Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Down Market

Paul Sullivan takes some time off from reading blogs and goes over the free agent / trade market. He mentions as candidates Brian Roberts, Adam Dunn, Jeremy Hermida, Mike Jacobs, Rafael Furcal, Jake Peavy and Brian Fuentes.

But the first paragraph of the article puts the kybosh on most of the speculation:

The Cubs' off-season may be quieter than in recent years, especially if Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood re-sign quickly, eating up a big chunk of general manager Jim Hendry's budget.

He's right in this respect. The Cubs look to remain part of the Trib for the forseable future given the credit markets and the Trib's need to sell the Cubs in a debt heavy transaction in order to avoid massive taxation.

That means the Cubs are unlikely to expand their budget much farther simply because they don't have the cash to do so.

It also means that means major scrutiny needs to be given to any long term contracts given out as that will further limit team moves in the event the sale is further deferred.

So, how much sense does it make to resign Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster if doing so prevents you from getting Jake Peavy and Brian Roberts?

Not much.

Ryan Dempster is going to be looking for probably four or five years at $12 million per year. Pass. This is a guy coming off a year so far above his career norms that the likelihood for him to under perform this in future years is very high. If Dempster wants what the market normally bears, you let him go.

Same with Kerry Wood. While he had a good season, he really should not be a cornerstone of a bullpen. To invest multiple years and eight figures in a guy who has a rebuilt arm and spent time on the DL this past season is silly. When you have a guy like Carlos Marmol, you offer Wood another one year deal. If he gets more, you let him go.

This team is going to be somewhat financially constrained compared to recent years. The dollars spent must be spent wisely. And while Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood are good players, better ones are available. Spend the money on better.

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