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Who We Think Will Hire Currently Unemployed Baseball Players

November 13, 2012

Free agent prediction lists are done by lots of baseball blogs, such as MLB Trade Rumors and Prospect Insider (thanks for the list, Jason!). This isn’t a baseball blog, but it is a blog that sometimes talks about baseball, so, I took it upon myself to poll our authors about where they thought the top free agents were going to end up. It was then that I realized there’s a reason other Brett decided to try to pry myself and Steven away from King Felix’s Court: because while the old Sports Minds sect of our new blog knows about baseball the game, Steven and I are the nerds with an unhealthy obsession with rosterbation. So, below are the King Felix’s Court half of this blog’s free agent predictions, with a few blurbs about the top guys on the market. Onward!

Player Brett M. Steven
Josh Hamilton, OF Mariners Orioles
Zack Greinke, RHP Marlins Brewers
Mike Napoli, C/1B Red Sox Red Sox
Nick Swisher, 1B/OF Rangers Mariners
B.J. Upton, OF Phillies Phillies
Edwin Jackson, RHP Rangers Blue Jays
Michael Bourn, OF Nationals Nationals
Adam LaRoche, 1B Blue Jays Nationals
Rafael Soriano, RHP Reds Yankees
Ryan Madson, RHP Indians Reds
Marco Scutaro, SS Giants Giants
Francisco Liriano, LHP Pirates Red Sox
Joakim Soria, RHP Yankees Royals
Jose Valverde, RHP Astros Marlins
Joe Blanton, RHP Marlins Red Sox
 Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP Rays  Yokohama Baystars
Jeff Keppinger, IF Phillies Phillies
Stephen Drew, SS Red Sox A’s
Jonathan Broxton, RHP Cardinals Reds
Koji Uehara, RHP Rangers Dodgers
Carlos Villanueva, RHP Pirates Royals
Ryan Dempster, RHP Orioles Cubs
Mariano Rivera, RHP Yankees Yankees
Hiroki Kurdoa, RHP Yankees Yankees
Anibal Sanchez, RHP Brewers Dodgers
Andy Pettitte, LHP Yankees Yankees
Melky Cabrera, OF A’s Indians
Torii Hunter, OF Tigers Tigers
A.J. Pierzynski, C White Sox Rangers
Angel Pagan, OF Giants No guess
Cody Ross, OF Pirates Phillies
Brandon McCarthy, RHP Mariners A’s
Shawn Marcum, RHP Royals Blue Jays
Ichiro Suzuki, OF Giants Yankees
Lance Berkman, 1B/OF Astros Astros
Shane Victorino, OF  Cardinals Indians
Delmon Young, OF Royals Astros
Kyle Lohse, RHP Mets Dodgers
Ryan Ludwick, OF Tigers No guess
Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B Phillies Dodgers
Jeremy Guthrie, RHP Royals Royals
Dan Haren, RHP Yankees Padres
Francisco Rodriguez, RHP Cardinals Astros

The part with the blurbs:

1. Josh Hamilton (Brett: Mariners, Gomez: Orioles) — Call this one a gut feeling for me, but considering that the Yankees are likely out of the bidding on this one, as well as the Red Sox, the odds of Hamilton receiving a $Texas contract seems unlikely. With the Rangers saying they don’t want to go more than three years on Hamilton, that opens the door for a team to perhaps swoop in with a five-year offer. Hamilton comes with the risk of injury, drug relapse, and age. That being said, he seems like a good bet to be a +4 WAR or better player for the next three years, with MVP candidate upside.

Steven: I think the M’s are players for Hamilton, but so are many other teams. I think the Rangers are done with him given his troubles and demands. But I think it will come down to who makes the $tupidest offer and I see the Orioles (looking to roster-build now that they’re suddenly competitive) opening the checkbook to give Hamilton the 7 years he wants.

2. Zack Greinke (Brett: Marlins, Gomez: Brewers) – Greinke has social anxiety disorder, and while he’s learned to manage it, it seems unlikely that Greinke would sign with a big-market team that would thrust him into the spotlight. The Marlins spend a lot of money, but nationally, no one seems to care about them. Miami, for baseball at least, is a soft landing spot for a guy who doesn’t like the media, and the Marlins have the money. I can also see why a return to the Brewers would fit him, but I don’t want to speak for Gomez, so perhaps he’ll add his comments later.

Steven: This remains a wide open race, and to Brett’s credit I can see Greinke realistically landing in any of a number of places. But the Brewers have the best combination of a big need for him, serious interest and the available payroll to lock him up… plus Greinke previously pitched for them and the experience appeared by all accounts to be mutually beneficial.

3. Nick Swisher (Brett: Rangers, Gomez: Mariners) – Swisher is clearly the less risky of the two free agent outfielders this off-season, though his upside is far lower that Hamilton’s. Swisher was the focus of my off-season plan, and I recently wrote about him again here. For whatever reason, the fact that he’s got a reputation as kind of a douchebag seems to be clouding people’s judgment of him as a good player–Swisher has been one of the most consistent above-average players in the league for the last four years, he just has an undervalued skill set.

Steven: Of the M’s big ticket targets this is the one I think they can and will get. The M’s will be willing to throw down the long, bloated contract Swisher wants to add his bat to either RF or 1B, depending on how the Smoak/Montero situation plays out. Sadly I think that’s the only big addition the M’s will make. I see them filling roster needs out with small-time trades and fliers on questionable guys looking to rebound.

4. Mike Napoli (Brett: Red Sox, Gomez: Red Sox) – Napoli offers a very valuable skill set. He’s got a ton of power, is average-ish behind the plate, and can play a little bit of first base. I thought his market would be smaller because his 2012 season was abysmal by his standards, but it looks like smart organizations know he was also a victim of bad luck; there have been reports that the Red Sox and Yankees have both checked in on him. The Red Sox just cleared a bunch of money off of the books, and have a greater need, so it seems like a pretty easy match.

Steven: Agreed. The Bosox also have payroll to burn, a need to rebuild and serious interest in Napoli. Getting a V-Mart-like “C”/1B that can mash in Napoli makes him a real good fit in Boston.

5. B.J. Upton (Brett: Phillies, Gomez: Phillies) – Another one we both agree on, Upton makes a lot of sense for the Phillies. After trading Shane Victorino to the Dodgers at mid-season last year, they could use a new center fielder, and Upton has played very well out in center over his career. It seems as though Bossman Junior’s power has come back over the last three seasons, going from 18 to 23 to 28 home runs. Despite Tampa Bay playing in a dome, it’s not a hitters park. Philadelphia’s park is an extreme hitters park. This seems like a good fit for both player and team.

Steven: I see the Phillies being aggressive about revamping their aging roster, and Bossman Jr.’s skills/age makes him too good a fit. Plus, given the interest other top outfielders will command, Philly is most likely to reach out and make an offer that will stand out to Upton.

Clearly, our predictions are way better than everyone else’s, because of our awesome banner, and nifty table. But really, like anything else in baseball, there’s a chance not one of these predictions is right. Though, I certainly expect to get more than zero right. If I get zero right, I will eat the hat of the first commenter’s choosing. So what do you think? Are we baseball experts, or are we a couple of arrogant dumbasses? Let us know in the comments!

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