Jorge Says No! introduced amnesty earlier and we are happy to present to you our NL Central picks. Which contract would your team want to waive at the end of this season? Lets take a look:
There is only one logical choice here: RF Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome made a name for himself early in the season through his clutch hitting, ability to get on base, and his quality at bats. Cubs fans were confident that Fukudome was the real deal and in turn would be the left handed hitter that they needed. However, Fukudome fell off dramatically in the second half to the tune of a .217 batting average and a pathetic 3 HRs. Fukudome no longer had quality at bats as he seemed to consistently flail at the ball. The Cubs would be better off cutting their losses instead of hoping for a massive turnaround.
Back in 2006, there was no one on the Cardinals staff that I feared more than Chris Carpenter. Here was a guy who had battled through so many injuries to become one of the most dominant pitchers in the NL. With a huge, dramatic curveball and pinpoint command of his 91-94 MPH fastball, Carpenter seemed to be on the fast track to stardom. Before the 2007 season, the Cardinals gave him $65 mil over 5 years thinking that they had just signed their ace long term. However, Carpenter has only started 4 games since he signed the big contract because of Tommy John surgery and shoulder problems. the chances that he makes it back to his dominant form in unlikely.
Again, the choice is clear. SP Jeff Suppan parlayed two good seasons and a phenomenal playoff performance into a 4 year/$42 million dollar contract, which is about $20 million more than he deserves. Suppan has below average stuff and has been hit hard even in the national league. In his first two seasons with the Brewers, Suppan has delivered ERAs of 4.62 and 4.96 while producing only 22 wins. And to top it all off, Suppan rarely strikes out hitters, which is a severe hindrance given the porous Brewer's defense. The Brewers would be grateful to be rid of Suppan so they could pursue big C.C.
SP Bronson Arroyo and his 2 year/$25 million dollar contract are tempting here, but Arroyo is serviceable for the Reds. My choice here is RP Francisco Cordero. Yes, the Reds signed Cordero only last season, and yes, Cordero did not have a bad season in 2008. But the facts are simple, it is stupid for a mid market team, who is far away from competing to be paying a closer $10 million dollars a season. That money could be better spent investing in young talent and specifically, pitching!
If SS Jack Wilson is not traded this offseason, then he would be a splendid choice for the Pirates. Wilson is a good player, who plays solid defense and hits for average, but should not be making anywhere near $7 million dollars. Wilson has struggled to maintain a solid OBP throughout his career and offers nothing spectacular to the table. He would be a good fit for a better team (Blue Jays), but the Pirates would benefit by cutting ties with him.
Surprisingly, there is no one here who immediately jumps out at you. Miguel Tejada has proven to be a solid regular even though his skills are on the decline while Carlos Lee has been a force in the middle of the lineup during his tenure as an Astro. Sure Lee doesn't deserve the $100 million contract the Astros gave him, but his bat is too important for the Astros to lose. Also keep in mind that the Astros have very few young players who are close to playing in the big leagues right now, so any amnesty casualty would probably be filled by a veteran/stopgap/AAAA player. Amnesty is not really an option here.
(Photo: Sports Illustated)