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.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are the frontrunners to land Jake Peavy. I find this amazing, as the Cubs don’t have much left in their farm system. They traded most of it to the A’s in the Rich Harden trade. Apparently, that is fine with the Padres, however, as they are still willing to deal with the Cubs. Josh Vitters is the Cubs unquestioned top prospect, but the Pads have two top notch young third basemen on their team. They could trade for Vitters and then turn around and deal Kevin Kouzmanoff. I previously stated that Kevin Kouzmanoff for Brett Anderson would make sense. They could pull off that trade to help out their pitching while improving third base. Then, instead of moving Chase Headly to third base they could keep him in left field and slot Vitters in at third. You’d also think that one of the Cubs good young relievers would have to be included. If the Cubs manage to resign Kerry Wood, then Carlos Marmol could be in play. Marmol and Heath Bell would make a nice 8th-9th inning combination for at least the next 4 years. Or, the Padres could decide to opt for Jeff Samardzija instead. They might view him as a better option since he could start or relieve. The final pieces could be Sean Marshall, Felix Pie, and Rich Hill. Marshall was solid in his limited opportunities last year, and he won’t be needed if Dempster is resigned. The latter two have seen huge drops in value but both still have imense potential. They make sense as two high-risk high-reward players to round out the deal. I think Hill would flourish without dealing with the pressure of Chicago. Same for Pie. So the final offer would be Josh Vitters, Carlos Marmol/Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Felix Pie, and Rich Hill for Jake Peavy. I’m not sure I would do it if I was the Padres, but with the Braves not offering Tommy Hanson, it might be the only option. However, this deal would give the Cubs less flexibility when it comes to free agents. They’d still want Ryan Dempster back even if they do aquire Peavy, but they would really need Kerry Wood if they’re losing one of Carlos Marmol and Jeff Samardzija. On top of all that, they would have to settle for a cheap right fielder instead of a better one like Bobby Abreu. However, when you look at the kind of impact a Peavy trade has, it doesn’t matter much; you’re going to improve your team. Hopefully they will me able to win it all next year and finally make their fans proud.
There have been rumors going around that the Cubs will consider trading Derrek Lee this offseason. Their reasoning is that it would open up more money to spend on a left handed bat. For example: The Cubs trade Lee to the Giants for Randy Winn and salary. Then they sign Adam Dunn to a big deal and tell him to play first base. They’d add power with Dunn and Winn, but would lose a lot of defense by subtracting Lee and moving Kosuke Fukudome to the bench. I think it would be an expensive way to get maybe an extra 1-2 wins. When you win your division by 8 games and the team 8 games behind you is losing their top two pitchers, 1-2 games doesn’t mean much. Plus the’re ruining the club house chemistry that was so good all year long by trading one of the leaders, Lee. If I was Jim Hendry, I would just try to resign Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood. Use the money on those guys, while backloading contracts. Trade Jason Marquis and all of the salary possible. Move Jeff Samardzija to the rotation, sign a middle reliever to replace him in the ‘pen, and then explore a trade for Randy Winn or Brian Giles. I would definatly not trade Derrek Lee.
It has been stated that the Cubs would like to add another left-handed bat to their lineup. There are several positions I could see this bat coming from if they aren’t afraid to bench Kosuke Fukudome or move him to center field. First of all, there are the never dying Brian Roberts rumors. I don’t think they’ll have enough to get him without Sean Gallagher, whom got traded to the A’s in the Rich Harden deal. Maybe Sean Marshall, Donald Veal, Jose Ceda, Ronny Cedeno, and Mike Fontenot could do the trick. I wouldn’t do that if I was the Cubs or the Oriols, though. They could pursue Rafeal Furcal, just like they did back in 2006. Then move Ryan Theriot to second base, Mark DeRosa to right, and Kosuke Fukudome to center. If that doesn’t work, then go after Bobby Abreu. He brings a solid OBP to the Cubs. If they strike-out on him, they could try to maneuver a trade for Brian Giles. Ronny Cedeno and Jose Ceda could interest the Padres, who once had Ceda on their team. Milton Bradley could be signed if they want to spend some serious dough. If they’re not horrified about the idea of Raul Ibanez’s defense in right field, (which I am) then why not go after him? I don’t really like any of these ideas, because it would just keep the payroll going up, up, up. I’d rather have them lock up Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood, sign a middle reliever, move Jeff Samardzija to the rotation, and trade Jason Marquis. Also, give the center field job to Felix Pie and platoon Fukudome with Reed Johnson. Rich Harden could be signed to a long term deal as well. I think people are making too big of a deal out of three October games.
