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The Milwaukee Brewers are probably not going to be as good in 2009 as they were in 2008. Their top two starters: CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets are both free agents. They have a few holes. They need one arm in the rotation, and one or two in the bullpen, as well as a center fielder. They have a good trade chip in JJ Hardy and could possibly entertain trading Prince Fielder. They need to open up spots for top prospects Alcidies Escobar and Mat Gamel. Hardy is more likely to be dealt because his bat would be easier to replace than Fielder’s. Plus, a lot of other good first baseman could be on the market with Mike Jacobs and Ryan Howard in trades and Mark Teixera and Jason Giambi on the free agent market. There should be a huge market for Hardy, with only two above average shortstops avalable via free agency. I have previously said that JJ Hardy for Nick Blackburn would make sense, and I still believe that. Another possibility is Hardy to the Oriols for George Sherrill and Daniel Cabrera. Or to the Blue Jays for maybe Shaun Marcum or Dustin McGowen. The Brewers could always add a piece to make it work. To the Royals for David DeJesus or Ran Mahay and a piece. To the A’s for one of their several pitching prospects. Or maybe for Huston Street instead. To the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez. Or the Dodgers for Scott Elbert or Justin McGownen and a bullpen piece. There are many options. They should pick up the option on Mike Cameron. 10 million is a lot for him, but they have a lot of money to burn and could afford him. I think they’ll spend a lot of money on their bullpen as well. Although, they did that last year and it didn’t work. They could look into resigning Sheets, but Sabathia has no chance of coming back. If they resign Sheets they could be just as good as they were last year, with Yovani Gallardo coming back from injury. The Brewers can still be a very good team in ’09, probably just not as good as they were in ’08.
The Baltimore Orioles finally have some good, young talent, especially pitching wise. There system is pretty loaded there. They have the recent drafted Brian Matusz and another top ten pitching prospect in Chris Tillman. Those two, combined with Jeremy Guthrie give the O’s pitching a bright future. They also ahve mid-tier pitching propsects like Troy Patten, Garret Olsen, and Radhams Liz. Those players can fill out the finale two spots. They could add one starter if need be, but it makes more sense to go after hitters. They have the best prospect in the MLB in Matt Wieters. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones solidify right field and center field. That’s three positions they don’t have to worry about in catcher, right field, and center field. They need a new infield, however. They also need a left fielder. They shouldn’t jump into free agency jusy yet. First, they need an infield. Offer a contract to Brian Roberts, if he declines, then trade him for an infielder. To the Dodgers for Chin-Lung Hu makes sense. They should also flip George Sherrill for an infielder. Maybe if the Angels resign Mark Teixera they’ll trade Kendry Moralas for Sherrill. Deal Ramon Hernandez, Melvin Mora, and Aubrey Huff if you can as salary dumps. Try to get some infield talent, and then in 2010, when all of their bad contracts will be off the books, then they should dip into free agency to fill their remaining holes. This team could be a contender by 2010 if they make the right moves.