Remaining Top 50 Free Agents

MLBTR's Top 50 Free Agents list was published on November 9th.  25 of those 50 players have signed.  Here's a list of the remaining 25, with fresh guesses on where they might land.

1.  Matt Holliday – Cardinals.  The market for Holliday this winter proved smaller than expected, making a reunion with the Cards likely.

7.  Jose Valverde – Athletics.  This is a stretch, but I am looking for a team that could offer $6MM and a closing job and not have to surrender their first-round pick.  The Pirates seem to have set their sights on lesser relievers.

9.  Adrian Beltre – Red Sox.  As with J.D. Drew, the Sox seem the team most likely to value this Scott Boras client the way Boras does.  Mike Lowell and the luxury tax stand in Boston's way, but they still appear more likely to offer, say, two years and $18MM than the Orioles, A's, or Mariners are.

12.  Johnny Damon – Yankees.  They're still a logical fit, on a one-year deal in the $6-7MM range.  That's not what Damon and Boras are looking for, but it's hard to find a match beyond possibly the Braves even at that price.

13.  Orlando Hudson – Nationals.  I still like the Nats for Hudson, partially because unlike the Mets and Mariners, they wouldn't have to move an incumbent second baseman to make room.

14.  Miguel Tejada – Twins.  The Orioles, Angels, A's, Astros, and Cardinals strike me as other potential matches for Tejada, who could be a bargain in 2010.

15.  Joel Pineiro – Mets.  Pineiro might be the best available starting pitcher, at least considering only those who were healthy in 2009.  Maybe given the lack of bidders the Mets could get him on a two-year deal.

17.  Aroldis Chapman – Blue Jays.  So much for this being a Red Sox-Yankees battle.  It makes sense for the Jays to continue stocking up on young arms by splurging on Chapman.

19.  Vladimir Guerrero – Orioles. Vlad and Dye have not generated interest outside of the Rangers.  Perhaps the O's will trade Luke Scott and sign Guerrero, but I really can't find a match I like if Dye goes to Texas.

20.  Felipe Lopez – Cardinals.  The market for Lopez has been quiet despite his fine 2009.  Even with a Holliday signing I feel that the Cardinals will spend a few million on a veteran they can plug in at third base.

21.  Adam LaRoche – Mariners.  Andrew Baggarly's December 12th report that LaRoche sought three years and $31.5MM from the Giants has been repeated enough that it almost seems like fact rather than rumor.  That may be unfair to LaRoche.  He's the best available first baseman, but this isn't 2006, and his ultimate price will be much more reasonable.

23. Jon Garland -  Dodgers.  I'm sticking with my original prediction, despite recent interest from the Mets, Rangers, and Twins.  The Dodgers need bulk innings, and they figure to sign one veteran starter.

26.  Erik Bedard – Orioles.  They know him well, and could use a high-upside starter to pair with their Kevin Millwood acquisition.

28.  Bengie Molina – Mets.  It seems fitting that Molina's talks with the Mets would move slowly.  They still seem to be the most interested club, even if they're trying to avoid guaranteeing two years.

33.  Ben Sheets – Angels.  Given the Rangers' signing of Rich Harden, I can't see them adding another big injury risk like Sheets.  Sheets would fit nicely into the Angels' rotation, though you never know if the Mariners will swoop in.

34.  Doug Davis – Twins.  The Mets, Twins, and Brewers could stand to add a back-end innings guy, with lefties Davis and Washburn candidates for one-year deals.

35.  Jarrod Washburn – Brewers.  The Brewers signed Randy Wolf, but would probably like to add one more starter.

36.  Russell Branyan -  Athletics.  Branyan, Delgado, Thome…take your pick on where these 1B/DH types could land.  All three ought to be AL-bound.  Branyan could play first base for the A's when Jake Fox is at DH.

39.  John Smoltz – Mets.  Smoltz fits with many clubs as an intriguing swingman.  The Nationals may be maintaining interest, but I imagine Smoltz wants to play for a competitor.

40.  Jermaine Dye – Rangers.  If the Giants aren't interested, it's difficult to find another match for Dye.

43.  Carlos Delgado – Mets.  Delgado played Sunday night in the Puerto Rican winter league.  The Orioles and Mets seem to have him on the radar.

44.  Orlando Cabrera – Astros.  The Reds and Astros are among few teams that can offer a starting shortstop position.  The Astros seem a little more willing to spend this winter than the Reds.

46.  Jim Thome – White Sox.  He could sign pretty cheaply to return to Chicago.

48.  Xavier Nady - Pirates. The idea of Nady as a regular outfielder seems to be giving teams pause.  A return to the Pirates is one scenario where he could play first regularly and the outfield occasionally.

49.  Kiko Calero – Cubs.  A dozen teams could use Calero, who has generated surprisingly little interest.  I expect the Cubs to add a late-inning arm.

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