Exciting time to be a baseball fan. Alfonso Soriano cashed in with the Cubs, signing an 8-year, $136 million deal. If he can perform like he did last year with the Nats, I can see him being worth the money for the next 4-5 years. But he wasn't an amazing player when he was a Ranger, so it'll be interesting to see what the Cubs get here. Now their offense looks damn good. Soriano-DeRosa-Lee-Ramirez-Jones-Barrett-Murton (or Cliff Floyd)-Cedeño. Yikes. Good thing they still have no pitching.
The Astros still appear to be the front-runners for the Carlos Lee sweepstakes. I'v heard reports about an offer, but it's hard to tell exactly what's going on. For the past several years, the Astros front office has been very quiet when it comes to leaking information about trades or signings. Don't know if this is good or bad — I always like to know what the status is on big deals. But at the same time, the ridiculous overload of speculation and unconfirmed reports from Boston and New York would probably be pretty annoying.
In any case, all the signs are pointing to Lee in an Astros uniform. Too bad Soriano had to blow the market open like he did. Soriano's 5 months older than Lee (they're both currently 30), but Soriano's obviously in better shape and will more likely be a better player in his mid-to-late 30s. I wouldn't dare offer him six guaranteed years. Five years with an option is as far as I'd go. And I wouldn't mind giving him $15 mil a year.
The best thing about the Lee situation is that we can win either way. If we sign him, we have successfully upgraded the offense. A few more moves (adding starting pitchers and perhaps a backup catcher) and we can look forward to a competitive 2007. But if we don't sign him because of his demands, we can still have a successful offseason. There are plenty of decent free-agent outfielders out there (Luis Gonzalez, Jose Guillen, Jay Payton) who can be had for much less. And there appears to be a wide-open field of potential trading partners.