Almost Free-Agency; MLB Market Still Down

George GouvasContributor IJanuary 30, 2009



Just two days from Super Bowl Sunday and two weeks until pitcher and catcher report for Spring Training, we have an unthinkable list of great players still unemployed.


The economy has hit the millionaire as hard as the minimum wage, but of course, you won’t see Pedro Martinez filing for unemployment compensation. But, you will see some extraordinary players, receiving baseball’s version of minimum wage over the next 14-30 days to ensure they don’t find themselves at home on Opening Day.


The following list of players includes multiple time All-Stars, former MVP’s, and Cy Young award winners, and future Hall of Famers. Let's take a look at where they might find their place for the 2009 season.


  • Adam Dunnpossible destinations: Washington, LA Dodgers, LA Angels.
  • The outfielder/first baseman could get long-term security and better dollars from the Nationals, but if he wants to contend, a one-year for between $6-8 million from the Angels may be the best he can do.
  •  He’s only 29, so he can return to the market next year where hopefully, the economy and market is better.


  • Bobby Abreupossible destinations: Seattle, LA Dodgers, NY Mets.
  • Seattle has popped up as the latest team interested in Abreu. With Ichiro in right, Bobby would have to make the shift to LF or be the full-time DH.
  • If Abreu’s finally come to the realization that he isn’t getting the three-year, $48 million deal he was looking for when free-agency began, he could be a good fit in the three spot in the lineup in front of Adrian Beltre.
  • A one-year deal at $7 million would be good for the Mariners, who can flip him midseason for a good prospect or two while still building their team for 2010-11.


  • Ken Griffey, Jr. - possible destinations: Retirement? 
  • With declining numbers and further declining health, if it wasn’t going to be Seattle (which it isn’t) we’re not sure where the future Hall-of-Famer fits in.
  • He needs to be a DH, but Seattle and Tampa Bay were the only openings. But those sports are filled as the Rays, preferring a right-handed bat, signed Pat Burrell. And the Mariners decided to give Mike Sweeney a minor-league deal, and hope for the best.


  • Ivan Rodriguezpossible destinations: Florida
  • A return to the Marlins is not out of the question if, as it always is with the Fish, the price is right. Florida would like Pudge to split time with John Baker and help the young pitching staff, but do it for less than the $3 million he is currently seeking.


  • Tom Glavinepossible destinations: Atlanta, Washington.             
  • The former Cy-Young award winner met with Braves GM Frank Wren this past week and an incentive-laden contract offer to be the No. 5 starter could be coming shortly.
  • If for some reason it doesn’t work out, the Nats showed interest recently and would welcome Glavine as a mentor to Scott Olsen, John Lannan, and Colin Balester.


  • Orlando Hudsonpossible destinations: Wash, LA Dodgers, CWS, Mets.
  • Of all the free-agents remaining, this is the one that surprises me the most that is still available. Although, others provide better numbers, Hudson is a field general, a switch-hitter, and although he’s lost a step, one of the two or three best defensive players at second base.
  • Slowed by injuries the latter part of the past two seasons, Hudson would be a perfect fit in the No. 2 hole in the lineup for several teams including the Dodgers and White Sox.
  • Originally looking for four-years, two years with an option would probably get it done and a deal around $7-8 million, would be a steal.

Unless someone does a complete turnaround, the Dodgers remain Manny’s best place for big money. Oliver Perez is going nowhere but back to the Mets. He needs them and they need him more. The Ben Sheets saga will play out a little longer than expected, but the Rangers should have him in the fold by mid-month.