Here is another reason to hate THE TRADE. What would a Kearns and Lopez net us this offseason with names like this getting big dollars? WayneK used all of his ammo last season.
Older free agents covetedposted: Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Feedback | Print Entry
Luis Gonzalez is 39 years old and near the end of his career, and he was just cut loose by the Arizona Diamondbacks. But now that the free agent signing period has begun this Sunday morning, just hours ago, he will have many choices to make this offseason. The Dodgers have called to ask about his availability, and so have the Cardinals, and many other teams.
Gonzalez and guys like him -- proven veterans who are in a position to get just a one-year deal or two-year deal -- are going to be coveted this offseason, because of the way the free agent market is developing.
If you're looking for a corner outfielder, you can try playing at the big-money table, but be prepared to bring tens of millions of dollars if you want to bid on the likes of Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee or J.D. Drew.
You could bid on the second tier of players, outfielders who still are in the midst of their careers. But in a winter when prices are expected to climb, guys like Juan Pierre, Gary Matthews Jr., Trot Nixon, Frank Catalanotto, Cliff Floyd, Jay Payton and Dave Roberts will be looking for three-year deals or more -- and maybe they fit your club better.
But if you sign Gonzalez, or a 40-year-old Moises Alou, or if you go after a player coming off a serious injury like Mark Mulder (he had shoulder surgery during the season, but it's expected that he'll be ready to go at the start of the 2007 season), you probably won't have to make a long-term, big-dollar commitment to get something done. You get a player who is a known quantity, and if he gets hurt, well, it doesn't kill you. If he gives you respectable production, that's good; if he has a big year, the way Frank Thomas was revitalized this year, then it's a bonus. In the short term, you plug a hole, buy time for your prospects; in the long term, you maintain your payroll flexibility.
Some veterans who will probably be very popular this winter because they will probably command relatively modest commitments, of one or two years:
Pitchers: Doug Brocail, Octavio Dotel, Rick Helling, Matt Herges, Roberto Hernandez, Jose Mesa, Mulder, Darren Oliver, Arthur Rhodes, Aaron Sele, Russ Springer, Mike Stanton, David Wells, Rick White, Kerry Wood.
Catchers: Henry Blanco, Todd Greene, Mike Piazza, Gregg Zaun.
Infielders: Jeff Cirillo, Damion Easley, Mark Loretta, Eduardo Perez, Todd Walker, David Weathers.
Outfielders: Alou, Gonzalez, Kenny Lofton.
• Assuming that the Red Sox win the bidding on Daisuke Matsuzaka, they have the option of trading him -- but procedurally, it would have to be a sign-and-trade, with a contract being set before Boston shipped him to, say, the Mets. They cannot merely swap the rights to negotiate with him, according to the U.S.-Japanese player contract agreement: "If the highest bid is acceptable to the Japanese club, the US Commissioner shall award the sole, exclusive, and non-assignable right to negotiate with and sign the posted Japanese player to the US ML club that submitted the bid." This can be circumvented the way it is in the NBA, where the teams negotiate the trade and terms of the contract with the player involved.
Paragraph No. 13 of this agreement, by the way, is the mechanism through which Commissioner Bud Selig gets his power to monitor this process, from the side of the Major Leagues, and ensure that no team acts in less than good faith: "The U.S. Commissioner shall have the authority to oversee the bidding procedures & to ensure they have not been undermined in any manner. Among other actions that he may deem appropriate and in the best interests in baseball, the U.S. Commissioner shall have the authority to revoke a U.S. Major League Club's negotiation rights with respect to a Japanese player ... to award such rights to the next highest bidder ... and to declare null and void any contract between a Japanese Player and a U.S. Major League club that the U.S. Commissioner deems was the result of conduct that was inconsistent with this Agreement or otherwise not in the best interests of professional baseball."
I don't know for certain, but based on what I've heard from folks involved in this process, I'd guess that the Mets finished second in the bidding, with some number around $30 million.
• The call volume between agents and teams will be high today, writes Michael Silverman. The sport is loaded with cash, writes Jim Salisbury. It's going to be a crazy winter, writes Ken Davidoff. The Twins are not one of the many teams ready to spend money, writes Joe Christensen.