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15 Major League Free Agents I'd Give A Call

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Arranged in no particular order...

Jose Guillen: He may have both feet out the door, but he hasn't yet made it to the sidewalk. As a guy who lines quite a few pitches into right field, we know he can hit in Safeco, and he should be a little better defensively going forward presuming his ankles are all better. He's worth a last-ditch re-signing effort. I wouldn't want to make too big of a commitment, but he's a good player, and he deserves to be paid like one.

Mike Cameron: Everyone loves Cammy. Unfortunately, Cammy doesn't love Safeco. He'd be a long shot to return, since I think he'd prefer to play center somewhere else, but the 25-game suspension should keep interest down a little bit, and he'd be an asset in right field for a year or two. Might as well ask.

Geoff Jenkins: If the Mariners really want him, I think he'd be an easy get. And the Mariners should really want him, because he's a left-handed hitter with good power who plays a mean left field. If I had to choose a few free agents to play on the team next year, Jenkins would be #1 or #2 on the list. He's local, he's good, he won't require a big commitment; what's not to like? Yeah, he's injury-prone, but with Reed and Balentien hanging around in AAA (if Wlad doesn't get traded), it's not like we're lacking for stopgaps.

Bartolo Colon: Dave already wrote this up. He's the right kind of gamble.

Josh Towers: I'm cheating here, because Towers isn't technically a free agent yet, but he will be one Toronto cuts him loose. Safeco was built for guys like this. As a flyball pitcher whose go-to strategy is to lob the ball over the plate and see what happens, Towers has a lot in common with Paul Byrd, but inflated home run rates and worse durability have shot his value to hell. Still, though, there's ability here, and as a one-year flier at the back of the rotation, you could do a lot worse. Not markedly better than Cha Baek, but he's a veteran, so the organization will think he is.

John Thomson: Yeah, he's available again. Yeah, he's still mediocre and injury-prone. But he still has the same ability he had a year ago, and is the right kind of guy to compete with Morrow, Baek, and RRS in March, should the team still have a question mark in the 5 slot. I don't think he'd be too thrilled with AAA were he not to win out, but if you give him one of those cheap contracts where he can declare free agency if he's not on the ML roster by June 15th or something, then there's no real downside.

Jose Cruz Jr.: Strictly as a fourth outfielder and Ibanez replacement when a lefty's on the mound. Not a starter. Reasonable veteran (there's that word again) contingency plan for Jenkins or

Milton Bradley: He's always injured, but the man can hit, and his track record and ACL injury will knock his value to the floor. Might not be 100% until May, but then, you know that ahead of time, so you get a Cruz Jr. or lean on Reed/Balentien. He'll be cheap, he can play a corner, he switch-hits, and the Everett/Guillen acquisitions show that this organization is willing to sign guys with spotty histories. Good risk.

Jeff Cirillo: I'd tell him to go fuck himself.

Matt Clement: Clement's shoulder has been to hell and back, and now he's got the reputation as being a colossal bust. Which he was. But he was apparently ready to pitch again last September, and the last time he was healthy, he was good. Before he fell apart, Clement was a durable power pitcher who did a decent job of keeping the ball on the ground, and he's only 33 years old. Seattle probably isn't his first choice, but if you show him enough money and offer him the chance to re-enter the market a year from now after a bounceback season in a friendly environment, he'd have to consider it.

David Wells: Strike-thrower who likes the West Coast and wouldn't require more than a year and a few million. Prefers Southern California, but could be swayed. Not my first choice, but light years ahead of Morrow.

Randy Wolf: I've got a thing for pitchers with arm problems. Wolf's shoulder went funny last year, and he hasn't made 30 starts in a season since 2003, but he's good when he's healthy, and he's probably not in line to get that much money. He's got a wide range of potential outcomes, but with the team looking how it does, I'd rather go high risk/high reward than lean on proven mediocrities like Jarrod Washburn.

Jon Lieber: This one had a trick foot. Lieber's 2007 was cut short after getting surgery on a ruptured tendon, but that's better than an arm problem, and he's a durable strike-thrower when he's on the mound. Inflated ERA's these last few years should help keep his value down, although he stands a good chance of getting a lot of money anyway from an old school GM who remembers what he used to be. Long shot, but still worth talking to.

Cliff Floyd: I doubt he wants to come here, and he's always hurt, but this organization should probably be placing calls to any and every left-handed corner outfielder with any semblance of strength. Of course, if you prefer someone better, there's always

Brad Wilkerson: He's kind of like Geoff Jenkins, actually, although he gets to his final numbers in a different way. Wilkerson's a lefty bat who can actually hit lefty arms, and while he's a 30 year old with good power and a league-average glove, his low average and strikeouts should keep him from seeing too much money this winter. I'd rather have Jenkins, but you could do worse on a one-year deal. The downside is that you get a repeat of last year's Richie Sexson, but Wilkerson would be a lot easier to dump in the garbage if he's not producing by July.

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The Japanese players aren't included, because I don't know that much about them, but expect to hear a lot about Fukudome and Kuroda in the coming days/weeks. From what I can tell, the former is intriguing, and the latter isn't. Also, you'll notice that nearly everyone on that list is going to end up with a short contract. This isn't a mistake. Free agency is almost invariably a bad place to be giving out long-term deals, as you tend to be paying for what a player's done instead of what you expect him to do. The Mariners need to be careful as they wade through these waters. There's value to be had, but they have to be willing to dive for it.