With a handful of top-notch free agents available, it’s time to start speculating who’s going where and for how much. MLBTradeRumors.com recently released a list of its Top 50 free agents and a prediction on where each player would land.
According to the list, the Sox will grab Carlos Beltran, No. 9 on the list, saying: “Beltran is a tough player to place, if the Giants are unable to re-sign him. He’s a 34-year-old Scott Boras client who’s likely to seek at least three years despite significant injury concerns in 2009-10 and a disinterest in being a designated hitter. It’ll take a team with a right field opening and a tolerance for risk.”
Boston will also nab the tenth-rated free agent, says MLBTR, in Jonathan Papelbon, the team’s closer since 2006. They say: “I can picture the Red Sox going as high as three years and $39 [million] to retain Papelbon, though the closer will test the market. A half-dozen teams could seek closers this winter, but the list is short on big spenders and it’s been a while since we’ve had a $40 [million-plus] reliever.”
While it’s not ridiculous to bet on Paps returning to Fenway, or the Sox signing an outfielder whom they were rumored to be interested in acquiring for the past couple of years, one prediction on the list is a bit of a head-scratcher. That pick is the 27th-ranked free agent (and former Red Sox pitcher), Bartolo Colon, who “had an excellent comeback season, but he will still have a hard time finding a two-year deal. Perhaps he could take an incentive-based contract and remain in the AL East with the Red Sox.”
Other players mentioned in the same breath as the Sox were:
C.J. Wilson, who is predicted to sign with the Nationals.
Yu Darvish, who is predicted to sign with the Blue Jays.
Michael Cuddyer, who is predicted to sign with the Twins.
David Ortiz, who is predicted to sign with the Blue Jays.
Ryan Madson, who is predicted to sign with the Phillies.