We’re one week from pitchers and catchers reporting and with the Super Bowl over baseball season is afoot! This close to spring training though, the hot stove is cooling down and some players might end up out in the cold, instead of the warmth of Arizona and Florida. Here are my rankings for some remaining players out there.
#1 Michael Bourn
One thing is sure for Michael Bourn, he won’t be returning to Atlanta. The Braves outfield is taken up by the new law firm of Upton, Upton, and Heyward. Where could the speedster end up? Teams have been wary of Bourn because he’s now 30 and fear that if the speed goes, he goes. Philadelphia was an option, but they went with younger and as quick Ben Revere. The Mets were in play, but they want no part of losing the #11 pick in the next MLB Draft to do it. The Mariners, to me, seem the most likely fit. Bourn would be an offensive upgrade for them over Franklin Gutierrez. Seattle is willing to pay the price for some offense as evidenced by the Michael Morse trade.
#2 Kyle Lohse
Remember all that money Kyle Lohse made himself by have his best season in his walk year? Seems like a long time ago that Lohse was starting the Wild Card game for the Cardinals. Why can’t a guy who had a career highs in wins, ERA, WHIP, and innings pitched find a job? Teams have smartened up and aren’t willing to go long-term on a 34 year-old right-hander, which is the kind of deal Lohse is looking for. The Nationals seem a decent landing spot to add to their ridiculous rotation, at least if they can work out a one-year deal. The other side of the Beltway Series, the Orioles, could definitely use the upgrade in the rotation, but they’re not willing to go long-term just yet.
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#3 Joe Saunders
Speaking of pitchers who started Wild Card games! Joe Saunders was better in his than Kyle Lohse was. Saunders ended up the Orioles best starter towards the end of the season and was great for them in the playoffs with 2 earned runs in 11.1 IP over two starts. Like Lohse, I could see Saunders staying with pitching-starved Baltimore. The Twins have also shown interest, as they look to rebuild their starting five. Target Field would be a nice park for Saunders to work in.
#4 Jose Valverde
Well today sure was interesting for Papa Grande. Reports came out that he was going to Miami, an hour later, both sides said that wasn’t true. Jon Heyman came out and said that there was no deal and Valverde was talking to numerous teams. There’s no closer role available for a reliever coming off his worst season since 2006. If the Marlins give him a shot, look for Steve Cishek to get all the saves in Miami.
#5 Grady Sizemore
Who wants to give Sizemore one more chance at the majors? The former all-star missed all of 2012 due to injury, but after Bourn, he’s the biggest upside outfielder left on the board. The Mets might be out of the market after bringing in Marlon Byrd, but why not take another shot and see if it sticks? Especially if it’s on the cheap. The Yankees and Rockies have also shown interest.
What uniform do you think the remaining free agents end up in? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)