We are nearing the end of January, but unfortunately for us in the part of the United States that gets an actual winter, the snow might just be getting started.
It's a strange position we've seen this offseason. Sure, a lot of team officials have publicly stated that the economy is impacting the way they operate, but money is still flying around.
What other offseason has seen one team sign the top hitter and top pitcher to mega, $100 million deals?
How many other offseasons have seen the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Indians shell out some cash like they did to names like Pat Burrell and Kerry Wood?
But on another hand.
How many times have you seen Manny Ramirez, Orlando Hudson, Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreu, and Oliver Perez all last till mid-January and possibly the start of February?
The Yankees have no problem filling their rotational void and getting the game's top free agent hitter.
Cleveland will fill their closers' void, Tampa Bay will get themselves another bat, the Mets can address their leaking bullpen, and the Cubs can drop a fan-favorite or a fan-headache.
But there are plenty of names still out there that can impact a big league ball club.
How often does a name like Adam Dunn or a left-handed starter like Oliver Perez last this long in free agency?
On one hand, I have to tip my cap to the owners and front office executives who have maintained their stance on not giving into demands because of the economic situation.
On another, I have to tell the agents and players who haven't found teams they need to wake up and smell the roses.
Most specifically, I’m talking to Manny Ramirez and his super-agent Scott Boras.
You aren't getting the deal you were pining for, so you might as well return to Los Angeles and do it now.
That leads me to this fantastic idea. Where do the rest of the best fit around the Majors? Let's take a spin and pick the best possible destination for the last of the stragglers. Take in mind, I'm trying to take salary issues into consideration, but really, I'm also ignoring it at some point, because that's how it's done.
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez Should Sign With...
The Florida Marlins, of course. A return to South Beach would be a good spot for Pudge and who else are the Marlins going to pair with Mike Rabelo?
Mike Rabelo? Come on; get a veteran in there with him.
There is a possibility that Rodriguez is forced into retirement, but he's still got some veteran leadership left in him. He'd be a nice fit in Florida.
Second Baseman Orlando Hudson Should Sign With...
Before I answer that statement, what happened to this four-year deal or whatever it is Hudson was supposed to get?
This guy was the hot chick at the dance everyone wanted to party with because his defense was so flashy.
Now, who should he sign with?
To me, he makes the most sense with St. Louis on a short deal. The Cardinals added Khalil Greene to man short, but are they really moving forward with Adam Kennedy at second?
Brian Barden and Brendan Ryan can both play second, but let's be real here, Orlando Hudson on a one year deal would be a nice little one year solution.
Outfielder Adam Dunn Should Sign With...
A team that will give him the most money, because that's obviously what he wants.
That team is probably the Washington Nationals.
Relief Pitcher Jason Isringhausen Should Sign With...
The Detroit Tigers, obviously.
Isringhausen wants a chance and Detroit's shaky pen is a chance. A one year incentive laden deal might be the only way a team like Detroit, who can't spend much, can sign someone even remotely good for that bullpen.
If it works out, great, if it doesn't, you cut bait. Someone at the end could really stabilize. You really want to put your faith into Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney staying healthy?
Starting Pitcher Ben Sheets Should Sign With...
Reluctantly, with the Texas Rangers.
They need pitching, Sheets needs a shot to prove he can stay healthy. The nice warm weather and his home-state would be a nice spot for him.
The ballpark is probably not the greatest idea to go forward with, but good pitchers can make due, and if Ben Sheets is a good pitcher he will do wonders for the Rangers.
Third Basemen Joe Crede and Ty Wigginton Should Sign With...
How have the Minnesota Twins not jumped on one of these guys?
Wigginton might be a little more expensive, but if Joe Crede is waiting around for anything longer than a one year deal, he's going to be jobless.
Now, if the Twins have made a push at Crede, I apologize, but as much as Nick Punto rocks, he's best served as a utility player.
Starting Pitcher Andy Pettitte Should Sign With...
The team that let Ty Wigginton go, of course.
Yeah, the Houston Astros apparently just cut the cord with Wigginton because of salary cap reasons, so they might not have much room to bring in Andy Pettitte.
But going back to Houston makes a lot of sense for Pettitte and would give the Astros another arm. Why haven't they re-upped with Randy Wolf yet?
Starting Pitcher Oliver Perez and Left Fielder Manny Ramirez Should Sign With...
The Los Angeles Dodgers.
With Derek Lowe and Brad Penny gone, the Dodgers need another starting pitcher. They can't depend on Jason Schmidt getting healthy. Perez at this point could be more of a bargain than a high-priced risk.
Ramirez is self-explanatory at this point. This team was on the brink of doing something special. Ramirez improved that lineup, not just with his hitting, but how the others hit. Perez and Ramirez would make the Dodgers an easy favorite to repeat as the division winners of the West.
Starting Pitcher Jon Garland Should Sign With...
First off, I need to ask this question to Jon Garland.
ARE YOU CRAZY MAN!?
You really are not in a position to be rejecting a deal to pitch behind two Cy Young caliber pitchers in Dan Haren and Brandon Webb.
Talk about a good situation, in the National League!
Garland could be a Cy Young pitcher in disguise.
So, I think you could tell who he should sign with. But, it looks as if that isn't happening.
And finally, Outfielder Bobby Abreu Should Sign With...
The Atlanta Braves.
Another possibility is the Cincinnati Reds, by virtue of the idea that they've got Jay Bruce, new addition Willie Taveras, and absolutely nothing.
But why not just solve this glut of outfielder problems with an actual solution?
You can probably say Matt Diaz is their most consistent outfielder.
Jeff Francoeur is just, no one knows.
Don't bother bringing back Andruw Jones. That jar is completely empty, at least Abreu can still get on base.
Where is Ken Griffey, Jr. going to land? Is he going to land anywhere? It's amazing how quickly he's gone to the straggling outfielder pool.
Then you talk about Pedro Martinez, going to places like Florida and Pittsburgh? Yikes, that's all I have to say about that.
I'm sure these guys are going to latch on somewhere, but it's amazing to see how quickly they've gotten to the point they are at.
I hate when people make this joke, but I'm going to make it. Nick Markakis signed himself a six-year extension with the Baltimore Orioles, prolonging his inevitable signing with the New York Yankees.
Come on, it had to be done.
The names for the World Baseball Classic are starting to get out and as always there is going to be hot debates over players going or not. As an Indians fan, I'm pretty relieved Victor Martinez isn't on the list, but terrified that Fausto Carmona is.
Players who are coming off years where they had some injury issues, I get pretty antsy about. I also get antsy about starting pitchers. That's just me. A guy like Grady Sizemore going makes sense and I'd actually support that. Sizemore is a player and that just might get him going early.
Adam LaRoche got a $7 million deal to avoid arbitration? Was an arbitrator going to award him $8 million or something?
Felix Hernandez got a deal that didn't even reach $4 million. King Felix, you my friend are in the wrong business.
ESPN has this neat little salary cruncher thing that makes you want to kick yourself when you realize how much cash guys like CC Sabathia are earning.
Being a college student, I'm probably the wrong guy to be messing with this, but according to their salary cruncher. I'd have to work 7666.67 days just to make CC's annual salary.
CC makes my summer salary in just .3 of a strikeout he gets.
Mark Teixeira only needs to take a few pitches in one at bat to make my salary.
No wonder the economy sucks.