This week, I'll give you the lowdown on the available first basemen. I'll even throw in a few DHs and trade candidates as well.
There's really only one marquee guy out there with a few guaranteed good years left. That man is Paul Konerko. The 29 year-old finished at .283-40-100 this year with a solid .375 OBP. Konerko's lousy 2003 is fading fast after two 40 HR seasons.
Konerko probably stands to make Richie Sexson money - four years, $50 million. His price tag or contract length could even be driven up slightly higher due to the limited 1B options on the free agent market.
If the Konerko has a heroic postseason, look for the White Sox to bite the bullet and resign him. Otherwise, the Angels, Orioles, and Red Sox will all be in the mix. Boston is a long shot as sources say Konerko would prefer to avoid the media scrutiny.
Strangely, Erubiel Durazo is probably the second best 1B/DH free agent option out there. Durazo is only a year removed from a stellar 2004. With incentives, he might be able to swing a $3-4 million one-year pact. If he can be persuaded to dust off his first baseman glove, he'd fit nicely into Boston's lineup.
The trade market would probably be a much better place to look for a first baseman. Trading Mark Teixeira would make a lot of sense for the Rangers right now. The Mets have the cash, need, and prospects to make it happen.
A healthy Jim Thome could be a sleeper for 2006 if the Phillies are able to deal him. Thome is 35 now with over $40 million left on his contract, so the Phillies are going to have to eat a large portion of that if a spot is to be opened for Ryan Howard. The clock is definitely ticking on Thome; he may have just one decent year left.
Lyle Overbay may be available, although Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has said he's like to keep the fan favorite around. Still, Overbay might be a consolation prize for a team like a Mets. The Mets will feel the fan and media pressue to fill the 1B gap one way or another.
Mike Sweeney and Todd Helton have been mentioned as trade candidates as well. Odds are that no team will be desperate enough this winter to acquire one of these declining/fragile/overpaid 1Bs.
Looking for the full dish on 2006 MLB free agents? Check out the RotoAuthority.com free agent article index.
Tim Dierkes posts daily updates to his fantasy baseball blog as The Roto Authority. Check out the site at:
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