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Free Agents...Forget About 'Em

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It is an interesting byline to our off-season that we didn't keep a single one of our free agents.

Baez to Baltimore
Pratt to New York (A)
Thomson to Toronto
Ward to Chicago (N)
Jordan to retirement

...and of course...

Giles to San Diego
&
Reitsma to Seattle

Not that we were too saddened to see any of the above players leave except perhaps Giles, but let's not relive that moment of rare failure. I don't know if the non-retention of any of these players speaks to the current state of the free agent salary market or to our desire to not have them return (or a bit of both). Something, though, has got to eventually give. We can not continue to thrive in the current climate of escalating salaries if we are not able to retain more of our players. Pretty much everyone has written off Andruw Jones after next season, believing that the Braves do not have the means to sign him, but what about other players - critical players.

Will we be able to retain John Smoltz for another couple of seasons - something that I think we should go ahead and do now? Will we be able to keep our new bullpen together by signing the likes of Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano to extensions before they become prohibitively expensive at arbitration? How many more times will we have to wave goodbye to guys like Marcus Giles? (As an aside, here is a good look at the 07 and 08 free agent classes.)

Anyway, it just struck me as odd that we didn't retain a single free agent this off-season, and I'd thought I'd share my bewilderment.

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A few other notes:

If you have a lot of extra time on your hands and want to do some heavy to moderate reading, then check out this profile of Greg Maddux over at Bleed Cubbie Blue. I have not fully read it yet (once again, it's long) but what parts of it I have read are very interesting and well worth the time. BCB is doing a countdown of the top 100 Cubs of all time - much more ambitions than anything I would ever try - and Maddux came in at number 18.

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Over at Beyond the Box Score, John Beamer has a breakdown of last season's results from the hit tracker website. There's not really too much that can be gleaned from the data just yet, as it is in its inaugural year, but it is fascinating to see a layout of players' homeruns. See the article for more interesting charts, but here is a breakdown of Jeff Francoeur's 2006 homeruns at the Ted (do ya think he's a pull hitter?)