Ranking the Free Agents

Jeff Passan, for Yahoo! Sports, has ranked all 144 free agents by position.

The ranking is based on a number of variables, including history, age and potential, and was determined after talking to executives, scouts and agents. Browse the rankings by clicking “Continue reading Ranking the Free Agents”

FIRST BASEMEN

58. Tony Clark (35) – Not a good sign when the best of the bunch spent last season in a platoon.

68. Sean Casey (33) – Still can hit. Just not for power (four homers in 454 at-bats).

73. Doug Mientkiewicz (33) – Slugged .440 last year and is still a defensive whiz

82. Ryan Klesko (36) – Nice bat off the bench.

84. Mark Sweeney (38) – Needs 50 more pinch hits to pass Lenny Harris for first all-time.

91. Greg Norton (35) – After 17 homers in ’06, hit just four last year.

109. Eric Hinske (30) – Pretty sure he won’t be getting a $14.75 million deal this time around.

115. Robert Fick (34) – Could help in a utility role.

SECOND BASEMEN

25. Kazuo Matsui (32) – Big postseason means big payday.

30. Luis Castillo (32) – Lost his wheels but still can pick it in the field.

31. Tadahito Iguchi (33) – Could be a bargain.

74. Mark Loretta (36) – Still gets on base and doesn’t strike out.

83. Marcus Giles (29) – Two years ago, he’d have been in the top 20.

87. Jose Valentin (38) – Coming off an injury, he’ll get a flyer somewhere.

97. Damion Easley (38) – Was mashing before season-ending injury.

99. Tony Graffanino (35) – Versatile, and a bat with some pop.

107. Miguel Cairo (33) – Intangible guy, not much more.

SHORTSTOPS

44. David Eckstein (33) – Could be substantially overpaid because of waif shortstop class.

104. Chris Gomez (36) – Repeat: Chris Gomez is the second-best free-agent shortstop.

128. Chris Woodward (31) – Somehow, entering his 10th season.

129. Royce Clayton (38) – Could sign with his 12th team.

138. Ramon Martinez (35) – Only 29 home runs in nearly 2,000 career at-bats.

144. Neifi Perez (34) – Officially the worst player in the class of ’08, and he’s still got time left on his amphetamine suspension. Could this be the end of the Neifi Index?

THIRD BASEMEN

1. Alex Rodriguez (32) – What, you thought someone else would be No. 1? Three hundred million, here we come.

7. Mike Lowell (34) – The four-year offers are coming in. Will Boston be willing to up its ante?

26. Mike Lamb (32) – Just watch. The most underrated player of the class could flourish with full-time at-bats.

28. Pedro Feliz (32) – Should have won NL Gold Glove and can hit homers. If only he knew how to take a walk.

92. Geoff Blum (34) – Ability with bat doesn’t come close to matching versatility with glove.

96. Aaron Boone (35) – Yeah, he’s still playing.

106. Abraham Nuñez (32) – Never could match breakout ’05 season.

112. Russell Branyan (32) – Couldn’t even crack the Mendoza Line last year.

130. Jeff Cirillo (38) – May just retire.

OUTFIELDERS

2. Andruw Jones (30) – One bad season does not a career make. He should pass 400-home run mark this year and – most important – has Scott Boras on his side.

3. Torii Hunter (32) – Where will Pine Bluff, Ark.’s finest land? Texas? Washington? Atlanta? Perhaps Kansas City?

4. Barry Bonds (43) – Love him or hate him, the old man can still rake.

6. Kosuke Fukudome (30) – Former Central League MVP will cash in big-time, as teams don’t have to pay a posting fee for him.

