You may not be able to read this, as it’s behind ESPN’s Insider wall. But Keith Law’s Top 40 Free Agents list is the kind of material that makes subscribing worth it.
Given the plug I just gave, hopefully I can slip in a few highlights of the list here.
– Law sees Aramis Ramirez as the best FA on the market. Contrary to popular belief, Ramirez’s defense is at least average at third. He’s also the youngest FA outside of Matsuzaka.
– He sees Matsuzaka allowing more HRs than one might think.
– Law ranked Ted Lilly 12th overall, calling him "Barry Zito without the name recognition, and with a little more stuff." Let’s not forget a lot less durability. I put Lilly 26th though some folks did urge me to put him higher. The Yankees recently got in touch with Lilly’s agent about a return engagement.
– He loves Gil Meche as an upside play, calling him a "pitching coach’s dream." He also is fond of Randy Wolf for upside. Law is baffled as to why teams could view Mark Mulder as an upside play, and I’m definitely in the same camp there.
– Justin Speier comes in at 18th overall and would make a fine closer for some team. This omission from my list was an oversight.
– He’s not a fan of Adam Eaton at all, and doesn’t think Greg Maddux has much left. Law can’t see Jeff Suppan surviving in the AL.
– He doesn’t see Akinori Iwamura‘s power translating well.
– Law gives an interesting Kei Igawa scouting report: "Igawa is primarily a two-pitch pitcher, with a below-average fastball in the 84-88 mph range with a little run, and a plus 74-79 mph curveball with a late two-plane break." Law sees Igawa as a fine LOOGY in the worst case and a decent NL starter in the best case.
– He seems very wary of Vicente Padilla‘s alcohol abuse.
– Law sees Gary Matthews Jr. as a "fourth outfielder who had an outstanding season," ranking him 35th.