MLB Free Agents 2006

MLB Free Agents 2006: Konerko and Other 1Bs

Wondering who's going to fill your favorite team's bottomless first base hole?  Desperate Mets fan wondering what Plan B is if you don't get Manny? 

Worry no more, as the 2006 MLB Free Agents - First Basemen column is now posted over at Addict Fantasy Sports.  Get the lowdown on Paul Konerko and all those other big lumbering power hitters.  Let me know what you think.

MLB Free Agents 2006: Rafael Furcal

Ah, Rafael Furcal.  Overrated, underrated, or somewhere in-between?  How should you handle this man when it comes to 2006?

Furcal is playing almost exactly on par with what Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA projection system expected.  BP thought Furcal would hit .274 with 12 HR and a .337 OBP.  In fact, he's currently hitting .276 with 11 HR and a .341 OBP.  Not bad. 

The only area in which Baseball Prospectus missed the mark was stolen bases.  Furcal has 38 swipes and could get that number up to 50 if he really wants to.  What PECOTA didn't take into account is that 2005 is Rafael Furcal's contract year.

Furcal will easily set a career high in steals this year, and that can only help in the dollar sign department.  After 2004, Edgar Renteria was coming off a .287-10-72 year, adding 17 steals to the equation.  Unlike Furcal, Renteria does have an awesome season under his belt - he hit .330-13-100 with 34 steals in 2003. 

Since Furcal is three years younger than Renteria, he can be expected to match Renteria's four year, $40 million dollar deal.  The players' defense is probably comparable.  It also doesn't hurt that Furcal has been on fire since July. 

So which team will pony up the cash for baseball's third-best shortstop?  The Diamondbacks and Cubs seem to be the most likely suitors.  The Cubs' interest obviously hinges on the Nomar Garciaparra situation.  We just can't see Dusty playing Ronny Cedeno every day, so the Cubs should end up with one of the two. 

What kind of year should you expect out of Furcal in 2006?  With Ray Durham circa 1999 high on his comparables list, an uptick in power is not out the question.  Think maybe 20 homers on the high end.  We expect Furcal to back off on the thefts and end up with 30 steals, tops.

Unfortunately there are only a handful of 20/30 threats from the shortstop position, and Rafael Furcal is one of them.  If he starts be a more selective, consistent hitter, he may be able to hit .300 as well.  Be ready to go up to $20 on him in your auction this spring.   

Check out all the Roto Authority MLB Free Agents 2006 articles.  You'll find speculation and rumors concerning Johnny Damon, A.J. Burnett, Trevor Hoffman, Brian Giles, B.J. Ryan, and more.   

Likely Trade Targets: 2006 Free Agents

Trade rumors continue to swirl about with less than a week to go until the deadline.  A wealth of names have already been discussed in recent posts here at The Roto Authority, including Adam Dunn, A.J. Burnett, and Alfonso Soriano.  But there are always a few deals no one saw coming, so let's dig into the bag of 2006 free agents to consider a few long shot trade candidates.  This article's list was used as a source.

Matt Morris will be looking for Kris Benson/Jon Lieber/Odalis Perez money this offseason, and the Cardinals may be slightly wary about paying it.  They should be, considering Morris's health woes of late.  The Cardinals should also be a bit wary about Morris's beard.


Anthony Reyes was been excellent for AAA Memphis this season, and shipping off Morris for a major power bat would be a smooth move by Walt Jocketty.  With the injuries the Cardinals are dealing with currently, dealing Morris to the Reds for Adam Dunn or to the D-Rays for Aubrey Huff is a viable option.

Jarrod Washburn will be expensive after this year, and he'll surely want a three-year package.  However, the Angels are actually in the market to acquire more starting pitching given the injury to Kelvim Escobar.  Escobar did play catch last week, but unless he makes a rapid return the Angels will have to retain Washburn.

Trevor Hoffman is certainly expendable given Scott Linebrink's dominance over the last two years.  But with the Padres struggling to stay in first place in a weak division, they may decide to ride out Hoffman's contract.  Plus, Linebrink has battled some health issues this year.

A move to the AL would make a lot of sense for Mike Piazza.  He could fit quite nicely into a DH role in Los Angeles or Oakland, for example.  As recently as 2004, Piazza managed to post a .362 OBP.  He could fit into the Moneyball mold and give the A's a nice push toward the playoffs.  Billy Beane could swindle Omar Minaya with any number of players, including Joe Kennedy or Juan Cruz.  Beane would likely be content to rent Piazza for the rest of the year as he's done in the past.      

Rafael Furcal isn't having the contract year he'd hoped for, but he is stealing more bags to help boost his value.  But Braves minor league shortstop Luis Hernandez isn't exactly knocking at the door of Turner Field, so Atlanta would need to acquire a replacement shortstop.

Johnny Damon is very popular in Boston, and we've seen Theo Epstein overpay to keep a solid fan favorite in Jason Varitek.  Still, he was able to let Nomar Garciaparra go without getting much in return.  Given Damon's excellent numbers this year and the strong need for centerfielders, Epstein may poke around a bit just in case there's a deal he can't refuse.  Hanley Ramirez could probably take over in center field, although the Boston press would have a field day with it.

Check out all the Roto Authority MLB Free Agents 2006 articles.  You'll find speculation and rumors concerning Rafael Furcal, Trevor Hoffman, Brian Giles, B.J. Ryan, and more.   

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