Free Agent Predictions: The Pitchers

It's early. I know. But it's way too much fun to take a shot at predicting where all of the free agents may end up this winter. The market can and will change. Trades this month will change the market in December. But here we go anyways...

Top 15 Starting Pitchers
NO. PLAYER TEAM CONTRACT M's Factor
1 A.J. Burnett, RHP Seattle 4+/$51m 10%
2 Kevin Millwood, RHP Baltimore 4/$42m 5%
3 Roger Clemens, RHP Houston 1/$14m 0%
4 Esteban Loaiza, RHP Cleveland 2/$11m 20%
5 Jeff Weaver, RHP Philadelphia 3/$25m 5%
6 Jarrod Washburn, LHP Toronto 4/$31m 2%
7 Matt Morris, RHP Anaheim 2/$12m 5%
8 Paul Byrd, RHP Los Angeles 2/$11m 1%
9 Kenny Rogers, LHP Florida 1/$5m 0%
10 Byung-Hyun Kim, RHP St. Louis 2/$10m 2%
11 Kevin Brown, RHP NY Mets 1/$3m+ 2%
12 Jamie Moyer, LHP Seattle 1/$3m+ 70%
13 Jason Johnson, RHP San Francisco 2/$8m 1%
14 Pedro Astacio, RHP San Diego 1/$3.5m 1%
15 Jamey Wright, RHP Detroit 1/$3m 1%
Top 10 Relief Pitchers
NO. PLAYER TEAM CONTRACT M's Factor
1 Billy Wagner, LHP NY Mets 3/$35 0%
2 Trevor Hoffman, RHP Phildelphia 2/$18 0%
3 B.J. Ryan, LHP Boston 4/$30m+ 0%
4 Bob Wickman, RHP Baltimore 2/$11m 0%
5 Kyle Farnsworth, RHP Toronto 2/$11m 0%
6 Todd Jones, RHP San Diego 1/$5m 0%
7 Jose Mesa, RHP Los Angeles 1+/$4.5m 0%
8 Tom Gordon, RHP Detroit 1+/$5.5m 0%
9 Bobby Howry, RHP Cleveland 1/$3.5 0%
10 Scott Eyre, LHP St. Louis 2/$6.25m 5%

Seattle has a shot at Burnett, and if they choose, Kevin Millwood, too. Ultimately, the bigger money and a familiar face may favor Baltimore and Boston in landing the two biggest names on the free agent market.

But Boston has issues in their lineup (3B, 2B, 1B, OF) and their bullpen with closer Keith Foulke's status up in the air.

Ryan gives them options, and with a healthy Foulke, the best pen in the AL. Ryan's contract with a club like Boston will likely have incentives to cover his role as closer versus his role as a setup man.

Seattle can probably have their choice of any of the remaining arms, but only a few make sense, due to salary demands, age and fit.

With Eddie Guardado back in the fold, the M's aren't in the market for a closer but might have slight interest in Scott Eyre, Ricardo Rincon or re-acquiring Ron Villone to stack the bullpen with left-handers.

With regard to the rankings, the top few are basic locks, after the first half of each list, it's a matter of opinion, as well as criterion. I combined youth, experience, contract demands, projected level of success, the past two seasons of actual performance and market demand to come up with the top 15 starters and the top 10 relievers.

As the market changes, so will the rankings, as other arms become more or less attractive.
Next on Free Agent Frenzy - Catchers and First baseman - Sunday, November 13.

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