I am going to predict who wins what in the playoffs today. I will start in the NL and then do the AL. This will be listed under “Predictions.”
Dodgers at Cubs
Cubs. The Dodgers are a pretty scary team in the postseason. They have been red hot going into the playoffs, and are a good all around team. Plus, they have a guy named Manny Ramirez. Takashi Saito leads a fantastic bullpen. They have a solid rotation as well. The Cubs are a better team, though. They have a better rotation and a better offense. (Assuming the Cubs don’t pitch to Manny) They have the best three man rotation of playoff teams. Plus, the Cubs are at home where they have been dominant all year. It is going to be really tough for the Dodgers to win this series.
Brewers at Phillies
Phillies. These two teams are very similar. They both have solid rotations and a great lineup. The advantage for the Phillies is a by far better bullpen. Yes, we know CC Sabathia can go 9 innings, and I think the Brew-Crew will take game 1. But after that, you have two pitchers who are returning fron injuries. If both Ben Sheets and Yovani Gallardo are completly healthy, then they’ll easily win the series. But, if those players get injured or have to come out of the game early, the Brewers will have to give the ball to that aweful bullpen. The Phillies have a light-out bullpen, however, so they won’t blow late leads like their oponent could. I like the Phils in this one.
Phillies at Cubs
Cubs. The Cubs have the best rotation of all playoff teams, and pitching is what wins in October. The Phillies have the better bullpen, but if the starters can go seven innings they can give the ball to Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood to end the game. Both teams have great lineups, and the only thing that separates these two teams is the starting pitching. Since the Cubs have the advantage there, they have the advantage in the series. I sure hope no curse happens this time around.
This is a post where you can click on any tag you want to. It will be a side-bar link.
MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that Billy Wagner will have Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2009 season. This really hurt the Mets for this year’s chances and for next year it hurts an already terrible bullpen. Omar Minaya will be busy in the offseason for pitching. One guy that makes perfect sense is Francisco Rodriguez. He is a free agent that says he likes New York and the Mets are a contender without a closer that need one and have a lot of money to spend. The Mets are now the perfect fit for K-Rod. If they somehow miss out, don’t be surprised if they go after Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, or Brandon Lyon. Those are the other good closers on the free agent market. You can see the closer market here. I have a feeling the Mets are going to spend a lot on pitching this offseason.
The Chicago Cubs offseason plan is pretty simple: Bring back the players you have. Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, and Jim Edmonds are all key free agents that the Cubs will try to resign. If they can get all of them back, which they will if my Top 50 Free Agents are correct, they will be pretty much done. It is possible they could look to shop Jason Marquis and move Jeff Samardzija into the rotation. If they do this, look for them to add a middle reliever. There payroll last year was 118 million. This year, if they bring back the vets, it could be in the high 130’s low 140’s next year. They’d have to throw in some money to move Marquis, but if they offer to pay 4 million of the 9 million left, it probably could be done. If a team is willing to sign Livan Hernandez to a 1 year, 5 million contract, why not trade for Marquis at 1 year, 5 million. Then they could sign a reliever for about the 5 million they would’ve used on Marquis and this team would be better than it’s already awesome 2008 team. If they miss out on Wood, they’ll probably keep Samardzija in the bullpen. If the lose out on Dempster, they’ll probably move Samardzija to the rotation. If they lose both (not likely at all) or sign both it is up for grabs what they’ll do. Bottom Line: If this team gets their pieces back, whatch out.
It’s finally time for free agency! Ever think on where the top 50 free agents will go? Well, I did and I wrote them down. Here they are. Ignore the bolded paragraphs. I tryed everything and it just won’t unbold. Sorry for the inconvenience.
1. Mark Teixera- Angels. This is a very close one between the Yankees and Angels. I will go with the Angels, though, because the Yankees primary target is CC Sabathia, not Mark Teixera. I think they will end up with Sabathia, leaving the Angels for a return of Tex.
2. CC Sabathia- Yankees. The Yankees are going to throw around a lot of money this offseason. Just like the Mark Teixera prediction, it is a 2 team battle between the Yankees and a different LA team: the Dodgers for Sabathia. The Yankees are very likely to sign at least one of them. I was going to put CC with the Dodgers, but I think Frank McCourt will not let GM Ned Coletti go out and waste his money on a signing that could end up looking like the Jason Schmidt one.
