When we started this offseason, A-Rod was making headlines for his $350 million asking price. That quickly fizzled and he ended up dumping his agent, Scott Boras, and taking over his own negotiations with the Yankees. He ended up right back where he started, with the Yankees, and got only $250 million over 10 years. What exactly do with a $250 million salary? His 518 career home runs are the most by anybody at his age and 184 more than Bonds' 334 at the same age. He'll finish what will likely be a monumental career in New York but let's hope he can make something happen in October, too.
After A-Rod, all things turned to Johan Santana. Until he's traded, the rumors will keep flying but one thing is for sure, the asking price is steep. The way I see it, the Mets are really the only ones who will pay the price. They need Santana to come out on top of the NL and with the new stadium to be unveiled in 2009, the motive is certainly there to bring home a championship. The Yankees and Hank Steinbrenner have been rumored to be in and out of negotiations and let's face it, the Red Sox don't need Santana, they just need the Yankees NOT to get him. My bet is he ends up with the Mets with a deal that comes through in the eleventh hour.
And how can we talk about this offseason without mentioning the Mitchell report. Its anticipated release certainly had some heads spinning. Before we get into whether you believe if Roger Clemens is guilty or not, MLB launched a department of investigations, a new permanent branch of the commissioner's office responsible for looking into drug use. It's definitely a step in the right direction. They also established a tip line for team employees to make the commissioner's office aware of violations of drug, betting and other rules along with several other recommendations made by Mitchell, such as background checks and random drug tests for clubhouse employees; logging all packages sent to clubhouses; and permanent credentials for drug testers. All good things and certainly a proactive approach to curbing performance enhancing drug use in the league.
Now, on to Clemens. Whether he actually did take the performance-enhancing drugs or not, I believe that he believes he did nothing wrong. In five or ten years from now, will Clemens have risen above the allegations or will he have an asterisk next to his name like Barry Bonds? Will Clemens be able to shrug the allegations? If he can't prove for certain that he did NOT take any performance-enhancing drugs, there is no other option than to have the asterisk follow him to the Hall of Fame along with any other player mentioned in the Mitchell report. One thing is for sure though, a lot of lawyers will be making a lot of money with all the allegations and law suits.
All things considered, spring training for 2008 is just around the corner and teams are shaping up. Within the next week or so, we'll begin posting Probable Lineups and hopefully that will take some attention away from the Mitchell report and back on to the business of baseball.