5. If you had to sign one of these six free-agent starters … Would you choose Bartolo Colon, Josh Fogg, Livan Hernandez, Kyle Lohse, Carlos Silva or Jeff Weaver?
Responses: Silva, 4; Lohse, 4; Hernandez, 3; Colon, 3.
One NL general manager declined to pick from the list. "For the money they're going to get, none of them work for me," he said.
With Roy Oswalt, Josh Beckett and Carlos Zambrano off the market after signing long-term contracts over the past 16 months, the aforementioned group is the pick of this winter's litter. But it doesn't mean front-office executives have to be happy about it.
"Can you read me the list again?" an NL executive said. "I almost lost consciousness after hearing it the first time."
Silva and Lohse both have their selling points. Silva is a proven innings-eater with a 1.59 career groundball-to-flyball ratio. Get him to an NL team with a thick grass infield and a strong defense, and some people think he could post an ERA in the mid-3s.
As for Lohse, he's always tantalized teams with his stuff, and he helped pitch the Philadelphia Phillies to the postseason before allowing that Kaz Matsui grand slam in the Division Series.
"From watching him on tape, I think he can be helped [mechanically]," one general manager said. "His lower-half direction is poor."
There are major concerns about Colon's weight and health, and you won't find a lot of people who buy into Hernandez's listed age of 32. Still, Colon is head and shoulders above this group talent-wise, and he might be worth a one-year flyer. And Hernandez is working on a streak of eight straight 200-innings.
"The cost isn't going to be outrageous with Livan," an AL assistant GM said. "He's a good guy who's good with young players, and you're pretty sure he's going to be healthy and you can get 220 innings out of him. There just seem to be fewer variables with him."
Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN.com. His book "License To Deal" was published by Rodale. Click here to order a copy. Jerry can be reached via e-mail.