Here at the CD, we've got a track record for accuracy. And brilliance. And moxie. And most importantly - honesty.
Which is why we had no problem posting our free agent predictions last November. Hooks, nor I, expected 100% accuracy, or even 75%. But we think we're gooder and smarter than everyone else, so nailing half of our FA predictions might have been a lofty goal, but we were shooting for greatness.
As you can see, it didn't go too well. We looked like jackasses for the first time ever. Ever. Had John Smoltz not been given that massive contract from TBS, he'd have been a Cardinal, dammit.
But we have learned from our mistakes and we are ready to tackle this 2011 free agent class, helmet to helmet. We swiped the first 25 of MLBTR's top 50, and tossed in five more wild card picks. For an extra treat, enjoy the bonus commentary from Hooks:
1.) Cliff Lee (Hooks: Yankees. HMW: Yankees.) - Wifey will get over the drunken New Yawkers jaw boning her ear hole during the ALCS. How? Gobs and gobs of money. I think the blowback from not signing Lee in NYC would be far worse than signing him for 130 million and him turning into A.J. Burnett Jr.
2.) Carl Crawford (Hooks: Red Sox. HMW: Angels.) - The Sox juice is gone. They're a boring team. Their big ticket item from 2009, John Lackey, looks to be an expensive 3rd starter. They need some juvination. And Crawford with his exploits in the 3 hole for the Rays drove his price up to the point where only Boston and NYY have a shot. I don't think Theo let's this CC get away.
3.) Adrian Beltre (Hooks: Angels. HMW: Red Sox.) - Too much money not to blow on a high ticket guy. Beltre has some baggage, so he'll get that 3-4 year deal for way too much, unlike Werth who will get way too much for 5-6 years.
4.) Jayson Werth (Hooks: SF. HMW: Cubs.) - The Giants flush with WS hype and cash decide to get a proven bat to go out in RF. The final determinate? His fetish of odd and bushy facial hair is finally embraced by this northern California enclave.
5.) Adam Dunn (Hooks: Nats. HMW: Rangers.) - It seems like Dunn has been rumored to be out of Washington for like 10 years, no? I have no basis for this, but I think he likes it there with the Nats. Unless Detroit comes over the top rope for him, I say he stays.
6.) Victor Martinez (Hooks: Tigers. HMW: Tigers.) - Do you think there are Latinos in Detroit that don't play on the Tigers? If you're name ends with a Z, does the community just assume you're involved with baseball? I bet they do.
7.) Rafael Soriano (Hooks: Angels. HMW: Braves.) - The Angels continue to stockpile free agents that are most certainly going to continue to force Mike Scioscia to binge eat. By 2012, he's going to be 500 lbs.
8.) Mariano Rivera (Hooks: Yankees. HMW: Yankees.) - There is literally 0% chance he goes elsewhere. If he did, Taco Bell would have to make all new XXL Chalupa ads, which aren't cheap.
9.) Paul Konerko (Hooks: White Sox. HMW: D'Backs.) - Really? Paul Konerko is in the top 10 of this list? Can we all agree that unless you get Lee or Crawford, you might as well wait until March to start signing anyone?
10.) Derek Jeter (Hooks: Yankees. HMW: Yankees.) - Right now Jeeetah is on some tropical island with Minka Kelly and you're reading a blog. Life is NOT fair.
11.) Hiroki Kuroda (Hooks: Carp. HMW: Phillies.) - Going off the board here and saying that Kuroda goes back to his Hiroshima Carp team, which has been pursuing him this off-season. Leaving the Dodgers for the Carp is perfect cap to the McCourt era.
12.) Jorge De La Rosa (Hooks: Rockies. HMW: Rangers.) - I've already exhausted my Latino humor with Victor Martinez. Perhaps, De La Rosa can announce his decision on Lopez Tonight? Would that be more entertaining that whatever else Lopez is up to? Probably.
13.) Carl Pavano (Hooks: Twins. HMW: Brewers.) - Hometown discount. Carl learned his lesson chasing the bucks last year. He likes the obscurity of living in Minnesota and only getting 3 playoff games per year.
14.) Jake Westbrook (Hooks: Cardinals. HMW: Reds.) - I say a short deal, 2 years, where he can play one behind the best hitter in baseball, pad the stats and go after that last huge 4 year deal in 2013.