10. Aaron Rowand (30) – Picked the right time to have a career year.

12. Mike Cameron (35) – Picked the wrong time to test positive for amphetamines.

15. Jose Guillen (31) – So, how much of it was the steroids?

17. Brad Wilkerson (30) – If he can remember how to walk, he’s got all the talent to be a star.

29. Milton Bradley (29) – Would be higher if he hadn’t blown out a knee acting like a tough guy to an umpire.

32. Corey Patterson (28) – Still doesn’t get it, and probably never will. But some team will sign him long term.

42. Geoff Jenkins (33) – Never had fewer than 17 home runs in a full season.

49. Shannon Stewart (34) – Make-good year was just OK. Certainly not up to his 2003 season.

50. Kenny Lofton (40) – Aiming for team No. 12, too.

52. Luis Gonzalez (40) – Looked halfway decent before the Dodgers’ youth movement.

57. Shawn Green (35) – Remember when he was a star?

62. Cliff Floyd (35) – Plays like someone five years older.

65. Bobby Kielty (31) – Never has lived up to potential.

77. Rob Mackowiak (31) – Super-utility guy can help any team.

88. Reggie Sanders (40) – In 17 seasons, has never played more than 140 games.

101. Rondell White (36) – Injuries wracked his promising career as well.

102. Preston Wilson (33) – Speaking of injuries, coming off a 64-at-bat season.

103. Darin Erstad (33) – And in that vein, Erstad likewise looked washed-up last year.

105. Trot Nixon (33) – While we’re at it … you get the picture.

108. Jeff DaVanon (34) – How is Jeff DaVanon older than Trot Nixon?

114. Orlando Palmeiro (39) – Old pro just keeps trucking, even with .613 OPS last year.

131. Jerry Hairston Jr. (31) – Two straight years of near-.200 batting average.

CATCHERS

5. Jorge Posada (36) – SIGNED The Yankees paid him $52.4 million over four years on the eve of the free agency.

38. Michael Barrett (31) – Perhaps someone can show him being a knucklehead isn’t the way to go through life.

43. Paul Lo Duca (35) – Getting by more on reputation than talent these days.

56. Yorvit Torrealba (29) – So how much was that swing in the NLCS worth? At least $5 million.

76. Rod Barajas (32) – Hit 21 homers two years ago.

95. Ramon Castro (32) – Serviceable backup with a surprising amount of pop.

111. Jason Kendall (33) – An all-time atrocious hitter who can’t throw out runners, either.

118. Damian Miller (38) – And yet he’s ahead of this guy, and a dozen (!) others.

120. Mike Lieberthal (35) – So, how do you rate backup catchers? This guy has hit double-digit homers seven times.

121. Raul Casanova (35) – And this one hit six in 79 at-bats last year.

124. Jose Molina (32) – His OPS was over .600 last year.

126. Gary Bennett (35) – So was his!

127. Doug Mirabelli (37) – And he can, uh, catch a knuckleball.

133. Paul Bako (35) – These are backup catchers. This is getting tough.

134. Mike DiFelice (38) – Actually, DiFelice was the backup to the backup to the backup for the Mets last season.

135. Josh Paul (32) – He hit .190. It is extremely difficult to be that bad.

136. Jason LaRue (34) – Actually, LaRue hit .148.

137. Kelly Stinnett (38) – Don’t forget him! A robust .159.

142. Sandy Alomar Jr. (41) – The best yet, with a .136 average!

143. Sal Fasano (36) – Super Mario – pulling up the rear at .178 – will always have a place in our heart

DESIGNATED HITTERS

34. Sammy Sosa (39) – Wants $7 million to swing and miss at breaking balls.

37. Mike Piazza (39) – Coming off worst season of his career. Does he have one more in him?

59. Mike Sweeney (34) – If he stays healthy … oh, who are we kidding?

STARTING PITCHERS

9. Andy Pettitte (35) – If he plays – and that’s a big if.

13. Hiroki Kuroda (33) – Might be the most sought-after pitcher this offseason, even if his 1.85 ERA in Japan came two years ago.

14. Carlos Silva (28) – Impeccable control. Not $10 million-a-year control, but the market – and not talent – will dictate that.

16. Livan Hernandez (33, allegedly) – Nine of 10 years pitched at least 200 innings. The other year: 199 2/3.

19. Freddy Garcia (32) – Surgery, shmurgery. If he’s healthy, he’s a legit No. 2, and he can be had at a bargain for the risk-taking types.

20. Tom Glavine (42) – Atlanta or bust.

21. Kenny Rogers (43) – How much is left?

22. Kyle Lohse (29) – Were these rankings on potential salary instead of accomplishment, he’d be in the top 10.

23. Bartolo Colon (35) – Seems like more than two years since he won his Cy Young.

27. Jason Jennings (29) – Is he the magician who spun a 3.78 ERA in Colorado two years ago or the bum who couldn’t keep his ERA under six in Houston?

