Thin crop of free agents waiting next year
December, 30, 2008
I know I touched on this last week -- by way of explaining why the Red Sox wanted to spend so much money on a first baseman when they already have a good one -- but I think Fred Claire's piece about next winter's thin crop of free agents is worthwhile
One of the key factors on the free agent front this offseason has received little attention.
It has to do with the list of players who will be eligible for free agency following the 2009 season. It is, at best, a thin class in comparison with the current group.
It is a factor that the New York Yankees had to have in mind when they placed first baseman Mark Teixeira and pitcher CC Sabathia in the rather exclusive $100 million-plus club.
Team executives have no interest in talking about individual players who could be free agents in 2009 since these players currently are under contract and thus we turned to two young Web site operators who follow free agency and contracts closely to get their views of what the future may hold -- Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com and Jeff Euston of Cot's Baseball Contracts.
Both Dierkes and Euston placed [Matt] Holliday at the top of their position player list, with Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves second. They agreed that Lackey figures to be the leading pitcher if he doesn't sign before becoming a free agent.
Dierkes also made mention on his preference list of Jose Valverde (Houston), Brian Roberts (Baltimore), Jayson Werth (Philadelphia), Brian Giles (San Diego), Todd Wellemeyer (St. Louis), Adrian Beltre (Seattle), Mike Cameron (Milwaukee), Brett Myers (Philadelphia), Jason Bay (Boston), Troy Glaus (St. Louis) and Vladimir Guerrero (Angels).
Euston followed his top three selections of Lackey, Holliday and Jones by listing Guerrero, Carlos Delgado (New York Mets), Roberts, Rich Harden (Chicago Cubs), Myers, Valverde, Bay, Adam LaRoche (Pittsburgh), Beltre, and Justin Duchscherer (Oakland).
This is not a group of players that figures to generate a great deal of excitement and the number of potential free agents likely will dwindle.