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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 Tampa Bay Rays, the biggest surprise of the 2008 season, will hopefully build on their successfull 2008 season with a good offseason. In my top 50 free agents, I predicted they would dole out the cash and sign Adam Dunn. If they do, their offseason would be just about done. The only needs they have are DH and right field. They sign Dunn for DH, and could resign Eric Hinske or pick up Cliff Floyd’s option for ’09. Then trade for Matt Murton. They have always liked Murton, and tried to trade for him when he was with the Cubs. Murton seems to be avalable with the A’s because they have Travis Buck, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeny and eventually Aaron Cunningham for the outfield. Murton shouldn’t be too hard to pry loose from Billy Beane, a GM always open to making a deal. Maybe offer them a Jason Hammel and Mitch Talbot. Neither guy has anywhere to go in the Rays organazation. Platoon Hinske with Murton and you have a successfull right field. If the Rays can’t get Dunn, they could still go after other DHs like Milton Bradley, Pat Burrell, Raul Ibanez, and Jason Giambi. They can keep the same right field. They could even sign Bobby Abreu and have him play right field and DH switching off with the platoon of Murton and Hinske. They will have to move a starter in the offseason. Either Andy Sonnanstine or Edwin Jackson need to be traded to open up a spot for stud prospect David Price. Maybe instead of using the platoon of Murton and Hinske they can trade Sonnanstine or Jackson for a right fielder. The Tampa Bay Rays have options, and are only one Adam Dunn type player awaty from contending for a world series.
The offseason plan for the Los Angelos Angels of Anahiem is pretty simple: Resign Mark Teixera. They need this guy back badly. They can afford to lose Francisco Rodriguez. They can sign Brian Fuentes who I think makes a ton of sense here to replace K-Rod. Fuentes wants a closer job on the west coast for a contending team. He gets all three if he signs with the Angels. Garret Anderson and Jaun Rivera, the other two key free agents for them, are easily replacable and might be resigned. Jon Garland, another good free agent that could leave, is not needed with Kelvim Escobar returning from injury and with a great pitching prospect in Nick Adenhart sitting in the minos. There are two scenerios, depending if the Angels resign Tex or not.
If they resign Teixera: If the Angels find a way to convince Tex to stay with the Angels instead of going to the Yankees, they will be a lot better off. Then, all they’d have to do is get a closer like Fuentes, and get a left field/DH type. I could see them resigning Rivera or Anderson to fill this void. Or they could sign Raul Ibanez or Jason Giambi to fill the hole. I don’t think, but it’s possible they sign Tex and a Pat Burrel, Milton Bradley, Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez to be the DH.
If they don’t resign Mark Teixera: This is not going to improve their team, but if they make the right moves it won’t hurt the team, either. They need to add a big bat. If Tex leaves they’ll go after a Burrel, Dunn, Manny, Bradley type player to play left field and DH. I still think they’ll go after and sign Brian Fuentes. They also will want to sign a player out of the Giambi, Anderson, Ibanez, Rivera group to play first base. Kendry Morales could also get some playing time. This team is not as good as the other, but not that much worse.
After the worst market in center field, you get the best one in left field.
- Manny Ramirez
- Pat Burrell
- Adam Dunn
- Milton Bradley
- Raul Ibanez
- Moisis Alou
- Garret Anderson (14 million club option with a 3 million buyout)
- Emil Brown
- Juan Rivera
- Luis Gonzalez
- Cliff Floyd (2.75 million club option with a 0.25 million buyout)
- Kevin Mench
- Willy Mo Pena (5 million club option or a 2 million player option)
- Jay Payton
- Craig Monroe
- Jason Michaels
Teams in Need
- Mets (Only if F-Mart isn’t ready)