The Rockies are motivated to trade Matt Holliday. There isn’t a perfect fit for Matt, but several teams should still have interest. I did a player market for Holliday here. The Rockies prefer proven starting pitching, but are open to anything. One team that has emerged as a legitimate possiblity is the Cardinals. Yes, I know people consider them to have a surplus of outfielders. However, this is the best spot to add a big bat since there aren’t many power middle infielders around let alone available. It is unlikely the Cards would include top prospect Colby Rasmus, and they don’t have much prospect wise after him. Bryan Anderson has a lot of value, but the Rox already have a good catcher in Chris Ianetta. They would probably need to get another team involved. How about this three team trade between the Yankees, Cardinals, and Rockies…
Cardinals get: Matt Holliday
Yankees get: Garret Atkins, Rick Ankiel, Bryan Anderson
Rockies get: Robinson Cano, Ian Kennedy, Alan Horne, Chris Perez
I like this deal a lot. The Cardinals are trading Rick Ankiel, Bryan Anderson, and Chris Perez for Matt Holliday. It’s a steep price, but they add a big slugger as well as get Albert Pujols the protection he needs. So it makes Pujols a better player also. The Yankees greatly help out their offense. They get to DH Jorge Posada now that Bryan Anderson is with the club. They also fill the first base and center field holes with Ankiel and Atkins. The team loses a good second baseman, but they can always just sign Orlando Hudson to take his place. The Rockies are getting a very good deal as well. They lose their top two sluggers, but fill their hole at second base with a player that could easily rebound. Especially in that park. Chris Perez gives them a great late inning option, replacing Brian Fuentes. Ian Kennedy and Alan Horne are two decent back-of-the-rotation options. I know this is unlikely, but I think it makes a lot of sense.
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I saved the New York Yankees for last because I thought they would be the most fun. The Yankees, almost definatly going to miss the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, are going to have a major spending spree to get back there in 2009. It’s also their first year in the new Yankee Stadium. They have a ton of money to spend and are likely to spend most of it if not all of it. First off, they need to fix their pitching. Both relief and starting pitching are needs. They also need to add a bat. This bat could come from almost any position. Pitching is what they need to get to first, however. CC Sabathia is at the top of their list. They are likely to offer CC the biggest contract a starter has ever gotten, and Sabathia will likely take it. That solidifies the #1 spot and Chien-Ming Wang is a very good #2. They also need to make a second signing after CC. They could go after AJ Burnett, or just stick with resigning Mike Mussina. I think the latter is more likely. If they could sport a rotation of CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, Mike Mussina/AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes, this team would be back in October next year. Andy Pettitte could also be resigned if they miss out on Mussina and Burnett. That isn’t likely, however. Or if the Yankees trade Hughes. That isn’t likely either. It would be smart of them to sign an injury risk or a swing man because the rotation has a lot of injury prone players like Wang, Joba, and Hughes. Now, they need to address the bullpen. Damaso Marte’s option should be declined. They need to get a better lefty reliever like Will Ohman, as well as another reliever like Chad Durbin. After that comes the hitter they need. They will go after Mark Teixera, but both he and Sabathia are unlikely. They could look to resign Pudge Rodriguez and shift Jorge Posada to first base. If they feel Posada can handle catcher they could resign Bobby Abreu to play right field and put Xavier Nady at first base. They could bring back both Abreu and Pudge and then trade Hideki Matsui. It has been said that Robinson Cano could be moved in the right deal, and then they could sign Orlando Hudson to replace him. I don’t like this because Cano is just having an off year. Last year and in 2006, he was better than Hudson. Cano would have to bring in something awefully good to trade him. Jason Giambi could be resigned, also. I would rather have Abreu, however, because it improves the defense with Nady at first instead of Giambi. One guy I think is likely to be traded is Ian Kennedy. Maybe he could fetch a decent reliever or a could be part of a package deal with Hughes or Cano for a big hitter like Ryan Howard or Prince Fielder. Bengie Molina could also be aquired if they missed out on resigning Pudge. The Yankees are a team likely to make a lot of noise this offseason, especially on pitching.
They San Diego Padres didn’t fare nearly as well as they did when they got a game away from their third straight playoff appearance in 2007. This year, they’re dead last in their division and in the running for the worst record in the MLB. (Which may be a good thing because of Stephen Strasburg) They are likely to cut payroll in ’09 to the 50 million range. If they pick up Brian Giles option and make no free agent signings, then they would have a payroll of about 46 million. Maybe if they can get Trevor Hoffman to take a discount and sign for around 5 million, they could get him in there are have a payroll around 50. I think it is possible they could sign a free agent or two and have a payroll around 75 million and could possibly compete. I don’t think they are 2 or 3 players away from contending, however. It makes more sense to rebuild. If they want to make some big splashes, they could trade Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez. Peavy is very unlikely because he is under contract through 2012 with an option for 2013. Gonzalez, however, could be dealt. He is signed through 2010 with an option for 2011. Only three years. Many teams are interested in first basemen, but there is a bleak market past Mark Teixera and Jason Giambi. Maybe trade Gonzalez to the Yankees for a package aroung Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy. Kevin Kouzmanoff could also be dealt so they can move Chase Headly back to his natural position: third base. Khalil Greene could be traded as well, although it would be a huge sell low move. Only trade him if you get 75% of full value. They have nothing to lose by playing Greene in ’09 to raise his value. This is a team that is either going to be very quiet by not making many moves, or very loud by trading Gonzalez, Greene, and Kouzmanoff this offseason.
Next up is the Philadelphia Phillies. This team is good team without many needs. The only need they have are left field/right field, starting pitching, and a reliever. They are losing a big slugger in their lineup in Pat Burrell, and will try hard to resign him. They Phils don’t have a lot of money to spend, however. Only about 8 million. If they backload Burrel’s deal they could get it done, but that would leave nothing for pitching. They could possibly trade Ryan Howard, who could earn 14 million in arbitration next year. They could trade Howard and shave that 14 million off the payroll so they can resign Burrell and have enough to sign a reliever and a first baseman. Maybe trade Howard to the Yankees for Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, then resign Burrell to a 4 year, 60 million contract. Hughes solves the pitching, and they can trade Ian Kennedy to the Florida Marlins for Mike Jacobs. I know it’s a inter-divsion trade, but it could work. They can then resign Chad Durbin with their remaining money. This is unlikely, but it makes sense, doesn’t it? If they don’t do that, they’ll probably let Burrell walk, resign Jamie Moyer, and sign a Raul Ibanez, Jaun Rivera, Garret Anderson type left fielder. They also could sign a reliever, but it might not be Chad Durbin. So, the Phillies are going to have to get creative this offseason since they don’t have much money.