Ok, Giants fans. You've had your fun. But guess what? 2010 is done and the 2011 season is about to begin with free agency later this month. Who's going where? Our MLB experts — Ken Rosenthal, Jon Paul Morosi, Tracy Ringolsby, Bob Klapisch and Dayn Perry — chime in with their big FA predictions.
Vladimir Guerrero, OF/DH
ROSENTHAL: Mariners. More offense for the Mariners, whose DH production was the worst in the AL. MOROSI: Rangers. Despite the lousy World Series, he did enough to warrant a return. But man, he took some ugly at-bats in October. RINGOLSBY: Rays. Tampa Bay is looking for veteran run producer who can fill DH duties. Guerrero fits the budget. KLAPISCH: Rangers. Club declined $9 million option for '11, but still wants him back. Feeling is likely to be mutual. PERRY: Tigers. Guerrero’s performance degraded badly as the year wore on, but he’s a future Hall of Famer and that carries a certain appeal. The Tigers have the appropriate needs and desires.
Manny Ramirez, OF/DH
ROSENTHAL: Indians. Back to the beginning, and at a bargain-basement price. Manny Acta, a fellow Dominican, might be the only manager left who is willing to put up with Manny. MOROSI: A's. Just like Mike Piazza, he’ll go to Oakland with very little left in his bat. RINSGOLBY: Japan. He’s worn out his welcome in the major leagues. He gives a Japanese team a fan attraction. KLAPISCH: Indians. Nice way to finish out his career, back where it all started. PERRY: A’s. Oakland badly needs DH production and Ramirez — foibles, missteps and all — can provide that. Given his age and poor reputation, he’ll also likely provide that on the cheap. Sounds like an Oakland kind of move.
Victor Martinez, C/1B
ROSENTHAL: Rangers. The consolation prize for losing Lee — and a catcher/first baseman/DH who would help replace Vladimir Guerrero’s lost offense. MOROSI: Mariners. He’s a perfect fit in Seattle, where his former manager Eric Wedge is now in charge. There, Victor could catch, play first and DH. A lot of at-bats to be had, given Seattle’s anemic offense last year. RINGOLSBY: Rangers. A perfect fit. Big-time offensive player who can fill in at first as well as behind the plate, both of which are needs. KLAPISCH: Blue Jays. Darkhorse candidate, looking for a first baseman/DH. Tigers will push hard, as well, but for full-time catcher. PERRY: Tigers. Detroit is committed to making a high-dollar signing this winter, and Martinez fills its need for a catcher/DH type.
Paul Konerko, 1B
ROSENTHAL: Orioles. The Diamondbacks are more logical, but it’s time for the Orioles to splurge in free agency. They tried — and failed — with Konerko after the 2005 season. MOROSI: Diamondbacks. If White Sox really wanted to keep him, it would be clear by now. He seems like a Kevin Towers/Kirk Gibson type of player. Arizona declined its option on Adam LaRoche, so there is an opening. RINGOLSBY: Dodgers. L.A. is looking to deal James Loney. Konerko is an offensive upgrade who provides legit middle-of-lineup power but will be 35 in March, which limits length of deal. KLAPISCH: Diamondbacks. From Scottsdale, still lives there, would be a perfect coming-home fit for Arizona. PERRY: Orioles. Konerko made himself a lot of money with a walk year in which he hit 39 bombs and ranked fourth in the AL in OPS. Need meets longstanding desire in Baltimore.
Derek Jeter, SS / Mariano Rivera, RHP
ROSENTHAL: Yankees. The Jeter drama is already tired. Both sides need each other. End of story. MOROSI: Yankees. But not before some clickable remarks by those involved. RINGOLSBY: Yankees. They are the face of the franchise. Negotiations will drag on, but both sides need each other. KLAPISCH: Yankees. The closer will be re-signed without incident. But don't be surprised if Jeter's deal takes weeks, if not months. PERRY: Yankees. No, this particular half of the “core four” isn’t going anywhere. Given recent trends, Rivera is more likely to justify his next contract, but both will be in pinstripes until retirement.
