Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.


Top 30 free agents, plus New York specials

Here are my annual top 30 free-agent rankings and predictions.

I tried something different this year with the rankings, relying solely on WAR.I liked the idea of using one consistent metric, and also displaying which of this free-agent pool has produced the most value over the past two seasons. You can see that Jason Bay and John Lackey might be overrated, and that a middle-of-the-line closer like Jose Valverde doesn't make the cut at all.

Why the past two seasons? Seemed like a good number, considering how much of the free-agent market seems to carry a "What have you done for me lately?" mentality, but that slack can be cut if 2009 was a negative outlier.

The predictions reflect a mix of reporting, guesses and attempts to think along with teams. I happen to think, for instance, that the Cardinals will work very hard to retain Matt Holliday, in order to appeal to Albert Pujols (whom the Cardinals control through 2011) to stick around.

And that the Yankees have no great inclination to add another nine-figure contract to their ledger, and they don't love Holliday, anyway. And that the Red Sox would rather dance with the devil they know, Bay, on a relatively short-term deal than commit huge dollars to Holliday (whom they like less than they liked Mark Teixeira). And that the Mets would rather not go that high on Holliday. Hence my projection that Holliday will return to the Cardinals.

But I think the Mets realize they have to make a splash in order to placate season-ticket holders, and with the market for Lackey not robust (in my mind), I can envision them giving Lackey the same deal that the Yankees gave A.J. Burnett a year ago, then pointing to how much more Lackey has accomplished than Burnett had when he got his money.

This baseball offseason, however, is not static. It swerves in unexpected directions, based on events that can't necessarily be anticipated at this juncture. The most fun part is seeing how it all plays out.

Although, I think I've already set the land-speed record for regret with my "Orlando Hudson to Milwaukee" bet. But hey, never say never.

Catching up on a few other items...

--How about Zack Greinke citing FIP as he accepted the AL Cy Young Award? The BBWAA has come a long way in a short time, giving the award to Greinke even though he tallied relatively few victories.

--FWIW, the Yankees have liked neither Rich Harden nor Ben Sheets in past years. But it's all about acquisition cost, so if the price is right, the Yankees could take a flier on one.

--Bud Selig says he wants to condense the playoff schedule, and that's good news, but I'm curious to see how that actually happens, given how determined Fox is to start (and conclude, if it goes the distance) the World Series in the middle of the week. In this blog post, Peter Abraham links to this extremely interesting item about longtime Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey.

--Later today: My NL Cy Young ballot.