? The Red Sox were among the teams interested in him. Drew's new price may top $50 million over four years. Warning label: Drew has been prone to frequent injury, fundamentally unsound play and general indifference throughout his career. Symptoms increase drowsiness, sudden disappearance from the lineup and declining popularity in the clubhouse.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP: The Red Sox reported spent $45 million just for the right to negotiate with the Japanese star. Signing may cost another $30 million over three years. And here is the funny thing: Nobody really knows if he can dominant hitters on this side of Pacific. He may be the greatest wild-card prospect of all time.

Jason Schmidt, SP: Although he won just 23 games the past two seasons, GMs drool over his knockout stuff. If Derek Lowe and Matt Morris are $9 million-per-year pitchers in Our National Pastime, then Jason can reasonably expect an eight-digit salary.

Juan Pierre, CF: He was really, really happy when the Twins exercised their option on Hunter. Pierre made the most of last season, batting .292 and swiping 58 bases for the otherwise lifeless Cubs. Lou Piniella is an aggressive manager, so we're certain he would love this guy.

Tom Glavine, SP: He turned down his $7 million option for next year. The Mets are expected to decline their $14 million option, although they are interested in retaining him after his strong (15-7 with a 3.82 ERA) season. So what if he is 40 years old? The due can still pitch.

MARKED-UP MERCHANDISE
The next level of free agent is merely overpriced, like a key chain, pennant or scruffy teddy bears purchased at stadium merchandise stands. Here is the class of '06:


Jeff Suppan, SP: Statistically, he is just an average major league pitcher. Ideally, he would be the No. 4 starter on a winning team. So why are teams ready to pay him twice his actual worth? Suppan is durable. He is very smart. He is a positive clubhouse presence. He pitches well in the clutch. He is a manager's dream, really. Every skipper would love to receive a Jeff Suppan for Christmas.

The value of Gary Matthews Jr. may be unreasonably high. (Brian Bahr / Getty Images)


Gary Matthews Jr., OF: At the age of 32, he finally had a breakout season — batting .313 with 19 homers and 79 RBI. The dearth of available outfielders is driving his value unreasonably high. What if he reverts to form?

Aubrey Huff, 3B-OF: Again, there aren't a lot of big bats available. Huff hit 25 or more doubles and 21 or more homers in each of his last five seasons. He made a shade under $7 million last season and, at 29, he can rightfully expect giant long-term dollars.

Ted Lilly, SP: He is a 30-year-old lefty with 12-, 12-, 10- and 15-victory seasons the last four years. So, sure, he could double his $4 million salary. Why wouldn't he?

Vincente Padilla, SP: He is a big, sturdy 29-year-old coming off a 15-10 season for the Phillies. He has won 59 games during his last five seasons, so there is some track record. Cha-ching!

Jeff Weaver, SP: When Dave Duncan got him, Weaver was a total wreck. It took the Cardinals pitching coach several weeks to restore Weaver's old confidence. Against all odds, Weaver pitched brilliantly during the postseason. Now the peerless Scott Boras is pitching him as a proven playoff warrior. But any GM tempted to offer him a multi-year deal must review his horrendous Angels outings (3-10, 6.29 ERA) last season.

Brad Radke, SP: The man has won 148 games in 11 seasons. Only once has he failed to start at least 28 games. He made $9 million last season and we figure he will be worth even more in the current marketplace. Reliability isn't cheap.

THE ANTIQUE COLLECTION
Many living legends are going through the free-agency process again. Just look at the prestige names on the list this winter:


Barry Bonds, OF-DH: After hearing the latest round of stories from the Giants clubhouse — about how Barry wandered off for naps and what not during games he didn't start — we wonder how many team teams want to buy into his Quest For 755. But for his thousands of personal faults, he can still hit.

Frank Thomas, DH: He came out of the bargain bin last season and, while playing for just $500,000, hit 39 homers and drive in 114 runs. It's too bad the big leagues don't allow courtesy runners, because The Big Hurt has two of the worst wheels in major league history. They could go at any second.

Roger Clemens, SP: Once again, he isn't sure that he still wants to pitch. But the Rocket threw great last season, so contenders to will line up to bid on him – no matter how ridiculous his parameters for pitching will be. If he says he only wants to throw every other Wednesday until the playoffs start, somebody would pay him large money for that.