Adrian Beltre, 3B
ROSENTHAL: Mariners. The M’s greater need is at shortstop, but they won’t find offense at that position. Goodbye Jose Lopez, welcome back Beltre. MOROSI: Red Sox. Scott Boras knows better than to take Beltre out of a hitter-friendly ballpark where he thrived. And the Red Sox are smart enough to recognize his value as a two-way player who can handle playing in Boston. RINGOLSBY: Angels. Has missed SoCal since leaving Dodgers. Angels have two needs Beltre fills — run producer and quality third baseman. KLAPISCH: Red Sox. Hinting he wants to be closer to family out west, which will force Sox to overpay to keep him. PERRY: Angels. Given the Angels’ resources, repeated failures of Brandon Wood to transition to the highest level and Beltre’s established comfort level in SoCal ... why not?
Adam Dunn, 1B
ROSENTHAL: Cubs. Dunn was one of the many free-agent hitters the Cubs bypassed for Milton Bradley after the 2008 season. They won’t make the same mistake again. MOROSI: Tigers. He’s a DH. At least, he’s going to be one by the end of a multi-year contract. Might as well embrace it now. A Dunn-Miguel Cabrera pairing would be downright scary. RINGOLSBY: White Sox. Sox need a productive bat, particularly with loss of Konerko. Can use him at DH, but also have first base opportunity that Dunn wants. KLAPISCH: Tigers. They could sure use the offensive boost and have the Benjamins to pay for all those HRs (and Ks). PERRY: White Sox. We saw these flirtations near the non-waiver trade deadline. The Sox badly need left-handed pop and DH/first baseman type. Dunn is the kind of big-splash addition they’re seeking.
Jayson Werth, OF
ROSENTHAL: Red Sox. End of the Daniel Nava era. Werth will play left for one year, then move back to right after J.D. Drew’s contract expires. MOROSI: Giants. What, you expect them to kick back in California after winning a title? My take: Werth in right, Cody Ross in left, Mark DeRosa at third, Pablo Sandoval traded. RINGOLSBY: Red Sox. Will be 31 next year, which means long-term is a gamble. Boston has the deep pockets to take the chance. KLAPISCH: Red Sox. Theo will make a spot for him in a crowded outfield. Edgy enough to fit right in with Sox-Yanks rivalry. PERRY: Red Sox. Right-handed power bat in Fenway, defensive flexibility, and the fan base demands a signature addition.
Carl Crawford, OF
ROSENTHAL: Angels. A more comfortable fit for him than Boston, where the scrutiny would be greater. MOROSI: Angels. L.A. needs to make a splash after an odd, non-playoff year. Crawford, a Texas native, would be a nice counterpunch at the Rangers. RINGOLSBY: Astros. Houston had strong second half, which created expectations. Crawford is a hometown kid who can impact a lineup on team that created payroll room with moves of Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt. KLAPISCH: Angels. Close friendship with Torii Hunter will be a factor. Angels looking for a fast overhaul for '11. Yankees are the long shots, unless Lee stays in Texas. Then, they move to the front of the line. PERRY: Yankees. Left-handed bat that’s on the verge of breaking out, elite defensive skills, name value, set to be plucked from a division rival — it’s all coming up Yankees.
Cliff Lee, LHP
ROSENTHAL: Yankees. Take Texas’ last offer, add $25 million and a soundproof booth at the stadium for Mrs. Lee. MOROSI: Rangers. Why do so many assume the Yanks will be the highest bidder? Texas owner Chuck Greenberg is driven to win — and ready to spend. RINGOLSBY: Rangers. Arkansas native has comfort zone in Texas. Rangers will make it worth his while. KLAPISCH: Yankees. Hard to resist financial might of baseball's equivalent to Microsoft. Mrs. Lee will get over the fans, somehow. PERRY: Rangers. Beloved in and accustomed to Arlington, Lee will stay. I think, anyway. Proximity to his Arkansas home, no state income taxes, increased Texas revenue stream and promise of yearly contention also make this a fit.