As usual, New York will set the market. They can be expected to get whomever they target, as they did last year with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, because they will not be outbid. So if they want to upgrade their starting pitching, they could target John Lackey. If they believe, however, that Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes all will be in their rotation next year, they could take the $26 million in savings from letting Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui go and grab outfielder Matt Holliday—or save it for the 2010 free-agent class, which will be much deeper. Barring any contract extensions, that class will include pitchers Halladay, Cliff Lee, Josh Beckett and Brandon Webb; catchers Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez; and outfielders Crawford, Jayson Werth and Adam Dunn.
4 | The bidding for Aroldis Chapman
The Cuban defector is a 21-year-old lefthander who throws in the upper 90s. His breaking ball and command, though, need refinement. As a free agent he could get something between the four-year, $32 million deal the Yankees gave Jose Contreras in 2002 and the six-year, $52 million deal Boston gave Daisuke Matsuzaka three seasons ago. No wonder the owners want a worldwide draft in the next collective bargaining agreement. The Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Mariners, Tigers, Orioles, Braves and Marlins are among the many teams interested in Chapman.