Is there anything better the first week of November than finding a list of the Top 50 free agents of 2010 - complete with projections for where each one will wind up?
It's all subjective, of course. The players, the teams courting them and even their agents make the decisions and almost never consult with journalists. In the lull before the frenzy, though, it's always a fun read.
Over at SportsIllustrated.com, columnist Ben Reiter has compiled his Top 50 free agents, ranging from Carl Crawford (No. 1) and Cliff Lee (No. 2) to Manny Ramirez (No. 26), Miguel Tejada (No. 39) and Melky Cabrera (No. 50). There are plenty of former Mariners on the list - Adrian Beltre, Rafael Soriano, Brian Fuentes among them.
Reiter doesn't see the Seattle Mariners doing much with his Top 50, although he does have them landing the 37th-ranked player on his list: outfielder/designated hitter Hideki Matsui.
Obviously, the Mariners need bats, but landing Matsui on a one-year deal probably depends on factors other than his availability. Do you drop Milton Bradley to clear the DH spot? Do you try to platoon Bradley and Matsui? Does Jack Zduriencik care what SI.com has to say?
Probably not. Still, for the first week in November, it's a great shopping list to look at and agree or disagree with.
And now, a few thoughts and links:
- The passing of Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson brought dozens of tributes, including this one from Mitch Album and another from Time here. Want to know how Sparky managed, read his 2006 interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer. Lovely stuff, lovely man. And here's one more, from one of my favorite columnists, Mark Whicker.
- Miguel Olivo had an interesting day. The Colorado Rockies traded him for a player to be named to the Toronto Blue Jays - who promptly bought out his 2011 option for $500,000, making him a free agent. Why? The Jays hope to get a compensation draft pick out of the deal.
- In Texas, columnist Kevin Sherrington writes that the Rangers will likely lose Cliff Lee to the New York Yankees and are now an ace short in their pitching staff.
- Don't remember the American League Championship Series walk-off home run by new Mariners batting coach Chris Chambliss? Here are his memories of that moment, and you may get goose bumps reading 'em.
- And finally, another list worth snooping through - the Top 25 Most Beloved People in Baseball History! Here's a teaser: No. 9 is a former Seattle Mariner.