Let the Bargaining Begin

The General Manager’s meeting starts Monday in Florida and lasts until Friday, so the brain trusts of all 30 Major League teams will spend the week talking possible deals with other teams, and gearing up for the Winter Meetings that start on December 4th. But this year could and should be different for the Cubs. The Cubs are at a pivotal point where over spending seems more inevitable as everyday passes. There is still a possibility that Aramis Ramirez will return but that ship seems to have sailed and the only hope for the Cubs is for him to head to the Angels and not the Dodgers or Astros….two of the NL teams rumored to be interested in his services.

Jim Hendry must act quickly and sign a big name or two in order to change the mindset of the rest of the free agent class of 2007. With Ramirez apparently content to take his services elsewhere not only are the Cubs on the verge of losing a very talented player, they are also sending a message to other players, not to mention the city and fan base, the words that have come from the front office at 1060 West Addison are just that and the Cubs are not willing to take steps to change the landscape of the organization.

Here is the latest from around the league…. Aramis Ramirez…. Paul Kinzer probably did not get any sleep on Saturday night. Several reports have indicated the Angels will make an offer today (Sunday) for Ramirez and those numbers should be in the 6-year range worth around $100 million dollars. Some think Aramis may settle for a contract in the $80 million range but with such a weak free agent class and the fact many experts have made him the prize of the off-season, look for him to sign a contract in excess of $100 million dollars. Kinzer keeps mentioning “Beltran Money” for a reason. According to a report in the Boston Herald, the Red Sox will be in the bidding for Ramirez and feel they can easily trade Mike Lowell if they are able to land him.

According to a report in the Boston Globe, the Cubs offered Ramirez a 5-year, $75 million dollar deal. A report in Newsday stated that Ramirez will end up with the Angels for the next 6 years and $80 million dollars.

Juan Pierre…. Pierre will not return to the Cubs according to several reports, largely due to the fact Dusty Baker is no longer the manager. According to a report in the Sun-Times, the White Sox are interested in him as well as Dave Roberts.

The Same Names Over and Over Again…. Call them rumors or call it speculation, when a name is heard once, it can be overlooked. But when those names are repeated by multiple sources those rumors become legitimate possibilities. Whether the Cubs deny it or not there is interest from the front office in:

- Miguel Batista
- Ted Lilly
- Jason Schmidt
- Alfonso Soriano
- Carlos Lee
- Nomar Garciaparra
- Vicente Padilla
- Gil Meche
- Kei Igawa
- Gary Matthews, Jr.
- Dave Roberts

Newsday’s report on the top free agents is worth the read. Here is where they feel the following free agents will end up:

J.D. Drew – Toronto for 5 years and $65 million dollars
Carlos Lee – Houston for 5 years and $75 million dollars
Aramis Ramirez – The Angels for 6 years and $80 million dollars
Jason Schmidt – Seattle for 5 years and $65 million dollars
Alfonso Soriano – The Cubs for 6 years and $95 million dollars
Barry Zito – The Mets for 6 years and $80 million dollars

A report in the Star Ledger predicted that none of this year’s free agents will end up on the Northside of Chicago.

Well, that’s the news and I’m sticking to it!!!