OK, so we didn't sign CoCo or Linebrink. A surprise? Hardly --- in our November 16th poll, a full 52% of respondents predicted this outcome.
But this doesn't mean we have to sit idly by and accept the prospect of Turnbow closing in 2008. (No offense, Derrick.) MLB.com has a list of prominent free agents still out there (with pictures!), including a guy whom, if Moustache doesn't get off the stick, I'm going to have to go over there and sign him myself.
Err, with Mark A.'s money, that is.
Below the fold are some of the more interesting names, pitchers and non-pitchers alike.
- Andruw Jones. He's got, like, 37 Gold Gloves, though he's not exactly an OBP machine, plus he's coming off a down year. There doesn't seem to be much interest in him, so it's worth a phone call. Plus he's only 30.
- Eric Gagne. He was horrible in Boston, but CoCo-esque in Texas.
- Kerry Wood. Anything that pisses off the Cubs is worth doing.
- Luis Gonzalez. OK, so he's older than dirt. Still if we're looking for a bridge to the Matt LaPorta era, we don't need a long-term solution here. He hits LHP (a la TGH) but doesn't have to be benched against RHP. Plus he gets on base at a .360 clip.
- Jeremy Affeldt. I'd be a little leery, but he did have a 3.51 ERA in 59 innings last season. In COlorado. It has "career year" written all over it, though.
- Kris Benson. Hailing from Superior, Wisconsin, Benson had surgery on a partially torn rotator cuff last season. The expectation is that he could be had for an incentive-laden contract.
- Russell Branyan and Jeff Cirillo. Juts thought I'd mention them.
- Octavio Dotel. He's had some arm injuries, but, and I quote, "when he returned during the season's final week, he'd regained his velocity with his fastball."
- Freddy Garcia. He had a lost season in Philadelphia thanks to shoulder pain and then surgery. Before 2007, though, he had three straight seasons of a WHIP in the 1.2s. The Phillies don't want him back.
- Eddie Guardado. Ding ding ding ding! "If the theory holds true that pitchers are better the second season after Tommy John surgery, then Guardado could be a steal. The 37-year-old, who had September 2006 reconstructive elbow surgery, returned in August. The first outings were rough, but he put together a 0.93 ERA over the final 10 games and didn't allow a run over the last seven outings. Guardado has 183 career saves wants to be a closer again but could still be dependable in a setup situation." Obviously, he won't be closing for the Reds, but I think he'd be an inexpensive gamble for the right team that is looking for a closer. And wears blue uniforms. In Milwaukee.
- Jose Guillen. Last season, for Seattle, he had a .290 BA and .353 OBP, and he could be a nice fill-in until LaPorta arrives. Plus, he, Mota, and Turnbow can compare prices for illegal drugs. ("Derrick, you paid how much for a dimebag?")
- Matt Herges. Sure he's old. He also had an ERA under 3 last season for the Rockies. Besides, we love old relievers in Milwaukee.
- Jorge Julio, down by the schoolyard. He fell apart in 10 games in Florida, but had an ERA under 4 with the Rockies last season, and can close. Gotta make sure he's healthy, though.
- Kenny Lofton. Probably the best choice to hold down left field until LaPorta arrives, though, like a certain free agent outfielder we know, he can't hit lefties. Still, he's an on-base machine --- the man knows how to take a walk. 2008 would mark the 20th anniversary of the year he was drafted, which gives one pause. To put it in perspective, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Die Hard (the first one), Crocodile Dundee II, Rain Man, Coming to America, and Beetlejuice all came out in 1988.
- Ron Mahay. Since 2003, he's had a sub-4.00 ERA in every season except one. The Yankees are interested, though, so don't expect him to come cheap.
- Damian Miller. We seem to have plenty of back-up catchers, so it looks like Miller Time has come to an end. Which is a shame.
- Greg Norton. If healthy, he could be a great addition in left field, as seen in his numbers from 2006. His health is in question, though.
- Troy Percival. Allegedly, 10 teams are interested, which is pretty good for a guy who retired 2 years ago. However, after a 1.80 ERA and 0.85 WHIP for the Cardinals in 40 innings last season, I guess there's reason to be. He's hurt a lot, though.
- David Riske. Riske hasn't had an ERA over 3.93 since 2002, which makes him much in demand.
- Mike Timlin. Timlin hasn't had a bad season since 2000, but he'll be 42 in 2008. Still, a 3.42 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 55.1 innings last season would have made him one of our best non-closers last season.
- Bob Wickman. Much to my surprise, he's been pretty good since leaving the Brewers in 2000, including last season. He's threatening to retire, though maybe playing for his home state (he's from Green Bay) could prompt him to delay retirement for a season or two.
Jamey Wright. Another oldie but goodie from recent Brewer teams, Wright may have found new life as a reliever, posting a 2.05 ERA in 11 appearances.