3. Manny Ramirez- Dodgers. Did you know that the Dodgers made an extra 7.6 million in revenue just from Manny. So, subtract 7.6 from his yearly salary and they have a bargain. There are no great fits for Manny, and the Dodgers might not bring him back because of the outfield surplus. They could look to trade an outfielder, though. Andrew Jones in unmoveable, but could be released. Jaun Pierre will be tough to move, but if they eat a lot of money it could happen. Andre Eithier and Matt Kemp would have a lot of value, but they shouldn’t trade them. I think it makes more sense to trade Pierre and release Jones.
4. Pat Burrell- Mets. After missing out on the top-of-the-rotaion starting pitchers, they decide to add a big bat like Burrell. Not many teams are good fits for “Pat the Bat” so he may even come slightly cheaper than others. I know that people want to go with Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis, but they could trade Ryan Church for Edwin Jackson. That would fill the pitching void cheaply while adding offense. Murphy and Tatis would then move to right field. This idea could work.
5. Adam Dunn- Nationals. The Nationals have been after Adam Dunn for ever. I have a feeling that Jim Bowden is going to want to try to make a big free agent signing to save his job. Dunn would add a powerful punch to that lineup, but they still would be the worst team in the NL East.
6. Ben Sheets- Red Sox. If there is one team that can easily afford an injury to a starting pitcher, it’s the Red Sox. They have 30 million to toss around this winter and seem primed to sign either Mark Teixera or a high end starter. Because of the depth in the Red Sox rotaion, they can afford an injury to Sheets while many other teams can’t.
7. Milton Bradley- Rangers. Bradley likes the Rangers, and the Rangers showed confidence in resigning him by not trading him at the trade deadline. They have an open DH spot, so he wouldn’t get injured as much, and he likes Texas. The Rangers have to do this to keep their offense as it was this year.
8. Francisco Rodriguez- Mets. Billy Wagner is out for the 2009 season, so the Mets need a closer. Some have said it would make more sense to add a cheaper closer like Brian Fuentes and use the rest on starting pitching. I agree, but I doubt Omar Minaya does.
9. Ryan Dempster- Cubs. There will be a massive bidding war for him, but he loves Chicago and I’m sure the Cubs would like to keep their championship, type club intact. Their going to have to raise the payroll into the 140 million range, but I think the new ownership will, because The Cubs will be should for 1 billion dollars.
10. Derek Lowe- Braves. They want to add a starting pitcher this offseason. With 45 million to spend, they should easily be able to afford him. Heck, they could fit both Jake Peavy and Lowe into the budget and still have over 20 million to spend. They make the most sense.
11. AJ Burnett- Yankees. The Yanks would like to add two starters this offseason. With CC Sabathia headed to New York, Burnett would be that second guy. Just think about how nasty a rotation of CC Sabathia-Chein-Ming Wang-AJ Burnett-Andy Pettitte-Joba Chamberlian would be. I can’t see how they don’t make the playoffs with that kind of talent.
12. Mike Mussina- Retirement. It seems as though he is finally ready to hang it up. Rather than playing for the next three years and reach 300 wins, he’ll go out on a high note and retire. I think Mussina will delay it untill the Yankees are forced to move on. Then he’ll anounce it.
13. Orlando Hudson- Cardinals. They have a lot of money to spend and will need to sign Hudson in order to truly solidify their offense. He would look really nice batting in that #2 hole and playing some great defense.
14. Orlando Cabrera- Twins. They seem like the most reasonable team. They need a shortstop, and have money to spend. Also, he fits nicely into their grind-it-out style of play. There’s not a great fit here, but this one sure makes a lot of sense.
15. Joe Crede- Giants. Even though the Giants are suposed to be rebuilding, Brian Sebean won’t be able to resist and will sign Crede.
16. Bobby Abreu- Cubs. Now that they need a right fielder Abreu makes a lot of sense. It will be hard to squeeze him into their payroll, but there aren’t any better options. There aren’t many teams that need a right fielder and have the money to go out and get one. Plus, the Cubs would’ve gone after him if his option was declined.
17. Oliver Perez- Dodgers. With Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, and Brad Penny all leaving, the Dodgers need to add at least one starter this offseason. I know they seem more focused on offensive players like Manny and Furcal, but you always need pitching. Look for the Mets to be serious contenders for a Perez reunion, but I think they’ll beaf up the offense instead.
