Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pittsburgh Pirates Offseason Outlook

Free Agents: None

Arbitration Eligible: Matt Capps, RP; Zach Duke, SP; Tyler Yates, RP; Ronny Cedeno, INF; Denny Bautista, RP; Lastings Milledge, OF.

Needs: 1B, SS, SP, RP, Depth

Likely Outcome: First, due to popular demand the Pirates make an early appearance on my offseason thoughts. Looking at this team, there is very little to hope for except for a miracle in player development. They have a good core of young talent, but for the Pirates to experience a winning season for the first time since 1992, they are going to need a miracle. Their offense is loaded with young potential in Ryan Doumit (C), Steve Pearce (1B), Delwyn Young (2B), Andy LaRoche (3B), Lastings Milledge (LF), Andrew McCutchen (CF) and Garrett Jones (RF). All of whom will be 29 or younger on Opening Day next season.

What I would do this offseason is add as many veteran players that will sign to add depth to the Pirates bench and to help develop this group of young talent. They have done this in the past couple of years in the form of Doug Mientkiewicz, Eric Hinske and Ramon Vazquez most prominently. If they bring in several of these type of players this offseason to help this team improve as a whole. Examples of players that I would seek would be: Chad Tracy, David Eckstein, Geoff Blum, Bobby Crosby, Reed Johnson, Endy Chavez. These guys do not make anyone's eyeballs pop, but they all have the ability to help make the Pirates bench deeper than in recent memory.

What will happen is the Pirates will likely play with the roster they currently have and bank their revenue sharing dollars for a season when they have the potential to compete. I would expect to see the Pirates activity limited to the low-end free agent market, spending $10M or less to bring in bullpen help, perhaps a starting pitcher and some bench depth.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Atlanta Braves Offseason Outlook

Free Agents: Adam LaRoche, 1B; Greg Norton, 1B; Garrett Anderson, OF; x-Tim Hudson, SP; Mike Gonzalez, RP; Rafael Soriano, RP

Arbitration Eligible: Kelly Johnson, 2B; Ryan Church, OF; Matt Diaz, OF; Peter Moylan, RP

Needs: 1B, Corner Outfield, RP

Likely Outcome: There is going to be a bit of turnover in the bullpen as it does not seem likely that both the 8th and 9th inning options for 2009 will return. However expect most of the starting rotation to stay the same. The Braves are in an fortunate situation with six legitimate starting pitchers including Tim Hudson, who is in an option year of his contract worth 12M. It is going to be a tough decision, but the Braves would be able to maneuver in the free agent market a lot easier with an Hudson's contract off the books. It would be coming at a cost as that decision would effectively take one of the top starters out of the rotation. Offensively, I expect to see the Braves get very creative in the trade market to add some power at the corners. With the highest home run total for any Brave this season at 24, a big bat is needed to make the Braves a legitimate playoff contender. Adam LaRoche played well in September, but he is not a big power solution. Prince Fielder would be an ideal candidate via trade.

With the Hudson salary off the books, the Braves could be players on Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, but their salaries will likely be out of reach thanks to large-market competition. Angels Outfielder Bobby Abreu could be a good fit in the corner outfield as he would add gap power and speed. The bench is going to be a bit different as well. Adding some speed in a Scott Podsednik would make some sense.

This is a team hungry for a playoff appearance in Bobby Cox's final season as manager. Frank Wren showed this season in the Nate McClouth and Adam LaRoche trades that he is ready to make the necessary moves to improve this team. I expect the Braves to be a scary looking team in April with weaknesses potentially in the bullpen.

2009 MLB Free Agents

Potential Free Agents for 2009-2010:

Catchers:
Josh Bard BOS
Michael Barrett TOR
Henry Blanco SD
Ramon Castro CWS
Jason Kendall MIL
Jason LaRue STL
Chad Moeller BAL
Bengie Molina SF
Jose Molina NYY
x-Miguel Olivo KC
Mike Redmond MIN
Brian Schneider NYM
x-Gregg Zaun TB

First-Basemen:
Hank Blalock TEX
Russell Branyan SEA
Carlos Delgado NYM
Nomar Garciaparra OAK
Jason Giambi COL
Aubrey Huff DET
Nick Johnson WAS
Adam LaRoche ATL
Kevin Millar TOR
Greg Norton ATL
Robb Quinlan LAA
Matt Stairs PHI
Mike Sweeney SEA
Jim Thome LAD
Chad Tracy ARZ

Second Basemen:
Marlon Anderson NYM
Ron Belliard LAD
Jamey Carroll CLE
David Eckstein SD
Orlando Hudson LAD
Felipe Lopez MIL
Mark Loretta LAD

Third Basemen:
Adrian Beltre SEA
Geoff Blum HOU
Joe Crede MIN
Mark DeRosa STL
Pedro Feliz PHI
Chone Figgins LAA
Troy Glaus STL
Jerry Hairston NYY
Mike Lamb MIL
Melvin Mora BAL
Juan Uribe SF

Shortstops:
Orlando Cabrera MIN
Juan Castro LAD
Alex Cora NYM
Khalil Greene STL
Ramon Martinez LAD
Miguel Tejada HOU

