We’ve seen many rumors about the Giants agressivly pursuing Rafael Furcal, but if they lose out on the bidding, Orlando Hudson would be their backup plan. They have shown some serious interest in the free agent second baseman, and he might be a better signing than Furcal. Hudson also plays a scarce position, and even though he doesn’t have the speed of Furcal, he is one of the best defenders in the MLB at his position. He also should be much cheaper because the Cardinals and Indians are the only teams interested besides San Francisco. I said previously that I thought Hudson made the most sense among the Giants free agent targets. Of course, they could always sign both, but payroll would be starting to get tight in that situation. It would be rising from 76 million the year before, to possibly 90 million in ’09. I find it more likely that they sign O-Dawg or Furcal to fill one infield void, and then they trade Jonathan Sanchez to fill the other one. It is definatly looking like the Giants are getting one of the two. Whatever they do, they will be trying to compete next year in the weak NL West.
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.
Tracy Ringolsby and Joe Strauss talked to Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak here and here. Both are reporting that the Matt Holliday trade to the Cardinals is dead. I’m kind of confused on this one; it would’ve given the Cards a big bat to put behind Albert Pujols in the lineup. Some might argue the price is too high, but Ludwick is the only needed player. Schumaker wasn’t needed with Holliday coming in, and Mitchell Boggs was just a throw in. One reason could have been payroll. With Holliday slated to earn 13.5 million in ’09, the Cardinals would be left with only 6.5 million to spend. With big holes in the middle infield and the bullpen, it might be smarter to keep Ludwick and spend the money to fill those holes. The other reason might be that they think the improvement of Holliday over Ludwick wasn’t so great. A case could be made that Orlando Hudson would have a bigger impact replacing Adam Kennedy than Holliday replacing Ludwick. Plus, Holliday would be a rental while Ludwick and Hudson would be under contract for a long time. So when you look at it that way, it makes sense to decline that trade and use the money on middle infield and/or bullpen help. The Rockies will continue shopping Holliday, but there are no good suitors left. One dark horse is the Nationals. If they are willing to offer Mark Teixera 10 years, 200 million, then they could pursue a trade for Holliday. A window for an extension would be necessary, however. That way they could offer Holliday some insane 10 year offer and lock him up instead of Tex. Another possibility is the Red Sox. If they were willing to trade Mike Lowell, move Kevin Youkilis to third base, and move Jason Bay to first base, Holliday would become an option. I don’t know if Bay would be willing to go to first base, though. This seems as a sort of far fetched idea, but so does the Nationals idea. There are no good fits for Holliday now that the Cardinals are out.
Most people think the White Sox will have a quiet offseason. They’ll sign a decent second baseman like Mark Grudzielanek or Ray Durham to a one year deal, and they’ll be done. There’s nothing wrong with this, but the White Sox would like to add speed. Maybe GM Kenny Williams would decide to buy-low on Luis Castillo. If the Mets ate 12 million of 18 million left on his deal, I could see it. Why wouldn’t he get three years, 6 million on the free agent market? He seems just like the player Willimas would like to aquire. He would be criticized by fans, but when isn’t he? I think Castillo makes a lot of sense for the White Sox. The Mets would also like to move him. They’ve had their eye on Orlando Hudson, and he would love to go to New York. If the Mets want him, they’ll get him. If they decide not to go after Hudson, they could just make a small signing like Grudzielanek or Durham. I think the smartest move would be to move Daniel Murphy from left field to second base. Then they would be able to go out and sign an every day left fielder instead of just getting one to platoon with Murphy. I really do like this trade a lot 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.