Best viewed in IE 4.0+
Out of the Frying Pan
2002 Holiday Leftovers: Bench

by Jessica Polko

Many of these players are coming off contracts in which they were overpaid. However at more equitable prices they once again become valuable to their teams.

John Flaherty shouldn't have been allowed to interfere with Toby Hall's playing time in Tampa, but he does offer more than most of the other catchers on the market. Very few teams are still in the market for even a back-up catcher. However, the Rangers have expressed an interest in signing another player to compete with Todd Greene for the position as Einar Diaz's back-up.

Tyler Houston seems set to sign with Colorado, as their primary third baseman and third catcher. His moderate power skills should blossom in Coors, though I think the Rockies should have moved a player from another position to cover third. If the deal with Colorado isn't completed, Houston could look into the Mets, as they seem to be interested in adding another infielder despite the presence of Ty Wigginton.

David Ortiz slipped through our nets when assembling the lineup for this series of articles, or he might have bumped someone else from the team. I was quite surprised when the Twins released him, as I felt some club would have offered something in trade. With Ortiz's moderate power skills and ability to take a walk, I think the Red Sox will have interest in signing him to help out at first and DH even though his contact rate could use a boost. Anaheim might also be interested in signing him to fill their DH opening.

Meanwhile, Boston's 2002 gamble at first, Tony Clark may have difficulty finding work after failing to pan out for the Red Sox. I was disappointed in Clark, as though he remained healthy all of his offensive skills deteriorated significantly, particularly his walk rate and power. I think the Royals might be an interesting destination for Kansas native Clark, since they should add another player to their DH mix and can afford to give him another opportunity to rebound.

If the Braves added Travis Lee he could platoon with Matt Franco, as Lee performs significantly better against lefties. However, I'm not sure Atlanta should commit to platooning Franco. I expect the Expos to have some interest in signing Lee, particularly if he's willing to work inexpensively. Montreal may also choose simply to re-sign Lee Stevens, who posted a poor batting average last season but basically maintained his skills. Stevens is from Kansas City, so he may also try to find work with the Royals in a DH capacity.

I don't know how many players the Rockies are looking to add, but they have expressed interest in a middle infielder, so they could pursue Marlon Anderson. Anderson's production dipped last season, and he doesn't possess strong plate discipline, but he can offer a team moderate power and speed up the middle.

The Royals are also looking for a middle infielder, so they could go after Anderson, but I see Desi Relaford as a more likely choice for Kansas City. Relaford came down hard after a career year in 2001, however he's shown a higher ceiling than Anderson and is more accustomed to playing a variety of positions.

Ron Belliard may have difficulty finding more than a Spring Training invitation after breaking his thumb playing winter ball. However, the injury could also lower his price sufficiently to make him a prime candidate to sign with Montreal, who is looking for bench players and might need more depending on what trades they complete.

Robert Fick was another player who I was surprised wasn't traded. All-star credentials will usually pull an offer from someone. I can easily see this California native heading to the Angels. However, he could also try to remain in his old division, as the Indians would like a veteran to share in the corners of the outfield, first base, and DH.

Todd Hollandsworth seems like Tampa's best bet to hold center until Rocco Baldelli has had some additional development time. He won't cost as much as Kenny Lofton, but he can cover centerfield. Alex Ochoa may try to find work with the Devil Rays, as he's from Florida. However, Ochoa would probably be a better fit on Montreal or Cleveland. I think Ruben Sierra also could find work with the Expos, though I certainly wouldn't be surprised if he remained in the AL West, plying Anaheim for a piece of their DH at-bats.

The Devil Rays might also consider Chuck Knoblauch with Carl Crawford playing some center field. Injury slowed Knoblauch in 2002, but his skills remain solid and I think he could rebound nicely with whatever club signs him for next season.

Few teams in baseball wouldn't benefit from adding Orlando Palmeiro to their bench. While he doesn't offer any power, he possesses moderate speed skills and excellent plate discipline. I wouldn't be surprised to see him land in Toronto or Montreal.

Click here to read the previous article.

I can't please all the people all of the time, but I am more than willing to read the comments of the pleased, the irate, and everyone in between. You can send your opinions to
Advertise on
All content ©2001-18 Rotohelp, Inc. All rights reserved. PO Box 72054 Roselle, IL 60172.
Please send your comments, suggestions, and complaints to: