We looked at how I did predicting the destinations of the top ten free agents back in March. I got four out of the ten correct, five if the Rocket stays in Houston. Let’s take a look at the next group, where there weren’t as many easy picks. My pick is first here. My Top 50 Free Agents list from last October can be found here.
11. B.J. Ryan – Phillies/Blue Jays. I definitely underestimated just how much cash the Jays were willing to toss around. I figured that the Phils would have room in the budget for a closer once Wagner defected and would go after the best available one in Ryan. They did have some interest in him as their Plan B.
12. Johnny Damon – Red Sox/Yankees. I said he’d stay with the Sox but didn’t like the idea as outlined here. Turns out New York was more willing to take on huge sunk costs than Boston was. As a result, Andy Marte is an Indian.
13. Ramon Hernandez – Mets/Orioles. Definitely didn’t see this one coming with Javy Lopez already on the team and the free-spending Mets showing interest. The Mets went with Paul Lo Duca instead. If they miss the playoffs by one game, this decision will loom large.
14. Paul Byrd – Red Sox/Indians. I figured David Wells would have his request accomodated, and no one saw the Beckett deal coming. Byrd looked like he’d be a value signing at something like 2/$12MM, but that didn’t happen.
15. Erubiel Durazo – White Sox/Rangers. One of my bigger blunders, in that I don’t think I realized Durazo had undergone Tommy John surgery in the summer of ’05. He obviously was not considered the 15th best free agent by any team. I really liked the fit with the Sox, but that Thome guy is doing OK so far.
16. Kenji Johjima – Mariners/Mariners. I said the Japanese star could be a bargain, and he was at $5MM annually.
17. Tom Gordon – Marlins/Phillies. Oops! Keep in mind that this was before any sign of a fire sale and Gordon is a Florida native. I thought he’d take a two-year deal when I was trying to decide how the available closers would get shuffled around.
19. Jarrod Washburn – Brewers/Mariners. Figured Doug Melvin would make a play for the Wisconsin native. But at that price it would not have made sense for the Brew Crew. Not that it made sense for Seattle.
20. Bill Mueller – Brewers/Dodgers. I figured Bill Hall would be used in a utility role again, but the Brewers went in a different direction with Koskie.