Some thoughts on the big free agents remaining not named Prince Fielder.
Johnny Damon: He's 277 hits away from 3,000 but currently scraping for a job. Tampa Bay apparently signed Luke Scott as its designated hitter and with Desmond Jennings taking over in left field, there won't be room for Damon in Tampa. While he still has something left in the tank -- his .743 OPS ranked ninth in the AL among 20 left fielders and DHs with at least 400 appearances -- there just aren't teams looking for a 38-year-old left fielder with a noodle arm. One possibility: the Orioles. With Nolan Reimold in left and Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds slated for third and first, they could sign Damon as their DH.
Edwin Jackson: A Scott Boras client allegedly seeking a five-yeal deal (good luck, Scott!), Jackson is what he is: A durable but mediocre starter. He's one of just 22 pitchers to start 150 games over the past five seasons, but only A.J. Burnett and Livan Hernandez own a worse ERA among those 22. Teams appear to be viewing Jackson correctly: A short-term placeholder, but not a guy you want to make a long-term investment on. He's apparently talked to the Yankees, but I could see him landing in a place like Detroit, allowing the Tigers to give Jacob Turner more seasoning in Triple-A.
Roy Oswalt: Yes, he missed time with a bad back in 2011, but it was the first season he hasn't started at least 30 games since 2003. He's said he's willing to sign a one-year deal to prove he's healthy, so he's a low-risk signing. I still like him: He's one season removed from leading National League starters in lowest WHIP and he had a better SO/BB ratio in 2011 than C.J. Wilson, Tim Lincecum, Jon Lester or Mark Buehrle. Here's one red flag, especially if a team like the Red Sox or Yankees is interested: Oswalt has spent most of his career in the NL Central facing a lot of weak lineups. His career ERA is 3.21, but 3.70 in interleague games. If he's not the pitcher he once was, that could translate to an ERA in the mid-4 range pitching in the AL East.
Carlos Pena: He can still mash against right-handers (.255/.388/.502 in 2011), but really needs to be a platoon player. Trouble is, most teams can't afford to carry a platoon at first base, not when you carry 12 or 13 relievers. (Now, a smart team would realize that carrying an extra bat can be more valuable than an extra LOOGY, but that's a different essay.) The Indians still seem like a good fit and at this point, Pena won't be busting their budget. The Rays may still be in play, although the Scott signing certainly makes that less likely. By the way, only five players have hit more home runs the past five seasons than Pena: Ryan Howard, Fielder, Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira and Miguel Cabrera.
Hiroki Kuroda: He's allegedly seeking $12 to $14 million per season and he just may be worth it. He's put up solid numbers with the Dodgers despite some mediocre defenses behind him. His fastball velocity has averaged 92 mph for four years in the majors, so he's shown no signs of decline despite his age (37 in February). He won't give you much more than 200 innings, but he could be a big difference-maker for a pennant contender. Do the Angels spend even more money and have Kuroda replace Jerome Williams as the No. 5 starter? That may be overkill, but aren't the Angels all-in at this point?
Francisco Cordero: I'd be vary wary. If you look at the 37 saves and 2.45 ERA you may be mislead. But most front offices are smarter than that these days, so they'll look at the low strikeout rate (5.4 K's per nine), drop in fastball velocity (from 95 in 2009 to 94.5 in 2010 to 93 last season) and see an aging pitcher in decline, even if he did throw his changeup more last season and walk fewer batters. Yes, he's a Proven Closer, but there just doesn't seem like there's much interest in $8 million relievers this offseason. Good luck, Francisco. I don't think you'll be getting that much.