Moises Alou, OF: Sure, he will turn 41 next season. But Alou swatted 22 homers and 25 homers in 345 at bats last season while hitting .301. We don't want to tell Walt Jocketty how to run his team, but he would be a perfect semi-regular for the Cardinals in left field.

Luis Gonzalez probably wouldn't mind trading in his Diamondback purple and black for Cardinals red and white. (Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty Images)


Luis Gonzalez, OF: From his perch in the FOX broadcast booth, Gonzalez campaigned for a Cardinals gig next season. He hit 52 doubles last season, along with 15 homers, and he would offer a significant defensive upgrade over Chris Duncan. He saw the success Larry Walker had in St. Louis at the end of his career and that appeals to him. But several other teams seem far more interested.

Mike Piazza, 1B-C: There are plenty of sportswriters capable of stealing second base off him, so we're not sure there is a full-time catching gig out there for him. He can still swat, though, so he could locate a good job once he adjusts his expectations.

Greg Maddux, SP: Dodgers GM Ned Colletti loves the guy and he pitched well for LA after his arrival from Chicago. So we assume his return there is a mere formality.

Bernie Williams, OF-1B-DH: At 38, he was still a fine offensive player for the Yankees last season. He has already made his big money, so we assume he wants to hang around a while longer to win.

Kenny Lofton, OF: He hit .301 last season for the Dodgers at 39. We're guessing he could still hit .301 at the age of 49 — and he may just play that long. How does he do it?

Mike Stanton, RP: There ought to be Hall of Fame consideration for set-up guys. If there were such a thing, Stanton would get a look. He has 1,109 career appearances, just a ridiculous number.

Roberto Hernandez, RP: If he pitches next season, he, too, will reach the 1,000 games plateau. And there is no reason to believe he can't do it.

Steve Finley, CF: He turns 42 before next season and he hasn't hit for power since 2004. He is no longer a $7 million-per-year player, of course, but is even a semi-regular at this age?

Sammy Sosa, OF-DH: He has told the world that he plans on making his major league comeback. Now all he needs is somebody willing to actually employ him. Some GMs have him behind Jose Canseco and Rafael Palmeiro in the back of their Rolodex.

Sandy Alomar Jr., C: He has been around for 18 seasons and he can still hit. And defensively? Well, he's still a good hitter.

Jose Mesa, RP: Another fortysomething standout of his generation, Mesa worked in 79 games last season as a set-up guy in Colorado. He may pitch forever.

RELIABLE PRE-OWNED VEHICLES
For GMs willing to fill lineup needs with players who have been around the block a few times, there are pretty decent possibilities.

Mark DeRosa was the first to jump off his list, getting a three-year, $13 million contract to take over at second base for the Cubs. Starting pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez returned to the Mets for $12 million over two years. That team also kept second baseman Jose Valentin and his power (246 career homers) for another year at $4 million.

Here are some other values:


Dave Roberts, CF: He made a fabulous case for himself by hitting .293 and stealing 49 bases while playing a career-high 129 games. After making $2.25 million last season, Roberts won't be such a bargain this time around. Knowing this, the Padres apparently will not try to retain him.

Bengie Molina, C: After four consecutive solid seasons — offensive and defensively — he ought to get a nice bump from his $4.5 million salary. Like all Molinas, though, he does run like a turtle.

Mark Redman, SP: He is a big (6-foot-5, 245 pounds), strong and durable starter who has won 11 or more games four times. He has 12 complete games in the majors. What team doesn't need a guy like this?

Rudy Seanez, RP: He has lasted 14 seasons and compiled a 4.21 ERA working almost entirely in middle relief. The man knows what he is doing.

Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez: He is a great No. 4 starter for a team with postseason dreams — so we expect the Mets to ante up, especially with injury-battered Pedro Martinez pondering his pitching future.

Joe Borowski, RP: He came out of the bargain bin to fill a set-up role for the Marlins in '05 and close last season. He made rock-bottom money, $327,000, and saved 36 games. A massive raise is in order.

Ray Durham, 2B: Realizing his contract was up, Durham, who soon turns 35, batted .293 with 30 doubles, seven triples, 26 homers and 93 RBI. Not only did he earn his $7 million salary, he made an excellent case for more. This guy has always hit, so he may get it, too.

Russ Springer, RP: He did a fabulous job for the Astros last season as a set-up guy, so he could get a bump from his '06 salary of $750,000.

