It would be nice to see the Cubs stay ahead of the curve and lock up Geovany Soto to a long-term deal. A catcher with his ability is hard to come by, where I would argue that he is the best all-around catcher in the game today. In my humble opinion, the cubs should lock-up what they've got right now and sign this kid through his arbitration years with options extending beyond then. The cubs aren't going to find a better catcher anytime soon, and there certainly isn't anyone presently in the system that I see coming to take his job anytime soon either. Instead avoid the arbitration hearings, the strong possibility that Soto could become a super-two arbitration candidate after 09, and just pay the kid what he deserves right now. At this point, giving Soto a 4 or 5 year deal makes sense, as the team would be effectively buying out his arbitration years possibly even his first year of free agency.
Soto is young, at 26, and has caught in only 500-600 games since 2003. Soto is a productive hitter batting near .300 with 20+ HR power while putting up 80+RBI's. He was the unanimous ROY last season earning all 1st place votes except for 1, the starting catcher on the NL All-Star team, and he finished 13th in NL MVP voting. I would argue that he made a strong case for winning the Silver Slugger Award as well as a Gold Glove to go with all the other awards he got. He had virtually identical numbers as McCann offensively, with McCann having a higher batting average. But I would argue even more strongly that he should have won the gold glove over Yadi. Yadi played in less games, had as many passed balls, made twice as many errors along with a lower fielding percentage, but he threw out runners attempting to steal at a better clip than Geo (35% vs 27%). Few players on any team, at any position, can boast being as talented of a player on both sides of the ball as Geovany Soto.