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Market shaping up for Adam Dunn


Market shaping up for Adam Dunn
The market for free-agent outfielder Adam Dunn is starting to take shape.

The Braves, Mariners and Nationals are among the teams interested in Dunn, major-league sources say, and his list of suitors could grow quickly.

Dunn, 29, also represents a fallback position for the Dodgers if they lose Manny Ramirez and the Angels if they lose Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees, too, could emerge as an option if they strike out on the top free-agent starting pitchers.

MLB Hot Stove

The Brewers are not out of the Sabathia sweepstakes, either, but they will need to increase their offer to six years to stand a serious chance. Sabathia enjoyed playing in Milwaukee, and the Brewers could remain a contender if they successfully reconstruct their bullpen.

Right-hander Ben Sheets is likely to decline the team's offer of salary arbitration, according to a major-league source, but right-hander Yovani Gallardo will be healthy from the start of the season and the team could trade shortstop J.J. Hardy for an established No. 2 or No. 3 starter.

Hardy, who is two years away from free agency, would be worth that price. Not only is he a top defender, but he also ranked second among major-league shortstops in homers, fourth in slugging percentage and eighth in on-base percentage last season.

Think of how much better the Twins would be if they acquired Hardy for one of their young starting pitchers and signed free agent Casey Blake to play third base.

The Manny market

Manny Ramirez, who earned $20 million last season, probably would command at least $25 million on a one-year deal if he accepted the Dodgers' offer of arbitration.

The Dodgers would rejoice over such a development — it would mark the second time they've gotten ridiculously lucky with Ramirez, the first being when they acquired him last July 31.

But does anyone seriously think Ramirez and his agent, Scott Boras, will decide by the Sunday deadline that a lucrative multi-year deal is out of reach?

Such a move would be a concession by Boras that the faltering economy is inhibiting the free-agent market — a premise that the agent has disputed since the start of the offseason.

Ramirez, who wants at least a four-year contract, wouldn't be happy if he returned to the Dodgers on a one-year deal. And an unhappy Manny would be a problem for both Boras and the Dodgers.

Take it, 'Tek

Another Boras client, Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, is a strong candidate to accept arbitration. In fact, it would be an upset if Varitek rejected the team's offer and the chance to earn about $10 million on a one-year deal.

Varitek, 36, simply isn't in position to land the four-year, $52.4 million, free-agent contract that the Yankees awarded catcher Jorge Posada last offseason.

The economy, of course, is one reason, but Posada also was coming off a career year. Varitek batted .220 last season, and there is no obvious fit for him with a contending team.

The Tigers seem disinclined to pay a catcher big money. The Dodgers, who already have Russell Martin, are trying to fill too many holes.

Any team that signs Varitek also would lose a high draft pick — something that would be difficult to justify for a 36-year-old catcher in offensive decline.

Risky business for White Sox

Free-agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera had a tumultuous season with the White Sox, sparring with manager Ozzie Guillen and right fielder Jermaine Dye.

Why, then, would he want to return?

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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 4, 2008

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