Free-agency pool holds high value

By Dallas Cook
STAR Staff

   Jason Giambi, Dimitri Young, Bret Boone, Barry Bonds and Tino Martinez. Yeah it sounds like an all-star line-up, but the truth is none of these major leaguers know what uniform they will suit up in when the 2002 season gets underway.
   Free agents have been know to help some teams out in the past, but none were quite as big of names as those listed in this years free agent pool.
   The biggest names are Giambi and Bonds who both turned in career seasons this past year to up their value in the search of new contracts.
   Bonds and the Giants had their first meeting last Friday since the season ended in order to talk about a new deal that would keep him in San Francisco for the next five years and pay him $20 million each year. Still no word on what the Giants are willing to do but they also intend to resign free agents Jason Schmidt and Jason Christiansen and keep their pitching rotation in tact. Other teams that are interested in Bonds are the Mets, Yankees, Mariners and Dodgers.
   Giambi is one player who definitely has the advantage in this year's pool as he bring to the table a variety of talent that all teams are looking for. After helping turn around the Athletics, Giambi's contract has ran out and it seems to be that he will end up wearing the pin stripes.
   Rumor has it that Giambi has talked with Yankees manager Joe Torre and all went well. If Giambi does make a deal with New York he is expected to sign a seven year, $119 contract according to the New York post. Other clubs that are also interested in Giambi are the Cardinals and Mets.
   Cincinnati is supposedly looking to let Dimitri Young go and make a spot for outfielder Austin Kearns to join the cast of Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn. It's rumored that the Reds are talking to Atlanta and St. Louis in possible deals.
   Bret Boone is another big name on the list as teams such as the Red Sox and Rangers are looking to make a bid for him. It's reported that Boone wants to stay in Seattle but the Mariners first offer of $23 wasn't negotiable.
   After all is said and done Boone will more than likely end up wearing a Mariners or Rangers uniform next season.
   Atlanta has been searching for a player to take over the first base duties as names such as Tino Martinez and Gary Sheffield have been brought up. Martinez would seem more of a obvious pick but Sheffield brings a better bat and is more of a RBI threat.
   Many others will wait as teams make offers to build there teams and among them are Juan Gonzalez, Jeromy Burnitz, Jeff Cirillo, John Smoltz, Moises Alou, Scott Rolen and Carl Everett.
   Between this past year's two world series teams, Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees, there are 16 free agents