Commentary

Money line

A former GM handicaps next year's free agent class

Updated: January 26, 2012, 11:18 AM ET
By Jim Bowden | ESPN Insider
Matt Cain and Cole HamelsUS PresswireMatt Cain and Cole Hamels are two of the most prominent potential free agents next winter.

A version of this story appears in the Feb. 6 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Already tired of talking about Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols? ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden, a former big league GM, ranks next year's free agents in order of how much he'd pay them if he were sitting in the front office.


lastname

Matt Cain
RHP
San Francisco Giants
Age: 27

Why he'll stay: Few players are a better fit for their home park than Cain, a fly-ball pitcher with a 3.12 career ERA at AT&T Park. Plus, the Giants have built their recent success on pitching.

Why he'll leave: Tim Lincecum will hit the free agent market a year later, and the Giants may not be able to afford both guys. I see each as an ace, but the club will likely choose Timmy.

Chance he leaves: 50 percent

Bowden's bid: Six years, $132 million

Possible fits: New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers


lastname

Cole Hamels
LHP
Philadelphia Phillies
Age: 28

Jim Bowden

Baseball, Insider