15.) Aubry Huff (Hooks: Giants. HMW: Rays.) - If the Giants even come close to any other teams offers, he going back to the Giants. He somehow became the face of a team he seemed to absolutely adore.
16.) Juan Uribe (Hooks: Giants. HMW: Astros.) - The Cardinals are going to sniff around the SS, but at the end of the day, the Giants are going to cripple their next 3 years by signing Huff & Uribe to 'Thank You' contracts and realize what the 2006 Cardinals did isn't the ultimate execution of skill, but rather a fun fluke.
17.) Carlos Pena (Hooks: Cubs. HMW: Nationals.) - He looks like Derrek Lee, right? We'll just tell them that it's Derrek Lee over there at 1st base and call it an off-season.
18.) Jim Thome (Hooks: Twins. HMW: Twins.) - Jim Thome is the last of a dying breed... the white home run slugger. He needs to be with his people in the frosty northern US. Be pale, Jim. Be oh so pale.
19.) Vladimir Guerrero (Hooks: Rangers. HMW: Rangers.) - This cat was DONE when he went to the Rangers. People were honestly speculating he could be in his mid-forties and he looked every bit the part. Then something happened in Arlington this summer and the dude became a pretty valuable DH. Texas will give him 2 years at a reasonable price and keep Vlad.
20.) Manny Ramirez (Hooks: Dodgers. HMW: White Sox.) - The McCourts sell this off-season, no one offers Man-Ram a contract. He pulls and Iverson and comes back to the place he's probably still loved the most and he puts up one final decent year. Or he could go to Seattle. I have no idea. He has no idea.
21.) Magglio Ordonez (Hooks: Tigers. HMW: A's.) - The Tigers suffered through that last contract with Magglio. He owes them.
22.) Orlando Hudson (Hooks: Cardinals. HMW: Twins.) - After about 35 different flirtations with the Cardinals, he finally comes to the STL and we'll all be screaming for Skip Schumaker by May.
23.) Derrek Lee (Hooks: Rays. HMW: White Sox.) - Turnabout is only fair play. ATL has the inside track on Lee, but something tells me he will take a pay cut to go to TB and try to, you know, actually have a chance at a ring.
24.) Lance Berkman (Hooks: Mariners. HMW: Giants.) - When the F did this guy become so terrible? Wasn't it like 2 years ago he was still tearing up the NL Central and the Cardinals? Was he wildly overvalued because of his division or has he just fallen off a cliff? I can't believe he isn't better than a part-time DH.
25.) Andy Pettitte (Hooks: Yankees. HMW: Retirement.) - Easiest call on the board. He'll only play for the Yankees or Houston and the Stros suck, so he's coming back to the Yankees. And no, awww shucks Andy isn't turning down free money. He might retire next season 5 starts in, but he's getting vested in that contract first.
Wild Cards - Hooks:
1.) Brad Penny - Angels - The girl got the ring. Now she's got him dead to rights. He'll be in LA before X-Mas.
2.) Johnny Damon - Red Sox - The return of the hair.
3.) John Buck - Royals - Just because.
4.) Bill Hall - Astros - He could have 40 HR's with the Crapford Boxes in play.
5.) Kerry Wood - Yankees - The Cubs are the only club that can take a nice role player like Wood and ruin him for years with hype. Take the pomp away and Wood can now be a serviceable player on a good team.
Wild Cards - HMW:
1.) Javier Vazquez - Nationals - I think they'll nab Javy and Brandon Webb. The DC brass will try to find someone with "name value" to put asses in the seats between April and early September, when Strasburg comes back.
2.) Brad Penny - Padres - Along the same line of thinking that Hooks is on. I think he could be good in SD, assuming he doesn't pull another fat muscle.
3.) Bengie Molina - Reds - He hit a couple home runs in the playoffs, so the Royals could offer a 4 for $36 million deal, or something stupid. But I think Walt adds his own Molina, and maybe even the third one, just to send a message.
4.) Arthur Rhodes - Yankees - Did you see their bullpen in the playoffs? Barf city.
5.) Jeff Francis - Cardinals - It might come in late March, but after the dust settles from Albert's mega-deal in late January, this is what we get for dessert.