Your Type A and B free agents for the 2009-2010 Hot Stove season:
Matt Holliday: This seems pretty obvious. Bad news: the Mets, Holliday's current Media Suitor of choice, have a protected first rounder in 2010, leaving the Cardinals stuck with a second rounder should he end up bolting for Queens. I hate to root for the Red Sox, ever, for anything, but they do have the 29th pick...
Mark DeRosa: This also seems pretty obvious. I don't want the Cardinals to resign DeRosa, because his versatility is of questionable value for this team at this point in time, but I don't doubt that somebody will.
Joel Pineiro: Do it. Are the Brewers looking for another starter?
Troy Glaus: This is maybe the oddest case. Troy Glaus made $11.25 million last year, which works out to something like the league minimum per plate appearance, and while last season's salary is not inextricably linked to next year's, as it is for arbitration cases who aren't yet free agents, it's tough to imagine the Cardinals winning the case by offering less than, say, $7 million. That's still a lot of money per plate appearance.
But if the Cardinals aren't interested in going into the season with David Freese as the sole option there's no reason not to offer Glaus arbitration. Healthy, Glaus is as good a player as Adrian Beltre or [type A free agent] Chone Figgins, and he's the only one who would, if he accepted arbitration, be a one year commitment. If he's unhealthy, the Cardinals already have David Freese.
That seems like a low-risk shot at a draft pick, but last year the Cardinals didn't offer Braden Looper, another fair bet, arbitration, so it remains to be seen whether the Mozeliak Cardinals are avoiding the procedure as a general rule. After the jump: yet another outfield option emerges.
Not enough tires yet kicked? Ready to seek out the poor man's Mike Cameron? Randy Winn, the only sitting all-star to ever be traded for a manager, is officially out of a job in San Francisco. I'll be honest: I don't think I could get on board for this. But I can see a case made. Here's what it requires:
- Complete faith in UZR. Do you believe it's possible for a 35 year-old career CF/RF tweener to be a defensive juggernaut in the corners? After a long career as a basically average tweener, Winn's spent the last two years almost entirely in left and right and put up 30 (Fielding Bible) or 34 (UZR) runs above the average corner outfielder, who admittedly is often a first baseman, a baseball hater, a crawling man with a glove painted on his back, or all three at once. If he'd been doing this his whole life, or if he had once been Colby Rasmus or Mike Cameron in center, I might accept this at face value, but as best we can tell Winn was once a marginally above-average center fielder, and that was several years ago.
- More optimism than even the (still misleadingly named) Bill James projections, which have, in the past, seemed to regress all hitters in the general direction of year-2000 Coors Field. Freely available, now, at Fangraphs, these projections expect Winn to get an entire win back from his miserable 2009 season, which at .276/.337/.389 would still make him three runs worse than an average hitter. At his best—2008's .306/.363/.426 will do—he's Skip Schumaker with some extra power, which makes him an average corner outfielder before his apparently otherworldly defense is accounted for.
- Most importantly, the intestinal fortitude to accept another minor disaster in left field. Winn is a good bounceback candidate, but so is Rick Ankiel, so was Chris Duncan; are the Cardinals, with Carpenter, Wainwright, and Pujols currently in their primes, ready to take another high-downside risk at perhaps their easiest-to-upgrade spot on the roster. Winn'll be cheaper than most outfielders who put up a four win season last year, but he's also got a better chance to be a one win player than most of them.