Top Free Agents and Where They May Go

chris daviesAnalyst INovember 11, 2008

Though the 2009 free agent market is not the deepest it will be interesting to see where each player ends up and who will have the money to spend on the big names.

On Friday, teams will be able to discuss financial terms with these players and in the spirit of the season I have decided to offer my input as to where these players may end up.

Without further ado, the top 50 2009 free agents:

1. CC Sabathia, SP

Without a doubt the best player in the free agent class. Seventeen wins and ten losses over 253 innings in 2008 while leading the Brew Crew to their first postseason since 1982.

Though the Yankees will certainly throw copious amounts of money at him this off-season I don't expect him to fall for it, though a smaller market team will not have the money to swoon him. The most likely destination for the big lefty is near his home on the West Coast.

Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Mark Teixiera, 3B/1B

Tex only beats Manny as number two because of his age, and the likelihood of prolonged quality years left in his bat. The Angels need his bat more than they need another arm, so though the team will make a run at Sabathia as well I imagine they can only afford one of the two.

Though they are waiting until after Friday to put in an offer I doubt it will hinder them, it seems they are just catering to Boras' games.

Prediction: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

3. Manny Ramirez

Scott Boras is not going to get what he expects for Manny, I see this as more of a Carlos Beltran situation. That being said, Manny will fetch big bucks from some team, and the only one willing to offer such money seems to be the team he carried to the postseason.

Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers

4. A.J. Burnett, SP

Burnett will have quite a selection of suitors this off-season to select from, however, I expect him to go with his experience and stay in the AL East. The Red Sox and Yankees will pursue him, he is a solid second choice for the Yanks after Sabathia.

Prediction: New York Yankees

5. Francisco Rodriguez, RP

K-Rod's record year does a lot to hide the fact that his numbers have dropped off over the past couple of seasons. The decline will be noted by GM's, but it won't be significant enough to keep teams away. The Mets are the only large market club looking for a closer which makes them the favorite to land the flame thrower.

Prediction: New York Mets

6. Derek Lowe, SP

Lowe has put up consistent numbers from year to year and will reap the rewards this off-season with a big contract, which can only come from a big team.

Prediction: New York Yankees

7. Adam Dunn, OF

Dunn is a solid bat however strikes out too often and is only an average defender at best. I wouldn't be surprised to be surprised at where he lands this season.

Prediction: Washington Nationals

8. Rafael Furcal, SS

As the top free agent shortstop Furcal will have options, but a return to the Dodgers seems imminent.

Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers

9. Ryan Dempster, SP

Dempster's decision seems to be held in the balance of the Jake Peavy trade. Should Peavy become a Cub, Dempster will walk, however, the Braves seem to have a better package for the Padres.

Prediction: Chicago Cubs

10. Pat Burrell, OF

Burrell had one of his best season in a contract year, surprise. He belongs in the AL where he can DH.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays

11. Ben Sheets, SP

Often injured Sheets will not receive as much attention on the market as his counterparts, which may be in favor of the Brewers. However, if they decide to take a run at Sabathia instead they will most likely lose both.

Prediction: Houston Astros

12. Orlando Hudson, 2B

The top second baseman on the market will price himself out of the range of smaller teams such as Cleveland, who have a need. St. Louis would have enough to sign him, and he would be an upgrade over Adam Kennedy.

Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals

13. Brian Fuentes, RP

Without many large market teams in need of a closer expect Fuentes stock to fall some, but not too far. The NL Central looks like a possible destination for him.

Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals

14. Mike Mussina

Unless he really wants to go for 300 wins I don't expect to see the Moose again. He had an excellent career and should be satisfied with his work.

Prediction: Retirement

15. Bobby Abreu, OF

With the Yankees looking to spend on pitching I would not be surprised to see Abreu playing elsewhere in 2009. The Cubs seem like a viable option, Abreu in right with Fukudome and Reed Johnson platooning in center.

Prediction: Chicago Cubs

16. Raul Ibanez, OF

Ibanez will be sought after, but because of his age will be a question mark. He will go to the highest bidder.

Prediction: New York Mets

17. Casey Blake, IF

Blake will be back with a small market AL Central team. Which one remains to be seen, Mark Shapiro likes him, but would probably rather have Garret Atkins or Brian Roberts if the price was reasonable.

Prediction: Minnesota Twins

18. Milton Bradley, OF

Had his best season in a contract year, see a trend? The Rangers like him and will try their hardest to keep him around to protect Josh Hamilton.

Prediction: Texas Rangers

19. Jason Giambi, 1B/DH

With Matt Holliday now an Athletic a return to the Bay seems unlikely. He and his gold thong will likely stay on the east coast.

