Pedro Martinez is the best pitcher eligible for free agency after
this season, but there should be a bounty of good hitters
available. Here are the top five.
Carlos Beltran, CF, Royals, 26. Entering prime production age,
the game's best five-tool player (26 home runs, 41 stolen bases
last season) will make $9 million this year and is getting too
expensive for Kansas City. Won't lack for suitors, including the
Carlos Delgado, 1B, Blue Jays, 31. Plate discipline and power fit
Toronto's philosophy, and both sides would like to see him stay
put. He will have to take a pay cut from $18.5 million to do so.
Magglio Ordonez, RF, White Sox, 30. How they handle Ordonez will
be an indicator of whether the White Sox are changing their
mid-market approach. L.A. is a good fit.
Edgar Renteria, SS, Cardinals, 28. If Nomar Garciaparra bolts
Boston, Renteria would be a logical replacement there.
Jose Vidro, 2B, Expos, 29. The A's, Red Sox, Yanks and White Sox
have a need at second, so expect Vidro to be traded by midseason.
His new team may have the edge in re-signing him.
COLOR PHOTO: BERNIE NUNEZ/ICON SMI Beltran