The Free Agent Team: A Team Assembled by Who's Left on the Free Agent Market
There are still plenty of players left on the free agent market that could improve a major league club. What if it was decided there would be a new expansion team? The team would have to assemble itself by whoever is left, and this is what I believe this team would look like. A team filled with former all-stars, and overlooked players.
Starting Pitcher: Ben Sheets
Ben Sheets has dealt with many injuries, but he was once an ace for the Milwaukee Brewers. He is one of the biggest pitching names still left open on the market, and teams could try and take a risk on him to round out their rotation. Last season, the 32 year-old went 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA in 20 starts for the Oakland A's. In 119.1 innings pitched, he managed 84 strikeouts with a 1.39 WHIP.
Catcher: Bengie Molina
Bengie Molina is a Type A free agent, which may be what is scaring teams off from signing him. Is it worth it to lose a first round draft choice to sign a 36 year-old catcher? Despite this, he still has some baseball left in him. He hit .249 with 5 homers and 36 RBIs in 377 at bats.
First Base: Troy Glaus
This was a toss-up between Glaus, Russell Branyan, and Nick Johnson. While Nick Johnson was able to pull off a .388 OBP, he hardly even played due to him getting hurt all the time, playing just 24 games. While Branyon has more pop to his bat Glaus was able to keep a respectable .344 OBP while hitting .240 with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs. I would probably add Branyon to the roster as a Pinch hitter or DH.
Second Base: David Eckstein
The former World Series MVP would fit just fine on this team. At the ripe old age of 36, he can still contribute. Maybe not as an everyday starter, he could fit in as a veteran infielder that could act as a mentor and pinch hit. Of course on this team, he would start. Last season he batted .267 with 1 home run and 29 RBIs with an OBP of .321.
Third Base: Willy Aybar
The former Rays infielder could find a job somewhere. He is still young at 27 and may still have something left to show. He hit .230 with 6 home runs and 43 RBIs with an OBP of .309 in 100 games. He will likely sign a minor league deal somewhere.
Shortstop: Orlando Cabrera
Orlando Cabrera makes this list, as he is the last shortstop available on the market. The 36 year-old played for Cincinnati last season, hitting .263 with 4 home runs and 42 RBIs with and OBP of .303 in 123 games.
Left Field: Joe Inglett
Joe Inglett has never been considered a starter, but he would definitely start for me over Kevin Mench, who didn't play in 2009 and hit just .111 last season. The 32 year-old inglett hit .254 last season with 1 homer and 8 RBIs, but held a .331 OBP in 102 games.
Centerfield: Scott Podsednik
Scott Podsednik should definitely be picked up at some point as he had a pretty good year last year. I would have put him at Left Field, but there are no more real available centerfielders left. Podsednik hit .297 with 6 home runs and 51 RBIs with a .342 OBP. The 34 year-old still has some life left in his legs, as he managed 35 stolen bases.
Right Field: Jose Guillen
Guillen adds a little bit of power to this very weak team. The 34 year-old hit .258 with 19 homers and 77 RBIs with a .314 OBP in 148 games. He also had a .416 slugging percentage.
Designated Hitter: Russell Branyan
As previously mentioned, if this was an American League team, Branyan would fit into the DH role. Last season, he hit .237 with 25 home runs and 57 RBIs and a .323 OBP, slugging .487.
Rest of the Starting Rotation
The rest of the rotation would be rounded out by:
Jeremy Bonderman: 8-10 with 5.53 ERA and 112 Strikeouts. He has proven in the past that he can be a decent starter, and he can reach those numbers again as he is only 28.
John Maine: The once upon a time 15 game winner and under 4 ERA, John Maine might be able to find his former self. Last season, the 29 year-old was not his usual self, as he went 1-3 with a 6.13 ERA in 9 starts.
Kevin Millwood: Millwood is just about done with his career as he has lost most of his velocity at the age of 36. The former star went 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts for the Orioles.
Doug Davis: Doug Davis is the last almost respectable starter left on the market. Last season he went 1-4 with a 7.51 ERA in 8 starts.
The bullpen would likely be represented by some combination of the following players: Bobby Seay, Manny Delcarmen, Scot Shields, Kelvim Escobar, Chad Durbin, (who played pretty well last year, maintaining a 3.80 ERA with 63 strikeouts and giving up 63 hits in 68.2 innings of work) Jeff Weaver (it has come down to that), Jorge Sosa, and Chan Ho Park.
World Series title here we come? Not even remotely. The end of the offseason is near, but there are likely to be some signings of the aforementioned players.