MLB Free-Agent Rumors: Ranking the Top 20 Remaining on the Market

Thomas CopainCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2011

MLB Free-Agent Rumors: Ranking the Top 20 Remaining on the Market

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Texas Rangers reacts after he struck out in the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arl
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    It's almost here.

    In just about two weeks, cities and small towns across Florida and Arizona will be invaded by baseball players honing their crafts and getting back into shape for the six-month, 162-game grind ahead.

    But before pitchers and catchers report, there are still players looking for work and trying to land with a team. And sometimes the bargains found in late January into February turn out to be some of the biggest steals of the free-agent market. 

    Out of the notable players still looking for work, these are the best who can still make a contribution to whatever team they sign with or possibly make the team out of camp. So without further ado, here are the 20 best available free agents.

20. John Maine, SP

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    WASHINGTON - MAY 20:  John Maine #33 of the New York Mets talks to manager Jerry Manuel after being removed in the first inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 20, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty I
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 1-3, 6.13 ERA

    Maine had a frustrating year with the Mets, which was unusual for him considering he was one of the Mets' more reliable starters during his time in New York. Now he's looking for work and could be an option for a team perhaps looking for rotation depth or a cheap fifth starter.

19. Chad Durbin, RHP

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Chad Durbin #37 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (P
    Harry How/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 64 games, 4-1, 3.80 ERA

    For all the times he was criticized, Durbin was still one of the more reliable pitchers in the Phillies bullpen over the last three seasons. He could very well return to Philadelphia, but whoever does pick him up will get a versatile pitcher who can be a reliever or a spot starter and just do enough to be effective.

18. Nick Johnson, 1B/DH

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 23:  Nick Johnson #36 of the New York Yankees bats against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 23, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.   The Angels won 6-4.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 24 G, 98 AB, .167 AVG, 2 HR, 8 RBI

    The usually reliable and healthy Johnson broke down last year, limiting him to just 24 games, although he wasn't effective before that either. He's still a career .270 hitter who gets on base and does enough to warrant a look in camp. He's not a power guy, but he does get on base, which is why he still gets looks as a No. 2 hitter.

17. Mark Kotsay, 1B/DH

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Mark Kotsay #7 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 22, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 109 G, 359 AB, .239 AVG, 8 HR, 31 RBI

    Kotsay's not an everyday player at this point in his career, but he is a useful bat. Perhaps he can be a platoon DH situation or a left-handed bat with some pop off the bench for a National League team. However, his age and inability to play the outfield might limit his options.

16. Julio Lugo, SS

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    ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 27:  Corey Patterson #6 of the Baltimore Orioles reacts to Julio Lugo #2 after his catch at the wall off the bat of Mike Napoli #44 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the fifth inning on August 27, 2010 in Anaheim, California
    Harry How/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 93 G, 264 AB, .249 AVG, 20 RBI

    There's nothing spectacular about Lugo (average bat, a little pop, OK defense), but he's one of those guys who always seems to find work. Lugo will need to earn his way onto an Opening Day roster, but his adequate defense and decent bat will have at least one team give him a look.

15. Jermaine Dye, OF

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 06:  Jermaine Dye #23 of the Chicago White Sox against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at U.S. Cellular Field on August 6, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Angels won 9-5.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2009 Stats: 141 G, 574 AB, .250 AVG, 27 HR, 81 RBI

    Dye didn't play at all, and despite being 37 years old, he still had a solid bat in his last season. He's probably a DH or at best a fourth outfielder or a power bat off the bench, but he can still be effective if his power hasn't slipped off from 2009.

14. Jim Edmonds, OF

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 19:  Jim Edmonds #15of the Cincinnatti Reds pinch hits in the seventh inning against the Housto Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 19, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 86 G, 272 AB, .276 AVG, 11 HR, 23 RBI

    He's not the Gold Glove center fielder who made the plays that made everyone shake their heads in disbelief, but he's still a nice bat in the right situation like he was in Milwaukee. According to reports, Edmonds is contemplating retirement, but if he still wants to play someone will look at him.

13. Jose Guillen, OF

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    PHOENIX - SEPTEMBER 06:  Jose Guillen #6 of the San Francisco Giants at bat during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on September 6, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Giants defeated the Diamondbacks 2-0 in eleven
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 148 G, 576 AB, .258 AVG, 19 HR, 77 RBI

    Guillen has had character issues in the past, but he has always gotten work on his bat and his rocket arm. Guillen's power numbers were sapped somewhat by playing in two pitcher's parks in Kansas City and San Francisco, but there are a bunch of teams that would willingly take that stat line for the right price.

12. Doug Davis, SP

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 05:  Doug Davis #25 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on May 5, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 1-4, 7.51 ERA

    Davis endured a rough 2010 season in which he was riddled with injuries. He's not a No. 1, nor has he ever been. But he can be a guy to add depth to the rotation and would be a decent back-end-of-the-rotation pitcher, despite the rough season last year.

