The Offseason Plan series has sadly ended. It was a lot of fun writing this. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember, you can always click on the sidebar link: Offseason Plan to see them all. Here are the links for every team’s offseason plan…
Marlins, Astros, Blue Jays, Cubs, Diamond Backs, Dodgers, Mariners, Giants, Orioles, Red Sox, White Sox, Tigers, Indians, Angels, Phillies, Rays, Royals, Reds, Rockies, Mets, Twins, Padres, Nationals, Rangers, Brewers, Pirates, Cardinals, A’s, Braves, Yankees.
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 Atlanta Braves, a huge disappointment last season, need to decide whether to rebuild or retool this offseason. I lean toward rebuild, but with Bobby Cox, they probably will try to retool. They have a few needs. They have to get a left fielder, center fielder, starting pitcher, and reliever. They might have to look to fix center field from within with Gregor Blanco and Josh Anderson stopgaping untill one of the center field prospects are ready. Left field could be given to Brandon Jones, but they think he needs more time. They can sign a guy in the Raul Ibanez, Garret Anderson, Jaun Rivera teir. If they want to spend a lot they could sign Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez, or Adam Dunn. For pitching, I don’t think they have a chance at getting CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets, but could go after a solid #2 or #3. Jon Garland makes a lot of sense for this team. The bullpen also must be adressed. They should try hard to retain Will Ohman, although he should be tough to resign. If they decide to sell, Kelly Johnson, Mike Gonzalez, and Rafeal Soriano could be trade chips. Tim Hudson, also, when he returns from injury could be shopped at the trade deadline. So, the Braves could go either way, but they probably won’t be able to compete next year or build up a great farm system next year.
The staked farm system Oakland A’s will continue to build a young, good farm in 2009. They have arguably the best prospects in the MLB. (them and the Rays are very close) They don’t have as many trade chips, anymore. They can shop Justin Duchscherer and Huston Street. The latter is less likely. It would be a huge sell low move, something Billy Beane wouldn’t do unless he didn’t think Street would get better. With his previous success, it makes more sense to wait untill he raises his value. Doosh, however, would make a lot of sense. There is not a lot of pitching avalable via trade, and he is at peak value. This could be a lot like the Rich Harden trade. Trading a pitcher at his peak value that is also injury prone. There should be a huge market for him. They need to continue spending high in the draft, and have a lot of money freed up. It has been suggested that they sign a big bat to help them compete in ’10. I don’t hate this idea, but it would be smarter to sign a bat next offseason. They could sign a veteran to a short term deal, like resigning Frank Thomas, to add leadership. I could see them trading young pitching for a young hitter at shortstop or third base, but that’s it. If the Rockies plan on competing in ’09, I could see them making Ian Stewart avalable. Maybe a guy like Brett Anderson or Gio Gonzalez could get a deal done. If they Angels weren’t in their division, I could see a trade for Brandon Wood. This team has a great future, and have the pieces to compete as soon as 2010.
The overachieving St. Louis Cardinals have faded from the playoff race recently, but could make a comback in 2009 with a succesful offseason. They need to add at least one starter with Kyle Lohse and Braden Looper hitting free agency. They also need a lefty reliever for the bullpen. A complete middle infield makeover is in order. It wouldn’t kill them to use Brendan Ryan at one of the positions, but the other must be sloved outside of the organazation. They will be in on all #3 or #4 type starters, as well as Will Ohman and Edgar Renteria. I picked them to sign both, as well as Mark Ellis in the offseason. It is going to be tough to compete in the NL Central, however. The Cubs are awesome, the Brewers are going to be very good even without CC Sabathia and maybe Ben Sheets, the Astros are likely to make some big splashes, and if certain Reds’ young players break out, the Cards could finish in fifth place. This team is going to have to move an outfielder in the offseason with Colby Rasmus likely to be called up from AAA. The one being shopped could be Rick Ankiel. With the bleak center field market, he could have a lot of interest. He is a free agent after 2009. It makes more sense to trade him instead of Skip Schumaker, who isn’t even arb. eligible untill after 2009. I think Ankiel should be traded for one of their needs. The Cardinals are a team that could continue to compete, but might also fall on their faces. However, a lot of people were saying they’d be awefull this year, and they were wrong. Don’t underestimate Tony LaRussa.
The Pittsburg Pirates look like they are actually getting some good young talent on their team. They did the right thing by spending 10 million on the draft including drafting and signing Pedro Alvarez. (Assuming the issues with Scott Boras get worked out) Then, they traded away players Damaso Marte, Xavier Nady, and Jason Bay at or near the trade deadline. I didn’t like the Nady/Marte trade at all. It only works out if Jose Tabata relizes his potential or if one of the three young pitchers they got could develop into a solid #3. I liked the Bay trade a lot better. They got their third baseman of the future in Andy LaRoche, so they can move Pedro Alvarez to first base. They also get two, good, power arms and former first round picks in Craig Hansen and Bryan Morris. Hansen could be their closer of the future with Morris a possible top of the rotation pitcher if he stays healthy. LaRoche could become a big impact bat eventually, and could thrive getting out of the big city of Los Angeles. The same goes with Hansen getting out of Boston. They need to continue rebuilding by spending high in the draft again as well as trading Jack Wilson. With so many teams interested in shorstops this winter and without many avalable, Wilson could bring in a lot. They have selled off all their pieces other than Wilson, however. They need to get a shortstop or pitching back in any Wilson trade. I think they’ll be able to. Some have suggested the Pirates make a big free agent signing, but I think that would be bad for this team because the money would be better off spent on the draft. This is a team could compete by 2010 or 2011 if they spend a lot on the draft and make the right trades.
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.