Steve Trachsel, SP: He could become the Next Jamie Moyer, determined to pitch for eternity. The Mets soured on him during the postseason, but, the Ghost of Harry Caray willing, Trachsel will get a nice reward for his 15-victory season.

Julio Lugo, SS: Having messed up on Edgar Renteria — overpaying and expecting much too much from him — the Red Sox are still looking for a cornerstone player at that position. This could be really, really good news for Julio after his pass-through with the Dodgers.

Todd Walker, 1B-2B: All he does is hit line drives, so he will always have some value as an extra bat or short-term starter.

Jose Valentin, 2B: Judging from his infield work, it seems unlikely he ever took ballet lessons. But he has 246 career homers, so he plays on.

Pedro Feliz, 3B: Three consecutive 20-homer, 30-double, 80-RBI seasons gives him value. San Francisco may find somebody better or younger, but not every team can say the same.

Phil Nevin, 1B: His contract is FINALLY up, so he won't make $10.3 million this season. But he will probably help somebody as an extra bat, since he still hit 22 homers last season.

While nothing spectacular in the field, Kevin Millar does provide some offensive spark. (Nick Wass / Getty Images)


Kevin Millar, 1B-DH: Same deal: He can still provide supplemental offense. He had 15 homers in 420 at bats last season and hit .272.

LaTroy Hawkins, RP: He never made it as a closer, but he has become of the more durable set-up men in the majors. Pitchers like him always have work.

Miguel Batista, SP: He will be 36 next year, but during his last two seasons he saved 31 games as a closer and won 11 times as a starter. He was a solid value for the Diamondbacks for his $4.75 million salary in 2006.

David Weathers, RP: OK, he's not the best-looking professional athlete if all time. But he just keeps coming year after year. Every bullpen needs a horse.

Aaron Sele, SP: Pulled from the bargain bin last season by the Dodgers, he went 8-6 with a 4.53 ERA swinging back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation. He has 145 big league victories, so he has cache.

Mark DeRosa, 3B-2B-OF: At 31, he finally became a solid full-time player — showing some power to go with his defensive versatility. Was that a fluke or the start of the second stage of his career?

Mike Lieberthal, C: There is a lot of wear and tear on this former 31-homer hitter so, no, it seems unlikely he can continue to command $7.5 million per year. But he can still hit.

Sean Casey, 1B: He was the one Tiger that pounded the ball during the World Series. He didn't hit for power the last two seasons, but he remains one of the tougher outs in baseball. He is in his prime at 32 and he is a career .302 hitter. He better brace for a loss in earning power, though, after earning $8.5 million last season.

David Dellucci, OF: He followed a 29-homer season in Texas with a .292 season in Philadelphia — while earning just $950,000 last season. Pat Burrell should be so cost-effective!

Rich Aurilia, SS: Does anybody in baseball do a better job of grinding out numbers? He turned 35 last season in Cincinnati and still smacked 23 homers and drove in 70 runs. Back in '04, his career appeared to be on the wane. God bless protein shakes.

Gil Meche, SP: During his last four Mariners seasons, he won 44 games and started 106 games. He got that ERA down to 4.48 last season, so he set himself up pretty well.

Steve Kline, RP: He remains one of the elite left-handed relief specialists in the game. He is 34 and a bit daft, but has made at least 66 appearances every season since 1997.

Adam Kennedy, 2B: A career .280 hitter with good wheels, he could help a lot of teams. Because he lacks big-time power or base-stealing ability, though, Kennedy has just moderate earning power.

Mark Loretta, 2B: Again, a reliable bat and glove at this position doesn't wow GMs. (Just ask Mark Grudzielanek, who had to go to Kansas City to get a decent deal.) He will make somebody happy for not a terribly large sum of money.

Chad Bradford, RP: This funky reliever has bounced around the big leagues, but the Mets leaned on him hard last season. He was a steal in middle relief on '06 at $1.4 million. Surely Omar Minaya can afford to keep him, right?

Frank Catalanotto, OF: He doesn't hit for power, but he certainly hits. Here are his batting averages for the last three seasons: .299, .293, .301 and .300. In the long ball era, consistent hitters like Catalanotto are undervalued. He made a modest $2.7 million last season.

Henry Blanco, C: He did a nice job offensively and defensively for the Cubs. There aren't a lot of spare catchers that help you both ways.

