MLB Offseason: Hot Stove Report

Gabe SimondsContributor INovember 8, 2008

The 2008 MLB offseason should be closely followed as your team could sign any of the 19 truly good players.  Especially if your team is looking for a SS, SP, CP, or outfielder, specifically a LF.  Half of these players probably will sign with their current team, but if they will test the free agent market then anything can happen.

I'll start with the starting pitcher, questionably, the most important position in the game.  Unfortunately, it is most expensive in terms of quantity.  The best hitters get the most money, but the quality of a 4th pitcher costs more than an average fielder. 

Carlos Silva got a four year, $48 million deal from the Mariners.  Carlos Silva went 4-15 with a 6.46 ERA (I'm sorry I'm picking on you Mariners, but that is the best example). 

Look for better deals from the likes of Brad Penny, A.J. Burnett, C.C. Sabathia, John Smoltz, Ben Sheets and Tom Glavine.  The money for the first three starters is for them to sign with other teams.  The Dodgers are pursuing other starters such as Sabathia and the injury to Penny certainly solidified their decision to let Penny go. 

The Blue Jays and Brewers on the other hand won't pay the money due to their free agents, Burnett, and Sabathia. 

Glavine will likely re-sign with the Braves.  Smoltz likely will re-sign as well, but who is to say that Braves aren't fed up with his injuries.  Maddux will likely retire.  Sheets has a very slim chance re-signing with the Brewers.  The Brewers will sign Sabathia if they get the money, not Sheets  The pitching free agent class includes at least four future Hall of Fame members.

Other SP: Curt Schilling, BOS; Kenny Rogers, DET; Andy Pettitte, NYY; Mike Hampton; Josh Fogg, CIN; Livan Hernandez, COL; Randy Wolf, HOU; Orlando Hernandez, Pedro Martinez, NYM; Jamie Moyer, PHI; Braden Looper, Mark Mulder, STL; Mark Prior, SD; Odalis Perez, WAS

This class of closing pitchers is thin although it includes a future Hall of Fame member, the record save holder, and the record consecutive save without a blown save holder. 

Trevor Hoffman,  Francisco Rodriguez, and Eric Gagne all hit the open market.  Hoffman could sign with Padres, but they are rebuilding so why invest in an older, expensive closer. 

Rodriguez could sign with Angels, but only because they have the money.  The Mets are front-runner, because of the dire need for a closer and the fact that they have money. 

Lastly, Gagne won't be resigned by the Brewers and won't likely be sign as a closer.  It looks like he lost his stuff since his record and he could just be a solid set-up man who turns into a closer.  

Other CP: Todd Jones, DET; Brandon Lyon, ARI; Kerry Wood, CHI Cubs; Brian Fuentes, COL; Jason Isringhausen, STL

Three years ago, the shortstop class would have been the class of the year if these three were in it.  Now, it's overshadowed by the starters, closers, and outfielders.  Mostly, this is due to them being overpriced and aging, injury prone players. 

The most formidable are Edgar Renteria and Orlando Cabrera.  Renteria has good range and his hitting skills are well known.  Unfortunately, his price should go down due to age, which would effect his defense more.  Renteria likely won't sign with the Tigers, because he opted out of an $11 million contract. 

Cabrera is the same way with less talent at the plate, but matches the defense.  Nomar Garciaparra may be the best when healthy.  He is barely ever healthy though as he played in 360 games in last four years, which is two seasons and 20 games into the 3rd.  Also, he's 35 years old.

Other SS: Alex Cora, BOS; Adam Everett, MIN; Rafael Furcal, LAD; Luis Rivas, PIT; Omar Vizquel

The big names here are outstanding.  First, Manny Ramirez had a terrific end to his year.  No doubt his ending to 2008 will affect his price.  Possible teams to add him are usual suspects (LA, NYM, NYY, and LAA). 

Adam Dunn is a strikeout king, in the bad way of course, but he hits homers, drives in runs, and can maintain a good average.  He had a bad average last year with a lot, A LOT, of strikeouts, but that shouldn't affect him too badly.  

Pat Burrel is the same type of player, but he know has playoff experience and a ring.  Ken Griffey, a sure first-ballot HOF, who is fourth on the homer list.

Other OF: Bobby Abreu, NYY; Raul Ibanez, SEA; Rocco Baldelli, Cliff Floyd TB; Jim Edmonds, CHI Cubs; Corey Patterson, CIN; Scott Podsednik, COL; Luis Gonzalez, FLO; Moises Alou, NYM

Other Top FA:

C: Jason Varitek, BOS; Ivan Rodriguez, NYY, Greg Zaun, TOR; Paul Lo Duca, FLO; Brad Ausmus, HOU

1B: Mark Texeira, LAA; Jason Giambi, NYY; Tony Clark, ARI; Daryl Ward, CHI Cubs; Doug Mientkiewicz, PIT; Rich Aurilla, SF

2B: Mark Grudzielanek, KC; Orlando Hudson, ARI; Mark Loretta, HOU; Jeff Kent, LAD; Ray Durham, MIL

3B: Joe Crede, Juan Uribe, CHI WS; Casey Blake, LAD; Mike Lamb, MIL