Perfect Fits for Each Impact Free Agent Still on the Market

John Altamura@@JohnAltamuraBRContributor IIFebruary 9, 2014

Perfect Fits for Each Impact Free Agent Still on the Market

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    There are still a handful of impact free agents remaining on the market as the MLB offseason draws to a conclusion. With pitchers and catchers reporting to MLB camps over the next two weeks, there is good possibility several free agents will be wearing new uniforms. 

    Where will the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana and Stephen Drew end up? Will the Orioles make a move for South Korean star Suk-Min Yoon? And will A.J. Burnett disappoint Pirate fans and choose a new pitching zip code closer to home?

    Here are five players and teams who could be perfect fits for each other. 

    Stats courtesy of


Suk-Min Yoon, SP

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

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    Potential Landing Spots: Cubs, Orioles, Rangers

    Perfect Fit: Orioles


    Reason: Signing Yoon, if anything, would be a moral victory for Orioles fans who have suffered through an offseason of inactivity. The Orioles could use another arm to be penciled in behind Chris Tillman in the starting rotation. Adding Yoon would give the Orioles a potential mid- to top-of-the-rotation guy who has experienced success with the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization. This is all dependent though on whether Yoon's shoulder is completely healthy.

    According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have made an offer to Yoon after seeing him pitch in a private workout last month. It was reported the 2011 Most Valuable Player of the KBO was pitching comfortably and sporting a fastball in the low-90s.

    If the Orioles did sign Yoon, they would not have to forfeit a pick in the upcoming First Year Player Draft to obtain him. If they decided to pursue Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana, their first-round pick, No. 17 overall, would not be protected.

Ubaldo Jimenez, SP

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

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    Rumored Landing Spots: Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners, Indians

    Perfect Fit: Blue Jays


    Reason: Jimenez would be a good fit for the Blue Jays because they wouldn't have to give up any first-round picks to secure him. The Jays' two first-round picks, No. 9 and No. 11, are protected. The earliest pick the Blue Jays would have to surrender to the Indians for signing Jimenez would be No. 49.

    Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports believes the Blue Jays are looking to add another starting pitcher and Jimenez is on their radar.

    Jimenez would project nicely near the top of the Jays' rotation, joining incumbents R.A. Dickey and Brandon Morrow.

    The 30-year-old right-hander had a good season with the Indians in 2013 after leading the AL in losses the previous year. Since 2008, Jimenez has been durable as he has averaged 198 innings pitched per season. He was also 78-71 with a 3.90 ERA over that same span of time.

A.J. Burnett, SP

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    Joe Raymond/Associated Press

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    Rumored Landing Spots: Orioles, Rays, Pirates, Nationals, Phillies

    Perfect Fit: Nationals


    Reason: Signing A.J. Burnett to a one-year deal would be a low-risk, high-reward proposition for the Nationals. A move for Burnett would not require the Nats to forfeit a draft pick as the Pirates declined to extend a $14.1 million qualifying offer.

    Burnett also could be plugged into the back of the Nats rotation and provide valuable insurance behind an already deep and talented rotation.

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported on the recent speculation the Nationals could consider challenging the front-runner Pirates in securing his services for 2014.

    For Burnett, pitching for the Nationals would provide a relatively close proximity to his Monkton, MD home as well as his preference to pitch in the National League.  

Ervin Santana, SP

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

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    Rumored Landing Spots: Blue Jays, Orioles

    Perfect Fit: Blue Jays


    Reason: There are two reasons why Ervin Santana would be a good fit for the Blue Jays. The first and obvious one is the Jays need another starting pitcher. Santana has proved to be a durable mid-rotation option when healthy, topping the 200-inning mark five times in his career. He would project nicely into the top of the Jays' rotation, joining R.A. Dickey and Brandon Morrow. Secondly, it seems Santana's asking price has dropped significantly since the beginning of the free agent signing period.  

    The asking price for pitcher Ervin Santana is said to have dropped significantly, perhaps to a three-year deal. Was over $100m in November.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 4, 2014

    The lower asking price coupled with the Blue Jays' flexibility in regards to draft pick compensation could make Santana a perfect fit. 

Stephen Drew, SS

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

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    Rumored Landing Spots: Red Sox, Mets

    Perfect Fit: Mets

    Reason: There is no clear answer for the Mets at shortstop and signing Drew would provide some competition for 24-year-old incumbent Ruben Tejada. The big obstacle that seems to be preventing Drew from joining the Mets is the demands of Scott Boras.

    Mets not interested in an opt-out clause for Stephen Drew after one year of a multi-year deal, writes Adam Rubin.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 7, 2014

    According to Rubin, Boras wants an opt-out clause after the first year of any potential multi-year deal. The Mets are against an opt-out clause because a strong season by Drew would give him the opportunity to test the open market. If Drew had a poor season in 2014, the Mets would be stuck with him for subsequent years.

    If Boras and the Mets could work out a deal, Drew would give them Mets a veteran presence to go along with Tejada. It would also buy the Mets some time to see if Tejada can round back into the hitting form he flashed in 2012 when he hit ..289 in 114 games.