This MLB.com article mainly talks about how the market for veteran free agents (who aren't in the top rank) has dried up due to teams' budget considerations.
But the article also talks about 38-year-old reliever Brendan Donnelly, who was a key part of the 2002 Angels World Championship team, but declined after that and suffered injuries that led him to have Tommy John surgery before the 2008 season. He pitched briefly (and poorly) for the Indians in 2008, and then threw quite well for the Marlins in the second half of last year (30 games, 25.1 IP, 9 BB, 25 K, 1 HR allowed, 1.78 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 0.6 WAR).
Donnelly is not unfamiliar to the Cubs or Jim Hendry -- he pitched a year in the Cubs' farm system as a kid in 1993 and later, as farm director, Hendry reacquired Donnelly in 2000, when he threw half a season for Iowa, and not very well. But two years later he was in the World Series.
According to the article, Donnelly wants a major league contract. I'm not sure I would give him that -- and I don't think anyone else will, either. On a minor league deal with a spring training invite? Why not?
The article also has this interesting info on Jim Edmonds:
Paul Cohen, the agent for Edmonds, sat by in disbelief when his client -- who had hit 382 home runs, compiled a career .905 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, won eight Gold Gloves and made four All-Star teams in a fantastic 16-year career -- couldn't get a big league offer.
"And this was after he had hit 20 homers [for San Diego and Chicago] in the last four months of the previous season," Cohen said.
Edmonds didn't want to take a Minor League deal and ended up walking away from the game, presumably for good, although Cohen says Edmonds, "is in the best shape he's been in in 10 years," so never say never.
But for the veterans who might be forced to quit early before the 2010 season, it would serve them well to take a view similar to that of Edmonds when they exit the ballpark for that final time.
"Look, Jim made a lot of money in the game, and when it was his time to step away from the game, he moved on," Cohen said.
"There are no regrets. He's got a great life now."
Sure -- but as for Donnelly, if he wants to play in 2010 and all that's out there is a minor league offer with a spring training invite, I'd take it. And if I were the Cubs, I think I'd give it.