Monday, November 12, 2007

Free Agent/Trade Predictions

I figured I'd check in at the end of this long weekend with some of my feelings on where the winter's most coveted free agents and trade candidates will end up. Tonight at midnight, teams lose exclusive negotiating rights with their free agents, allowing those players to finally talk dollars with other teams. Tomorrow, the real offseason begins as most of the activity will take place between now and Christmas, with the Winter Meetings taking place December 3-6. I entered in a couple online contests with my picks and felt like sharing some with you right now.

Alex Rodriguez - Angels. It seems like too perfect of a fit to not happen. A-Rod gets to move back to the West Coast and play in a region where his every move won't be scrutinized by an invasive sports media and unappreciative fans. After watching the Angels in the playoffs, it's clear their biggest need is offense. Plus, there can be an ongoing debate between A-Rod and Vlad about who is a more inept postseason hitter.

Torii Hunter - Rangers. Every expert and learned baseball prognosticator feels this is the most sure thing of this winter, and I agree. Hunter's Arkansas home isn't too far away, and the Rangers always seem willing to throw their financial weight around at veterans. In that ballpark I don't see why Hunter can't have a major offensive resurgence and be a top-tier player for years to come.

Mike Lowell - Red Sox. I highly doubt Lowell will accept the Red Sox offer of three years and between $36-$45 million without seeing what else is out there. It's his right and I hope the Red Sox don't get offended by it. The market for Lowell is pretty good, and the Yankees have been somewhat vocal in their feeling that he will return to Boston, which isn't a good sign. That seems to be a Yankee tactic, swooping in and taking a player they say publicly they can't get or don't want. The Phillies don't seem to want to give up their draft pick, and who knows what other teams will do. In the end I feel the Sox will do whatever it takes to keep their 2007 team MVP in the fold for at least another three years.

Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera - Yankees. Both of these guys seem to want to stay with the Bombers, and that interest is mutual. I'm fairly certain if Rivera accepts the reported three years and $40 million offered by the Yankees it might be the worst contract ever given to a 38 year old reliever who is not likely to get better over that period of time. Posada might also be in bad shape at age 40 if he gets four years and somewhere around $15 million per year. But this is what it's like when you're the Yankees.

Andruw Jones - Dodgers. I'm pretty much guessing on this one, but if the Dodgers don't want to spend the cash on A-Rod they can look to get Jones at a discount. Boras will be pushing for a big deal but I don't see it with Jones coming off a .222 average for Atlanta. Hell, if no one bites Boras could just throw Jones out there for a one year pact to reestablish his value. If Jones hits anything like his former self in 2008, he could be one of the better bargains of this offseason. For the Dodgers, the only snafu I see is the potential of having Juan Pierre move to left field. And no one wants that.

Aaron Rowand - White Sox. A reunion on the South Side is likely if Kenny Williams is willing to dole out the dough. The Phillies were discouraged to learn that it would take $84 million to keep Rowand around and with so much money tied up elsewhere they seem willing to hand the reigns over to Shane Victorino next in 2008. I think the White Sox will be looking to right their mistakes of shipping off both Rowand and Chris Young after winning the World Series in 2005 and finally get some stability in centerfield as a result.

More to come later in the week.

No comments: