Now that Christmas is over, there are still 30 free agent pitchers on the shelf…and 29 GM’s evaluating their worth (I’m assuming the Yankees are finally done adding starters). Here’s the list of who is still available:
Erik Bedard, Paul Byrd. Aroldis Chapman, Bartolo Colon, Jose Contreras, Doug Davis, Shawn Estes, Jon Garland, Tom Glavine, Mike Hampton, Livan Hernandez, Shawn Hill, Randy Johnson, Braden Looper, Mark Mulder, Pedro Martinez, Eric Milton, Dustin Moseley, Brett Myers, Russ Ortiz, Vicente Padilla, Joel Pineiro, Sidney Ponson, Tim Redding, Jason Schmidt, Ben Sheets, John Smoltz, Chien-Ming Wang, Jarrod Washburn, Todd Wellemeyer
Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin should (and probably has) grouped these into three categories: “Unaffordable” (e.g. Chien-Ming Wang and Aroldis Chapman), “Not At Any Price”, and “If The Price Is Right.”
For most of these, I suspect that Melvin would want the same deal that he had with Braden Looper for ’09–a one-year deal with a club option for a second year…this would give the Brewers’ the flexibility they desire should their gamble pay off. Melvin is also likely not willing to go over $1.5 million for ’10–but could add some incentives to sweeten the deal.
Five ex-Dodgers are on the list: Shawn Estes, Jon Garland, Eric Milton, Vincente Padilla, and Jason Schmidt. The Dodgers are likely to add at least one from the above list–and have first-hand knowledge of both the pluses and minuses with each, making their decision a bit easier. The Brewers’ have already stolen the Dodgers’ ace from last season, and Randy Wolf may be able to provide some general insight as to which of his former teammates would be a good fit for the Brewers.
The Reds, Cubs, and Astros are likely candidates to also add a name from above, as are the Mets and Marlins.
Signings will come fast and furious after the start of the New Year, as teams see Spring Training reports dates fast approaching. Melvin will spend a disproportionate time signing arbitration players before their hearings, so he may use this as a “reason” to wait to see what is left near the end. But we’ll find out within the next couple of weeks.