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Thread: MlbTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agents

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    MlbTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agents

    2008 Top 50 Free Agents

    Time for the second annual MLBTradeRumors.com Top 50 Free Agents list! (You can see last year's here). Check out the list of available free agents here.

    1. Alex Rodriguez - Angels. Keith Law recently termed the Angels a "ridiculously good fit" for A-Rod. It's true. Despite what Arte Moreno says, the Angels can afford him, don't hate Scott Boras, have a third base vacancy, are expected to win in 2008, and have a low-pressure fan-base.

    2. Jorge Posada - Yankees. Which team is more likely to throw an unreasonable amount of money at Posada, the Yankees or Mets? The Yankees are more desperate to save face. Plus, as Buster Olney recently noted, they can move him to DH in a few years and the contract might not look terrible.

    3. Mike Lowell - Red Sox. They'll come in around four years and $48MM. Such a deal might be colored slightly by emotion but shouldn't be too damaging. If some team is crazy enough to pony up five guaranteed years, all bets are off.

    4. Torii Hunter - Rangers. The White Sox present serious competition, but the Rangers seem dead-set on Hunter. And of course, he has a home near the Ballpark in Arlington.

    5. Andy Pettitte - Yankees. A rare case where a player exercises a reasonably priced player option. Pettitte is a different breed of ballplayer.

    6. Mariano Rivera - Yankees. Mo has postured about the Yankees being just one of 30 teams. In the end, he'll retire a Yankee.

    7. Barry Bonds - Padres. I tried hard to make Barry fit on an AL team, and couldn't do it. He's not going to finish his career as DH for the Royals. While the Padres have a decent left field platoon in Scott Hairston and Jason Lane, this would be a Kevin Towers type of move if Bonds would sign for $12MM.

    8. Aaron Rowand - White Sox. They'll flirt with Hunter but get Rowand. You could make a case that this contract will be no worse than Hunter's, given the age and slight salary difference. Bringing Rowand back would be a fan-pleasing move.

    9. Carlos Silva - Mets. Silva is going to have tons of suitors. The Mets will come up with a reliable starter one way or another, and Silva might fit. I was originally going to put Livan Hernandez in Queens. But if you're the Mets, why not tack on another year and $11MM to get the superior, younger guy?

    10. Andruw Jones - Dodgers. This is a questionable match given Ned Colletti's feelings about Scott Boras. And Juan Pierre in left field, ugh. But I could still see this happening for, say, four years and $64MM. Colletti has been willing to overpay a bit to keep the term shorter.

    11. Curt Schilling - Phillies. You all know about his target list. The Phillies don't have a ton to trade and bringing Schilling back would invigorate the fan base more than signing Silva.

    12. Kosuke Fukudome - Giants. They have a lot of free cash. With Barry out of the picture and A-Rod unlikely, snagging the best available Japanese player could still generate some buzz. Plus, the Giants must have identified OBP as a problem by now.

    13. Francisco Cordero - Brewers. Letting Cordero go makes sense, since the Crew could snag a sweet first-round draft pick as compensation. However the Brewers can fit him into the budget and the free agent closer alternatives are uninspiring.

    14. Greg Maddux - Padres. Mad Dog is one Boras client who doesn't always chase top dollar. He's comfortable in San Diego and could probably do this for another five years. He only needs 27 more wins to establish himself as third all-time ahead of Christy Mathewson. Walter Johnson's 417 is out of reach.

    15. Mike Cameron - Astros. The Astros seem all about adding a center fielder and pushing Luke Scott out of the organization. They are one team that could handle Cameron's 25-game suspension without major issues.

    16. Tom Glavine - Braves. Most folks seem to agree that Glavine will retire with his original team. They need rotation depth and this makes sense.

    17. Hiroki Kuroda - Cubs. The Cubs don't seem content to give 40% of their starts to Jason Marquis and Sean Marshall. There's been a lot of buzz early on about the Cubs dipping into the Japanese market. Maybe they can get Kuroda for something like three years, $27MM (way more than he could earn in Japan).

