Open season on free agents about to begin
Group headed by Lee, Crawford, Werth available to all on Sunday
The season -- that proverbial marathon -- is in the books. It's time for the Free Agency Mile.The gun goes off for a pool of 160-plus free agents hitting the track at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday, when open negotiations can begin between the players and the 30 clubs seeking help. Among those in the starting blocks are left-hander Cliff Lee, the face of the past two postseasons for two different teams; Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, a pair of multi-dimensional outfielders; and Adrian Beltre, a third baseman coming off his second "career" season at 31. That quartet will command the spotlight and most of the attention, towering above the rest of a checkered field. Still, it is a group with power (first basemen Adam Dunn and Adam LaRoche) and lots of history (Trevor Hoffman, Jim Thome and Matt Stairs), as well as a good closing kick (Rafael Soriano). Some team icons are also lacing them up. Few if any observers realistically expect Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera to shed their pinstripes, and Andy Pettitte's only desire appears to be staying with the Yankees or retiring. Less clear are the fates of Paul Konerko (White Sox) and Jason Varitek (Red Sox).