Tru School Sports Hot Stove Presents: Top MLB Free Agents (Ranks 36-40)
40.) Paul Konerko, 1B (2013 stats: .244/.313/.355, 12 HR, 41 R, 54 RBI in 467 AB):
A mainstay in the heart of the Chicago White Sox order for 15 years, Konerko and front office officials have yet to meet heading into the Winter Meetings, leaving his future with the club uncertain. With the team signing free agent Jose Abreu to a six-year, $68 million deal and Adam Dunn sticking around to be the DH, the only role left for Konerko appears to be in a pinch-hitting mentor role. Dunn is still weighing out his retirement options, which would undoubtedly open the door for Konerko to be re-signed. All signs point to him staying in Chi-town, however, there are a few big-budget AL teams who are always looking for another bat, but my money is on him ending his career with the White Sox.
Possible Suitors: White Sox, Red Sox, Angels, Yankees
Possible Suitors: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Phillies, Rangers
Possible Suitors: Marlins, White Sox, Yankees, Cubs
37.) Colby Lewis, P (DNP due to elbow/hip injuries): Coming off multiple surgeries on his elbow and his hip, Lewis will undoubtedly be a bargain for a team looking for a middle of the rotation starter with upper half of the rotation potential. When healthy, Lewis put up above average numbers in Texas, posting 32 wins and a sub-4.00 ERA in a little over two seasons. While the injuries may scare some suitors away, at 34 Lewis likely has a few years of service left to give, and he could provide a borderline playoff contender with a surprising jolt in their rotation to propel them into the postseason. The most logical choice here is for Milwaukee to scoop him up, but Texas may want to keep him as well.
Possible Suitors: Brewers, Rangers, Rockies
36.) Josh Johnson, P (2013 stats: 2-8, 6.20 ERA, 83/30 K/BB in 81 1/3 IP): Without question one of the more talented arms in the league, Johnson struggled with elbow issues all season for Toronto, and placed doubt in the eyes of several teams. Having said that, when healthy Johnson is a top of the rotation type of pitcher who can carry a team on his back for weeks at a time. Considering that even with his injury issues he still maintained his fastball velocity and strikeout rates, you can be sure that there will be plenty of teams willing to give him a one-year trial run for somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 million. The Blue Jays will likely try to get him back for a year or two, but they will undoubtedly have a great deal of competition for the righty.
Possible Suitors: Blue Jays, Royals, Pirates, Nationals, Cubs, Phillies, Rays
Scott Eastment is a former college baseball player at Frostburg State Univeristy and also covers Major League Baseball for FOX Sports/Yardbarker affiliate Baseball Hot Corner. He has his MBA in sport business and in marketing and hopes to one day become an MLB front office executive. Follow him on Twitter @SportsGeek02