MLB Rumors: Where The Top Remaining MLB Free Agents Will Land

James Bondman@@james_bondmanCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2010

MLB Rumors: Where The Top Remaining MLB Free Agents Will Land

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    Adrian Beltre is the top remaining free agent on the market entering the New Year.
    Adrian Beltre is the top remaining free agent on the market entering the New Year.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    While most of the winter's biggest prizes have been snatched up (Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford to name a couple) and delivered as early Christmas presents to franchises, there still remains a solid group of free agents who can impact the upcoming season for many prospective teams. In the spirit of the New Year, let's countdown from the Type Bs to Type As remaining on the Free Agent landscape and where they will land in 2011:

15: Johnny Damon

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    ATLANTA - JUNE 25:  Johnny Damon #18 of the Detroit Tigers against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 25, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Considering his desire to play a starting role on a ballclub since he is on cusp of getting to 3000 hits within in the next few seasons he if does so, the list of his destinations shrinks. His option include the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and Los Angeles Angels, all in the American League. Therefore you know Damon we have to be a DH in 2011. 

    2011 Team: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 

14: Kevin Gregg

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    DUNEDIN, FL - MARCH 01:  Kevin Gregg #63 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for photos during media day  on March 1, 2010 in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    As you can see in the picture, Gregg is not feeling to happy about ringing in the New Year without a team to call home. However that will change in 2011, Gregg had 37 saves for the Toronto Blue Jays who recently plucked Octavio Dotel off the market to be their closer but his 3.51 ERA will shy away many teams especially if he insists to be a closer.

    2011 Team: Baltimore Orioles 

13: Grant Balfour

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 22:  Grant Balfour #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during game one of the 2008 MLB World Series on October 22, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Phillies won 3-2.  (Phot
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Part of the Tampa Bay exodus that included Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, and bullpen teammate Rafael Soriano, Balfour declined the Rays’ arbitration offer which came as a surprise to many because of how of the draft pick compensation attached to him. This limits his choices to teams in the better half of the draft who be protected leaving one viable candidate with a dire need. 

    2011 Team: Pittsburgh Pirates 

12: Scott Podsednik

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    WASHINGTON - JUNE 23:  Scott Podsednik #22 of the Kansas City Royals walks to the dugout after striking out against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 23, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Podsednik had a solid season splitting time between Los Angeles and Kansas City with a .297 batting average, 6 home runs, and 35 stolen bases combined. While he has been better in the American League has a hitter, he is likely to go head to stay in the Senior Circuit in 2011.

    2011 Team: Cincinnati Reds 

11: Brian Fuentes

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    MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 06:  Brian Fuentes #51 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees during game one of the ALDS on October 6, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Yankees defeated the Twins 6-4.  (Photo by Elsa
    Elsa/Getty Images

    While Fuentes was the primary closer for the Angels in their post K-Rod era, he didn't perform to standards having 3.73 ERA with the ballclub and 11 blown saves in a season and a half. Despite that, Fuentes is likely to garner interest to be a closer again to regain the magic he had while with Colorado. The interested team may be intrigued to somewhat contend or use lefty as possible trade bait if he performs well. 

    2011 Team: Tampa Bay Rays 

10: Kevin Millwood

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    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Pitcher Kevin Millwood #34 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 29, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Don" let the 4-16 record fool you, Millwood was playing for the Orioles last season so it should come as no surprise that his record was that poor. However in 2009, Millwood was 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA for the Texas Rangers so any team who grabs him off the market will be expecting similar results. 

    2011 Team: New York Yankees 

9: Andy Pettitte

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:   Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees looks on during batting practice against the Texas Rangers in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texa
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Need I say more, the Yankees need a starter and if they fail to get Pettitte out of his retirement state of mind then they would target a pitcher like Millwood. The question remains, the Yankees need Pettitte but does Pettitte need the Yankees?

    2011 Team: New York Yankees or 2011 Retirement Club 

8: Adam LaRoche

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    PHOENIX - MAY 20:  Adam LaRoche #25 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the San Francisco Giants during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on May 20, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 8-7.  (Photo by Christian
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Since his return to Atlanta in 2009 and his tenure with Arizona in 2010, LaRoche has combined to hit 37 home runs and drive in 140 RBIs in 208 games with a .293 batting average in that span. Considering his .271 career batting average and that fact he just had his first 100 RBI season, he should be pretty happy with his probable pay raise in 2011. 

