It is known that the Indians could look to trade catcher Kelly Shoppach this offseason. The reasoning is to improve one of their holes while keeping Victor Martinez behind the plate. Then, they could either give Ryan Garko another shot at first base, or they could sign a free agent like Jason Giambi. They’re looking for a veteran starting pitcher, a late inning reliever, and an infield bat. The Reds, Red Sox, Tigers, and Marlins are possibilities for Shoppach. How about Bronson Arroyo and cash from the Reds for Shoppach? I favor the Reds a bit in this trade, but it still makes sense. The Reds would replace Arroyo with Homer Baily. The Red Sox could offer a young pitcher like Michael Bowden, but that’s if the Indians would accpet a young pitcher in return. I have no idea what the Tigers could offer. They don’t have anything the Indians want, and their in the same division. The Marlins make the most sense to me. They could fill two of the Indians holes easily. Kelly Shoppach for Kevin Gregg and Scott Olsen. The Indians bring in a verteran starter to add a bit more depth to their rotation. Gregg is a solid, cheap closer. The costs of all combined would probably only equal about an extra 5 million for the Tribe. So that would leave them with 10 million to sign a big infield bat through free agency. This trade makes sense for the Fish, too. They cut 10 million in salary between this trade and the Mike Jacobs deal, as well as open up a spot for prospects Chris Coghlan and Andrew Miller. Kevin Gregg wasn’t a necessary part of this team because of all the other bullpen talent on their team. The best part about it is that they can fill their weakest link last year: catcher. I like this trade for both teams.
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I had a really busy weekend. So lets get back to baseball.
I have been hearing rumors that the Giants could possibly pursue CC Sabathia. At first, I hated this idea, but now I can start to undertsand it. If the Brewers are willing to trade Prince Fielder for Matt Cain straight up, and the Giants don’t want to weaken their rotation, they could sign Sabathia to repalce Cain while adding Fielder. There is a down side to the Giants, however. would they really want to sign two 100+ million dollar contracts to two pitchers? I wouldn’t. The other down side is payroll. Assuming that Sabathia makes 22 million a year, and that Fielder makes 8 million in his first year of arbitration, they would be adding 30 million to increase payroll up to 84 million. They only had a 76 million payroll last year. Even if they can raise it that high, they still haven’t fixed the bullpen and the offense could still use another piece. I don’t know if the Brewers would even do a Fielder for Cain trade, but we’ll talk about that another day. Or if CC Sabathia would give the Giants a discount or just sign with the highest bidder. Even if both things happen, it may be smarter to use the extra money to sign a couple of bats in the group of Joe Crede, Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudsons, and Jason Giambi. I find this strategy smarter. In fact, I wouldn’t sign anyone if I were the Giants. Continue rebuilding would be my message.
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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.
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.
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.
The Tampa Bay Rays, the biggest surprise of the 2008 season, will hopefully build on their successfull 2008 season with a good offseason. In my top 50 free agents, I predicted they would dole out the cash and sign Adam Dunn. If they do, their offseason would be just about done. The only needs they have are DH and right field. They sign Dunn for DH, and could resign Eric Hinske or pick up Cliff Floyd’s option for ’09. Then trade for Matt Murton. They have always liked Murton, and tried to trade for him when he was with the Cubs. Murton seems to be avalable with the A’s because they have Travis Buck, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeny and eventually Aaron Cunningham for the outfield. Murton shouldn’t be too hard to pry loose from Billy Beane, a GM always open to making a deal. Maybe offer them a Jason Hammel and Mitch Talbot. Neither guy has anywhere to go in the Rays organazation. Platoon Hinske with Murton and you have a successfull right field. If the Rays can’t get Dunn, they could still go after other DHs like Milton Bradley, Pat Burrell, Raul Ibanez, and Jason Giambi. They can keep the same right field. They could even sign Bobby Abreu and have him play right field and DH switching off with the platoon of Murton and Hinske. They will have to move a starter in the offseason. Either Andy Sonnanstine or Edwin Jackson need to be traded to open up a spot for stud prospect David Price. Maybe instead of using the platoon of Murton and Hinske they can trade Sonnanstine or Jackson for a right fielder. The Tampa Bay Rays have options, and are only one Adam Dunn type player awaty from contending for a world series.