18. Jon Garland- Tigers. They need reliable starting pitching. I know a lot of people think Garland will be overpayed because of a lack of strike-outs and an ERA in the 4.00 to 4.50 range. However, he’s one of the most consistent starters out there and he eats up a ton of innings. To me the Tigers make a lot of sense and they’ve shown a willingness to spend for mediocrity. Example: The Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis extensions.
19. Kerry Wood- Rangers. The Cubs have moved on, so count them out. The field will be wide open, but I think he returns home to Texas to close games for the Rangers. The Red Sox could also be possible if he’s willing to be a set-up man. Last year Boston made the highest offer, but Woody wanted to stay in Chicago.
20. Brian Fuentes- Brewers. They could have up to 20 million to spend if they are willing to raise payroll to 100 million. That’s more than enough to lock up Fuentes with. You migth think they don’t want to spend big on closers, but they were among the top bidders for Francisco Cordero last year. If the price is crazy they won’t make the move, but if it’s decent, he could end up a Brewer.
21. Trevor Hoffman- Indians. He won’t be back with the Padres. The field is wide open on where he’ll go, and I think the Indians are the best fit. They can sign him cheaply to fill their hole at closer. Plus, they almost signed him when he was last a free agent. I think they go get him.
22. Rafeal Furcal- Dodgers. He wants to be back and the Dodgers want him back. They might have a hard time craming all of his salary in because of the other holes, but I think they can sqeeze him in. There will be a very large market for him, so don’t be surprised to see him bolt for more money elsewhere.
23. Greg Maddux- Retirement. The Mad Dog looks like he’s finally ready to end his Hall Of Fame career. The only teams he’d play for would be the Padres, Dodgers, Braves, or Cubs. The Cubs have a ton of pitching depth; count them out. The Dodgers would probably rather go with younger pitchers. The Braves seem more likely to bring back Maddux’s friends: John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. The Padres make sense if they move Jake Peavy to clear salary. If they don’t, there will be no fit and he will retire.
24. Andy Pettitte- Yankees. I was going to predict him to retire, but now that I think about it, the Yankees might not want to give Phil Hughes a free spot in spring training. They could resign Pettitte and use Hughes in the minors untill someone gets hurt, which is likely with Joba Chamberlain and Chien-Ming Wang last year and Burnett has a history of injuries.
25. Randy Johnson- Angels. With Jon Garland leaving, the Angels will need a starter because of Kelvim Escobar’s injury. Johnson can come in and fill the void untill Escobar gets beack; creating a surplus. This isn’t a great fit, but there are none now that his D’Back career is over.
26. Jason Giambi- A’s. A think Giambi will end up ending his career in the same place he started it: Oakland. The A’s have a lot of money to spend, and I think they’d be very interested on a 1 or 2 year deal. This is even more likely now that they have Matt Holliday on their team.
27. Pudge Rodriguez- Mets. They need a catcher and Pudge is the best one available. There aren’t many teams in need of a catcher other than them. I know they view pitching as a more urgent need than hitting, but for the expected price, you can’t pass it up.
28. Casey Blake- Indians. The Indians want Blake back, and Blake would like to return to the Indians. Despite there being a rather large market for him, Blake will take a small discount to return home to the Tribe. They don’t add one of their main two targets: Brian Fuentes or Orlando Hudson, but they get a solid closer and one of the best third basemen available.
29. Raul Ibanez- Braves. This team has a boatload of money to spend. They can more than afford Ibanez and probably view this smarter than overpaying for Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez, or Adam Dunn.
30. Jamie Moyer- Phillies. He is having a great year, and said he wants to play untill he’s 50. The Phils need to bring him back just to have a respectable rotation. They could use a second starter as well if they are open to trading Kyle Kendrick.
31. Braden Looper- Pirates. With the Cardinals probably moving on, Looper should be open to all teams. He is a solid back-of-the-rotaion option and should be affordable on a one year deal. Plus, the team can always switch him back to relieving if they desire to. The Pirates would like to add a veteran starter, and Looper comes cheap with tons of experience.
32. Mark Grudzielanek- White Sox. Their looking for a second basemen after losing Orlando Cabrera. The want to move Alexie Ramirez to shortstop, but want to sign a free agent that won’t block Gordon Beckham. Grudzielanek is the perfect fit.
33. Ray Durham- D’Backs. They clearly need a second baseman after losing Orlando Hudson. They can’t afford to bring him back, but have no one to play sencond base. Durham seems like a very good and affordable option.
34. Edgar Renteria- Cardinals. Edgar is coming off a bad year, but has high upside. If he can do 3 4ths of his 2007 performance, he’ll be a great bargain. He has played for the Cardinals before, and they need a shortstop. I think they sign Edgar to fix there middle infield problems.