    2011 Team: Washington Nationals 

7: Manny Ramirez

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 14: Manny Ramirez #99 of the Chicago White Sox strikes out with the bases loaded in the 7th inning against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on September 14, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Twins defeated the White Sox 9-3. (Ph
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Manny Ramirez has limited options considering his not-so stellar 2010 campaign where hit only nine home runs and drove in 42 RBIs in 90 games between the South Side of Chicago and Southern California with the Dodgers. Ramirez more than likely will stay in the American League where he can DH and play everyday that way. Forget the Yankees who will have Posada man that spot but Ramirez might still find himself into familiar territory in the AL East. 

    2011 Team: Tampa Bay Rays 

6: Derrek Lee

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 10:  Derrek Lee #27 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after striking out against the San Francisco Giants during Game Three of the NLDS of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Turner Field on October 10, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Lee's suitors entering 2011 include a few rival ballclubs in Baltimore and Washington but Lee is likely to head to the American League where he can be the DH. Remember, he is 35 and will turn 36 during the season so it's not something that will suit the Nationals for a one year commitment if they don't compete in 2011. 

    2011 Team: Baltimore Orioles

5: Vladimir Guerrero

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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Texas Rangers looks on during batting practice against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Will Vladimir have a better season elsewhere in 2011? No, which is why he will return to the Lone Star state and hope for a likely return to the postseason. Guerrero may have slowed down in the second half but most of it came in July as he turned it up in August and September when the team was vying for October baseball. He'll likely demand $10 million but he might have to settle for something in the neighborhood of $7-8 million plus incentives that kick it up to double figures. 

    2011 Team: Texas Rangers

4: Jim Thome

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Jim Thome #25 of the Minnesota Twins looks on during batting practice against the New York Yankees during Game Three of the ALDS part of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York Ci
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    The Twins may have won the Central in 2010 but the White Sox have reloaded Adam Dunn and resigning Paul Konerko and they can ill-afford losing Thome so the decision is easy for them. Thome is in pursuit of 600 home runs and is 11 shy of that milestone. He hit 25 home runs in only 108 games, which gets you thinking what he would do if he played 162 games? Thome hit 15 of those home runs at Target Field, he wants back.

    2011 Team: Minnesota Twins

3: Rafael Soriano

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 10:  Pitcher Rafael Soriano #29 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws against the Texas Rangers during game 4 of the ALDS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 10, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The market for Soriano is low and dry and for good reason. Soriano had a stellar season closing for the Rays in his first full season as a closer in the Major Leagues. Nevertheless, one team in particular could be a interesting landing spot. This team would have security in case of emergency situations suchs as injury or struggles and would make up for the loss of a big-time pitcher.

    2011 Team: Texas Rangers 

2: Carl Pavano

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    MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 07:  Carl Pavano #48 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees during game two of the ALDS on October 7, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Carl Pavano has the choice to return back where he rejuvenated his career in Minnesota but can he really thrive elsewhere? The Nationals, a team he formerly pitched for in the Expos days would be interesting fit and considering they're shocking signing of Jayson Werth we can come to expect crazy things from them. They have Steven Strasburg and Bryce Harper on tap for 2012 and sights set on 2013 for postseason success. 2013? That's too far away from now and not something the Nationals would want from a aging pitcher. 

    2011 Team: Minnesota Twins

1: Adrian Beltre

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during warm-ups prior to the start of the game against the New York Yankees on September 26, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Get
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Adrian Beltre has been scouted heavily by AL West teams not including his former team, the Seattle Mariners. We know Beltre is great when he plays in a contract year, perhaps he should sign a one year pact, however, teams like the Rangers and Athletics have dropped out because that's not what Beltre is looking for. The Red Sox have made their move to forget Beltre and yes, Beltre has the agent teams despise negotiating with.....Scott Boras. But one team in particular known for making lucrative free agent deals in past seasons is his likely match for 2011 and beyond:

    2011 Team: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim