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Friday, November 12, 2004
Top 50 free agents

ESPN.com

Player 2004 stats Prediction/comment

1. Carlos
Beltran
Age: 27
HR: 38
RBI: 104
AVG: .267
OPS: .915
'04 salary: $9M
Prediction: Yankees.
Comment: The stud of this free-agent class. And at 27, he's entering the prime years of his career. Batted .435 with eight home runs in 12 postseason games.
Signed with: Mets.

2. Adrian
Beltre
Age: 25
HR: 48
RBI: 121
AVG: .334
OPS: 1.017
'04 salary: $5M
Prediction: Dodgers.
Comment: Led the majors in home runs (48) and also had a whopping 121 RBI. Ready to cash in big time after having a tremendous season.
Signed with: Mariners.

3. Roger
Clemens
Age: 42
IP: 214.1
W-L: 18-4
ERA: 2.98
BB/SO: 79/218
'04 salary: $5M
Prediction: Astros.
Comment: Yes he's 42, but he was as dominating as ever in '04, winning his seventh Cy Young Award. And arguably, there isn't a better one-year option on the free-agent market.
Signed with: Astros.

4. Edgar
Renteria
Age: 29
HR: 10
RBI: 72
AVG: .287
OPS: .728
'04 salary: $7.25M
Prediction: Cubs.
Comment: Didn't hit for much power (just 10 homers in '04), but is steady both offensively and defensively and isn't an injury risk (he's averaged playing in just over 150 games in his last six seasons with St. Louis).
Signed with: Red Sox.

5. Pedro
Martinez
Age: 33
IP: 217.0
W-L: 16-9
ERA: 3.90
BB/SO: 61/227
'04 salary: $17.5M
Prediction: Red Sox.
Comment: His brilliant effort in Game 3 of the World Series helped his cause a great deal. He's no longer the pitcher he once was, but he can still be dominant at times.
Signed with: Mets.

6. Carlos
Delgado
Age: 32
HR: 32
RBI: 99
AVG: .269
OPS: .907
'04 salary: $19.7M
Prediction: Marlins.
Comment: Remains a monster at the plate. Had 99 RBI (in 128 games) in '04, amazingly his lowest season-ending total since 1997.
Signed with: Marlins.

7. Magglio
Ordonez
Age: 30
HR: 9
RBI: 37
AVG: .292
OPS: .836
'04 salary: $14M
Prediction: Mets.
Comment: Played in just 52 games last season after undergoing surgery on his left knee. Had 99 or more RBI for five straight seasons prior to '04.
Signed with: Tigers.

8. Jason
Varitek
Age: 32
HR: 18
RBI: 73
AVG: .296
OPS: .872
'04 salary: $6.9M
Prediction: Red Sox.
Comment: Was the unofficial leader for the world champion Red Sox, and is considered to be among the best catching receivers in the game. Batted a career high .296 in '04.
Signed with: Red Sox.

9. Carl
Pavano
Age: 28
IP: 222.1
W-L: 18-8
ERA: 3.00
BB/SO: 49/139
'04 salary: $3.8M
Prediction: Orioles.
Comment: Is coming off his best season ever, posting career highs in wins (18), ERA (3.00), innings pitched (222.1) and strikeouts (139). Will be in high demand.
Signed with: Yankees.

10. Richie
Sexson
Age: 29
HR: 9
RBI: 23
AVG: .233
OPS: .914
'04 salary: $8.73M
Prediction: Mariners.
Comment: In his first year with the Diamondbacks was limited to just 23 games in '04 after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. If healthy, expect him to be a force offensively.
Signed with: Mariners.

11. J.D.
Drew
Age: 28
HR: 31
RBI: 93
AVG: .305
OPS: 1.006
'04 salary: $4.2M
Prediction: Braves.
Comment: Acquired by Atlanta last offseason, he went on to set career highs in nearly all major offensive categories while remaining completely healthy for the first time as a big leaguer.
Signed with: Dodgers.

12. Nomar
Garciaparra
Age: 31
HR: 9
RBI: 41
AVG: .308
OPS: .842
'04 salary: $11.5M
Prediction: Angels.
Comment: Was dealt by the Red Sox at the July 31 trading deadline -- and the Sox went on to win the World Series. Ouch! Played in only 81 games in '04, due to an assortment of injuries.
Signed with: Cubs.

13. Troy
Glaus
Age: 28
HR: 18
RBI: 42
AVG: .251
OPS: .930
'04 salary: $9.9M
Prediction: Astros.
Comment: Returned in late August from surgery on his right shoulder, and went on to hit seven homers in September. Has endured two straight injury-filled seasons.
Signed with: Diamondbacks.

14. Armando
Benitez
Age: 32
IP: 69.2
SV: 47
ERA: 1.29
BB/SO: 21/62
'04 salary: $3.5M
Prediction: Braves.
Comment: Tied for the NL lead with 47 saves in '04, and also compiled a career-best 1.29 ERA. Allowed only 10 earned runs all season in 69 2/3 innings pitched.
Signed with: Giants.

15. Steve
Finley
Age: 39
HR: 36
RBI: 94
AVG: .271
OPS: .823
'04 salary: $7M
Prediction: Padres.
Comment: Landed in L.A. at the July 31 trading deadline, and played a key role in helping the Dodgers get to the playoffs. Will turn 40 by Opening Day, but hasn't yet shown any signs of slowing down.
Signed with: Angels.

16. Troy
Percival
Age: 35
IP: 49.2
SV: 33
ERA: 2.90
BB/SO: 19/33
'04 salary: $7.83M
Prediction: Cubs.
Comment: The Angels decided to let him go in order to make room for Francisco Rodriguez to be their closer. Still has the ability to be a dominant closer.
Signed with: Tigers.

17. Matt
Clement
Age: 30
IP: 181.0
W-L: 9-13
ERA: 3.68
BB/SO: 77/190
'04 salary: $6M
Prediction: Tigers.
Comment: Somewhat underappreciated in the Cubs' vaunted starting rotation. Had a below .500 record, but averaged more than a strikeout per inning.
Signed with: Red Sox.

18. Orlando
Cabrera
Age: 30
HR: 10
RBI: 62
AVG: .264
OPS: .689
'04 salary: $6M
Prediction: Cardinals.
Comment: His overall numbers were subpar offensively, but he played a vital part in the Red Sox's championship run. A stellar defensive player who is a former Gold Glover.
Signed with: Angels.

19. Jeff
Kent
Age: 36
HR: 27
RBI: 107
AVG: .289
OPS: .880
'04 salary: $10M
Prediction: A's.
Comment: Has driven in 100 or more runs in seven of the last eight seasons. Is no longer a major force like he was during his best days with the Giants, but is still a quality run-producer.
Signed with: Dodgers.

20. Moises
Alou
Age: 38
HR: 39
RBI: 106
AVG: .293
OPS: .919
'04 salary: $9.5M
Prediction: Dodgers.
Comment: Had a fantastic offensive season, highlighted by a career high 39 home runs. He also played in 155 games, the most since 1998 (159).
Signed with: Giants.

21. Odalis
Perez
Age: 27
IP: 196.1
W-L: 7-6
ERA: 3.25
BB/SO: 44/128
'04 salary: $5M
Prediction: Rangers.
Comment: Received the worst run support of any National League starter this past year, at 3.30 runs per game. Isn't an ace, but is certainly a No. 3 or 4 starter.
Signed with: Dodgers.

22. Jaret
Wright
Age: 28
IP: 186.1
W-L: 15-8
ERA: 3.28
BB/SO: 70/159
'04 salary: $ 850,000
Prediction: Braves.
Comment: Resurrected his career in a big way in '04 as he made 32 starts and in so doing became the Braves' ace. At 28, could have a few quality years in front of him.
Signed with: Yankees.

23. Jermaine
Dye
Age: 30
HR: 23
RBI: 80
AVG: .265
OPS: .793
'04 salary: $11.67M
Prediction: Giants.
Comment: After an injury-plagued season in 2003, he stayed healthy for most of '04 (he played in 137 games). Would fit in well in the cleanup or No. 5 spot in most lineups.
Signed with: White Sox.

24. Brad
Radke
Age: 32
IP: 219.2
W-L: 11-8
ERA: 3.48
BB/SO: 26/143
'04 salary: $10.75M
Prediction: Devil Rays.
Comment: Has thrown 200 or more innings in eight of his 10 years in the big leagues. And posted his best ERA (3.48) in '04. Has been a Twins-lifer.
Signed with: Twins.

25. Omar
Vizquel
Age: 37
HR: 7
RBI: 59
AVG: .291
OPS: .741
'04 salary: $6M
Prediction: Red Sox.
Comment: Is no longer the defensive wiz that he once was, but can still handle the glove well. Had a .353 OBP in '04, so he still has the ability to get on base on a consistent basis.
Signed with: Giants.

26. Russ
Ortiz
Age: 30
IP: 204.2
W-L: 15-9
ERA: 4.13
BB/SO: 112/143
'04 salary: $6.2M
Prediction: Dodgers.
Comment: Was far better in the first half (10-6, 3.58) than he was in the second half (5-3, 4.85). Has double-digits in wins in each of the last six seasons.
Signed with: Diamondbacks.

27. Matt
Morris
Age: 30
IP: 202.0
W-L: 15-10
ERA: 4.72
BB/SO: 56/131
'04 salary: $12.5M
Prediction: Cardinals.
Comment: Gave up an astounding 35 home runs and saw his ERA rise by nearly a full run from '03 '04 (3.76 to 4.72). Despite all of that, has the ability to be an elite-level pitcher again.
Signed with: Cardinals.

28. Vinny
Castilla
Age: 37
HR: 35
RBI: 131
AVG: .271
OPS: .867
'04 salary: $2.1M
Prediction: Reds.
Comment: Had a monster year in his return to Colorado. Consider these stats, though: he batted .321 and hit 14 homers at Coors Field, while batting .218 with 21 HRs on the road.
Signed with: Expos/Nationals.

29. Placido
Polanco
Age: 29
HR: 17
RBI: 55
AVG: .298
OPS: .786
'04 salary: $3.95M
Prediction: Cardinals.
Comment: Hit a career high 17 homers and also had a solid .345 OBP in '04. A solid defender who is likely to be a highly-sought-after player.
Signed with: Phillies.

30. Eric
Milton
Age: 29
IP: 201.0
W-L: 14-6
ERA: 4.75
BB/SO: 75/161
'04 salary: $9M
Prediction: Yankees.
Comment: In his first year with the Phillies, led the club with 14 wins. But he allowed an astounding 43 homers, most in the National League. Is a former Yankee farmhand.
Signed with: Reds.

31. Jon
Lieber
Age: 34
IP: 176.2
W-L: 14-8
ERA: 4.33
BB/SO: 18/102
'04 salary: $2.7M
Prediction: Yankees.
Comment: Didn't make his first start until May 1 after sitting out the entire 2003 season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. Control is his game.
Signed with: Phillies.

32. Corey
Koskie
Age: 31
HR: 25
RBI: 71
AVG: .251
OPS: .837
'04 salary: $4.5M
Prediction: Royals.
Comment: Not a great player, but certainly a serviceable one. Leaving the Twins could perhaps be good for him, as he batted just .235 at the Metrodome in '04.
Signed with: Blue Jays.

33. David
Wells
Age: 41
IP: 195.2
W-L: 12-8
ERA: 3.73
BB/SO: 20/101
'04 salary: $1.25M
Prediction: Phillies.
Comment: Returned to his hometown and pitched rather well for the Padres in '04 after undergoing offseason back surgery. Gave up more than a hit per inning (203 hits), but offset that by issuing just 20 walks.
Signed with: Red Sox.

34. Derek
Lowe
Age: 31
IP: 182.2
W-L: 14-12
ERA: 5.42
BB/SO: 71/105
'04 salary: $4.5M
Prediction: Orioles.
Comment: Was a far different pitcher in the postseason (3-0, 1.86) than he was during the regular season, when he had a .299 batting average against.
Signed with: Dodgers.

35. Richard
Hidalgo
Age: 29
HR: 25
RBI: 82
AVG: .239
OPS: .745
'04 salary: $12.5M
Prediction: White Sox.
Comment: Streaky player who shined right after being acquired by the Mets in mid-June. Overall numbers were for the most part subpar. Is expected to take a major paycut.
Signed with: Rangers.

36. Kris
Benson
Age: 29
IP: 200.1
W-L: 12-12
ERA: 4.31
BB/SO: 61/134
'04 salary: $6.15M
Prediction: Mets.
Comment: Has never lived up to the expectations placed on him after being the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft. Was 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 11 starts after being acquired by the Mets.
Signed with: Mets.

37. Jeromy
Burnitz
Age: 35
HR: 37
RBI: 110
AVG: .283
OPS: .916
'04 salary: $1.25M
Prediction: Expos/Nationals.
Comment: Came to life playing in the thin air of Coors Field. Led the Rockies with 37 homers, 24 of which came at home. He also batted a career high .283.
Signed with: Cubs.

38. Kevin
Millwood
Age: 29
IP: 141.0
W-L: 9-6
ERA: 4.85
BB/SO: 51/125
'04 salary: $11M
Prediction: Braves.
Comment: Had a down season for the Phillies, posting a career-worst 4.85 ERA. He pitched just six innings from Aug. 1 on due to soreness in his right elbow.
Signed with: Indians.

39. Cristian
Guzman
Age: 26
HR: 8
RBI: 46
AVG: .274
OPS: .693
'04 salary: $3.73M
Prediction: Twins.
Comment: Remains an above-average shortstop, but lacks definite punch offensively. His .309 OBP was also a sore point for the Twins.
Signed with: Expos/Nationals.

40. Tony
Batista
Age: 30
HR: 32
RBI: 110
AVG: .241
OPS: .728
'04 salary: $1.5M
Prediction: Expos/Nationals.
Comment: Quietly put together a great offensive season. Was especially effective after the All-Star break, having 21 homers and 68 RBI.
Signed with: Japanese team.

41. Jose
Valentin
Age: 35
HR: 30
RBI: 70
AVG: .216
OPS: .760
'04 salary: $5M
Prediction: Mariners.
Comment: Hit a career high 30 homers despite batting just .216 with a .287 OBP in '04. Committed 20 errors at shortstop. Is probably best as a utility player.
Signed with: Dodgers.

42. Bob
Wickman
Age: 35
IP: 29.2
SV: 13
ERA: 4.25
BB/SO: 10/26
'04 salary: $6M
Prediction: Braves.
Comment: Missed the first three months of the season because of soreness in his right elbow. Was 13-of-14 in save opportunities once he returned.
Signed with: Indians.

43. Esteban
Loaiza
Age: 32
IP: 183.0
W-L: 10-7
ERA: 5.70
BB/SO: 71/117
'04 salary: $4M
Prediction: Rangers.
Comment: Fell off dramatically while pitching for the White Sox and Yankees in 2004 after having a career year in '03 for the ChiSox. His value stems from the thought he can possibly return to his '03 form.
Signed with: Expos/Nationals.

44. Orlando
Hernandez
Age: 35
IP: 84.2
W-L: 8-2
ERA: 3.30
BB/SO: 36/84
'04 salary: $500,000
Prediction: Yankees.
Comment: Became the Yankees' ace for the better part of the second half. Recurring shoulder problems acted up on him late in the season, however, leading to worries over his long-term health.
Signed with: White Sox.

45. Juan
Gonzalez
Age: 35
HR: 5
RBI: 17
AVG: .276
OPS: .767
'04 salary: $4M
Prediction: A's.
Comment: Played in just 33 games in '04 due to a back injury. Hasn't played a full season since 2001. Any deal he signs, will no doubt be a low base salary.
Signed with: Indians.

46. Paul
Wilson
Age: 31
IP: 183.2
W-L: 11-6
ERA: 4.36
BB/SO: 63/117
'04 salary: $3.5M
Prediction: Indians.
Comment: After a terrific first half (9-2, 3.66 in 17 starts), he fell off dramatically after the All-Star break (2-4, 5.38 in 12 starts). Would be a risky signing.
Signed with: Reds.

47. Tony
Womack
Age: 35
RBI: 38
SB: 26
AVG: .307
OPS: .735
'04 salary: $300,000
Prediction: Cubs.
Comment: Became the Cardinals' regular second baseman and established career highs in batting average (.307) and OBP (349). Is versatile as he can play shortstop, as well.
Signed with: Yankees.

48. Jose
Lima
Age: 32
IP: 170.1
W-L: 13-5
ERA: 4.07
BB/SO: 34/93
Prediction: Dodgers.
Comment: His sparkling shutout of the Cardinals in Game 3 of NLDS was as dominating an outing as perhaps any in the 2004 season. Overall pitched well in the regular season, too.
Signed with: Royals.

49. Paul
Byrd
Age: 33
IP: 114.1
W-L: 8-7
ERA: 3.94
BB/SO: 19/79
'04 salary: $7M
Prediction: Rangers.
Comment: Returned in mid-June after missing the first two months as well as all of '03 after having reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. A classic soft-tosser who has fantastic control.
Signed with: Angels.

50. Steve
Kline
Age: 32
IP: 50.1
SV: 3
ERA: 1.79
BB/SO: 17/35
'04 salary: $1.7M
Prediction: Yankees.
Comment: A master lefty set-up man. Held left-handed hitters to a .143 average. Should be all healed for '05 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left index finger.
Signed with: Orioles.