Free agency begins amid the usual rampant speculation about who the big players will be and where the big names will land.
Pittsburgh and Austin were last year's big spenders: the Alleghenies' spree sparked a 19-game improvement and respectability in the tough AL East; the Chaloupas won their first division title in 11 seasons.
Who will open the wallets this season? The candidates include almost every team - there's a lot of payroll space available out there. A few teams look like they've cleared massive space to land multiple bigtime players...no names here - we'll confine a few juicy rumors to speculation about particular players.
Who's out there? Well, there may not be a superstar ala Brogna last year or Morales the year before, but this class is chock full of star-caliber players, especially among hitters: RF Gary Goodwin, 2B Ricardo Nunez, SS Brad Hart, LF John Li, CF Wally Reid, 2B Joe Rivera, RF Vinny Zhang and CF Charles Perez should all draw big offers.
The pitchers are shorter in number and longer in the tooth but will still help contenders. The prime targets will likely be Brian Nakajima, Felix Woodward, Cory Mitchell, Kyle Bradshaw and Lawrence Simpson.