Most of the big free agents are off the board, but there are still some compelling names out there and rumors about impending trades persist.
Let’s take a look at some of those rumors:
1. Kenny Lofton to the Rangers. Lofton is an enigma. He’s a formerly elite player who used to be the best leadoff guy in the game. Now? He’s still pretty good. The last two seasons he’s been a reliable force at the top of the order for both the Phillies and Dodgers. Rumor is that Lofton is about to sign with the Rangers. He was asking for $6 million for one season. That’s a lot of money to pay a guy with history of injuries. On the other hand, he’s been relatively healthy the last two years and is good for .300, 40 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.
Let’s put it this way: the Phillies just traded two top prospects for Freddy Garcia, who will make $10 million this year, is in the final year of his contract and is essentially a one-year rental. Lofton won’t cost the Rangers a single prospect, just money. And he’ll bring stability to the outfield and the top of their order. So maybe $6 million isn’t so sillly.
2. Roger Clemens to the Red Sox. The possibility of Clemens signing with the Sox seemed remote when it looked like the Sox were going to sign Matsuzaka. But now it seems the world’s best pitcher will be heading back to Japan for at least one more year. So the Sox all of a sudden have an opening on their staff.
The other teams in the running for Clemens? It’s hard to imagine Roger will sign with the Astros again, after his buddy Andy Petitte bolted Houston. Plus, the ‘Stros just don’t look like they’ll be very good in 2007. That leaves the Yankees. It’s been said Clemens will be more likely to sign with the Yankees now that Petitte has returned to the Bronx. But I suspect Clemens would value the opportunity to pitch against his friend almost as much as he would enjoy pitching with him. So if I had to guess, I’d say Clemens will be a Sox come June.
Still, the Yanks would have a spot for Clemens if they manage to unload Carl Pavano. And speaking of Pavano…
3. Carl Pavano to the Cardinals. Newsday is reporting that the Cardinals have asked to see Pavano’s expansive medical records. Could the redbirds really be interested in taking the oft-injured pitcher off the Yankees hands? The World Series champs do need starting pitching, especially if they lose both Jeff Weaver, Mark Mulder and Jeff Suppan in free agency.
The Yankees probably wouldn’t ask for much in return for Pavano — just that the Cardinals take over responsibility for most of his salary. Come to think of it, that is a lot to ask.