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays

20. Orlando Cabrera, SS

With the announcement that Alexei Ramirez will be taking over at short, the White Sox took their names out of the running for Cabrera. Would be an upgrade offensively over John McDonald for the Jays.

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays

21. Kerry Wood, RP

Will gain some interest from other teams, but this Jim Hendry favorite will not stray from his roots.

Prediction: Chicago Cubs

22. John Garland, SP

He is a work horse and innings eater, he would fit nicely in Milwaukee if Sheets and Sabathia leave. I wouldn't be surprised to see a team like Cleveland make a run at him either.

Prediction: Brewers

23. Andy Pettite, SP

Retirement or Yankees, though he claims to be looking for two years. If he is serious about length he could find wind up on a small market team looking to contend.

Prediction: New York Yankees

24.Jamie Moyer, SP

Moyer said recently that he would pitch into his fifties as long as he is given the chance. With a title for the hometown team I expect to see him back with the Phils again.

Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies

25. Randy Johnson, SP

Looking for number 300, will give some team quality starts as long as he stays healthy.

Prediction: Texas Rangers

26. Mark Grudzeilanek, IF

Solid career numbers and the potential to sign a short term contract make him a solid pickup. If the Indians miss on their trade targets would make a good platoon partner for Jamey Carroll.

Prediction: Cleveland Indians

27. Randy Wolf, SP

Good fit in Houston, they will use what money they have to bring him back.

Prediction: Houston Astros

28. John Smoltz, SP/RP

Career Brave, he and Frank Wren will work out a way to bring him back

Prediction: Atlanta Braves

29. Oliver Perez, RP

At only 27 years old he may come as a bargain.

Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers

30. Brad Penny, SP

Despite injuries Penny will hear some offers, Jays will need a replacement for Burnett.

Prediction: Toronto Blue Jays

31. Edgar Renteria, SS

Not an AL player, expect to see him back in the senior circuit next season.

Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals

32. Freddy Garcia, SP

Back from injury and ready to show everyone he can still throw. A one-year deal is the best he will get.

Prediction: San Francisco Giants

33. Ivan Rodriguez, C

Still a good game caller, Omar Minaya seems to like him.

Prediction: New York Mets

34. Paul Byrd, SP

Neal Huntington wants another starter and knows Byrd from Cleveland.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Pirates

35. Jeremy Affeldt, RP

Stopgap closer for the Tribe while they decide whether or not Jensen Lewis can handle the role.

Prediction: Cleveland Indians

36. Ray Durham, 2B

Maybe one more decent season in this veteran.

Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks

37. Braden Looper, SP

A veteran arm that will soak up innings, perfect for a young team.

Prediction: Kansas City Royals

38. Trevor Hoffman, RP

The Padres let him walk, he could choose retirement.

Prediction: Colorado Rockies

39. Joe Crede, 3B

If he can put his injuries behind him will make a decent acquisition to replace Blake.

Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers

40. Nick Punto, OF

If he doesn't mind being a utility player the Rays are a nice fit, otherwise he will have to look elsewhere. With Ibanez on the way out Seattle may be looking.

Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays

41. Rocco Baldelli, OF

Would fit nicely into the Phillies outfield every few days.

Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies

42. Damaso Marte, RP

Surprised the Yankees let him go? Me too, the White Sox may remember how well he played for them and give him another shot.

Prediction: Chicago White Sox

43. Mark Kotsay, IF/OF

Filled in admirably with the Red Sox, will find a home somewhere else.

Prediction: Cincinnati Reds

44. Jason Varitek, C

Can you see him anywhere else except Boston? He may not be every day anymore, especially if the Sox seek a trade for Kelly Shoppach or Jarrod Saltamacchia, but would still be valuable.

Prediction: Boston Red Sox

45. Garret Anderson, OF

Not worth his declined $14 million option, but will likely come back to LA for less.

Prediction: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

46. Jim Edmonds, OF

Showed there is something left in his tank, may do well in the AL as a DH candidate.

Prediction: Seattle Mariners

47. Odalis Perez, SP

Innings eater, able to provide quality starts. Teams will balk if he seeks multiple years.

Prediction: Washington Nationals

48. David Weathers, RP

Journeyman has a little left to offer next year, solid veteran presence in the bullpen.

Prediction: Kansas City Royals

49. Felipe Lopez, IF

Hit well with the Cards, could replace Brian Roberts should he be traded.

Prediction: Baltimore Orioles

50. Kevin Millar, IF/OF

Though his numbers have declined a smart GM may remember his part on the 2004 Red Sox.

Prediction: Colorado Rockies

There you have it, the top 50 free agents as I seem them. Feel free to agree, disagree or completely tear apart my predictions.