Discussion

Market still loaded with names

Updated: February 2, 2009, 3:43 PM ET
By Buster Olney
Some teams are continually reviewing the list of available free agents, a list as long as a football field, to see whether there is someone they need, someone who represents an inexpensive gem, someone who fits their roster.

A talent evaluator for a major league team went over a list of guys not named Manny Ramirez, Orlando Hudson or Ben Sheets on Sunday evening, before the Super Bowl kickoff, as he ran to the store to get some salsa. He offered his thoughts on:

Moises Alou: "He'd have to go to a team that would only play him 50 games, max. To me, he's a classic Red Sox-Yankees kind of player, where they basically put him on layaway and say, 'We don't need you until the end of the season.' He's still a solid professional hitter."

Garret Anderson: "I'd bring him into camp to take a look, on a cheap contract. He's always been a professional run producer. Great makeup guy. You could use him as a DH, fifth-outfielder kind of guy. He lost his power, but he can still hit. He's kind of a Matt Stairs type, at this stage in his career."

Luis Ayala: "He was worked to death in Washington, but I still think he could be a 10th, 11th guy on a staff. He could still help you. He's just a middle guy now."

Joe Beimel: "He's good. I don't know why he hasn't been signed. He's still a competitive left-handed reliever, a guy who can help you. He's pretty good against left-handed, and the good thing is that he has never had to rely on his velocity, so he should age well."

Juan Cruz: "I know he's got the draft pick attached to him, but I can't understand why he hasn't signed. Now, in the past, he has had some issues with teammates, and he can have some problems there, but the guy still throws hard as hell. He's got eighth-, ninth-inning stuff … but he's a sixth-inning pitcher, in the role he usually takes. He has some value; somebody can use him."

Ray Durham: "He can still hit. The question for me would be how much money he wants. He's a guy you'd want, but it would have to be at the right price."

Jim Edmonds: "He played OK for me. He's got to go to a smaller ballpark, because he doesn't cover nearly as much ground as he used to, defensively. You have to have a very strong manager to handle Edmonds. He can still play, but he has to see he's not a regular player anymore."

Randy Flores: "I'd take Beimel ahead of him, I'd take [Brian] Shouse ahead of him, but Flores could be a guy you put away in Triple-A, and you'd feel good if you had him for depth. If somebody got hurt, you could call him up and he would help you."

Eric Gagne: "His stuff is good enough to pitch in the big leagues, but is it good enough to be what he thinks he is? No. He needs to rely on his changeup now. He's lost his fastball. If he'd accept that change and embrace a middle relief role, he could pitch for somebody."

Ken Griffey Jr.: "He doesn't have power anymore; he can't defend anymore. For me, he's a spare outfielder. He can't catch up to a good fastball anymore. The only ball he can hit over the fence now is a breaking ball that comes into him. Even if he's cheating, he has trouble catching up with a good fastball. But he's a good person, and maybe you'd want him around your young players. One of the questions you'd have to have about him is this: If you bring him in and he can't play anymore, how messy would it be to release him?"

Livan Hernandez: "I'd bring him to spring training, on a minor league contract, major league invite. His stuff has never really been special, but he's always been able to command it -- and now he can't command it in the same way."

By the way: The Padres are taking a look at Hernandez, Bill Center writes.

Chuck James: "He has enough stuff to be a long guy or a fifth guy in a rotation. I'd have interest in James on a minor league deal. You could sign him and tuck him away in Class AAA and see if you can fix him."

Jacque Jones: "His situation actually reminds me of Griffey. I don't think he can hit a good fastball anymore, although he can cheat to get to a fastball better than Griffey does. And he's marginal defensively, in my eyes."

Jon Lieber: "I'd sign him and tuck him away. He's probably done, but he's worth taking a look at."

Will Ohman: "He can still pitch. He's like Beimel, to me -- he's pretty good. He can be a good left-hander in the seventh. He's still got a good fastball. I guess the question would be whether he is asking for more money than you'd want to pay him."

Javier Valentin: "He's an extra guy, depth. He'd be a guy you'd keep around as your third or fourth catcher in your organization."

Daryle Ward: "It would have to be an absolutely perfect fit, for the perfect manager -- some manager who likes him. He can't play any place, and he really fills such a specific role. He has to get tied in with a manager."

Ty Wigginton: "He has value, to me, as a utility guy who can play a couple of different positions. The question for him is, how much does he want?

"So many of these guys used to get $1 million or $2 million in base salary, and now they'll have to settle for $600,000. It's a different world. Everybody is playing chicken."

Brad Wilkerson: "I like him -- he's a nice kid. But I understand his shoulder is not good, and it really affects what he can do."

ESPN TOP HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM