In Rotoworld.com's Strike Zone Archives
, you'll find a quick rundown of next year's free agents and a guess by the author of who they'll end up signing with. It goes position by position and even gives a sneak peek of the top free agents for the following year as well.
Here's who they think will sign with the Cubs and their reasoning:
Nomar Garciaparra Garciaparra again had his hopes of getting a multiyear deal dashed by injury. At this point, the 32-year-old should probably spend the rest of his career on one-year contracts. The Cubs will likely re-sign him to another incentive-laden deal, this one with a smaller guarantee than the $8.25 million heís receiving this year. If the Cubs decide to go in a different direction, Arizona would make sense as a destination. Garciaparra already trains there in the offseason. Prediction: Cubs - one year, $6 million plus incentives
It also predicts a five year, $40 million deal for Rafael Furcal from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here's a crazy thought and one that will most likely never happen, but what about moving Nomar to second base? Okay, I'm not the first to think about it, BUT, Nomar's defense is falling sharply. A move to second can only help, assuming he can learn how to turn the DP. Furcal is a defensive whiz and gives Dusty his speed leadoff guy that he so craves. We often overlook defense for gaudy offensive numbers, but right now we have 3 defensive liabilities in the infield and Derrek Lee can save them only so much. I like Todd Walker a lot, but his numbers are only slightly better then Furcal's and his defense at best, could be described as average. Just a thought...
Preston Wilson Knee problems have put Wilsonís future as a center fielder in doubt, and if Wilson isnít a center fielder, heís not an especially valuable player. His career OPS stands at 812, and heís below that level now. Even though heís just 31, a multiyear deal isnít recommended. Still, if he finishes up OK, itís possible heíll get $12 million over two years or maybe even $18 million for three years. Prediction: Cubs - two years, $12 million
If Preston Wilson is the answer, I'm afraid to ask the question. I'd happily live through another year of Korey and Jerry in center if it means we pass on Preston Wilson.
Matt Lawton Lawton has an OBP right around .370 for the second season in a row, so he ranks somewhere among the top half of baseballís leadoff hitters. Even if his defense has become a problem, thatís worth a multiyear contract. The Cubs should be interested in re-signing him, unless they plan on making Jerry Hairston Jr. a regular in the outfield. The Dodgers, Nationals and Cardinals could look to add him to the tops of their lineups. Prediction: Cubs - two years, $12 million
I'm all for keeping Lawton around, but it would have to be at the expense of Matt Murton and Jeromy Burnitz. In that scenario, Murton would have to be dealt for a stud corner outfielder with power (I'm looking at you Adam Dunn) cause you just can't have Lawton and Murton manning the two corner outfield spots. Although next year's outfield free agent crop is rather dry beyond Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui (and I don't see any reason why either of those guys would leave their current teams), the 2006 group has a few good players. (* indicates an option)
Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Lee, Aubrey Huff, Torii Hunter*, Jim Edmonds*, Cliff Floyd, Mike Cameron*, Trot Nixon, and Shannon Stewart.
Carlos Lee is quite an interesting player. The Brewers are trying to win now and I don't think they NEED to move Lee, but I also doubt they can get into a bidding war for Lee when he becomes a free agent. I find it unlikely that he'll get moved in the off-season, but a deadline deal next year is certainly possible. Murton and a Pitching Prospect for Carlos Lee? Would you do it?
Some items to ponder while we figure out what to do for next year.