Lou Pinella says that he will move Kosuke Fukudome to center field next year; he’ll platoon with Reed Johnson. This implies many things. Jim Edmonds won’t be back, Felix Pie will again ride the bench, and the Cubs are in the market for a powerful, right field, lefty bat. They are expected to have about 20 million to spend in the offseason. That might not be enough to resign Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster as well as a big lefty bat. The Cubs might be doing some serious backloading again. If they can squeeze him in, then Bobby Abreu would make a ton of sense. If Brian Giles would accept a trade to the Cubs, they would love him at only 9 million on a one year deal. Jason Marquis will have to be moved to clear salary. I could see them sign Abreu, Dempster, and Wood if they backload each deal and trade Marquis. Another idea: let Wood walk. They could then turn Carlos Marmol into the closer. After that, they might be able to trade Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, and Jason Marquis to the Royals for Ron Mahay. The Royals are adding a great center field prospect in exchange for taking on Marquis salary and Mahay. Have Mahay set-up for Marmol. This idea could work too. These are just some random ideas for the Cubs.
It is possible that the Brewers look to trade Prince Fielder in the offseason. Lets see what team they can get a good pitcher from.
Brewers (frontrunners) I think it’s more likely that they decide to trade JJ Hardy instead. There will be a bigger market for Hardy, they wouldn’t be losing as much offense, and the Brewers could get almost as good a pitcher for Hardy as they could get for Fielder. All in all, Fielder will likely be kept.
Giants (possible) Could a Matt Cain for Prince Fielder trade work? I don’t know if either team would do it. I think it has a slight edge toward the Brewers because Cain is so cheap and far better than any starter they could get for Hardy. The Giants could make that trade, but might not unless they add Sabathia. It might make more sense for them to keep Cain and then trade a different pitcher for a first baseman like Adam LaRoche or Mike Jacobs.
Royals (possible) They could offer Zack Greinke for Fielder. I don’t know if the Brewers would accept this one, because Greinke has one less year under contract than Cain. Maybe the Royals could add a player like Ron Mahay or David DeJesus to finish the deal. I think this scenerio is more likely. The Royals would like to add a big bat to their lineup, and could sign a starter like Oliver Perez or Jon Garland to replace Greinke.
Rays (possible) The Rays need a DH, and want to inject a big power bat into their lineup, but the player has to be under control for more than one year. So Prince Fielder would make more sense than Matt Holliday. The Rays could put together a package of prospects as good as if not better than most teams. If the Brewers demand a proven starter, they could part with Matt Garza. Yes, he has been great for them this year, but then they could keep both Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine. Plus, if Price steps up they won’t lose much from the rotation. I think this would be a move the Rays have to do. The Brewers would make the trade also, unless Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Cain, or maybe Zack Greinke is offered. If they can get him without surrendering Garza, they could offer Wade Davis, Edwin Jackson, and either Grant Balfour or JP Howell. The Brewers get a solid closer, a good prospect, and a solid back-of-the-rotation starter. Either one of these deals would be good for the Rays in my opinion.
Orioles (not likely) It’s not likely, but the Oriols could enter the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. They could offer a package centered around Jeremy Guthrie. He by himself could get him. I don’t know if they should offer him, though. The Brewers would jump on the deal. If the O’s don’t give up Guthrie, then they could try an offer of Brian Roberts, George Sherrill, and Melvin Mora plus cash. The Brewers would be filling three holes, yet they lose offensive firepower and don’t fix the rotation.
Angels (not likely) If they miss out on Mark Teixera, I could definatly see it. They could center a deal around Nick Adenhart, or even Jered Weaver. If they add Brandon Wood to the trade, it might be enough. I think I would do a Jered Weaver plus Brandon Wood for Prince awap. It makes sense for both sides. Sean Rodriguez could also be added to finish off the trade. Chone Figgins could be part of the deal, too, and play center field in Milwaukee.
Yankees (not likely) They would love to add a young power bat like Prince, but they might not have the pieces to do it. Maybe if they offered Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson something could be worked out. Like with Jake Peavy, it would be smarter just to spend the extra money and sign Mark Teixera. When you have a 200 million payroll, you can’t be cheap.
A’s (dark horse) The A’s have all the pitching in the world to spare. They are in need of a first base/DH type, and most of all they need power. How about a package of Huston Street, Brett Anderson or Gio Gonzalez, and Justin Duchscherer. The Brewers add a good starter, a good pitching prospect, and a good closer. I like this deal a lot for both teams, but I’m not sure the A’s would want to trade away a young gun like Anderson or Gio. Plus, they would miss Doosh, especially if they are trying to compete next year which a Fielder trade would suggest.
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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.
The Kansas City Royals need to rebuild. They are trying to win by next year. After next year two of their key players, Zack Grienke and Jose Guillen, are free agents. The following year, David DeJesus, Gil Meche, and others reach free agency. I don’t think they should be very active in free agency. Some have said they are going to be looking for a shortstop, but they have Matt Aviles. If they want to move him to second base, they have Alberto Callapso for shortstop. They do need a first baseman, and could use a starter and a reliever. I think they should be selling off pieces. Ron Mahay should defiantley be traded. He could fetch a good pitching propsect for him. Maybe trade him to the Phillies for Kyle Kendrick or AJ Happ and Jason Donald. DeJesus, Guillen, Grienke, and Meche could be moved if they right deal comes along. They need to build aroung the time when they will have Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakes, and Matt Aviles or Alberto Callapso. Their offense will be raking about that time. Try to extened Zack Grienke, he’s the one player they shouldn’t trade unless they have to. So the Royals could spend in free agency and try to compete by next year, or they could start over again and wait to build aroung guys like Gordon, Butler, Hosmer, and Moustakes. They have to chose.