Okay, so this isn't nearly as bad as the four-year, $17 million contract the Phillies gave David Bell a few years back, but they're almost as likely to regret it this time next year. The Phils are paying Wes Helms $5.5 million for two years to be their everyday third baseman.
This is an unfortunate commitment, since Helms probably isn't any good, but I'm not sure I can blame the Phillies too much for this one. The Phillies needed a new third baseman badly - they already traded Bell, who's just as bad as Helms, and their other major third baseman last year was our good friend Abe Nunez, who turned in a vintage Nunez season. They really have no other palatable options at third in the majors or upper minors. Add that to the fact that this is a very bad market for owners in general and a bad market for third basemen in particular (particularly after the Cubs re-signed Aramis Ramirez), and it was pretty likely the Phillies were going to get stuck with a contract like this. Helms has been good in limited time in both the last two years - given his age and his performance before 2005, that's probably a fluke, but I'd still rather hand out my millions to him than to Pedro Feliz or Aaron Boone or something.
ESPN is also reporting that the Jays are close to a deal with Frank Thomas. DH is an area where the Jays don't exactly have pressing needs, but it's hard to pass up a player of Thomas' caliber. But for $30 million, which is the rumored value of the deal, I know I'd have to pass. Wow, this market is nuts.
Still not a peep from Dave Littlefield, who's probably cowering in a corner somewhere, panicked at the numbers being thrown around and the funny water being drunk. If I were Littlefield, I would probably dangle Jose Bautista just to see what I could get. The third base market is so awful, he might be able to get something nice. Then if he traded Bautista, he could grab one of the many decent free agent second basemen and play Freddy Sanchez at third again.