Ray King, RP: When he has decent command, he is an effective left-handed relief specialist. He is also a solid addition to any clubhouse. Just don't ask him to lead aerobics classes.

Greg Counsell, SS: It too much to ask him to play every day, but he can still fill in for prolonged periods and provide some spark.

HAIL-DAMAGED DISCOUNTS
There are plenty of prominent players trying to overcome well-known maladies. Buyers interested in these players better know how to read X-Rays and MRIs.

Kerry Wood (one year, $1.75 million and incentives) and Jim Edmonds (two years, $19 million) re-signed with the Cubs and Cardinals respectively. Here are some others in this category:


Mark Mulder, SP: He is attracting unusually high interest for a guy recovering from shoulder surgery. Why? Well, he is left-handed. Before breaking down this season, he was durable. And he is left-handed. But here is another cautionary note: Scouts note that Mulder hasn't been the same since developing hip trouble in Oakland. His mechanics have been out of whack ever since. But, hey, he's left-handed.

Kerry Wood, SP-RP: After a star-crossed career with the Cubs, the big fella may need a change of scenery. Perhaps switching to a closing role would help him remain healthy for a change. (Given his berserk pitching demeanor, the move makes sense. Let him go after three or four guys at a time.) Wood made $12 million last season, but we're guessing he will see a lot of incentives-driven offers once the marketplace opens.

Jim Edmonds, CF: We assume the Cardinals won't pick up his $10 million option with this 36-year-old headed to shoulder surgery. But after his clutch postseason, we do expect that team to strike a compromise deal to keep him St. Louis. Cardinal Nation would sob openly if he left.

Nomar Garciaparra, 1B: Given his extensive medical history, we're amazed he got 469 at bats for the Dodgers between his injuries and rest breaks. Nomar will always be able to hit ... but he will never be able to stay healthy, not with those legs. Perhaps an AL team will value him as a DH and veteran bench presence. (He should probably ask for his own cooter scooter in his next contract.)

Darin Erstad may be worth a gamble for a team hoping he recovers from his ankle surgery. (Brad Mangin/MLB Photos / Getty Images)


Darin Erstad, 1B: His nagging ankle injury limited him to 40 ineffective games last season. Did arthroscopic surgery last month fix the problem? Erstad, 32, did hit 33 doubles and bat .272 back in 2005 — so at least a few teams will want to find out.

Andy Pettitte, SP: Chronic elbow problems have him pondering retirement after his 14-victory season. After awhile, pitching in constant pain loses its appeal. But we're guessing that Steinbrenner could lure him back for another season by offering him some pinstripes to wear.

Eric Gagne, RP: Again, we're assuming the Dodgers would prefer to work a compromise deal after ditching its option on this wounded closer. After Gagne couldn't sustain his comeback last season, it's fair to fret about his future.

Shawn Estes, SP: He pitched just one game last season before requiring reconstructive elbow surgery. He has won 15 or more games three times and he is a lefty, so most teams will be eager to see how he is progressing.

Cliff Floyd, OF: It was painful watching this guy hobble around last season with Achilles tendinitis. And his career injury history is extensive. On the other hand, he is just one year removed from a 34-homer, 98-RBI outburst. So where is his value?

Shannon Stewart, OF: A nagging plantar fascia problem wiped out most of his 2006 season, so he lost a lot of bargaining power. He is no longer a stolen base threat and he never developed a power stroke, so he is looking at a major pay cut from $6.5 million.

Eddie Guardado, RP: The Reds gambled on his last season, only to see his elbow give out. Buyers are proceeding with extreme caution.

Keith Foulke, RP: Knee and arm injuries marred his last two seasons in Boston. He collected his $1.5 million buyout, filed for free agency and sought a fresh start elsewhere.

Kip Wells, SP: Injuries limited him to nine games last season, so he has his hat in hand. He hopes GMs remember those two sub-4.00 ERA with the Pirates earlier this decade.

Dustin Hermanson, RP: A back injury limited him to just six games last season, so the White Sox didn't pick up their option on him. But the year before, he saved 34 games.

Ryan Klesko, OF-1B: He missed all but a few games last season while recovering from shoulder surgery. But he has seven seasons of 20-plus homers, so will merit a good look — but not at the $9 million he earned last season.

Doug Brocail, RP: The venerable set-up guy blew out his hamstring last season, which can't be fun at 39.

