Interesting Free Agent Rankings

Keith Law ranks the top-50 free agents at ESPN Insider. Some interesting notes:

  • He lists Mike Gonzalez 16th, ahead of Rafael Soriano, saying they are the two best relievers on the market, but he considers Gonzo healthier and more valuable from the left side.
  • Rafael Soriano is 19th, and the thing that jumped out at me is that Law says he should be looking for K-Rod type money in a contract. Francisco Rodriguez got a 3-year, $37 million deal after leading the AL in saves, Soriano has been a full-time closer for less than a year, and as my 2009 review of him showed, he regressed throughout 2009. I can't see a team desperate enough to give Soriano that type of money, or even close. Maybe I'm misjudging the market for relievers.
  • Billy Wagner is ranked 23rd, and Law says of him that the biggest concern is if he can handle the closer's workload, and that an incentive-laden contract for games finished would make sense for the signing team. I can see the Braves being open to something along those lines.
  • He mentions a Japanese reliever named Ryota Igarashi, and I can see the Braves taking a chance on him if he chooses to come to the States.
  • Adam LaRoche is listed 29th, and while the review is not glowing -- pointing out his overall averageness and his first half swoon -- Law seems to think that some team will still pay him like a regular first baseman in both salary and years. This could easily put the Braves out of the running. I still think our best option is to offer him arbitration and act excited if he accepts, keeping him around for one more year.
  • I noticed that there were a lot of free agent second basemen. Teams needing a second baseman and not wanting to give up the draft picks to sign one of the free agents may create a market for Kelly Johnson.

Good overview of the free agents by Law, if you're an insider you should check it out.

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