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November 12, 2007 12:00 am

Player Profile: Brad Wilkerson

0

Marc Normandin

Can free agency help cure what ails the former star slugger?

Following a trade to Texas that many felt favored the Rangers, Brad Wilkerson has struggled to stay both healthy and productive for two years. Now a free agent, it's tough to gage just how much interest there will be in him given his recent problems. Wilkerson could be a potentially productive and low cost alternative in the outfield for many teams who won't be able to afford the higher priced options this winter though.

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The Padres will spend spring training sorting through their "ifs." the Rangers will spend it admiring their new center fielder.

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Scot Hughes analyzes the rest of Montreal's roster, which will probably be filled with players who are not yet arbitration-eligible.

Part One

The rest of the roster will probably be filled with players who are not yet arbitration-eligible. Taking into account the increase in minimum salary and the players available to the Expos, the other 14 spots will be filled with guys like Tomo Ohka, Scott Stewart, T.J. Tucker, Brad Wilkerson, Jose Macias, Brian Schneider, Endy Chavez, Jim Brower and possibly an inexpensive veteran or two (like Andres Galarraga, Troy O'Leary and Wil Cordero in 2002). Figure an average salary of $0.5M or so for each of the remaining 14 roster spots, and that's $7M more, for a total of $56M.

So Minaya has a likely budget of $40M, and a projected payroll of $56M or so. What does he do?

Minaya has to cut about $16M in payroll. There are some salaries on the roster that could be cut without hurting the on-field product all that much. Unfortunately, Fernando Tatis is the biggest albatross on the Expos payroll, but I think his $6M is basically untradeable, at least not without the Expos paying a big chunk of his salary or accepting an equally bad contract in return. But we'll give Minaya the benefit of the doubt, and assume he can unload Tatis and half of his contract (but doesn't acquire anything of value in return). $3M in savings.

The Expos also have reasonably good depth in terms of candidates for the back end of the rotation and the bullpen (Sun Woo Kim, Zach Day, Matt Blank, Dickey Gonzalez, Dan Smith, Britt Reames, etc). Given that, it makes sense that they showed Masato Yoshii the door, and they'll probably do the same with Matt Herges. $4M more in savings.

At this point, the easy, relatively painless cuts are gone, and Minaya still has to clear $9M in payroll. He's got 2 options at this point:

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