1. Anaheim Angels – The Angels are a favorite spot to mention for CC. He is friends with outfielder Tori Hunter and truly enjoys the area out there. CC could fill in nicely either for Hunter, who may move to center, or in left for the Angels. The Angels have the money to spend and CC is on top of their list right now as they try to put a team together and win next season.
2. Detroit Tigers – The Tigers need a left fielder with the free agency and age of Johnny Damon. Carl would fill in nicely with Miquel Cabrera and company as well. The Tigers are not being shy about how much money they are willing to throw at CC (could be over $100 million easily for him over multiple years). I could see Carl playing in the Motor City, but is he willing to play in the cold as compared to lovely Anaheim?
3. New York Yankees – Yes, I hate it as much as the next Ray fan, but the Yankees always have the money and always sign the top free agents, so why not? Gardner played well, but the Yankees would like more power and speed, CC would have a career year playing in the Bronx launching pad (plus it would take CC away from the Rays). I can see it happening, but the Yankees have competition.
4. Boston Red Sox – I know it hurts to say, but Boston will be in the bidding war just because the Yankees are in it. But also because they need an outfielder for left field. The Sox were decimated with injuries last season and CC could add some speed and power to the lineup that is without Beltre right now. I’m not sure how CC would handle the Green Monster, but he would learn fast (he dealt with the catwalks in the Trop). It will be interesting to see how the Yankees and Sox try to out bid each other.
5. San Francisco Giants – The world champs need some youth and speed on their roster and they have the payroll now to do it. Pat Burrell is old and slumping and Cody Ross does not seem like a long term replacement. CC would have fun in the warm San Fran weather and could be a great addition to a lineup that may be losing several veterans like Renteria.
There is little chance CC returns to the Rays despite him saying he loves the team and everyone here. The Rays simply can’t pay the man enough money and he will be tempted by greener pastures around the league. Let’s all pray he doesn’t end up on another AL East team.