    18. Bartolo Colon - Mariners. This was U.S.S. Mariner's idea. He's a guy who could pair with Felix at the front of the rotation but wouldn't cause the Ms to break the bank or trade away young talent.

    19. Jason Jennings - Rockies. This would be a solid replacement for the consistent 5.00+ ERA of Josh Fogg. Jennings has shown he can get it done in Coors.

    20. Eric Gagne - Tigers. You have to think Scott Boras is trying to convince the Tigers to take a flier on Gagne right now, given Joel Zumaya's injury. They could also be a contender for Francisco Cordero.

    21. Tadahito Iguchi - Mariners. He's a good fit here - the comfort of a huge Japanese following, a need to challenge Jose Lopez with a veteran.

    22. Paul Byrd - Indians. HGH or not, he's worth $8MM on a one-year commitment.

    23. Jose Guillen - Cardinals. Could La Russa keep Guillen in line? He didn't cause any clubhouse problems in Seattle. The Cards could use a right fielder with 25 HR pop, and he might be the only qualifier.

    24. Kyle Lohse - Cardinals. I was going to put him with the Astros but then remembered Drayton McLane's strong dislike of Scott Boras. The Cardinals are seeking one solid starter. Lohse almost qualifies, in this market.

    25. Roger Clemens - Retirement. Some say The Rocket could never go out like this. But coming back for a possibly injury-plagued '08 won't make it better. His usual three options are the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros. Only the Astros could really entertain it, but they might prefer to close the book on him.

    26. Livan Hernandez - Mariners. The Ms brought in Jeff Weaver, Horacio Ramirez, and Miguel Batista last year. Only Batista stuck. Livan is similar, an innings eater who puts guys on but wiggles out of jams. They had trade interest in him during the summer. If the Mariners sign Colon they'll need someone reliable to complement him.

    27. Hitoki Iwase - Reds. It was tough for me to decide what the Reds will do. Will they sign Silva? Fill a hole with an Adam Dunn trade? The idea of signing a crack Japanese closer seems kind of out there for the Reds, but what the hell. Iwase is going to be popular this winter.

    28. Kenny Rogers - Tigers. He's said it's the Tigers or retirement. He's still effective enough to keep going.

    29. Kenshin Kawakami - Royals. How about an under-the-radar Japanese pitcher for the Royals? New manager Trey Hillman is perfect for this.

    30. Geoff Jenkins - Tigers. The Tigers are looking for a left-handed hitting left fielder, and Jenkins fits the bill.

    31. Freddy Garcia - Padres. I think the Padres could afford to add both Bonds and Garcia. They've already expressed a willingness to bring in a rehab-type or two, as the front three in the rotation should be set once Maddux signs. Matt Clement might be more likely but I could see Garcia for $6-7MM.

    32. Milton Bradley - Cubs. Could Lou keep Milton happy? Bradley could be their consolation prize if they don't win the Fukudome sweepstakes. He's got pop and can help in center or right when healthy. Plus, he's a switch-hitter. They've had trade interest in him in the past.

    33. Luis Castillo - Mets. I think the Mets will sign him for lack of a better option. He did a nice job for them and wants to stay.

    34. Shannon Stewart - White Sox. I was considering the Tribe for Stewart but I know they want power in left field. The White Sox seem like a team that could opt for defense over power at the position.

    35. Kazumi Saito - Not Posted. Just a hunch, but I feel that the Fukuoka Hawks will wait for Saito to have a healthy, effective season before posting him.

    36. Kaz Matsui - Rockies. My guess is that he'll realize that he needs Coors, and settle at a reasonable price.

    37. Juan Uribe - Orioles. I have Uribe as Miguel Tejada's replacement at shortstop. Someone has to fill the void. If the White Sox are intent on adding Eckstein I wouldn't expect them to want Uribe as a $5MM second baseman.

