Today is the day. Free agency wheeling and dealing gets started today in earnest, on the eve of the Winter Meetings. Already we've seen Jaret Wright dealt to the Orioles for Chris Britton. As part of the deal, the Yankees will pay $4 million of Wright's $7 million salary next year. The Cubs have retained third baseman Aramis Ramirez and pitcher Kerry Woods. As the Chicago Tribune reports :
Ramirez agreed to a 5-year, $73 million deal on Sunday with a mutual option for 2012, ending a months-long saga about his future. Wood agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million deal loaded with incentives that could add another $6 million to his salary.
General manager Jim Hendry said Ramirez left as much as $30 million on the table to return, while Wood also came for less than he could've made on the open market.
"At the end of the day (Ramirez) really did want to be here," Hendry said. "it's not much secret that the figures being bantered around in his situation would've been much higher. I think that as good a deal as this obviously is for any player, I certainly believe there were six-or-seven-year deals out there for him, that certainly would've paid him $20-$30 million more than he got, guaranteed. He was the lucky beneficiary of being a free agent at a time when his services were certainly going to be needed by some quality clubs and some major market clubs.
Other key free agents on the market include (for entire listing of those that have filed, please go to the 2006 Free Agency Filings page here on the Biz of Baseball):
Alfonso Soriano, Barry Zito, Barry Bonds, Jason Schmidt, Jeff Bagwell, Tom Glavine, David Wells, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Brad Radke, Jeff Suppan, Mark Mulder, Greg Maddux, Woody Williams, Scott Speizio, Carlos Lee, Gary Matthews, Jr., Luis Gonzalez, Nomar Garciaparra, Cliff Floyd, Orlando Hernandez, and Frank Thomas.