Yesterday, we covered where the top 12 hitters in the free agent market would land. Today, let's take a look at 13 pitchers who could be changing cities when the 2010 season starts.
You can read the top 12 hitters predictions here.
John Lackey - Lackey is clearly the top option of all the free agent arms, and with good reason. He's a workhourse pitcher with a World Championship under his belt. While his last two seasons have started in May because of injury, he seems to be in decent health, which can't be said about a lot of other free-agent starters. While it might seem like overkill, I really think the Yankees sign him instead of seriously pursuing Roy Halladay.
Rich Harden - He's got a ton of talent, but the constant and somewhat justified knock on Harden seems to be his inability to stay healthy. The Brewers, reportedly in the hunt for a starter, are run by Canadian - GM Doug Melvin, and managed by Harden's former manager with the A's Ken Macha. Seems like a good fit.
Erik Bedard - The Canadian left-hander is easily one of the top 20 pitchers in the league when he's healthy, but in the last two seasons, injuries have limited him to only 15 starts in each season. There are reports that he might not be ready until May of next season after his latest surgery. I can see him and the Mariners working out a one-year make good deal.
Andy Pettitte - As always with Pettitte, it's not really where he'll play, but if. I think he returns to the Yankees on a one-year deal, and we can use this writeup again next season.
Fernando Rodney - After a surprisingly good run as the Tigers' closer for most of the season, the big right-hander is on the market, and should garner some serious interest around the league. The Phillies need Brad Lidge insurance and Rodney will fit that role.
Jose Valverde - After resurecting his career a few seasons ago in Arizona, Valverde has been rock solid as the Astros' closer for the last two-years. I think the two sides find a way to keep him in Houston.
John Smoltz - After a tale-of-two seasons 2009, terrible in Boston, then pretty good in St. Louis, Smoltz has said that he wants to return in 2010. While he's 43, I'm pretty sure there will be a long line of teams that will offer him a one-year deal to see if he's got anything left. His versitility as either a starter or relief pitcher is a plus as well. I'm guessing he ends up in Milwaukee with the Brewers.
Randy Johnson - The Big Unit likes to pitch out West - outside of his experience as a Yankee of course, and since he's already been with the Mariners, Giants and Diamondbacks during his career, it stands to reason that he'll join the Dodgers, who could also use a starter.
Rafael Soriano - The Angels once highly regarded bullpen has taken a step back recently, and adding some insurance in case Scot Shields can't come back and/or Brian Fuentes struggles as the closer again makes sense. That's where Soriano comes in.
Ben Sheets - After missing all of the 2009 season, Sheets will be looking to show that he's fully recovered from surgery, and considering he lives in Dallas, he'll try to stay close to home, signing with the Rangers.
Joel Pineiro - You can add Pinerio to the long list of pitchers that Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan has 'fixed'. While he was really good last season, and there will be a market for his services, I'm guessing both he and the Cardinals will agree to stay together.
Brett Myers - It's hard to guess where Myers will go, considering his recent injury history and his willingness to either go the bullpen or start when he was with the Phillies. When healthy, Myers is a good strikeout pitcher, and would be a welcome part of most rotations. With Ted Lilly set to miss time at the start of the season, the Chicago Cubs have a need for an arm.