The Indians have signed Kerry Wood to a 2 year, 20 million dollar contract. This looks like a really nice signing to me. Woody can come in a be the great closer that the Indians need. It eats up 10 million of the 15 million they had available this offseason, but I think that it’s worth it. This guy was very good last year and has the stuff to be a completely dominant closer. This is a great move on the Indians part.
Now that there is only 5 million left to spend, it looks like the Tribe will look for an infielder. Mark Grudzielanek could make a lot of sense if he is convinced the Indians can compete. Orlando Hudson now looks like he’s out of their price range. Ray Durham would be an OK aquisition if Grudzielanek cannot be had. There’s not much left at second base past those two. Not many shortstops either unless the Tribe can afford Rafael Furcal or Orlando Cabrera, which is unlikely. Joe Crede or Ty Wiggington make a lot of sense for the third base hole, but those players might also be out of the Indians price range.
If no infielder can be aquired, the Tribe could look at a cheap starting pitching signing. There is not much depth in that rotation. Freddy Garcia, or maybe even a return of Paul Byrd could make a lot of sense. Brad Penny could be another option.
Kerry Wood was a good signing by the Indians as they attempt to compete for the AL Central crown next year. This division should be wide open.
I’m just upset that Wood didn’t return to my Cubbies.
The Indians have 3 big holes to fill this offseason, but limited resources. Can 15 million buy a quality player for the rotation, infield, and bullpen? The Indians will have to get creative with trades or free agent signings. It doesn’t seem like the Tribe’s way to spend big money on a starter, so expect most of the money to go toward the bullpen and/or infield. Instead of paying for a top notch closer like Francisco Rodriguez or Brian Fuentes, it would be smarter to give the job to a set-up man like Juan Cruz. Trevor Hoffman is the exception because he is a possible bargain. So, 4-7 million goes toward the ‘pen. A reclamation project could be imported on the cheap. Freddy Garcia could make sense for 5 million. With the remaining money, a guy like Mark Grudzielanek or Joe Crede could be added on a short-term deal. This could be the way it happens; they sign Hoffman, Grudzielanek, and Garcia all to short-term contracts. It seems like the thing Mark Shapiro would do: no risk, some upside.
A big free agent could be signed, however. Orlando Hudson finds himself in a bad market for second baseman, and could come at a below market price. Maybe for 8 million or so he could make sense. Then use 7 million on Hoffman and hope for the best with your starting pitching. Maybe even sign a guy like Jon Garland. Use the remaining money on Grudzielanek or Cruz and settle with internal options for the other positions.
The other possibility would be to make a trade. Kelly Shoppach could be moved to fill one of the holes. With so many teams interested in catching help, he could draw something nice. If they believe that Michael Bowden can make a good impression in his rookie year, he could be aquired for Shoppach. Ty Wiggington from the Astros is an option if other pieces are involved. Don’t bring up Jose Valverde; he will cost the same as Trevor Hoffman for the same amount of years, one. The Tribe would be much better off with Hoffman and Shoppach rather than Valverde and Ryan Garko. A deal could be worked out if the Tigers offered Placido Palonco, but that makes little sense for Detroit. So maybe it would be smarter to just keep Shoppach.
In that case, the other catcher could be moved. Victor Martinez has two years left on his contract and could be a very appealing option to many teams. He’ll earn only 5.2 million next year, so it wouldn’t clear much salary, but think about the possible return. I recently wrote about how Victor Martinez for Mike Lowell made sense.
So it looks like Indians’ GM Mark Shapiro will have a very busy offseason in front of him. He will have to get creative if he truly wants to fill all of his holes.
The Giants are considering some of the top names on the free agent market. Guys like CC Sabathia, Rafael Furcal, Orlando Cabrera, Casey Blake, Joe Crede, and Orlando Hudson are possible players the Giants could have interest in. The goal is to upgrade the infield where there is no sure thing. A couple of young, decent players are on the team, but they really need a veteran. Emmanuel Burres could be a solid middle infielder. Pablo Sandoval could take a corner position. John Bowker is decent and so is Kevin Frandsen. Overall, I think they just have to add somebody.
Sabathia makes some sense as they could then deal Matt Cain to the Brewers for Prince Fielder. Or just trade Jonathan Sanchez and head into ’09 with 3 stud pitchers. I talked in depth about CC to the Giants here.
Furcal would make a particually good aquisition. He could lead off for them and would really change their image as a slow, old team. I would shy away from Furcal, however, because of the price. It will take a lot of money to lure Furcal away from all the other teams seriously interested in him such as the Dodgers, A’s, Royals, Cardinals, and Blue Jays.
Cabrera would be easier to sign than Furcal, but he doesn’t do much anymore. Yes he can play good defense and hit for a decent average, but he has no power and little speed. It might be a better idea to save the money for a different position and continue playing Frandsen and Burres everyday.
Blake and Crede could be solid additions as well. I would rather pursue middle infield help, though. Pablo Sandoval is a pretty solid prospect. I know he could move to first if there is a third baseman aquisition, but he would then block top prospect Akinori Iwamura.
Hudson is the one that makes the most sense to me. There won’t be many serious bidders for him; only the Cardinals and Indians seem truly interested. Both teams have other big holes, so it wouldn’t be that hard to make them shy away to fill a different hole. Hudson would make a very nice aquisition for San Fran.
The Giants don’t have to get the infield bat via free agency, however. They could always just trade Jonathan Sanchez for an infield bat. They might even make a signing and a trade. Sign Furcal and trade Sanchez for Kelly Johnson. Just like that you have a middle infield. Whatever they do, it will be tough to compete in 2009 unless the Dodgers screw up in free agency.
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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The Chicago White Sox are in a dog fight for the AL central right now with the Twins. (Don’t forget, I will do my predictions on September first) But today I will look ahead to what they should do in the offseason. This team should be one of the most quietest teams, with only one need, second base. Their designated hitter Jim Thome’s option is likely to get picked up, because the White Sox have a lot of money coming off the books when Orlando Cabrera and Joe Crede leave. (I think both will) All they have to do is sign a second baseman on a 1 or 2 year deal. So, sign one of Mark Grudzielanek, Ray Durham, and David Eckstein. They can then shift Alexie Ramirez to shortstop. This is all they have to do, but with Kenny Williams you never know what they will do. It seems like Williams wants to move Jose Contreras. If they do, they would have to get a starter. Maybe sign a guy like Paul Byrd or trade for a guy like Jason Marquis if the Cubs eat salary. These are guys on one year deals that can be a stopgap to top pitching prospect Aaron Poreda. They have former top prospect Josh Fields ready to take over for Crede. However, Fields has struggled this year and could be traded. That would put the White Sox in the hunt for a third baseman. So the bottom line for the White Sox is: All they need to do is one little move, but they could end up being very active.
The San Fran. Giants need to rebuild! They have been a bad team for a while now, but their bad GM Brian Sebean continues to try to fix this team in free agency. That is not going to work. I think he will sign Joe Crede. I don’t think he should, but he will. This team has a great nucleus of young pitching with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez. That part of this team is done. What they need is offense. They have several holes in that department. They have no on at shortstop or third base. The outfield is good, though. They have the young Fred Lewis and the last year’s free agent signee Aaron Rowand. They also have a pretty good right field prospect in Nate Shierholtz, and should trade Randy Winn in the offseason to make room for him. Also, they could trade catcher Bengie Molina to fill a need. The Winn trade would be more of a salary dump. This team’s plan is a lot like the Mariners plan. They have to not sign any major free agents, and trade away part of its team to open up room for the younger players.