Some excellent back and forth in the bar Wednesday.
I'll try to get to some of the questions and comments that were posted. It's the least I can do for anyone who pays $5 for watered-down drinks.
First, I agree with Ryan, Mr. Deez and the others who are intrigued by Rafael Furcal as the next Orioles shortstop. When healthy, the guy is a whole lot of fun to watch.
Problem is he played in just 36 games last year and is going to cost a bundle -- he made nearly $17 million last year. He won't get that kind of coin in 2009, but he won't be cheap. And that's probably a risk the Orioles can't take at this stage in their rebuilding.
I just don't see them paying out big for a shortstop, but you never know.
Here's some info for Eddie, who wonders about rumors that the Orioles could land Manny Ramirez. Please, Eddie, come down to this end of the bar and listen to me closely. The ... Orioles ... Won't ... Sign ... Manny.
Sources are wrong all the time. It happens in this business. Normally, I would never say my sources are ironclad. But on this one I truly believe they are. The Orioles won't even kick Manny's tires, I've been told. It's just a bad fit for both parties. So don't worry about that one.
And so long as we are dashing rumors and hopes, Jacob, from everything I have been told, Japanese phenom Yu Darvish will not get posted and stays in the Far East next year. So you have to come up with a new plan for 2009.
Wednesday's free drink chip goes to Tom in Fla. for his Paul Byrd comment.
I am in the process of writing a free-agent/economy piece for Friday, the first day teams can make offers to free agents. And so I am sticking with the free-agent theme today.
And let's make it negative. That always gets you guys going. Who do you think will be this year's worst free-agent signing, this year's Carl Pavano (four years, almost $40 million in 2004)?
It's possible it could be Pavano again, but he likely won't make enough money or get enough years to register as the worst of 2008-09. (Although I wouldn't spend a dime on him, personally.)
To be a true bust, the free agent needs to command serious money and a bunch of years and then do absolutely nothing to help his new team win. The most likely candidates are the ones coming off career years.
Here's my vote: Ryan Dempster of the Chicago Cubs.
Dempster had an amazing season, 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA. You can't take that away from him. And he is considered one of the all-time funniest characters in the game (just ask Kevin Millar).
But some pitching-desperate club -- New York Yankees, anyone? -- will pay him as if 2008 was the norm and not the exception. Remember, before last year he hadn't been a full-time starter since 2002.
I just don't see him having a repeat season in 2009. Plus, he'll be 32 in May, which he means he'll be 36 or older at the end of a long-term deal.
Certainly there are other potential busts. Toss in your two cents for the next terrible multi-multi-millionaire.
Daily Think Special: Who do you think will prove to be the biggest free-agent bust of this offseason? Who gets stuck with him?