    38. Pedro Feliz - Yankees. I know, it's heresy to suggest the Yankees would settle for the defense and low OBP Feliz provides. But beyond A-Rod and Lowell, what is there? A Joe Crede trade seems quite possible as an alternative.

    39. Joe Borowski - Indians. The Tribe seems reasonably happy with Borowski at $4MM next year.

    40. Todd Jones - Braves. If the Braves decide to stay in-house for their center field solution, they could use the excess cash to add Jones. He wants to play there and could take a discount (granted, they already have Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez).

    41. Yorvit Torrealba - Mets. I don't see the Mets being crazy enough to give Posada five years. Torrealba seems sufficient, no worse than the other options. A Ramon Hernandez trade seems to be a popular alternative.

    42. Kenny Lofton - Twins. A trade for Coco Crisp to play center is plenty possible. But otherwise there's always Lofton to step in and not embarrass you.

    43. David Riske - Phillies. I'm not sold on Riske being good for the next three years. However he's healthy and had a very good 2007, and that will get him a nice contract.

    44. Randy Wolf - Diamondbacks. Part of me knows that the D'Backs really don't need more injury risk in their rotation. Still, Wolf is a smart signing and there are only so many innings-eaters to go around.

    45. Michael Barrett - Marlins. Barrett seems like the Marlins' type of bargain signing. For $3MM, he could surprise. Also, maybe he could play some third base if Miguel Cabrera is traded.

    46. Masahide Kobayashi - Devil Rays. It wouldn't surprise anyone to see the Rays find a Japanese bargain. Kobayashi's deceptive delivery could result in a year or two of MLB success.

    47. David Eckstein - White Sox. They've liked him for a while. It's time for a change at shortstop, and Eckstein is at least someone different (and not lazy). Kenny Williams could certainly make a trade instead.

    48. Luis Gonzalez - Twins. He's unwanted, so he'll be affordable. Adding Lofton and Gonzo wouldn't impress anyone, but the Twins aren't big spenders. Maybe Bill Smith will opt for a Jason Bay trade instead.

    49. Mike Lamb - Phillies. The pickin's are slim at third base. A Lamb/Helms platoon might be league average. Otherwise I could see a Crede trade.

    50. Jon Lieber - Nationals. They're looking for a veteran starter on a one-year deal. I think Liebs could be that guy for $5-6MM.

    Honorable mentions: Brad Wilkerson, Mike Piazza, Troy Percival, Kris Benson, Omar Vizquel, Scott Linebrink, Paul Lo Duca, Octavio Dotel, Ramon Castro, Corey Patterson

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    Re: MlbTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agents

    Anyone have any info on Hitoki Iwase?
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    Re: MlbTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agents

    Hitoki Iwase (Gan-san, Mantaro)

    * Bats Left, Throws Left
    * Height 5' 11", Weight 173 lb.

    * School Aichi University
    * High School Nishio Higashi High School

    * Born November 10, 1974 in Nishio, Aichi Japan

    Hitoki Iwase broke Kazuhiro Sasaki's single-season record for saves in Nippon Pro Baseball and enters 2007 with a career ERA of just 1.91, the lowest of any NPB pitcher with 400 appearances.

    Iwase was an outfielder for most of his college career and did not start pitching until he was a senior. After spending time with NTT Tokai in the industrial leagues, he was picked by the Chunichi Dragons in the second round of the 1998 draft.

    At age 24, Hitoki debuted with a strong 10-2, 1.57 record and one save in 65 games. He struck out 73 and walked 22 in 74 1/3 IP as the most effective hurler on a very good staff. He led the Central League in appearances and won the first of three Middle Reliever of the Year awards. In the 1999 Japan Series, he pitched four innings of one-hit ball, striking out six and allowing no runs and three walks. Iwase again won 10 and saved one in his second season; he lost 5 and had a 1.90 ERA. He made his first CL All-Star team that year. In his only career start, he gave up just one run in seven innings. He was again the Middle Reliever of the Year.

