Kent Mercker - The 2008 price tag on this workhorse was $600,000. And that was back when he was in demand somewhere. That's why I'm recommending Huntington call him up, tell him he's a piece of shit that doesn't deserve to take the field, and then grant him one last chance to prove himself-- for major league minimum wage. Something tough like that. Worst case scenario, we get turned down by Kent freakin' Mercker: boo hoo.
#1 reason this can't miss: Mercker is practically a Cardinal-killer, going 4-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 76 IP.
Luis Ayala - I don't know how this K-train got derailed, and I'm not about to read the wiki to find out. Dude was flat out sick in DC, and if he's willing to work for less, surrounded by idiots, and to the point of injury, I'm willing to talk turkey with his agent.
#1 reason this can't miss: Craig Biggio was 0/8 in his career against Ayala, with 2 strikeouts.
Orlando Hernandez - El Duque made $7,000,000 from the Mets last year. At age 42, he has to realize that his only chance of donning the black and gold (and red weekend jersey), is on the Roberto Hernandez package. I know the man earned a World Series ring with the Yankees, escaped Cuba on a life raft, and won 17 games in a season, and I understand that we don't actually have anyone on our club who has done those things. Regardless, it's a buyer's market right now, and so far the sharks in these waters aren't biting.
#1 reason this can't miss: Zach Duke's WHIP is creeping up on what my zip code was in Oakland; the same cannot be said of El Duque's.
Paul Byrd - Byrdie was making $7,500,000 last year. Compared to what we were paying Matt Morris,* we'd be looking at a savings of $2.5 mil, and that's before we convince Byrd to accept a pay cut for the sake of keeping this dream team together.
#1 reason this can't miss: Byrd's dentist is the Pusher-man, and we've got some cavities to fill.
(*ohmygod I had literally repressed the whole Matt Morris travesty from my mind until just now, when I went to look up our 2008 payroll to see who was the top salary hog... I am so much angrier as a person now that I've been reminded it was him.)
Eddie Guardado - Okay, so as of two days ago, he's been off the market. I don't know, I'd still be willing to look at a trade. The papers would have fun with a 'Steady Freddy' for 'Everyday Eddie' swap, I bet.
#1 reason this can't miss: This shit about him not allowing a triple in 10 years is compelling, if true.
Jose Mesa - As long as Omar Vizquel is playing, there's reason to think Jose's still got it in him. In 2005 we had him riding the gravy train to the tune of $2 million; the year before he was at $800k. I say we structure the deal like this: every W brings him closer to the former mentioned figure, every HBP takes him back to the latter.
#1 reason this can't miss: Shoot... it's hard to pick just one. I'm going to have to go with the color coordinated glove.
Ugueth Urbina - How hard can it really be to spring someone from a Venezuelan prison? I say we put down five figures for the bribe, then offer Oogie minimum wage if he makes the club; revoked parole if he doesn't.
#1 reason this can't miss: throughout his career, Urbina has held right handed hitters to a .183 batting average.
John Rocker - Crazypants has been out of baseball now for 6 years. Obviously the question is whether or not he's still in shape. To that end, I'd like to refer you to a little thing called Pros vs. Joes. If you're familiar with the format of the show, you'd know that there are currently members of our expanded roster who would be eaten alive by amateur, aspiring athletes - also known as 'Joes' - if given the chance to go on television. I believe John Rocker held his ground, and that's why he's the bigot of choice for us.
#1 reason this can't miss: Oh, it can miss, alright. This can miss big time!
Rod Beck - Number 24 on the all time saves leader board. 1994 Rolaids Relief pitcher of the year. 3 time All-Star. Led the league in games finished in 4 different years. However, pile of accolades aside, we're again looking at some of the same question marks seen with the other guys on this list (Can we get him for a fair price? Will he be in shape after being out of baseball for sometime? How many days rest will he need between appearances? etc.). Despite all that, I think we have to make a push for him. We're treading water as it is, now, and the only way to revitalize a pitching staff is by being willing to take some risks, and infuse it with some new lifeblood.
#1 reason this can't miss: Shooter will almost certainly have a more respectable K/BB ratio than Craig Hansen this year.
Bob Wickman - If we sign Wicky, I'll buy us all season tickets for 2009. You heard that right. Crank up the old petition machine.
#1 reason this can't miss: Wickman's Warriors.