Veteran Free Agents Are Plentiful: Where Will They End Up?

John GarciaCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2009

With Spring Training coming closer and closer, there still remains a ton of veteran players yet to be signed for this upcoming season. 

Obviously former Dodgers Manny Ramirez and Derek Lowe are the cream of the crop at their respective positions but what about the other free agents? 

Sure-fire Hall-of-Famer's John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Pedro Martinez are still out there for someone to take a risk on. That list doesn't even include Kenny Rogers, Andy Pettitte, and Curt Schilling. 

Even on the offensive side, outfielder's Bobby Abreu, Garret Anderson, and Rocco Baldelli are all waiting for someone to extend an offer. 

Where are these guys going to wind up? Here are my predictions for the "other" free agents and where they will land.

Starting Pitchers:

Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz:

Despite their eventual plaques in Cooperstown, not many teams have shown interest in taking a risk on these aged veterans. All three have had injury problems last year so I expect all three to return to their former teams.

The Braves are still looking for that ellusive ace and while neither Glavine nor Smoltz will be counted on to be one, they do provide depth for an otherwise young rotation. The Mets are also in search of an ace and appear to be the front-runners for landing RHP Derek Lowe. But you can never have enough depth so I expect them to re-sign Pedro to give the 22-year-old Jonathan Niese a little more time to develop.

Braden Looper, John Garland: 

Looper's name has been mentioned with the Brewers, but I think the best fit for him may be in Washington. They are in need for a veteran pitcher on their staff, and Looper would be a relatively inexpensive option to replace the recently departed Tim Redding.

Garland is the innings-eating type of pitcher that the Orioles could use. They just added lefty Mark Hendrickson, and Garland would just give them more time to build those young starters they have.

Andy Pettitte, Ben Sheets:

Pettitte has voiced his desire to pitch in the new Yankee Stadium and despite their big spending on CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, I still feel he will end up in pinstripes. That $10 million offer is still on the table and Pettitte will eventually cave and sign before they decide Phil Hughes looks good in that No. 5 spot.

Sheets is an intriguing case because he can be one of the best in the game when he's healthy. Unfortunately, that's a huge if and his strained elbow at the end of last season doesn't help. Sheets could be a big help in Colorado but I see him coming back to the only organization he has ever known by signing with the Brewers.


Kenny Rogers, Curt Schilling:

As for these two veterans, I think it may be time to hang 'em up. Schilling didn't pitch last season and Rogers had a 5.70 ERA. Whether they will or not is another story, but if I had to guess, the next time you see these two will be in a broadcast booth somewhere. Well, maybe not Rogers, he'll just disappear.


Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Varitek:

The most interesting place where Pudge could end up is in Boston. He would be a steady replacement for Jason Varitek and definitely an upgrade over Josh Bard. However, it's hard to replace a captain so I see V-Tek returning to Sox despite not being able to receive that long-term contract he was looking for.

So where does that leave Pudge? He doesn't want to platoon but he might have to in order to find a job. The Marlins are interested in bringing him back so that's where I'll have him ending up.

First Base/Designated Hitter:

Jason Giambi, Frank Thomas:

Giambi had a decent year for the Yanks last season and Oakland seems the obvious place for his services. They love those one-year deals for aging stars at DH so a homecoming is inevitable for the Giambino.

Thomas is already past that one-year DH deal with the A's and it looks like the end of the line for him. Thomas will go out as one of the greatest of his generation and I hope he will be remembered as such. 

Middle Infielders:

Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, and Orlan...I mean Omar Vizquel:

Three of the great glove men are up for auction this offseason. If the Braves don't end up with the power-hitting outfielder they were looking for, Cabrera could displace Yunel Escobar, moving him to second, which would shift Kelly Johnson to left. The Braves would need to strike out on all the outfielders for that to be a possibility.

The Nationals are a likely landing spot for Hudson as each have expressed interest in bringing him to DC. Vizquel wants to play another season in the National League and the Padres have expressed interest in bringing in the veteran. He would provide leadership for an extremely young team and would replace Khalil Greene as the shortstop.


Rocco Baldelli, Ken Griffey Jr.:

Junior Griffey has a few suitors out there but my gut tells me he'll end up back with the Mariners. He wants a championship and there are a few contending teams interested but the allure of ending his career where it started may be too hard to pass up.

Now that Baldelli has cleared up his medical issues, he has become a hot topic as of late. The Pirates need a right-handed hitter and Baldelli would fit right in, for a price Pittsburgh would be able to afford.

Bobby Abreu, Garret Anderson:

I have thought long and hard about where Abreu might end up. As a Yankees fan, I wanted to keep him in New York but that's out of the question now. A possibility for him may be Tampa Bay. The Rays need another bat in their line-up to compete with the Bo-Sox and Yankees and adding Abreu would fill that need.Alongside rookie-of-the-year Evan Longoria, BJ Upton, and Carlos Pena, the middle of that order would be very dangerous.

Garret Anderson is a solid veteran and could end up with the Braves. They need another hitter and Anderson would be a nice fit.

Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn:

The Dodgers have interest in both of these sluggers but I'm expecting them to bring back Manny so that leaves these two still without a job. The Reds need a righty in their line-up so Burrell makes perfect sense if their willing to spend the money.

Every team from the Yankees to my local high school team has been interested in Dunn so it will be interesting to see where he ends up. The Angels appear to be content without adding a hitter but Dunn could wind up in Anaheim playing first and left in order to replace Mark Texeira's bat.




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