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Sometimes a GM can get a steal by signing a player coming off a very bad year. There are some interesting buys out there for teams with great confidence in their coaching staffs:


Jason Marquis, SP: Leo Mazzone gave up on him. So did Duncan. If neither of those pitching gurus could untap Marquis' potential, why should another team take on this rebuilding project? Well, he IS durable and there IS a chronic pitching shortage in the big leagues, so plenty of teams will line up to kick his tires.

Tony Armas Jr., SP: He is a big, strong pitcher. He is in his prime at 28. But he has never won more than 12 games as a starter. He could be an interesting project for a team with a smart pitching coach.

Randy Wolf, SP: Last season he recovered from reconstructive elbow surgery. This season the former 16-game winner must reestablish his stamina. After making $9.125 million last season, Wolf will be an interesting case study in this market.

Ramon Ortiz, SP: In three of his last four seasons, his ERA topped 5.00. He has good stuff, though, so he keeps getting chances.

Adam Eaton, SP: Here is a similar case. He is 29. He has never won more than 11 games. He missed half of last season after undergoing finger surgery. But in a world short of pitching, most GMs have a file on this guy.

Octavio Dotel, RP: He made it back from reconstructive elbow surgery last season, but now he needs to relocate his once-overpowering stuff.

Danys Baez, RP: He hasn't been able to stick anywhere as a closer, but he throws well enough to pitch forever as a set-up guy. One of these days, a pitching coach may help him pull it all together.

Jose Guillen, OF: He is 30 and he has already played for seven teams, including the Reds twice. He is a bit, well, mercurial. But he hit 23, 27 and 24 homers from 2003-05, so there is always the next manager willing to take on this project.

Shea Hillenbrand, 1B: Like Guillen, he is a nice hitter. Like Guillen, he carts around lots of baggage. If you need another bat, he's your guy. If you are trying to improve your team spirit, look elsewhere.

THE USED CAR LOT
For GMs just looking to fill holes, these guys are still operating:

Jeff Cirillo, 3B: He is a career .298 hitter and a hard-core player — but at 37, he is no longer a full-time answer at the hot corner.

Ronnie Belliard, 2B: We headed back to Cleveland, where, apparently, he has a LOT of favorite restaurants. But then the Indians acquired Josh Barfield to play second base, so Belliard could be on the market for a while.

Jeromy Burnitz. OF: He still has some power, but he isn't still a $6 million weapon. He can't hit for average and he strikes out much too much.

Chan Ho Park, SP: He will win the "biggest pay cut contest" after making $15.3 million in the final season of his staggeringly excessive contract. But after going 19-15 the last two seasons in San Diego, he should have options.

Alex Gonzales, SS: In 2003-04, he hit 41 homers for the Marlins. He has four seasons of 30-plus doubles. He has been a big league regular since 1999. If you have a hole at shortstop, as Boston did last season, he can fill it.

David Bell, 3B: He has been a reliable fielder and competitive hitter on the hot corner since 1999. But he turns 35 next season, so looks like a stopgap option at this late stage of his career.

Preston Wilson, OF: As his washout in Houston, he played with plenty of energy for the Cardinals. Wilson strikes out too much, but offers power and the ability to play all three spots. He would be a terrific fourth outfielder on a good team and a passable starter on a poor one.

Royce Clayton, SS: He, too, has played forever. Remember when he beat out Ozzie Smith for the starting gig in St. Louis? That seems like a lifetime ago. When this guy is 50, he will still have decent fielding range.

Rod Barajas, C: He got onto the fantasy baseball radar screen in '05 by hitting 21 homers for the Rangers, but he regressed last season. He offers some offense, but does anybody view him as a legitimate starter?

Dan Kolb, RP: Having washed out as a closer with the Braves, he regrouped as a set-up guy with the Brewers. But his career arc appears to be pointing down, not up.

Aaron Boone, 3B: If he stays off the basketball court this winter, he'll generate at least mild interest. He may never hit 26 homers and 38 doubles or drive in 87 runs again, but he isn't finished, either.

Trot Nixon, OF: His earning power has diminished in proportion to his loss of offensive power — just 21 homers the last two years combined.

Craig Wilson, 1B-3B-OF: He is two years removed from a 29-homer season and he isn't real handy with his glove. If hired as an extra bat, Wilson could be a nice pick-up.

Tony Graffanino, 3B: He is a useful player with a decent bat. But isn't a legitimate every day player, so he has bounced around both leagues.

Rondell White, OF: He is a .286 career hitter, so he hangs around. But at 35, he doesn't have the pop of, say, Reggie Sanders.

Arthur Rhodes, RP: He is 37 and he got racked in Philly, going 0-5 with a 5.32 ERA and four saves.

John Thomson, SP: He pitched in just 18 games for Atlanta last season — including 15 starts — and won just twice.

Ron Villone, RP: Well, he's durable. He pitched 70 more games last season as a middle man. So he'll end up somewhere.

Jamey Wright, SP: For a guy who has reached double figures in victories just once in his career, he does have staying power. He started 68 games the last two seasons. He never says "no."

Rick Helling, RP: If teams believe he will be healthy by the spring, he will get offers. From 1998-2002, he was a heck of pitcher. The last four year\s have been difficult for him.

THE BARGAIN BIN
There will be some tremendous values for the budget-conscious GMs looking for solid help. Here are a few of our favorites:


Darren Oliver, RP: Back from the grave last season, he posted a 3.44 ERA for the Mets. He is healthy and left-handed so, at age 36, he deserves another shot in '07.

Gabe Kapler, OF: The former power-hitting prospect will likely have to scrounge for a spring training invite. But remember, he is a career .270 hitter.

Scott Spiezio, Utility: He can play the corner infield and outfield spots, along with a little second base. He handles a part-time role very well. He regained his batting stroke last season after the Cardinals pulled him off the heap. He also came up large in the postseason. Spiezio should be an excellent value wherever he goes — although he'll have to shave that red thingie off his chin if he leaves the Cardinals.

Guillermo Mota, RP: Oops! That steroid suspension is going to cost him a big chunk of next season and some major dollars. But a smart team will sign him at a reduced rate anyway and keep him in reserve.

Chris Gomez, 2B: He turns 36 next season. He has been a part-time player for several years and his '06 season was marred by a broken hand. On the other, he's become a pretty solid hitter — batting .282, .279 and .341 the last three seasons.

Rick White, RP: He bounces around year after year, getting dumped to the heap and rescued. Sometimes we wonder if the shaved head and the goatee are what keeps him in the game.

THE RETURN BASKET
There are also a number of washouts on the free-agent list. We wondered if Kaz Matsui would fall into this category by returning to Japan, but he re-signed in Colorado for one year and $1.5 million.

Here are some others who may not be so fortunate:


Troy Percival, RP: He filed for free agency, but most GMs believe his career his over. He tried a comeback from elbow trouble this spring, but had to shut ‘er down. He worked as an advance scout to the Tigers last season to finish out his two-year, $12 million deal. Now he is getting non-playing feelers from other organizations.

Russ Ortiz, SP: He fell apart last season, finishing the big league portion of his season 0-8 with a 8.14 ERA. He has reached the spring training tryout stage of his career.

Bruce Chen, RP: See above. He was 0-7 for the Orioles with a 6.93 ERA. Teams hit .334 against him. He had a $3.8 million salary, so he still got in 40 games.

Kaz Matsui, 2B: His contract is up, so he won't make $8 million again this season. He is probably best off returning to Japan.

Jason Johnson, SP: The scouts believe he has gone soft, which is why the Reds failed to turn him around last season. He was 3-12 overall in '06 and his career record is 55-98.

Ricky Ledee, OF: He couldn't help the Dodgers or Mets last season, so now he has to reestablish his worth to major league GMs.
 
WOW, that is some writeup. Very detailed about every player out there.
 
Alou to the Mets..... I will question this move by the Mets. Alou is a good player but ONLY when he is healthy. He is replacing Floyd who has had a bunch of injuries. You would think the Mets would think twice in trying to sign another player with a history of injuries...
 
Alou to the Mets..... I will question this move by the Mets. Alou is a good player but ONLY when he is healthy. He is replacing Floyd who has had a bunch of injuries. You would think the Mets would think twice in trying to sign another player with a history of injuries...

I think they hope to get HALF of Alou and HALF of Floyd to = ONE decent player...??!!:p
 
Alou is a good hitter when he's healthy but he gets hurt by just running to first base. When he was in SF, it was very frustrating to see this guy injured half the season.
 
Alex Gonzalez now is at Cincinatti.... What are the Red Sox thinking in not trying to sign this guy? Mark Loretta is also a free agent (I believe) so they now have a whole at short stop to fill.
 
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