35. Randy Wolf (31) – On his way to a solid season until injuries ended it. Heard that one before?

39. Jeff Weaver (31) – That one-year deal didn’t work out so well.

41. Jon Lieber (37) – Innings-eater went on a hunger strike last year.

45. Josh Fogg (31) – Boston slew the The Dragon Slayer in the World Series.

51. Kip Wells (30) – Still hasn’t found his LaFawnduh.

53. Kris Benson (33) – Coming off rotator cuff surgery.

54. Matt Clement (33) – About $1.39 million per win for the Red Sox.

72. Odalis Perez (30) – Decent stuff, poor work ethic.

78. Byung-Hyun Kim (29) – Please, just make him a reliever again.

79. Steve Trachsel (37) – If this baseball racket doesn’t work out, he’s got a ready-made TV show.

80. Brett Tomko (34) – Still never pitched a full season with a sub-4.00 ERA.

86. Eric Milton (32) – Last time he did this, received one of the worst contracts in the history of free agency.

90. Rodrigo Lopez (32) – On the off chance that he can come back from a ligament and flexor tendon tears.

93. Tony Armas (29) – Yeah, he’s worse than a guy with a blown-out arm.

113. Russ Ortiz (33) – Incidentally, he pitches like a guy with a blown-out arm.

116. Mark Redman (34) – Will he get yet another bite?

117. Aaron Sele (37) – Ditto.

123. Jaret Wright (32) – Seems like the longest three-year deal ever.

141. John Thomson (34) – Pitched 188 innings over three seasons.

RELIEF PITCHERS

8. Mariano Rivera (38) – Not going anywhere.

11. Francisco Cordero (32) – Faltered in the second half, but in a weak class, he could get close to B.J. Ryan money.

18. Masahide Kobayashi (33) – Perhaps the best closer in Japan, with 20 or more saves seven straight years and 30-plus four times.

24. Eric Gagne (32) – Lost himself $30 million over the last two months.

33. David Riske (31) – Consistently one of baseball’s best relievers, he posted a 2.45 ERA last year.

36. Scott Linebrink (31) – Workhorse will log quality innings, and in this market, that’s worth $7 million a year.

40. Kerry Wood (30) – Doesn’t hit 100 anymore. Sometimes doesn’t even hit 90.

46. Troy Percival (38) – Long gone are the days of blowing hitters away. Now he just gets them out with the same dominating regularity.

47. Kazuo Fukumori (31) – He’s a risk. Not because of the elbow surgery, but because any man who so enjoys emoticons is a little iffy.

48. Ron Mahay (36) – If J.C. Romero gets $12 million for three years, Mahay deserves at least that much.

55. Octavio Dotel (34) – Just stay healthy for one season.

60. Bob Wickman (39) – Probably will retire, but just in case, he can still get hitters out.

61. Matt Herges (38) – Reinvented himself and revitalized career in Colorado, of all places.

63. Mike Timlin (42) – Could retire too.

64. LaTroy Hawkins (35) – How does a guy who throws 96 mph strike out only 29 in 55 1/3 innings?

66. Armando Benitez (35) – Just when you think Captain Meltdown is over the hill, he comes back and surprises.

67. Luis Vizcaino (33) – Been a reliable middle reliever four years’ running.

69. Jeremy Affeldt (28) – Production finally met potential last season.

70. Shawn Chacon (30) – On the every-other-year-he’s-good plan, which is bad for whichever team signs him.

71. Joe Kennedy (28) – Not bad. Just not good, either.

75. Doug Brocail (40) – Amazing comeback could end in retirement.

81. Trever Miller (34) – Lefties hit just .209 off him last season

85. Ray King (34) – Even better: .187 vs. left-handers. But righties were .311

89. Jorge Julio (29) – Million-dollar arm, bankrupt head.

94. Rudy Seanez (39) – Set career high by pitching in 73 games last season.

98. Arthur Rhodes (38) – If he comes back from elbow-ligament surgery.

100. Antonio Alfonseca (35) – Now we’re getting to the dregs.

110. Mike Myers (38) – The quintessential one-out lefty.

119. Brian Moehler (36) – Wasn’t half-bad last year. Wasn’t half-good, either.

122. Ron Villone (38) – Never was all that great.

125. Jay Witasick (35) – Best performance of 2007 was here.

132. Jose Mesa (41) – Once was great. Now? Eek

139. Chris Reitsma (30) – Health problems always dogging him.

140. Elmer Dessens (37) – Hear hear, for Mr. Irrelevant!

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~ by mlb2007playoffs on November 13, 2007.

2 Responses to “Ranking the Free Agents”

  1. […] free-agent market. Posada was ranked one of the most lucrative free agents (ranking at #5 from a list of 144), so this is a huge accomplishment for both the player and the […]

  2. […] of free agents through the offseason. Passan ranked Joe Kennedy at #71 out of 144 free agents (see the text edition of the list which I uploaded on 11/13/2007), calling him “Not bad. Just not good, either.” Looking […]

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