First off -- I think signing Kotsay to a long-term deal is a great idea. The guy provides incredible D, leadership and a consistent top-of-the-order bat. BUT . . . I contend that the signing should wait as long as possible.
Why? Because Kotsay is at the top of his game right now and his value is probably higher than it will ever be. Might something happen between now and, say the end of the 2006 season that could drop this value and make him cheaper to sign?
Just to chew on . . . baseball prospectus has Kotsay's attrition rate (the percent chance that a hitter's plate appearances or a pitcher's opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline) is at 1.9 % this year, but jumps to 6.0% in 2006 and 20.8% in 2007.
BUT -- in favor of signing -- BP shows that Kotsay will maintain his equivilant average and defensive levels through 2009.
So . . . should BB roll the dice and see if something could lessen Kotsay's current high value, or should he bite now just to nail him down?
I say wait and see . . . I can't imagine his value in 2006 being higher than it is now . . . although I hope in the end, he is resigned.