11. David Eckstein, INF

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 01:   David Eckstein #22 of the San Diego Padres runs to third base during their game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on October 1, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 116 G, 492 AB, .267 AVG, 1 HR, 29 RBI

    Eckstein gets by on his grit and his hustle, but he's starting to slow down and the weaknesses he had for a lot of his career are starting to become glaring now. He's still a decent hitter and someone will pay for him to bat near the top of the lineup and get on base.

10. Cristian Guzman, SS

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 03:  Cristian Guzman #12 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 3, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 104 G, 396 AB, .266 AVG, 2 HR, 26 RBI

    Guzman was never known for his defense, but rather his ability to get on base and create havoc with his speed once he was on base. His average is still pretty good, but he's probably more of a bottom-of-the-lineup hitter now who can add speed and an extra-base threat.

9. Kevin Millwood, SP

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    BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 22:  Kevin Millwood #34 of the Baltimore Orioles delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 22, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 4-16, 5.10 ERA

    Millwood is not as bad as the record indicated last year, but he wasn't outstanding either. A lot of times, it was the result of being around a bad Orioles team for most of the year. He's not an ace, but he'd be a serviceable pitcher on a young staff or another depth move for a good team.

8. Orlando Cabrera, SS

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 08:  Orlando Cabrera #2 of the Cincinnati Reds leaps over Jayson Werth #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies as Werth steals second base during game 2 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park on October 8, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Th
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 123 G, 537 AB, .263 AVG, 4 HR, 42 RBI

    Like Lugo, Cabrera's bat sometimes covered up for his defensive struggles, but even that is starting to slip now. The time of him being an automatic everyday shortstop might be starting to pass him by, but his bat and decent defense will be enough for some team to bring him in.

7. Pedro Feliz, 3B

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    ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 2: Joe Mather #22 and Pedro Feliz #77 both of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate Feliz's game-winning run against the Colorado Rockies at Busch Stadium on October 2, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Rockies 1-0 in 11
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 137 G, 429 AB, .218 AVG, 5 HR, 40 RBI

    Feliz had maybe the worst season of his career, even struggling defensively where he's been pretty solid. But he's still a decent bat and a pretty strong defensive third baseman, although he's probably not a starter at this point, but perhaps more of a utility player.

6. Freddy Garcia, SP

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    CHICAGO - AUGUST 10: Starting pitcher Freddy Garcia #43 of the Chicago White Sox delivers the ball against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on August 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 12-6, 4.64 ERA

    Garcia has had to shake off the injury-prone label in recent years, but he put together a nice year last year. The 157 innings was the most Garcia had thrown since 2006, and he's shown an interest in going to the Yankees. Looking at the Yankees' rotation, they could use him.

5. Bengie Molina, C

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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Cody Ross #13 and Juan Uribe #5 of the San Francisco Giants celebrate scoring off of a homer to centerfield by teammate Edgar Renteria #16 (not pictured) while catcher Bengie Molina #11 of the Texas Rangers looks on in the to
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 118 G, 416 AB, .249 AVG, 5 HR, 36 RBI

    Molina is not a middle-of-the-lineup hitter and he never was. The Giants were fooling themselves to think he was the heart of the offense. But he's still a very good defensive catcher who knows how to handle a pitching staff and groom pitchers, so he does have a good amount of worth.

4. Scott Podsednik, OF

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Scott Podsednik #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers attempts a bunt against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on September 1, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 134 G, 595 AB, .297 AVG, 6 HR, 51 RBI

    Podsednik continues to put together a nice career for himself, having one of his better offensive seasons with his .297 average last season. He'll be a great find for whoever will pick him up, and even if the bat struggles this year, he still has that blazing speed that stole 35 bases last year.

3. Troy Glaus, 1B/3B

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Troy Glaus #25 of the Atlanta Braves against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field on September 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 128 G, 483 AB, .270 AVG, 27 HR, 99 RBI

    Glaus was great for the Braves for the first couple of months, but really tapered off at the end of the season. That led to a lack of interest and eventually news from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal that Glaus is considering retirement. If someone does sign him, they'd be getting a good bat with some power left but very limited defense.

2. Andy Pettitte, SP

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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

    2010 Stats: 11-3, 3.28 ERA

    We all know that if Pettitte comes back, he won't be anything else except a Yankee. But that's not the question anymore. The question will be whether he comes back at all. The Yankees would definitely need him back considering the state of that rotation.

1. Vladimir Guerrero, OF/DH

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 27:  Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Texas Rangers is unable to make a play on a ball in the outfield against the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the 2010 MLB World Series at AT&T Park on October 27, 2010 in San Francisco, Califor
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    2010 Stats: 152 G, 643 AB, .300 AVG, 29 HR, 115 RBI

    Guerrero had a renaissance last year in Texas, posting some of the best numbers he's had in a while. But he also struggled mightily in the field during the World Series, which limited his appeal. He's probably looking at a DH spot, although where that will be still remains to be seen. If he wanted to be a platoon player in the National League, that's an option too.