Even though the end of the holiday season is approaching, that does not mean that teams cannot continue searching for some gifts! Here is a look at some key free agents left on the market, and where they may end up.
Matt Holliday, OF
Teams interested: St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees, and Baltimore Orioles.
The situation with Matt Holliday is undoubtedly a confusing one. His agent, Scott Boras, feels that the veteran outfielder is worth more than $18 million a year, which is what the St. Louis Cardinals have offered him. Though no public announcement has been made, it would be unlikely he would accept this, as this is what was presented for him to remain in Colorado a couple of years ago.
However, Holliday may find himself in a position where he must simply accept the best offer available, which may be the only offer. The Red Sox have added Mike Cameron and John Lackey this offseason, which could mean they are ready to freeze the payroll at that.
The same can be said for the Yankees, who even with an outfield spot possibly open, have said they do not want to spend big. It is also unlikely the Mets delve in with more money than what they wish to spend on Jason Bay, and the same can be said for Baltimore.
Jon’s Pick : St. Louis Cardinals
It does not appear anyone else is really willing to go all-in for Holliday, something that would have seemed preposterous just last year when he was traded to the Athletics. Unless anyone decides to dive in at the last second, it would only make sense for Matt to return to St. Louis.
Jason Bay , OF
Teams interested: New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees.
The second half of the big duo in the outfield this year, and much like Holliday, Bay finds himself in a rather tight situation. He wants at least five-years and over $65 million, but who will be willing to do it?
Both the Red Sox and the Mets have offered him four-year deals worth a little over $60 million, but neither has displayed significant interest in going above that. Reports the other day seemed to indicated even that the Red Sox chances of bringing the slugger back as being, “a long shot.” In addition, we must include the Yankees in consideration, strictly because, well, they are the Yankees, and who knows if Brian Cashman will decide at the spur of the moment that Bay is the answer in left field.
Jon’s Pick : New York Mets
Omar Minaya has “dazzled” the Metropolitan nation with the “overwhelming” signings of guys like Kelvim Escobar and R.A. Dickey. If the Mets are to have any stream of success next year, it will come through obtaining hitters who can play well in any type of ballpark. Though he may be an injury liability, it would unquestionably be worth it to give five-years to Bay.
Johnny Damon, OF/DH
Teams interested: New York Yankees, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, and Seattle Mariners.
One of the premiere “high risk/high reward” players in baseball, Johnny Damon had one of his best seasons in 2009. He batted .282 with 24 home runs, and was an essential part to the Yankees World Series run.
Though it may seem that the Yanks have moved on after additions such as Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson, it is still possible that Damon could find himself back in the Yankees lineup. Brian Cashman has stated he would like a cheaper option, and unless Damon will drop his price tag to about $7 million a year, his return is up in the air.
As for elsewhere, the Mets, Cardinals, and Braves may all find themselves strongly in the bidding for Damon if their respective outfield situations fall through. Though his bat would help any of those, it should be noted that his fielding skills have diminished greatly, and not being able to hit in the DH spot could hurt his stock.
Jon’s Pick: New York Yankees
Just like with Alex Rodriguez prior to 2008, Scott Boras will ultimately drop his demands down once he finds out the value is much less than his asking price. With the trade of Melky Cabrera, the Yankees would love to bring some assurance back into the lineup and use Brett Gardner in the same role as last year, and reacquiring Damon would be the way to accomplish this. If he does not drop his price though, he may be stuck taking a one-year deal much like Bobby Abreu last year, maybe with the Braves or Mets.
Aroldis Chapman, P
Teams interested: Boston Red Sox, Florida Marlins, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
As one can see, there are many people hooked on the Cuban lefty. And why not? It has been proven he can hit up to 102 mph on the radar gun, and has a devastating payoff pitch success rate. Some predict he may earn upwards of a $30 million contract, while others in baseball think it may be more towards the Stephen Strasburg $15 million.
This month, he held a workout for 15 teams in Houston, which reportedly went “very well." However, he is relatively unproven at a major league level, and would be a gigantic risk for a team to commit $30 million to.
Jon’s Pick : Boston Red Sox
Ultimately, not many teams will be able to afford Chapman. And of course, he’ll go where the money flows. Boston is one of those places, and signing him would reunite him with friend and shortstop José Iglesias. Though anyone may step in at any given moment, it seems right now Boston would be the best option. Just remember this though, the last foreign-imported pitcher to get $25 million or more: Kei Igawa.
Bengie Molina, C
Teams interested: New York Mets, and San Francisco Giants.
The Mets are prepared to extend a two-year offer to Molina, but his deal may be dependent on that of Jason Bay. The Giants have stated all along they are interested in bringing back Molina, but have not made any significant strides.
Jon’s Pick : New York Mets
With a dire need at catcher, the New York Mets look like the favorite to ink the 35-year-old catcher. After a productive season for San Francisco, who still remains a long shot to sign him, it would appear that Molina is New York-bound.
Pick : San Francisco Giants
Pick : Oakland Athletics
Pick : Minnesota
Of course though, as the old saying goes, “only time will tell.”
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