Saturday, December 16, 2006

Despite Age, Steve Finley Still Viable Commodity

At 41, Steve Finley's .241 batting average and seven stolen bases in limited action last season might suggest that he's finished. The Giants seemed to think so, buying out his contract for $1 million and sending him packing.
But in a market where center fielders are in short supply, Finley hardly can be expected to rush to the rocking chair when there's money to be made.

It's a big stretch to think the Cubs would seriously consider an aging speedster such as Finley, even with the pickings so slim. Yes, somebody probably will sign him, but expect the Cubs to keep communications open with such teams as Milwaukee, considering the Brewers surprising number of tradeable outfielders, including but not limited to Brady Clark and Laynce Nix. Washington's Ryan Church is also being openly shopped.

Bubba Crosby is out there; very athletic, but just a spare part. Angels castoff Daren Erstad is still in his prime and used to play a strong center field, but injuries have taken a toll, with his ability to make quick turns, starts and especially hard stops now questionable.

Cory Sullivan could be pried from the Rockies, but who would want an outfielder associated with a number of problems both at the plate and in the field?

The Cardinals still have Larry Bigbee under control. Bigbee has played center field for Baltimore, but has been unable to stay healthy and finds his career in jeopardy even before he reaches his 30th birthday.

One oldie but goodie is the Yankees Bernie Williams, who can still run a little bit and hit left-handed pitching and -- oh, forget it.