Sunday, June 18, 2006

2006 Free Agents

There has been a lot of talk about the Yankees signing Barry Zito in the offseason. Yeah, it's a long way away. A very long way. It's going to be a very interesting free agent market. Unlike last year, there is some serious talent up for grabs. The outfielders

Alfonso Soriano
Carlos Lee
Jim Edmonds
Ken Griffey Jr.
Trot Nixon
Gary Sheffield
Barry Bonds
Cliff Floyd
Frank Catalanotto
Torri Hunter
Jay Payton
Jermaine Dye
Moises Alou

This is in addition to half a dozen other replacement-caliber outfielders. This is great news for the Yankees. Lots of outfielders up for grabs means lower prices. The pitching market is going to be scary again however. The only real powerful names on the market are Mark Buerhle, Barry Zito, John Smoltz, Mike Mussina, and Jason Schmidt. Other intestering names include Pettite, Lidle, Mulder, Armas and Marquis. Still, pitchers are not going to come cheap.

Mussina, if he wins 18+ games with an ERA under 3.50, will probably be looking for a multi-year deal. Maybe 2 years with an option. If we resign him, we'll still need another pitcher. Smoltz will probably resign with the Braves. That leaves Zito, Buerhle, Schmidt, or an experiment. All three of the big names will probably command huge contracts, similar to the A.J. Burnett deal.

Zito is a strong name, but I would stay away from him. It is my opinion that left without the Athletics fantastic defense, Zito will struggle. He allows too many baserunners as is. Schmidt is having a typical contract year despite low strikeout totals, but his injury past scares me away from a long term deal. The remaining name is Mark Buerhle. I would have no trouble giving Mark Buerhle a 5 year 60 million dollar contract. He's been as durable as Zito and effective at the same time.

But that's just me rambling.