With baseball's free agency period already beginning well over a week ago, teams are slowly starting to make moves.
Marco Scutaro signed a deal to be the Boston Red Sox new shortstop.
Chone Figgins signed a deal to be the Seattle Mariners new third basemen.
The winter meetings are about to begin on Monday in Indianapolis with all the general managers in baseball, and they will look to start making deals, maybe potentially looking to trade some top talent.
But more importantly next week a lot of people expect the free agents to start signing. Let's take a look at the top 25 free agents, who might be interested and who could end up signing them.
Potential Teams Interested: Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, Mets
The higher payroll teams will look to try and get Holliday's bat. The Cardinals are desperately trying to keep Holliday in St. Louis for a Holliday-Pujols combo in the middle of the lineup.
Potential Teams Interested: Red Sox, Mets, Yankees, Mariners, Cardinals
Boston would love to keep Bay, but he's already rejected their first offer of four years and $60 million. He performed very well in his year and a half with the Red Sox and is looking to cash in. He is from Canada and could want to play closer to his native homeland.
Potential Teams Interested: Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Rangers, Dodgers
Lackey is the best starter out on the free agent market and is looking for an A.J. Burnett-like deal, but teams might not be as crazy to fork out that type of money for a pitcher over 30. Even so, Lackey is playoff-tested and durable and would be an upgrade to any rotation. His signing depends on what happens with Roy Halladay possibly being traded.
Prediction: Yankees or Mets—whichever team doesn't get Halladay
Potential Teams Interested: Yankees
It's either the Yankees or retirement for Pettitte, and most feel like Pettitte will be back for 2010. He originally came back to the Yankees to win another championship, which happened in 2009. But Andy's family has been very supportive of his playing career, so if signed for 2010, this could be the final go for the crafty left-hander.
Potential Teams Interested: Dodgers, Mets, Yankees
Wolf was very good for the Dodgers down the stretch and pitched very well in the postseason, which made his value increase even more. Many feel like he could get a contract similar to Oliver Perez's of a year ago.
Potential Teams Interested: Cubs, Twins, Red Sox, Yankees, Mets
When Harden is healthy, he can be a dominating starter. But he has spent a lot of time on the disabled list, which is why Oakland gave up on him a year ago. Teams might be tentative to give him big time money because of his injured past, but he could be a high-reward risk if he stays healthy.
Potential Teams Interested: Mariners, Phillies, Twins, Angels, Orioles
Beltre's tenure in Seattle was far from memorable, and Seattle already signed Chone Figgins to take over pending Beltre doesn't accept arbitration. The Phillies looked like a fit until Placido Polanco signed. Beltre still has some pop left in the bat and can play decent enough defense.
Potential Teams Interested: Dodgers, Nationals, Mets, Red Sox
Hudson stayed on the open market for a long time last off-season and only got a one year deal from the Dodgers, but after having an outstanding 2009, he will command a lot more money and more years in his new contract. The Red Sox were considering moving Dustin Pedroia to shortstop in order to consider negotiating with Hudson, but Marco Scutaro took care of that.
Potential Teams Interested: Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Tigers
Jose Valverde may be one of the best closers that nobody knows of yet, mostly because he has pitched in small markets like Arizona and Houston. The Yankees could use him as a setup man, but a team could really hand out the cash to make him a closer. There is one runner up team from the World Series who desperately needed bullpen help and still does.
Potential Teams Interested: Yankees, White Sox, Mets
Damon had a great 2009 season with the Yankees and produced very well with them in the postseason. Damon's agent, Scott Boras, is trying to get the 36-year old more than a two or three year deal, which might be risky for a guy who had to change positions and is on the defensive decline. Most feel that he will accept Bobby Abreu-like money to come back for one more run with the Yankees.
Potential Teams Interested: Cardinals, Mets, Yankees, Phillies
Dave Duncan did it again, this time with Piniero. After being a castoff reliever, Piniero found himself thrown into the St. Louis rotation and worked wonders. His new sinkerball gave him a new dimension of pitching ability and all thanks can go to the genius of Duncan. Why he would leave is beyond me. The Mets would be the only other choice, but if he is smart, he'll stay right where he is.
Potential Teams Interested: Rangers, White Sox, Orioles
Guerrero will likely not be back with the Angels as they will look to get younger and save money. 2009 was not the best year for the former MVP as he was hampered by injuries during the season. However, when healthy, this is still one of the most dangerous bats in the league and still a very good hitter. Guerrero will likely be a DH for the rest of his career and be an attractive option in the American League.
Prediction: White Sox
Potential Teams Interested: Yankees, Mets, White Sox, Mariners
The World Series MVP is now a permanent DH but showed everyone in the Fall Classic that he can still swing the bat as well as anyone in big games. There was even a rumor that the Red Sox might be interested, but it was basically nonsense. Many wonder if the Yankees have room for Matsui. Seattle seemed like a reasonable choice until they brought back Ken Griffey, Jr. for one more season. When it's all set and done, Matsui will pick with both his heart and head, which will be the popular choice.
Potential Teams Interested: Mets, Giants
Most likely, Johnson won't be going back to the Marlins, which leaves the market open for the first basemen. He's got decent power, but plays stellar defense, which makes him one of the few attractive options on the market. The Mets could use him to replace Carlos Delgado. The Giants need bats and offense in the worst way.
Potential Teams Interested: Cardinals, Phillies, Yankees, Mets, Braves, Giants
DeRosa is the super utility player with power and decent defense. He was a valuable part of the Cardinals last season and increased his value with his power numbers. Many felt the Phillies made sense for DeRosa until they signed Placido Polanco, so now it's a wide open market. He is a New Jersey native and could be open to playing near his home area.
Potential Teams Interested: Twins, Nationals, Mets, Cardinals
Well, if it isn't the most un-popular ex-Yankee who most of us would love to kick squarely in the face again and again. After starting out on the Indians, Pavano was dealt to Minnesota to help the Twins make the playoffs and pitched well until Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada shoved their home runs up Pavano's rear end. When healthy, Pavano is still a decent option. I'd still like to kick him in the face for the four years and 40 million he robbed.
Potential Teams Interested: Phillies, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers
Because the Braves brought in Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito to be the setup man and closer, Soriano's tenure in Atlanta is basically over. Soriano throws very hard and would be a nice option as a closer for teams looking to replace a guy. He could be a setup man with the Yankees, but he would also cost them a first round draft pick because he's a Type A free agent, and is it really worth that over a setup guy?
Prediction: Angels (or Phillies if they don't get Valverde)
Potential Teams Interested: Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Angels
Gonzalez, like Rafael Soriano, was basically shown the door with Wagner and Saito's signings this past week, so Gonzalez will be finding a new home in 2010. Like Soriano, he is too a Type A free agent and would cost a team a first round draft pick but might not command as much money as Soriano could. Gonzalez could likely be used as a setup man from a contender, although he does know how to close, which makes him valuable.
Potential Teams Interested: Rockies, Dodgers, Mets, Diamondbacks
Marquis was perhaps a major surprise in Colorado and pitched very well in Coors Field, which may cause teams to open up the checkbook this winter. It's been rumored that he wants to play for the Mets, which would make sense considering he is from Long Island. He'd be a durable option for the back-end of any rotation.
Potential Teams Interested: Mets, Nationals
Molina is the eldest of the Molina catching brothers and even his younger brother Jose Molina is a free agent this winter too. But Bengie is the better offensive catcher of the two, so he'll likely be given an offer for a starting job. Rumor has it that Mets general manager Omar Minaya has coveted Molina for a while, and with Brian Schneider signing with the Phillies, it leaves an opening in Queens.
Potential Teams Interested: Astros, Athletics, Phillies, Twins
Tejada could possibly be making the permanent move from shortstop to third base next season wherever he decides to sign with. He's a little older now, but still has a very good bat. But because of his age, his defense has declined but still has a strong throwing arm. Houston didn't offer him arbitration either, so he may be in a new home, or maybe old home in 2010.
Potential Teams Interested: Brewers, Rangers, Yankees, Mets
Sheets missed the entire 2009 season with a major surgery in his arm, which cost him a contract with the Rangers. Sheets is one of the best arms out on the market when healthy but has has a lot of issues staying on the field, which makes him a major risk. Sheets says he is healthy, but it's going to take a team desperate for pitching or cash to give away to sign him. Either way, he'll get a contract.
Potential Teams Interested: Rangers, Athletics, Angels, Mariners, Yankees
Dye isn't the same powerful bat that won the 2005 World Series MVP Award with the White Sox and at age 36, is on the decline of his career. Some teams might even view him as a DH more than a right fielder now, but is still listed as a right fielder so he could add value to more than one position. He'll likely stay in the American League because he'll need to play the DH.
Potential Teams Interested: Giants, Mets, Phillies, Cardinals
Brad Penny was a tale of two pitchers in 2009. There was the Penny with the Red Sox, who absolutely stunk it up in the American League, especially against the Yankees who tattooed him right out of a job. Then there was the Penny with the Giants who looked like the All Star of several years ago, which basically means that Penny needs to stay in the National League. He still throws hard and could get a decent contract.
Potential Teams Interested: Dodgers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Cardinals
So, I bet the Mariners feel ripped off after they traded away Adam Jones and George Sherrill for Bedard before the 2008 season. Bedard spent most of his time on the disabled list with tons of arm problems and injuries and never lived up to being that dominant strikeout pitcher to compliment Felix Hernandez in Seattle. However, when he is healthy, Bedard could still bring it and give a team some depth, that's only if he stays healthy.