About an hour after I asked which teams can afford to sign a free agent, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated provided his own take on the situation. Except his is a bit more inclusive. The only team which shows up on my list but not his is the White Sox, though I think he underestimates Ken Williams’s penchant for sneaking in a deal. All told, he thinks half the teams in baseball can afford another “big deal or two”: Dodgers, Giants, Mets, Brewers, Braves, A’s, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels, Nationals, Orioles, Yankees, Twins, Rangers, Mariners.
I guess “big deal” is a relative term. I’m still skeptical that the Mariners, Rangers, Twins, or Orioles will add more than $5 million in 2009 payroll. The Nats might be willing to add more, but will it really help them compete in the stacked NL East? Still, I think most of these teams are out on the guys we ran down in today’s RAB Radio Show.
A couple of other Yankee-related notes from Heyman:
- The definitive word on Pettitte: “But where else is he going to go?” I still think a deal gets done as February approaches. It makes sense for both parties.
- “Hal Steinbrenner is thought to be against signing [Manny] Ramirez.” That was pretty much a given.
- “The Yankees are said to be getting more interest in Nick Swisher than Xavier Nady.” I can understand why, in terms of Swisher being locked up for the next three years. Then again, it’s not like he’s played since last season. Perhaps part of the reason is teams think they can get Swisher on the cheap. No, I’m sure Cashman wouldn’t trade him for Aaron Heilman.
- Heyman says that Bobby Abreu’s defense isn’t as bad as we might think. “Abreu, in fact, is fifth in assists among right fielders over the last three years and third in fielding percentage.” I imagine him saying this with a completely straight face, as if any of us believes that fielding percentage — for an outfielder, no less — counts for a damn thing. Almost all advanced defensive metrics out there have Abreu at the bottom of the league.