Before getting into the Cubs news of the day, I would like to tip my hat and say “Thank You” to all of the Veterans out there….because of you we have the freedom to do whatever we want on a daily basis and I cannot imagine a world without what you have sacrificed for the rest of us.
At 12:01am E.T. on Sunday morning the free agent signing period begins and as of this writing it looks like all of the Cubs that were eligible for free agency will be free to negotiate with any team they please….with the exception of Wade Miller. Juan Pierre, Henry Blanco and John Mabry have likely played their last game in a Cubs’ uniform. Several reports have indicated the Cubs want Kerry Wood to return and Wood has said as much himself but there have not been many updates of late on a new contract for him. And then there is Aramis Ramirez….the player everyone thought would be anchoring the hot corner for the next several years for the Cubs. When Ramirez opted out of his contract, no one was surprised, but when it was revealed he had a no trade clause….that became the shocker of the last month. The Cubs have said they want him back and Ramirez has said he wants to stay in Chicago but the two sides do not seem any closer to a new contract than they did a month ago.
Here is the latest from the mill, the newest Silver Slugger and news from around the league…. Aramis Ramirez…. Ramirez will be on the minds of all of the Faithful today. Will he or won’t he resign before the deadline? According to a late report by Paul Sullivan on Friday, Sullivan indicated that Jim Hendry “is ready to take the heat” if he does not resign Ramirez to a new deal. Aramis opting out of his contract has created a lot of interest throughout the league and it appears he will be heading west to play for either the Angels or the Dodgers. With J.D. Drew opting out of his contract, the Dodgers will be big players in Aramis getting the apparent 6-year deal that Kinzer spoke of on Friday. Colletti let Drew walk and with good riddance according to several reports….is this what the Cubs are thinking with Ramirez? Ramirez has become the top free agent position player on the market according to Keith Law from ESPN.com. But several experts feel that Derrek Lee’s glove at first have saved countless numbers of errors for Ramirez, but in Ramirez defense, Lee was not a part of the equation last season. It became very apparent last season that Ramirez can play to the height of his ability when he wants to and he could cash in on that type of play.
A report in the Sun-Times on Saturday morning indicated that Ramirez could give the Cubs a “home team discount” and it is a “50-50 chance” of him staying in Chicago. Kinzer added that Ramirez is looking for a 6 to 7 year deal similar to the contract Carlos Beltran signed a few years back….$119 million dollars.
Kerry Wood…. According to a report by Paul Sullivan in the Tribune the Cubs are looking to offer Kerry Wood a 1-year deal similar to the one Wade Miller agreed to earlier in the week. But apparently the Astros, Rangers and Red Sox have shown interest in possibly signing Wood and taking the risk. It would be great to see Wood live up to his billing in a Cubs’ uniform but those days might be numbered.
Carlos Zambrano…. Just think in a year it will be Zambrano’s turn unless Hendry can get something done first. Carlos Zambrano won his first Silver Slugger award on Friday….too bad he finished the season just one home run short of the record.
Nomar Garciaparra…. The rumors surrounding Nomar are starting to gain some momentum. With Ramirez on the market, several of the smaller market teams have turned their attention to Nomar as a solution at third base. While he played 1st base last season apparently no one has forgotten the job he did at 3rd while filling in for an injured Ramirez. According to a report in the Beacon Journal, the Indians are interested in Nomar again. They tried to sign him last off-season, came up short but are planning to offer him more money this time around.
Daisuke Matsuzaka…. A report by Buster Olney on Friday indicated that the Red Sox had won the silent bid for the rights to negotiate with him….somewhere between $38 and $45 million dollars. Later in the day those reports were silenced, but the baseball world will find out by Tuesday.
Kei Igawa…. A report from ESPN.com on Friday indicated that the Hanshin Tigers will post the very talented left hander. Igawa was 14-9 last season with a 2.97 ERA. He struck out 194 and tied for the league lead….his third such title since 2002. According to a report in the Tribune the Cubs are interested.
Akinori Iwamura…. Bidding for the left-handed third baseman ended on Friday. No word yet on who won that bid either but the baseball world should know by Wednesday or Thursday of next week.
Juan Pierre…. According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers have contacted Juan Pierre about playing centerfield for them in 2007.
Luis Gonzalez…. According to a report in the Arizona Republic, the Cubs are one of several teams that have contacted Luis Gonzalez….the Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Indians and Orioles are the other teams.
Alfonso Soriano…. If he wasn’t going to be asking for a fortune as it was….he won his 4th Silver Slugger award on Friday.
Vicente Padilla…. Will someone please put Scott Boras and Drew Rosenhaus in the same room, look the door and throw away the key? While some reports have Padilla planning to be his own agent, his demands are sounding like those of one Scott Boras. According to a report in the Star Telegram, Padilla has convinced himself he is worth $10 million dollars a year….he earned $4.4 million last season. According to a report in the Sun-Times, Aramis’ agent, Paul Kinzer, and Jim Hendry talked about Padilla over dinner on Thursday.
Wish List?…. Jon Weisman from SI.com recently broke down what all of the teams will be searching for this off-season.
Free agent totals?…. With just under a day left, 179 players have filed for free agency.
Long-Term Contract?…. Those out there that think long term deals for players, especially pitchers, are too long, you are not alone. John Donovan from SI.com ran a good report (and worth the read) about past long term deals for pitchers that have not worked out. Does anyone remember Darren Dreifort? How about Denny Neagle? Russ Ortiz? Chan Ho Park? Carl Pavano?
4….3….2….1….that’s the news and rumors and I’m sticking to them!!!!