Corner Outfielders:
Garret Anderson ATL
Rocco Baldelli BOS
Jason Bay BOS
Frank Catalanotto TEX
Endy Chavez SEA
Johnny Damon NYY
David Dellucci CLE
Jermaine Dye CWS
Darin Erstad HOU
Cliff Floyd SD
Brian Giles SD
Vladimir Guerrero LAA
Eric Hinske NYY
Matt Holliday STL
x-Geoff Jenkins PHI
Reed Johnson CHC
Gabe Kapler TB
x-Austin Kearns WAS
Jason Michaels CLE
Xavier Nady NYY
Gary Sheffield NYM
Fernando Tatis NYM
Randy Winn SF

Centerfielders:
Rick Ankiel STL
Marlon Byrd TEX
Coco Crisp KC
Ryan Freel TEX
Mark Kotsay CHW

Starting Pitchers:
Brandon Backe HOU
Erik Bedard SEA
Daniel Cabrera ARZ
Bartolo Colon CWS
Jose Contreras COL
Doug Davis ARZ
Justin Duchscherer OAK
Adam Eaton COL
Kelvim Escobar LAA
x-Jon Garland LAD
Mike Hampton HOU
Livan Hernandez WAS
Randy Johnson SF
Braden Looper MIL
Jason Marquis COL
Pedro Martinez PHI
Brett Myers PHI
x-Vicente Padilla LAD
Carl Pavano MIN
Odalis Perez WAS
Joel Pineiro STL
Sidney Ponson KC
Jason Schmidt LAD
John Smoltz STL
Jarrod Washburn DET
Todd Wellemeyer STL

Relief Pitchers:
Luis Ayala FLA
Danys Baez BAL
Miguel Batista SEA
Joe Beimel COL
Joaquin Benoit TEX
Chad Bradford BAL
x-Doug Brocail HOU
Kiko Calero FLA
Elmer Dessens NYM
Brendan Donnelly FLA
Octavio Dotel CWS
Alan Embree COL
Scott Eyre PHI
Josh Fogg COL
Chad Fox CHC
Gary Glover WAS
Mike Gonzalez ATL
Tom Gordon ARZ
Kevin Gregg CHC
Eddie Guardado TEX
Mark Hendrickson BAL
Matt Herges COL
Trevor Hoffman MIL
Bobby Howry SF
Jason Isringhausen TB
x-Masahide Kobayashi CLE
Ron Mahay MIN
Gary Majewski WAS
Guillermo Mota LAD
x-Will Ohman LAD
Darren Oliver LAA
Chan Ho Park PHI
Troy Percival TB
Juan Rincon COL
Fernando Rodney DET
Duaner Sanchez NYM
Scott Schoeneweis ARZ
x-Brian Shouse TB
Russ Springer TB
Brett Tomko OAK
Jose Valverde HOU
Claudio Vargas MIL
Ron Villone WAS
x-Luis Vizcaino COL
Jamie Walker BAL
Jeff Weaver LAD
Kip Wells CIN
Jamey Wright KC

x-Notates players that have an option on their contract.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Washington Nationals Offseason Outlook

Free Agents: x-Dmitri Young, 1B; x-Austin Kearns, OF; Odalis Perez, LHP; Gary Glover, RHP; Gary Majewski, RHP; Ron Villone, LHP; Mike MacDougal, RHP; Josh Bard, C; Pete Orr, 2B; Livan Hernandez, RP.

Arbitration Eligible: Josh Willingham, OF; Scott Olsen, LHP; Logan Kensing, RHP; Jason Bergmann, RHP; Sean Burnett, RHP;

Needs: SP, RP, 2B, OF, Depth

Likely Outcome: The Nationals are going to have a bit of payroll flexibility this offseason, but I cannot see them adding a whole lot of salary for 2010. If they are willing to make a commitment to adding another legitimate starting pitcher. Fortunately for them, this is absolutely going to be a buyers market for starting pitching. With high risk, high reward options all over in the form of Erik Bedard, Justin Duchscherer, Kelvim Escobar, Rich Harden or Ben Sheets the Nationals could be a player for one of those types to add some depth to a very weak pitching staff. In the bullpen, they would benefit greatly from bringing in two or three quality arms in addition to a closer. They probably won't be able to do all of that however, a reliever looking for another chance at closing like Kevin Gregg, Billy Wagner or LaTroy Hawkins seems plausible.

They have some bright spots around the diamond in Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimermann and John Lannan right now. Nyjer Morgan was electric after being traded by Pittsburgh, but I positive he is not a .351 hitter as he was after being traded to Washington by Pittsburgh. Still, Morgan is deserving of a full season in the lead-off capacity with a career .303/.362 BA/OBP split. Stephen Strasburg is a bright spot for the future and the Nationals possess the #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, so hopefully they will be looking at another blue chipper next June. I cannot see this team competing in 2010, however if they can add a couple of legitimate pitchers both in the rotation and bullpen as well as to their bench, this is a team that won't be a laughing stock in 2010.