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If a washed up player files for free agency, does it make a sound?

Roberto Alomar [was] reinstated from the voluntary retired list Thursday by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and . . . filed for free agency.

Alomar. . . who had signed a $600,000, one-year contract with Tampa Bay, filed for free agency to preserve future options rather than with the specific intent of playing next year, agent Jaime Torres said.

While the Cubs definitely need fire power in the bullpen, I wouldn't want it to be Trevor Hoffman. writes of Hoffman, "...even at 38, is still a dependable closer." That's basically true. But who wants to give a multi-year contract to a guy who is 38? He hasn't pitched in more than 60 innings since 2001. Yes, his main pitch is a change. But if I am a GM I don't throw that type of money at an older player. Hoffman turned down a 2 yr.-10 mill contract from the Pads last week. For my money I'm throwing a big wad at B.J. Ryan. Dirty, nasty, filthy---pick your adjective. In the last 3 seasons, Ryan has struck out 285 batters in 207 innings. He is only 29. That is a sound investment. He's a younger version of Wagner and will come cheaper than Billy, who is 34.

The Cubs bullpen is still one big question mark. Ryan wouldn't solve all of their bullpen woes, but it's a darn good start. If the Cubs are to do anything this year, I would grab Ryan and Furcal--even if I had to overpay a bit. Furcal isntantly changes the offense. He is one of the most exciting players in the game today. Most agree he has the best arm in the league at SS. Last year he had 31 2B, 11 3B, 12 HR, and 46 SB. He is only 27. Furcal was 3rd in double plays turned last year. He was also #1 in range factor and #6 in zone rating.

The other prize out there is Brian Giles. The power numbers took a dip going to SD, but last year his OPS in away games was 1.008. He is a big left-handed bat and draws plenty of walks. And he is a good right fielder too. He was 6th overall in MLB in both range factor and zone rating.

The Bears move to 5-3 with a win over the Saints. They have now won 4 in a row and are 3-0 in their division. Only the Colts have allowed fewer points, and they play tonight so that could change. Minnesota moved to 3-5 yesterday with a win behind Brad Johnson. But they play their next 2 on the road at the Giants and Green Bay. Looks like they will be 3-7 and out of the running. The Bears have their next 2 at home against SF and Carolina. They should at least split those and be 6-4. Green Bay and Detroit are dead. The Bears can only beat themselves at this point.

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