Saturday, November 30, 2013

Off Season Plans: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are another team that I would like to discuss in short. This team has major troubles and not very many answers at this time. Its hard to imagine that this team was productive and making the playoff as resent as 2008. When the biggest news about your team is about losing Jeff Samardzija and signing George Kottaras you have big issues. To top this all off, the ownership group seems to be more interested in the size of the big screen and marketing opportunities than developing a good team. What this team and organization need to do is show their commitment to winning by laying out a plan of what they are going to do. I'm beginning to think the Red Sox were geniuses and not Theo Espstein.

Off Season Plans: Texas Rangers

Having a ton of money to spend does not always lead to success in the win column. For the Texas Rangers they are once again trying to buy the west and a championship. Landing Prince Fielder and now rumors of going after David Price or Robinson Cano have made it clear that the team wants to win now and are going all in. In many respects this makes total sense since they now have the pitching to make it through a post season run. Giving up Ian Kinsler was tough, but to get to were teams need to go they need to make tough decisions. In the end I think they will only sign one more big name and it might not even be Price. The better bet is that they trade Mitch Moreland for a few arms and a bat.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Friday For MLB Owners?

With all of the annual Black Friday hype rearing it's ugly head, I began to think what a Black Friday for baseball owners would be like? Just imagine the concept. It would be just like the winter meetings, but the offers and deals would only be good from 12:00 A.M. till 11:00 A.M. Owners could get all of their shopping done for the next spring and the rest of the off season could be used for getting ready for spring training. It would be a major PR event for the sport and could help liven up the off season. As we have seen with the NFL, off season promotion is very useful. The NFL draft is almost as popular as the Super Bowl now. Not sure this will even happen, just a quick thought I wanted to share as I get ready to buy a tv or something else I don't need!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Off Season Action

Things got off to a fast start this week with a few high profile trades. I was surprised by the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade, but it totally makes sense for both sides. I do think that it will prevent the Tigers from winning the division this season though. By getting Fielder's contract off the books it will help them in years to come though.

The Cardinals and Angels basically traded outfielders who needed a fresh place to play. What's always interesting in these types of deals is the minor leaguer's that are included. Peter Bourjos for David Freese has been rumored for some time, so this was not a big surprise.

There were also a couple free agent acquisitions this week that could play out well. The Met's picked up Chris Young who really struggled last year, but showed signs of being a great player in 2010 when he was an all-star. If he can give them 25-30 homers this year, this may have been the best deal of the off season. It's going to be tough task though, Citi field is still a tough place to hit the ball out of.

The Royals also picked up a reclamation project in Jason Vargas. Vargas had been very good for Seattle from 2010-2012, but an injury last year cut his season short. The Royals just need someone to eat innings and not give up too many runs. If Vargas can stay healthy this will be a perfect match. That's the unknown though, you always take a chance with a player coming off an injury. I would have liked the Royals to go after a big bat or a solid number two. We'll will see how this turns out.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Off Season Plans: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers were a team that had a real shot at winning a world series last year. The timely hitting of Yasiel Puig and company vaulted them into the playoffs. The real question is if this was a one year wonder team or are they set up for long term success? The one thing that the team did lack as they made their way in to the playoffs was starting pitching. They seem to be addressing that by pursuing Dan Haren. Haren is not a number 2 or even 3 at this stage in his career, but what he does offer is innings and a veteran presence. It will be interesting to see if they go after more similar pitching options.

The big question of the off season is which outfielder will they trade? There have already been reports that Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Puig could be traded. My guess is that Ethier will be the odd man out. I see no reason to trade Puig and Kemp is younger that Ethier with a higher career batting average. Once again we will see what happens as the winter meeting approach. I'm sure there will be plenty of rumors until that time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Off Season Plans: Kansas City Royals

After the best year in 2 decades the Kansas City Royals are on the cusp of making it back to the playoffs for the first time since 1985. So what does the team do in the off season to improve on last year? They need a power hitter, and that's pretty much it. With the best bullpen in the league last year and strong starting pitching, this team was just a few runs away from the wild card. Alex Gordon led the team with only 20 home runs in 2013. It is pretty much unheard of for an AL team to finish with 86 wins and have such a lack of power.

The team was successful due to speed, defense and clutch hitting, but to get to the next level they need a good old slugger. A recent story has brought up the possibility that Carlos Beltran would be open to coming back. This would be perfect for the team in multiple ways. Beltran was a fan favorite and a all around good guy for the organization. It also looks like he has shook the injuries that plagued him for a few years. If he could just give them 2-3 years it would be worth the investment on a longer deal.

There is also talk of Billy Butler being trade bait. Since they have Eric Hosmer at first it would make sense upgrading the DH position with more power. I know that a few fans would be disappointed, but to win some tough decisions need to be made. As the off season moves towards the winter meetings we will see if the Royals can make a move or two. I would expect something before spring training though. This is an organization that does not like to drag things out.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Off Season Plans: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are a team that really maximized the free agent market last year. They were expected to be a last place team, so their moves slipped through the cracks when in came to media coverage. This year they will have to do an even better job and have some big decisions to make. With a good group of young infielders, the decision seems to be in the outfield. With all signs pointing toward Jacoby Ellsbury taking a big payday elsewhere center field will be the specific position that they need to fill.

Do the Red Sox just role the dice and go with youth to fill in for departures? For center field that might be a good plan. There is no reason for this team to go after a Curtis Granderson or Shin Soo-Choo. They will just find themselves over paying in a highly over valued market. They need to sit back and watch other teams make mistakes this off season. This is especial true in the infield where Xander Bogaerts deserves a shot at taking over for Stephen Drew.

The one thing that they could spend some money on is another veteran presence. They should have gone after Marlon Bryd to help in the outfield. Looking at whats out there they may have to put together a trade to get someone.

Pitching. A team can always use a few more arms. This is an area where they have the luxury of taking on a project. I would look at Ubaldo Jimenez or Josh Johnson. Low risk, high reward.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Off Season Plans: New York Mets

During the off season I will try to cover what teams are doing and what they aren't. To start off I will be talking about the Met's. The season didn't quite end the way the Met's had hoped when Matt Harvey injured himself and will likely miss the entire 2014 season. On the bright side Zack Wheeler looked solid after being called up, Dillon Gee had a good second half and Jonathon Niese showed promising signs as well. The Met's are in pretty good shape in the starting pitching department, even the bullpen is serviceable as is. There have been rumors about the Met's looking at adding another starter, but I would suggest that they get some bats first.

 The true obstacle for this team is in the outfield. They need an outfielder with power to hit behind David Wright so he can finally see some pitches to hit in key situations. The Met's mostly likely will go after Curtis Granderson or Jacoby Ellsbury. This makes sense but I wish there were other options for them. Granderson adds some pop to the lineup, but his batting average has been horrible for the past few years since getting a big contract. At a discounted rate this move might make sense, but the Met's need to explore other options like trading Danial Murphy or one of there minor league pitchers. Ellsbury is an interesting possibility. He has battled through injuries, but has a great upside. Maybe a change in leagues would also energize him? We will see.

When things start to warm up I will revisit what the Met's are doing.