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Bucs to Pursue Talks with Sanchez, Capps

The Post-Gazette reports that the Bucs will seek to sign Freddy Sanchez and Matt Capps to multi-year deals. Sanchez has two years left before he's eligible for free agency and Capps has four, but it has become common, especially among successful low-payroll teams like Oakland and Cleveland, for franchises to sign young players to discounted contracts many years before they become eligible for free agency.

The reasons given for pursuing contracts for Sanchez and Capps are sound. By signing Sanchez to a two-year deal, they can know well in advance what they will pay him in 2009, and plan accordingly. (A longer deal for Sanchez, a contact-hitting second baseman who's about to enter his thirties, would be a bad idea, in my opinion, since second basemen don't tend to age well.) And Capps can probably be signed fairly cheaply, since he's still a year removed from his first arbitration payday. A multimillion-dollar contract would set him up for life, so it would behoove him to sign one, even if it comes at a discount from what he would've received in arbitration.

Rather than signing Sanchez and Capps to long-term deals, though, they're the sorts of players I'd be looking to trade. As much fun as Sanchez is, he probably has a very short shelf life, because of his position and injury history and because so much of his value is tied up in his batting average. And a good, young, cheap closer like Capps should command quite a lot of value on the trade market - there's no reason to think he'd be any less valuable than Mike Gonzalez was this time last year, for example. The Bucs traded Gonzalez and got a good everyday player in return; if they can do the same with Capps, they should.