Baseball trades and rumors: Part I

James LeBlanc

With Major League Baseball’s winter meetings on the horizon, now is a good time to look at some of the trade and free agent rumors that always mark these winter months. First and foremost there are many impact players out there in the free agent market this off season.

By far, the name that has comanded the most interest is Carlos Beltran. After the tear he went on for the Astros in September and October, he is in line to receive a huge contract from someone. It is said the Beltran is looking for a record-breaking 10 year deal.

While he is unlikely to get that many years, it is safe to say he will receive a six or seven year deal. Monetary concerns will limit the amount of suitors he receives but the Astros, Yankees, Cubs and Angels are all said to be interested. The favorites of this group are probably the Angels and Yankees.

Another big name on the market is NL MVP runner-up Adrian Beltre. After a breakout season last year, he appears to have finally realized his immense potential. However, he has never done it before and anybody who tries to sign him will have to pay a lot of money, and take a leap of faith that he can put up these numbers again. The Dodgers will definitely look to resign him, and Seattle also appears to have interest.

J.D. Drew case is very similar to Beltre, and any team who tries to land Carlos Beltran and fails will look to Drew to fill that spot. Also look for the Braves to make an effort to resign him.

Nomar Garciaparra is another big name out there but a year of “injuries” has a lot of teams questioning his heart. Expect the Cubs to try to resign him with St. Louis and Anaheim also making strong plays for the shortstop.

It would be very surprising if Jeff Kent and Orlando Cabrera do not remain with the Astros and Red Sox respectively.

Finally, Maglio Ordonez is a free agent this year and injury plagued season has limited interest in him. However, the Mets and the Cubs are said to be very interested in obtaining his services.

Carl Pavano may be the best pitcher available this off-season. He has received a lot of interest from many teams including the Mets and Yankees, and at this point it is impossible to predict where he will end up.

Pedro Martinez is also out there, but coming off the worst year of his career many people wonder if he is worth the money to sign him. Expect the Red Sox, the Yankees, the Mets and the Padres to be interested. Pedro may be looking to go to a warmer place which would put the Padres out in front.

Brad Radke will re-sign with the Twins and Matt Clement will probably leave the Cubs as he has generated more outside interest so far. Other big names out there include Troy Percival, Edgar Renteria, Al Leiter, Troy Glaus, Jason Varitek, David Wells, Armando Benitez, Eric Milton, Russ Ortiz, Odalis Perez and Corey Koskie. There are also some huge trade rumors out there at this point. Mike Lowell is a big name who the Marlins might be trying to shop around.

It is also rumored that the Braves might be trying to trade Andrew Jones in an attempt to try and resign J.D. Drew.

Finally, there are of course rumors that Randy Johnson may be traded this off season. With so many big names out there, this figures to be a very exciting off-season.