Around this time each year, one of my favorite reads is Jeff Passan's ultimate free agent tracker. I usually ignore the top guys (this year, names like Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton and B.J. Upton lead the list), and head straight for the bottom for bon mots such as these:
113. Ryan Theriot, SS/2B: Doesn't hit particularly well, has no power, mediocre fielder, reason the acronym TOOTBLAN was invented. Has been on each of the last two world champions. Baseball is funny.
125. Nyjer Morgan, OF: Plans on returning in 2013 as Tony Plush, since nobody wants to give Nyjer Morgan a big league job.
127. Guillermo Mota, RP: First he got busted for steroids. Then it was children's cough medicine. Next on the culprit list: tainted Flintstone vitamins, huffing hairspray and snorting Fun Dip.
144. Pedro Feliciano, RP: Of all the great accomplishments in Yankees history, perhaps none is better than pocketing $8 million to spend the entirety of a two-year contract on the disabled list. Mount Yankmore: Ruth, Gehrig, Jeter and Feliciano.
155. George Sherrill, RP: Lefty, pulse, etc.
165. Brian Schneider, C: The "Gigli" of backup catchers.
How did the A's free agents rank on Passan's list?
- 13. Brandon McCarthy
- 19. Stephen Drew
- 49. Jonny Gomes
- 54. Bartolo Colon (already re-signed by Oakland)
- 103. Joey Devine
- 114. Dallas Braden
- 119. Brandon Inge
Will any of them re-sign with Oakland? I'll check out some rumors and throw out completely uneducated guesses.
Brandon McCarthy: McCarthy has been linked to the Cubs, Twins, Blue Jays and Lookout Landing. My guess (OK, my hope) is that he'll sign a one-year deal with Oakland to solidify the rotation at some form of Brett Anderson, McCarthy, Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon and Tommy Milone. AJ Griffin and/or Dan Straily will still get plenty of work once Anderson, McCarthy or Colon is felled by an injury. I could also see McCarthy going to team that offers a multi-year contract.
Stephen Drew: Too close to call. If Oakland doesn't make a move soon, I could see the A's being priced out of a bidding war, as there aren't many capable shortstops on the market, and Drew is the top of the class. Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi has another option for Oakland's shortstop woes: a trade. He writes that Cincinnati has two capable shortstops; Zack Cosart and Didi Gregorious. The Reds also have a need for a leadoff hitter, but I think it would take more than Coco Crisp to land Cosart or Gregorious.
Jonny Gomes: Unless Crisp or Chris Young are flipped, I'm pretty sure Jonny Gomes is done in Oakland. I could see him signing on with an AL team as a DH/occasional outfielder. Then again, not even Nate Silver could accurately predict Billy Beane's actions.
Joey Devine: I'd be surprised if a team offers Devine a major league contract. He'll probably sign an incentive-laden minor league deal with a team who needs bullpen depth.
Dallas Braden: See Devine, Joey. If a team offers Braden a MLB contract to start, he'll take it, of course. I'd love to see him back in Oakland on a minor league contract, since there will be injuries to pitchers. It'll really come down to whoever offers him a major league deal. There's no room on Oakland's pitching staff right now.
Brandon Inge: Inge, a Gold Glove finalist, will see some interest as a bat off the bench. He probably won't sign until after the more prized third base/utility free agents such as Eric Chavez sign. I could definitely see Inge re-sign with Oakland because by all accounts he absolutely loved it here, but he will probably go where he can get more playing time. Josh Donaldson seems to have the third base job locked up, with Scott Sizemore potentially moving to second base and Adam Rosales, Jemile Weeks and Eric Sogard in the mix for bench/utility spots.