- Derrek Lee, 1B
- Aramis Ramirez, 3B - Last year aside, Ramirez had become one of the more reliable power hitters in the NL. He's only 31, so there's no reason to think he'll fall off.
- Alfonso Soriano, OF - I don't love the idea of keeping him, but his upside is .280 with 30 HR and 20 SB, which he is exactly one year removed from.
- Carlos Zambrano, SP - Big Z is still only 29, still posts about a strikeout per inning, and had five straight seasons of 14 wins before last year's 9-7 record.
- Ryan Dempster, SP - Honestly, Dempster played better than I expected in 2009, but he still had a (predictable) let-down after his 2008 career year.
- Ted Lilly, SP - I wish I could say yes, because it'd be funny with how often he gets overlooked in our drafts, but I just can't. A career 4.25 ERA makes Lilly just another pitcher.
- Carlos Marmol, RP - He's got some legitimate ability, but he has the capacity to put way too many guys on base. If he were a starter, it might be worth the risk, but you can find cheap saves.
- Geovany Soto, C - A bounce-back isn't out of the question, but if he doesn't bounce back, he makes your team a lot worse.
- Ryan Theriot, 2B/SS - Multiple position eligibility does not a keeper make.
- Randy Wells, SP - Wells had a nice season, but an unimpressive strikeout rate and the fact that he's got zero track record means you can't invest a keeper slot in him.
- Brandon Phillips, 2B
- Joey Votto, 1B
- Bronson Arroyo, SP - No?
- Jay Bruce, OF - Bruce is looking eerily similar to Adam Dunn, except without the big power and with an even worse batting average. You've got to see more before you can justify keeping him.
- Francisco Cordero, RP - He's been a solid producer of saves and relief Ks for years, but you generally pay a price in WHIP. Don't pay that price with a keeper.
- Johnny Cueto, SP - He's still only 24, so he's still developing as a pitcher. But let him develop as your 12th or 13th player, not as one of your top eight.
- Aaron Harang, SP - It doesn't look like he'll ever recapture his 2007 near Cy Young performance, which is a shame for a guy with one of the all time great nicknames.
- Edinson Volquez, SP - Tommy John, won't be back until after the All-Star break. Keep an eye on him, though.
- Carlos Lee, OF
- Lance Berkman, 1B - One of the closest calls in this whole exercise, but I still have faith. Besides, he's hit .310 in every other year for the past six years, and he's due for another .310 season.
- Michael Bourn, OF - I hate to say it, because Joe Mandi will call me a liar, but 60 SB is no joke. If he can approach .300 and get 100 R, he's a keeper, despite his utter lack of pop.
- Roy Oswalt, SP - I just don't believe he's done. I expect a return to form, with a WHIP around 1.20 and 16-18 wins.
- Hunter Pence, OF - His upside goes beyond Carlos Lee, but so does his downside, hence him not being a no-brainer. But their values are pretty close.
- Wandy Rodriguez, SP - First off, I don't like Wandy. But all of his numbers are headed in the right direction: ERA, WHIP, K/9, BAA. He's got to be doing something right.
- All Relievers - Nobody knows who's going to end up closing in Houston, but regardless of who it is, they're not worth keeping.
- Ryan Braun, OF
- Prince Fielder, 1B
- Yovani Gallardo, SP - You'd like to see more dominant stats out of Gallardo, but they'll come. His talent is too big to disappoint.
- Corey Hart, OF - Hart still has the capacity to be a power-speed combo guy who can fill out your roster, but until he starts making good, consistent contact, that's all he can be.
- Trevor Hoffman, RP - He's an all-time great, maybe the best closer of all time. But you can't keep a closer unless he's been great AND you can expect him to be great again. At 42, you just can't expect that out of Hoffman.
- Casey McGehee, 2B/3B - He's a compelling guy in a lot of ways, but the presence of Rickie Weeks and Mat Gamel throws McGehee's playing time into question.
- Randy Wolf, SP - At 33, Wolf turned in one of the best years of his career. Don't expect him to do it again at 34.
- Andrew McCutcheon, OF - After being the Pirates' best prospect for McCutcheon has arrived. Look for more steals, about the same power.
- Ryan Doumit, C - He was in a position last year to get himself onto a keeper list, but injuries and ineffectiveness quelled that. Still, don't you (bum bum bum bum bum bum) forget about him.
- Garrett Jones, OF - This isn't to say that Jones couldn't help your team. I just have a hard time saying that he'll help your team any more than twenty other guys who can hit .290 with 25 HR.
St. Louis Cardinals
- Matt Holliday, OF
- Albert Pujols, 1B
- Adam Wainwright, SP
- Chris Carpenter, SP - He's had a litany of injuries over his career, but when healthy, he's a top ten starting pitcher. Just pray for that.
- Ryan Franklin, RP - Franklin was a saves machine last year, but ever since Danny Kolb, I've become wary of closers who don't strike people out...or who become closers for the first time at age 36.
- Ryan Ludwick, OF - I know I told you to keep him last year, and I'll take the blame for that one. This looks like Pat Burrell 1.1.
- Colby Rasmus, OF - He's got better batting average potential than Jay Bruce, but less power potential. Either way, he hasn't shown enough to keep him yet.