35. David Eckstein- Oriols. They had a interest in him at the trade-deadline and could sign him this offseason as a stopgap option. This won’t stop them from looking for shortstops via trade, however.
36. Brad Penny- Blue Jays. The Jays had interest in Penny through trade in the past and they seem to make a lot of sense for Penny. He could be great starter for them if he remains helthy.
37. Russ Springer- Cardinals. They could use some bullpen help, so that means they have to at least bring back their old relievers. Springer reportably still wants to play and wants to play for the Cardinals.
38. Mark Kotsay- Reds. I was going to put him back with the Braves, but they recently traded him to the Red Sox, so I will put him with another team in need of a center fielder: the Reds.
39. Jim Edmonds- Braves. The Cubs don’t want him back. The Braves are in need of a center fielder, and they would probably be very interested in Edmonds. If he can do what he did with the Cubs last year, he’ll be a very useful piece.
40. Will Ohman- Cardinals. It seems as though they are willing to spend some money on a lefty reliever. Ohman is the best one available. Bringing him in will help reshape their bullpen. It will help a lot.
41. Jason Varitek- Red Sox. There is no better alternative for the Red Sox since the market for catchers is so bad. The Captian, Jason Varitek seems destined to return to the Red Sox. I don’t think this would stop them from going after his predecessor, however. They coudl trade for a young catcher to start in 2010. If Boras demands Varitek for a 2 or more year deal, don’t be surprised to see them decline and agressivly pursue Bengie Molina.
42. Nomar Garciaparra- Dodgers. Because the Dodgers will be out of money after making all of these singings, they will have to go back to Nomar at third base next year. This will be risky because of his injury risk, but it is their only option.
43. Darren Oliver- Angels. I have said that relief signings are very tough to predict, but I will guess that Darren Oliver resigns with the Halos. They need a lefty reliever if they plan on using Brian Fuentes at closer, and if the don’t, he won’t sign there. So Oliver is needed back in Anaheim. Plus, since he’s a probable type A free agent, he might decide to accept arbitration. There won’t be many teams wanting to give up big money plus a draft pick for Oliver.
44. Juan Cruz- Tigers. The Tigers can offer him almost no other team can: a closing job. While some big-money teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets will be in on him, I think in the end he hooks on in Detroit.
45. Brandon Lyon- Red Sox. They’d like to add a ground ball pitcher and Lyon is one. The way he ended the year will take his “closer” tag away, but he should get some reasonable money anyway.
46. Juan Rivera- Phillies. The Phillies make a lot of sense for Jaun Rivera; Rivera makes a lot of sense for the Phillies. The Phils get their cheap replacement for Pat the bat Burrell, and Rivera gets to go to a hitters haven: Citizens Bank Park. He could go there on a 1 year deal, play every day, have a career year, and then hit free agency again and sign for some big money.
47. Randy Wolf- Astros. He enjoyed his time in Houston and the ‘Stros have the money to sign him. There should be a rather large market for him since he will be affordable and not that much worse than other free agent options. I think the Astros win the sweepstakes.
48. Paul Byrd- Brewers. Byrd will be a hot commodity once better free agent options leave. He’ll give you league average production on a one year deal. I think the team that ends up signing him is the Brewers. They seem smart enough to go after him instead of a pitcher like Perez or Garland on a multiyear deal. The Brew-Crew have 20 million to spend, so they can afford him for one year. He will stabilize their rotaion as their fifth starter.
49. Jeremy Affeldt- Reds. The Reds want him back and with the amount of money they have, they’ll get him back. If the Reds can bring back their relievers and some young players break out, they could contend.
50. Freddy Garcia- Giants. They have a lot of money to spend and have their heart set on trading Jonathan Sanchez. Garcia, if healthy, would be able to step in and eat up some innings at a cheap price. Plus, if the Giants are out of the race in July they could always flip Garcia into some nice prospects.
There we go, thats it. The top 50 free agents. I know I left out a few teams, but it is hard to predict that every team will make a splash. I try to predict what teams will do, not what they should do.
Here is your closer free agent market…
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Kerry Wood
- Brian Fuentes
- Trevor Hoffman
- Brandon Lyon
- Saloman Torres (3.7 million club option with a 0.3 million buyout)
- Todd Jones
- Jason Isringhausen
- Eric Gagne
Teams in Need
- Mets (only for K-Rod)