OK - this will probably be my last post on Mike Lowell until he signs somewhere. I was curious what teams would be in need of a 3rd baseman who will bring Gold Glove caliber defense, a veteran presence and potentially 20 HR but would cost about $50 million over 4-years.
I thought the best way would be to look at this division by division.
AL East - The Red Sox obviously want him back but for a 3-year deal. The Yankees supposedly have A-Rod back in the fold and I doubt if Lowell really wants to switch to 1st right now. The Orioles have Melvin Mora signed up till 2009 and they need to get younger not older. Forget the (Devil) Rays. Mike Lowell rakes the ball in Toronto but they already have Troy Glaus and his no trade contract to deal with. So that just leaves the Red Sox as a probably landing spot for Mike Lowell.
AL Central - The Indians have Casey Blake and Andy Marte supposedly waiting in the wings. I doubt they make Lowell a better offer than the Red Sox. The White Sox could do something but they already have Joe Crede who has not yet turned 30 at a third the cost and Josh Fields waiting in the wings. They won't make an offer to match the Red Sox. Kansas City? They have two young stud 3rd baseman. Why would they need an old one? The Tigers have Brandon Inge signed up till after the 2010 season. I don't see them making a play. The Twins wouldn't even offer Torii Hunter a 4-year deal. Sure they could use Mike Lowell but they will be getting younger when they trade Johan Santana - why would they need a high priced veteran on their limited budget? I see no potential suitors for Lowell in the AL Central.
AL West - The Angels have Chone Figgins, Dallas McPherson and Brandon Wood potentially to man the hot corner. Sure they were interested in A-Rod but that is because they need a big bat to protect Vlade Guererro in the line-up. Lowell doesn't fit that bill but Miguel Cabrera would. The A's have too much tied up in Eric Chavez to be involved in the bidding. Same is true with the Mariners with Adrian Beltre. Jon Daniels wants the Rangers to get younger so a deal for Lowell is improbable. I see no potential suitors for Lowell in the AL West.
NL East - The Mets have David Wright, the Nationals Ryan Zimmerman and the Braves have Chipper Jones. That leaves the Phillies. They have Wes Helms under contract until 2009 but he's cheap. The Phillies could use a veteran presence like Mike Lowell but do they outbid the Red Sox is the question. Lowell has hit the ball very well at Citizens Bank Park in the past and the Phillies could use a big splash signing. Philadelphia is a very real potential landing spot for Mike Lowell.
NL Central - The Cubs have Aramis Ramirez, the Brewers have Ryan Braun (and Bill Hall), the Reds have 24-year old Edwin Encarnacion, the Astros have Ty Wiggington at a cheap price and the Cardinals have Scott Rolen (but they would love to be rid of him). That just leaves the Pirates and the odds of the Pirates out-bidding the Red Sox are as great as Dennis Kucinich winning the White House. I don't see any potential suitors for Lowell in the NL Central but that could change if the Cardinals off-load Scott Rolen.
NL West - Mark Reynolds is just 24 and a keeper for the Diamondbacks. The Rockies have two young stud 3rd baseman - so scratch them. The Padres have young Kevin Kouzmanoff. The Dodgers have Nomar for one more year and I doubt they would out bid the Red Sox. That leaves just the Giants. The Giants have Rich Aurilia under contract for one more season but at short money. They could potentially try and make a splash with Lowell - especially with Barry Bond's money coming off the books. Brian Sabean has proved time and again that he's not afraid of signing older players. The Giants could be the real wildcard in the pack. If they are the only team to offer Lowell a 4th year and that's a sticking point with Lowell then the Giants could win the bidding by default.
So I see three real suitors for the services of Mike Lowell. The Red Sox have an offer on the table for 3-years and Lowell will probably give the Red Sox the option to meet any offer. Pat Gillick of the Phillies is on record as saying the Phillies are only interested in spending free agent money on pitching and pitching should be their number one priority. However, if they start to lose out on on starter after starter who refuse to go to Citizens bank Park on their own volition - then they may want to make a splash with Lowell. I think San Francisco would be Lowell's third choice of the bunch. When you look at it logically - it adds up to Mike Lowell re-signing with the Red Sox.
EDIT: Lyford has a very good post on Mike Lowell's numbers. He comes to the same conclusion that a 3-year deal is OK but a 4-year deal would not be. I agree.