A few realities emerge after a thorough perusal of this fall's
The 12 elite players in this year's class appear to fall into five distinct categories: closers, shortstops, first basemen, starting pitchers and, of course, that mercurial outfielder, who represents a category unto himself. Even then, there might be only two sure things (of which, of course, there's no such thing). Several general managers appear poised to stake their careers on the signing on one of more of those 12 players, which means that several GM's might find themselves out of a job a year from now. Here's a look at how the market is shaping up for that divine dozen. (Top 50 rank in parentheses).
The Yankees, who have cast aside their "build from within" philosophy after one disappointing season, would love to sign half of this quartet, but some signs suggest that it won't happen. Their offer to Sabathia will certainly exceed the six years and $137.5 million that the Mets lavished on
The Angels' parting of ways with K-Rod only makes it more likely that the switch-hitting, slick-fielding Teixeira will end up in one of two places: Anaheim or the Bronx.
This is poised to be an unexpectedly profitable off-season for both Furcal and Cabrera, and for a simple economic reason: The demand for shortstops far exceeds the supply. (The only other attractive shortstop on the market is
This won't end well for anyone. The Dodgers simply had to make an offer to Manny to stave off a fan revolt in light of how he carried them this summer, but their two years and $45 million (with an additional option year at $15 million) didn't even elicit a response from Boras, who announced that he'd begin accepting "serious offers" on Friday. Boras wants a six-year, $150 million offer for his 36-year-old client, and interested teams include the Yankees, Mets, Angels, Orioles and even the Nationals, as the darkest of horses. As talented as Manny is, though, is any club really going to devote that much dough to a player who has proven that he'll quit on you if he's unhappy, and who will be 42 six years from now? All it takes, though, is one team -- and it's virtually impossible at this point to predict which it might be. I can predict, however, that that club will be playing Russian Roulette with three bullets in the gun. Di di mau!