Baseball Notebook

Daily Baseball Blog

Free Agent List Getting Shorter

Last week was an extremely busy week for free agents as many of them signed during the week. There are only six middle infielders left on the list with Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez and Adam Kennedy the only ones likely to be signed.

There are still several outfielders remaining on the free agent list but there are very few that stand out like Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, Reed Johnson, Gary Sheffield and Garret Anderson.

Twelve first basemen remain on the free agent list with Carlos Delgado, Hank Blalock, Russell Branyan and Mike Jacobs among those most likely to be signed before the position players report to spring training next month.

Joe Crede who has been injury prone lately and Melvin Mora who had an sub par season in 2009 are the only third basemen likely to draw any interest from teams that are hunting for bargains. Mora who will be 38 on Feb. 7 and  hit 23 homers and drove in 104 runs two seasons ago has not been mentioned much during this offseason.

There are six catchers remaining on the free agent list but none of them are regarded as everyday catchers so if any of them are signed they are likely to be used as backups.

There are 30 starting pitchers remaining but most of them were released during the 2009 season, experienced injury problems, were less than effective in 2009 and 13 of them are 35 or older. The only starters who may still be sought by bargain hunters are Pedro Martinez and Jarrod Washburn. I can’t help but wonder if Martinez hasn’t priced himself out of the market or there would have been more interest shown since he was effective for the Phillies in 2009.

The remaining players on the free agent list have to be antsy with pitchers and catchers reporting in 18 days for spring training. Some of these players will be telling their agents to get them a deal regardless of how much money is offered since it is better to get the $400,000 major league minimum than to sit at home next season earning nothing or to play in the minors for next to nothing.

It is hard to believe that Johnny Damon has not been signed for the 2010 season with this being the last day of January. I have a feeling that the Yankees will regret not signing Damon when they had a chance.

The outfielders listed on the 2010 forty man roster as of today are:

CURTIS GRANDERSON

GREG GOLSON

NICK SWISHER

BRETT GARDNER

JAMIE HOFFMAN

They have added Granderson but have lost Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon unless they surprise everyone by signing Damon for a discount price.

Swisher will hit for power but not for average as he has hit above .254 only once in six seasons and finished 15th in batting average on the Yankees in 2009. Gardner has great speed and has stole 39 bases over his first two seasons while being caught stealing only six times.

The biggest plus for Damon is that he has delivered when it counted in big games while Gardner was 2 for 13 and hit .154 during the postseason for the Yankees in 2009.

By this time next week we should see a lot of the names mentioned in this article signed to 2010 contracts. It is clearly a buyer’s market now with the major league teams looking to scoop up last minute bargains while the players will have to settle for far less than what they wanted.


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