I've decided that my outlook this year is to almost completely ignoring improving our lineup itself in any way and focus on improving our team's athleticism and fielding. Also I'm steering away from negotiating for Jon Lackey.
So here's the Plan:
For our outfield: Obviously trade Francoeur, and start Pagan in rleft. After that I'd head after one of Mike Cameron or Mark Derosa; whichever one would jump at a 2 year, $16 million deal with third year club option (based around Abreu's 2 year $19 million one). Worst case scenario we give it to Marlon Byrd. Backing up the outfield will be the immortal Endy Chavez, who will sign for 1 year at 1 million.
For second base: Obviously find a taker for Luis. I don't really care who or for what. Let's just say Snyder because it seems like a reasonable solution for both teams. Then, I'd see if Placido Polanco would be interested a 2 year, $10-$12 million contract. If not then I'd look into Omar Infante or Jamey Carroll for a reduced price.
For shortstop: Obviously Jose will still be around, but we need to get an effective backup. My interest lies in Adam Everett.
For catcher: With Snyder, Santos and Thole I don't see the need to add any more players.
Starting pitchers: I'd obviously like to keep Santana and Pelfrey around in the rotation, but the other three spots are up for grabs, IMHO. I'd look into signing Randy Wolf, preferably for more money and less years than most other pitchers: 2 years, $24 million. After that I'd bring back Livan. Yeah, that's right. Can't argue with his 4.44 FIP. I'd sign him to a 1 year $1 million deal. I'd keep Maine and sign Brian Burris to a minor league deal.
For the Bullpen: I'd keep Rodriguez, Parnell, Green, Feliciano, Stokes, Nieve and Perez. I'd try and snag Paulino in a trade and then demote Nieve, but otherwise I think that core is perfectly fine.
The 25th man: Craig Counsell. Sign him. Not only is he hilarious to see hit, he ain't so bad either (.336 wOBA last year), plus, he's a masterfull 2B and 3B, with some decent experience at SS as well.
So our lineup would be:
Santana (3.60 FIP, 3.30 tRA)
Wolf (4.20 FIP, 4.30 tRA)
Pelfrey (4.30 FIP, 4.80 tRA)
Maine (4.50 FIP, 5.10 tRA)
Hernandez (4.50 FIP, 5.70 tRA)
Storks (or Socks, whoever's cheaper)
Waiting in the wings: