OF Bernie Williams, Yankees
Newsday reported that Williams is leaning toward accepting the Yankees' offer of a Minor League deal, where he could retire if he does not make the squad out of Spring Training. He had earlier told The Journal News of suburban Westchester, New York, that he is not ready for retirement, but that he could move on without regrets. "There are other things in my life that have become just as important as baseball," said Williams.
RHP Roger Clemens, Astros
Speaking at a St. John's University sports banquet in New York, baseball's most coveted 44-year-old said that he still loves to compete, but falling short of the postseason -- as his Astros did in 2006 -- is not an option. Clemens has stated that he would only pitch for one of three teams in 2007 -- the Astros, the Red Sox or the Yankees, all of whom have ties close to his heart.
LHP Ron Villone, Yankees
The Toronto Globe and Mail's Jeff Blair wrote in his blog that the Blue Jays have some interest in signing Villone to an incentives-based contract. Toronto has a relatively young bullpen and the 37-year-old left-hander would add a veteran presence. Villone had a strong first half for the Yankees in 2006 but appeared to be overworked and was largely ineffective over the final two months of the season.
RHP Mike DeJean, Rockies
The Denver Post reported that DeJean began throwing off a mound last week in his return from rotator-cuff surgery. Colorado and the Yankees are interested, and the reliever hopes to get a guaranteed contract rather than a Minor League or incentive-laden deal.
RHP Steve Trachsel, Mets
Trachsel's time in New York is likely up after he was forced to leave Game 3 of the NLCS and was skipped over for a Game 7 start. A 15-game winner with a 4.97 ERA, Trachsel said he had no indication if the Mets would want him back, but the Mets should look to fill their rotation with younger versions of the right-hander from within.
3B David Bell, Brewers
Acquired by Milwaukee in July as a fill-in for injured third baseman Corey Koskie, Bell finished strong to reach the .270 plateau, and he hit at least 10 home runs for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons. Bell is dogged by back problems that have hurt his offense, but remains good enough defensively to warrant a starting job somewhere.
2B Ronnie Belliard, Cardinals
Belliard was expected by many to return to Cleveland before the Indians traded for Josh Barfield, but the Cardinals liked what they saw when they had him. Belliard's defense was better than the team expected. Still, his offense took a turn in the wrong direction, and second basemen don't tend to age well. Belliard will be 32 shortly after Opening Day.
RHP Vinnie Chulk, Giants
The reliever will probably return, as he has excelled when dealing with inherited runners in a setup role. The team's bullpen was in disarray much of last season, and his experience is sorely needed after he and Shea Hillenbrand were traded from Toronto for promising reliever Jeremy Accardo.
RHP Matt Herges, Marlins
At 36, the veteran right-handed reliever will battle and log some innings. But at this stage of his career, he doesn't project to be a primary seventh- or eighth-inning reliever. A non-roster invitee by the Marlins in 2006, he made the club and earned $600,000. The Marlins are not expected to make a strong push to bring Herges back, but the door is open for his return. He feels he has another year or two left to help round out some team's bullpen.
RHP Chan Ho Park, Padres
He was in the midst of a solid comeback season as a fourth starter before he was disabled by an intestinal bleeding disorder. Park, 33, came back to pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason and is young enough to be effective in the rotation or out of the bullpen. He should attract attention as a back-of-the-rotation option for teams like the Yankees, Mariners, Giants or the Dodgers. The Padres have some interest in keeping him.
OF Jeromy Burnitz, Pirates
Burnitz, 37, is considering retirement after suffering through one of the worst seasons of his career last year with the Pirates. Burnitz still has some pop left in his bat, as evidenced by the 16 home runs he hit in 313 at-bats in 2006, but he is probably best suited for a reserve role at this point. He could provide a left-handed power bat off of the bench for a team in need of outfield depth.
LHP Mark Redman, Royals
Redman led the Royals' staff in wins (11), starts (29) and innings (167). The club has interest in re-signing Redman, but the well-traveled lefty, who turns 33 on Jan. 5, might be out of their price range. He exhibited a streaky element last season, winning all five starts in June and finishing with four wins in his last six starts. Any club needing a middle-rotation lefty could be interested.