The Chicago Jewish News Online has named their MLB Most Valuable Jew for 2006, and the winner is Boston’s Kevin Youklis (link swiped from Adam Rubin). Though I don’t know if Denis Leary was on the nominating committee, it has to be said that based on the level of competition, this is kind of like being named the Best Band In Dallas, or the Most Attractive Woman In Massachusetts.

After the day’s big free agent acquisition, Todd Hundley Sucks rubs his crystal balls and sees the following opening day lineup for Sweet Lou Piniella.

Alfonso Soriano, CF
Michael Barrett, C
Derrek Lee, 1B
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Jacque Jones, RF
Matt Murton, LF
Mark DeRosa, 2B
someone vomitously bad, SS
Carlos Zambrano, P

Calling the Cubs’ signing of Alfonso Soriano, “a wake up call to the Astros,” the Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice predicts Carlos Lee is an obvious beneficiary.

Carlos Lee isn’t going to get $136 million, but it now seems unlikely the Astros are going to get him for $75 million over five years, which had seemed to be the going rate two weeks ago. He’s much less coveted than Soriano, but he’s still the second-best offensive player available in free agency. His price almost certainly will go up.If the Astros don’t sign Lee, they’ll be left to scramble for leftovers or attempt to trade for an impact offensive player. Industry sources still believe he’ll end up with the Astros, but the longer he stays on the open market, the greater the chances are another team will do something outrageous.

Talk of the Sultan Of Surly signing with Oakland/Freemont continues, but I have a funny feeling The Dugout already knows how that exchange is likely to turn out.