    Returning to the All-Star team in 2001, the southpaw was 8-3 with a 3.30 ERA (the worst in his 8 seasons to date) with 62 K and 16 BB in 62 2/3 innings. Iwase was 4-2 with a miniscule 1.06 ERA in 2002; he allowed only 38 hits and 15 walks in 59 2/3 innings while whiffing 66 batters.

    Iwase was 5-2 with four saves and a 1.41 ERA, 47 hits allowed, 12 walks given up and 69 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings in 2003. He made his third All-Star team that year. He won his third Middle Reliever of the Year Award.

    In 2004, Hitoki replaced Akinori Otsuka as closer for the Dragons and went 2-3 with 22 saves and a 2.80 ERA. He missed time due to the 2004 Olympics, during which he pitched scoreless ball for the bronze medalists. In the 2004 Japan Series, Iwase pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out five and allowing three hits and a walk. He had no decisions or saves in Chunichi's loss in 7 games.

    Hitoki was 1-2 for the 2005 Dragons but saved 46, one more than Sasaki had notched 7 years prior. He made his fourth All-Star team and had a 1.88 ERA. He walked only 8 while striking out 52 in 57 1/3 innings pitched. He won his first Fireman of the Year award. In 2006, the left-handed closer remained dominant with a 2-2, 1.30 season with 40 saves. He walked 8 and fanned 44 in 55 1/3 IP. He made his fifth All-Star squad, led the CL in saves again and again was the Fireman of the Year. He became the first NPB pitcher ever to save 40 games in back-to-back seasons. He is also just the second NPB pitcher ever to throw in 50 games for 8 years in a row. He saved game one in the 2006 Japan Series for Chunichi, pitching one scoreless frame, but the Dragons dropped the next four. He had now pitched 10 1/3 career innings in the Japan Series without allowing a single run.

    Through 2006, he is 42-21 with 114 saves and a 1.91 ERA. He has walked 123, struck out 484 and given up 413 hits in 517 2/3 IP.

    Iwase reached 500 appearances in July of 2007; he was just the 4th NPB pitcher to have an ERA under 2.00 when he reached that level and the first since Kazuhisa Inao in the early 1960s. Shortly thereafter, he had the worst outing of his career - on July 16, he allowed 5 runs in 2/3 of an inning. He had never allowed more than 3 runs in a game before. Four days later, he was part of a committee that one-hit the Pacific League in the first NPB All-Star Game of the season; the other hurlers were Koji Uehara, Shingo Takatsu, Masanori Hayashi, Atsushi Kizuka, Hiroki Kuroda, Tomoyuki Kubota, Marc Kroon and Kyuji Fujikawa.

    His fastball has peaked at 92 mph and his slider reaches 86 mph. He employs an odd delivery and some felt it made him injury-prone, but he has been relatively healthy throughout his career. He picked his uniform number of 13 because it represents a deity of death in Tarot.

    Iwase will be a free agent after 2007 and there are rumors he may come to the USA. Iwase was expected to see how Hideki Okajima would fare, as the two had similar styles.

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    Senor Votto Degenerate39's Avatar
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    Re: MlbTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agents

    I think he would be a good pick up but he better not be too attached to the number 13.
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    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: MlbTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agents

    sounds good to me...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Re: MlbTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agents

    I can see they really took the Reds seriously that they were going to spend some money this offseason....
    That being said, I wouldn't mind taking a chance on a guy like Iwase. If he has anywhere near the success that Okimima did than it would be awesome.
    I would also like to see them take a look at Kobayashi. It says he has a deceptive delivery, and could fool people for a year or two. Maybe that would buy this team some time to develop a bullpen.
    If you can't build a winning team with that core a fire-sale isn't the solution. Selling the franchise, moving them to Nashville and converting GABP into a used car lot is.
    -LTlabner

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    Re: MlbTradeRumors Top 50 Free Agents

    It's about time we tapped into the Asian market. I think we should tap into it big time, much like Boston did last year. Money is to be made there folks.


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