This week I will give my predictions on where the top free agent pitchers will end up.
Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 ERA, 185 K)
Prediction: Texas Rangers – The Rangers need Cliff, as their rotation looks great with him, but mediocre without him. Cliff helped carry the Rangers to the World Series last year, and Texas is a much better destination as far as family goes compared to New York. If that factors into his decision, I think he will stay with the Rangers.
Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75 ERA, 117 K)
Prediction: Minnesota Twins – Carl was a huge part of their team last year, and they are interested in re-signing him. And even more important, they’re not located in New York and they aren’t called the Yankees.
Erik Bedard (DNP)
Prediction: Houston Astros – The Astros’ owner is looking to find players to sign so that he can sell his team for the $800 million that he’s asking for. He’s reportedly trying to sign Pavano, De La Rosa, and others of that talent level, but I see him settling for a guy like Bedard.
Jorge De La Rosa (8-7, 4.22 ERA, 113 K)
Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers are supposedly very interested in De La Rosa, and it would make sense, since Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, and Doug Davis are all free agents, and were all on the Brewers last year.
Justin Duchscherer (2-1, 2.89 ERA, 18 K)
Prediction: Oakland Athletics – Justin is extremely injury-prone, as he has only pitched in 28 innings in the past two years, but when he does pitch, he is effective, and I don’t see the A’s letting him go.
Brandon Webb (DNP)
Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals – The Cards need pitching, and they need it bad. To this point, they have almost exactly the same team that didn’t get it done for them last year, so even with the re-signing of Jake Westbrook, they are definitely interested in Webb.
Grant Balfour (2.28 ERA, 56 K)
Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays – With the Rays probably losing Rafael Soriano, and having already lost Joaquin Benoit, they have to keep somebody.
Jesse Crain (3.04 ERA, 62 K)
Prediction: Minnesota Twins – It looks as if Matt Guerrier won’t stay with the Twins, which will make them need Crain even more than before.
Frank Francisco (3.76 ERA, 60 K)
Prediction: Texas Rangers – The Rangers seem to want him back, and I don’t think that Frankie will get a better offer anywhere else.
Matt Guerrier (3.17 ERA, 42 K)
Prediction: Boston Red Sox – Boston has shown some serious interest in Guerrier, and they could really use him, so they’ll probably give him some good money.
Arthur Rhodes (2.29 ERA, 50 K)
Prediction: Cincinnati Reds – Rhodes was such a big part of the Reds playoff run last year, I can’t see them letting him go to another team.
Rafael Soriano (45 SV, 1.73 ERA, 57 K)
Prediction: Anaheim Angels – Soriano was, in my opinion, the best closer in all of baseball last season, and the Angels need a closer. Not to mention that they are willing to spend a little bit of money.
Come back next week for my free agent special on infielders.