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.