Final Landing Spot Predictions for Each Top Remaining MLB Free Agent
Despite the fact that spring training grows ever closer, there are still a number of viable free-agent options on the market and they will find homes one way or another in the weeks ahead.
Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn continue to dominate the headlines, as they are by far the top two available players, but that is not to say that there an not some solid veterans and potential key contributors still unsigned.
Here is a look at the top-10 remaining free agents, and where I think they'll wind up signing when all is said and done.
LF Scott Podsednik
Predicted Landing Spot: Minnesota Twins
After trading Denard Span and Ben Revere this offseason, the Twins outfield is a question mark aside from slugger Josh Willingham who will once again man left field.
The leadoff spot is a question as well, and as of now it appears Darin Mastroianni will play center field and hit first. He batted .252/.328/.350 with 21 steals over 163 at-bats last season, and may be in over his head in that role.
Signing Podsednik, who hit .302 over 199 at-bats for the Red Sox last season, would be a smart, low-cost insurance policy and he could easily surprise and secure the job much like Juan Pierre did in Philadelphia last season.
SP Chris Young
Predicted Landing Spot: San Diego Padres
The Padres have failed to add a third reliable starter this offseason, and while newcomers Jason Marquis and Tyson Ross could emerge as that guy, the team could still look to add more arms to the mix before the start of spring.
Young, who made just eight total appearances in 2010 and 2011, had a 4.15 ERA over 20 starts with the Mets last season. He was 33-25 with a 3.60 ERA in five seasons with the Padres from 2006-2010, and a return to Petco Park could lead to even better numbers than he had in his bounce-back 2012 campaign.
1B Carlos Lee
Predicted Landing Spot: Toronto Blue Jays
The biggest question mark in the Toronto Blue Jays' lineup entering the season is DH Adam Lind, and even when he's put up solid numbers, he's never hit left-handed pitching with a dismal .607 OPS for his career against southpaws.
Lee is not the slugger he was in his prime, but he still managed to drive in 77 runs hitting in poor Astros and Marlins lineups. Worst case scenario he could be a right-handed bat off the bench, best case he could wind up being the team's everyday DH and putting up solid numbers.
SP Roy Oswalt
Predicted Landing Spot: Nowhere until midseason.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote a few weeks back that one NL GM believes Oswalt may still want to pitch, but on his own terms and perhaps for just half a season again.
Last year for the Rangers, he made 17 appearances (nine starts) and went 4-3 with a 5.80 ERA and 9.0 K/9. While he's far from the ace he once was, he still has upside on the right contract and his value could be substantially higher come midseason when teams have rotation vacancies.
1B/DH Jim Thome
Predicted Landing Spot: Cleveland Indians
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports, the Cleveland Indians are looking to add one more bat this offseason and are eyeing some ex-players to fill the void.
Thome is among them, and after returning at the deadline in 2011, a third go-around in Cleveland could be in the works for the 42-year-old slugger. At this point he is only padding his Hall of Fame resume, which includes 612 home runs and 1,699 RBI.
RP Brian Wilson
Predicted Landing Spot: New York Mets
The Mets bullpen was a major issue last season, and to this point all they have done to improve it is sign Pedro Feliciano and Scott Atchison to minor league deals.
In fact, they are worse off following the loss of workhorse Jon Rauch and they could benefit greatly from adding another arm. The Mets were not overly impressed after watching him throw a little while back, but they could go see him throw again in a few days, according to a tweet from Jim Bowden.
They have shown more interest than anyone, and it is a deal that makes sense for both sides.
CF Grady Sizemore
Predicted Landing Spot: San Francisco Giants
A budding superstar entering the 2009 season, Grady Sizemore has appeared in just 210 games in the four years since then, and he missed all of the 2012 season.
Still only 30 years old, Sizemore has time to get his career back on track if he can stay healthy and he'll be a major bargain if that happens. The Giants could use another impact bat, and he could emerge as the everyday left fielder in San Francisco if he plays well.
SP Joe Saunders
Predicted Landing Spot: Baltimore Orioles
Though they already signed Jair Jurrjens to contend for a rotation spot, the Orioles could still look to re-sign Saunders after he had a solid run in Baltimore after coming over at the deadline.
He posted a 3.63 ERA over seven starts, then allowed just one run over 5.2 innings of work to earn the win in the team's Wild Card Round playoff game. He was the top left-hander on the market this offseason, and it's somewhat surprising he hasn't found a home yet.
CF Michael Bourn
Predicted Landing Spot: New York Mets
While the two sides remain far from a deal, the Mets brass met with Bourn and agent Scott Boras last week in Houston, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
The Mets have glaring holes in right and center field, and while they weren't expected to have the payroll flexibility to make a big signing, they could still look to add Bourn as a first step towards what could be a busy offseason next year.
SP Kyle Lohse
Predicted Landing Spot: Texas Rangers
After missing out on Zack Greinke and James Shields, among others, the Rangers are set to open the season with unproven prospect Martin Perez at the No. 5 starter.
Lohse can likely be had on a shorter and perhaps cheaper deal than originally anticipated, and the Rangers have the money to spend, so adding him to the staff could help salvage what's been a tough offseason.