1. Matt Holliday (Cardinals) 506pt 3.2ppg -
It was an open question whether CC Sabathia or Mark Teixeira would get the offseason’s biggest free agent contract last winter, but there’s no doubt who will fare best this time around. Holliday has an MVP award to his credit, he’s just 29 and there isn’t really a flaw to his game hitting for a line of .313/.394/.515. He’s not one of the game’s 10 best players, but there’s very good reason to think he’ll be a true star for a few more years and a fine regular for the duration of his next contract. His suitors figure to come from the usual suspects: the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and Angels. Not all of them will be involved, but one or two will likely face off with the Cardinals once the bidding gets serious. Agent Scott Boras may need the Yankees there in the end if the final price tag is going to exceed $120 million for six years, and I’m not sure the Bombers will go that route, even though the money is almost certainly there.
2. Jason Bay (Red Sox) 475pt 3.1ppg
Bay hit right with (.267/.384/.537) Holliday last season, but he’s the older player by a year and a half and a much weaker defender. While Holliday should be a solid enough left fielder into his mid-30s, Bay would already by more valuable as a first baseman or a designated hitter now. Of course, he still has a lot to offer. Unlike Holliday, he’s proven he can be a force in the American League and he could continue to put up the better power numbers of the two. If the Red Sox could sign him for $60 million for four years, they’d probably lock him up and exit the Holliday chase. It’d make more sense to go to six years for Holliday than five for Bay, though. The Yankees, Angels, Giants and Cardinals could factor in here
3. Chone Figgins (Angels) 463pts 2.9ppg-
Viewed by most as the No. 3 position player on the board behind Matt Holliday and Jason Bay, Figgins is in position to get a four-year deal worth at least $10 million per season. It helps that he’s not limited to third base. He’s probably no longer an option as a full-time second baseman, but he can handle center or left without much trouble. Figgins slashed his way to a .298/.395.394 line while also drawing 100BB’s for the first time in his career.The Phillies are known to want him as a replacement for Pedro Feliz, the Mets appear to like him as a left fielder and the Cubs could use him in center field. It’s possible that the Angels will keep him, but they do have Brandon Wood ready to take over at third base if the bidding gets out of control.
4. Marco Scutaro (Blue Jays) 439pt 3.0ppg
Scutaro, who played mostly second base in the minors, has been cast off by several teams during a career that began in 1996, but at the age of 33, he suddenly emerged as an excellent leadoff hitter and fine defensive shortstop for the Blue Jays posting a triple slash line of .282/.379/409. In fact, he was simply too good for Toronto, as he’ll likely jump out of the team’s price range as the best shortstop available this winter. It does hurt that he’s a Type A free agent who is certain to be offered arbitration. Unlike the rest of the free agents here, he’d cost a team like the Red Sox, Tigers or Cubs a first-round pick. Those clubs could target him anyway, and it’s possible that the Dodgers and Mets will look at him as a second baseman.
5. Miguel Tejada (Astros) 435pt 2.8ppg
Tejada is also a Type A free agent, but the Astros can’t risk offering him arbitration when he’d almost certainly take it and command a salary close to the $13 million he earned in 2009. While the 35-year-old hit a respectable .313/.340/.455 last season, he had brutal defensive numbers and likely would be of more use as a third baseman than as a shortstop going forward. It’d be no surprise to see him tumble like Orlando Cabreradid last winter and eventually have to accept a one-year deal in the $4 million range. He’d make sense for the Astros, Twins or Mariners at third base. Th e White Sox could also consider him if they opt to put Mark Teahen in the outfield