2012 has been a pretty disappointing season (well since when have we not had one) and Sandy has the challenge of creating a playoff contending team under a tight budget. So here's my practical plan for the off season:
* Re-sign Kelly Shoppach to 1-2 year deal. Cheap veteran and a definite upgrade from Thole.
* Re-sign John Rauch. Solid righty for little cost.
* Re-sign Scott Hairston. Crushes lefties and provides a great bat of the bench. He has also expressed desires of staying on one team.
*Trade Daniel Murphy to Oakland A's for Jerry Blevins. Trade helps both teams, gives the A's an established hitter and infielder and us an established lefty out of the pen. Murphy may or may not be enough so we may have to throw some one in like Zach Lutz, Reese Havens, or Josh Satin.
*Trade Johan Santana. Now its hard to find a team who'd trade for a guy with that much money left in his contract. Some may say that sandy should leave him alone until the trade deadline in 2013 perhaps to raise his value but i believe we should trade him now to free up the cap space. I personally think the Red Sox are a good fit. I'd take Johan Santana and a B level prospect for Jacoby Ellsbury any day of the week. A couple B prospects with potential to contribute in 2013 or 2014 would be nice too.
* Sign reliever Mark Lowe, established reliever with good numbers and cheap.
* Sign Angel Pagan. He's the solution the center field and always was. He's got all we need and could be a makeshift lead off man until find someone better. Whether we trade or keep Andres Torres is another decesion. I'd personally trade him to make room for younger guys on the team. This is all if we can't score a guy like Ellsbury for Johan.
*Keep Jason Bay. Its not worth releasing and good luck trying to find anyone who'd take his contract. Maybe Vernon Wells for Jason Bay? Who knows.
*Sign Marco Scutaro. Veteran with pop and defensive prowess. Released due to injuries. Could platoon SS with Tejada while primarily playing second to give Valdespin some reps at 2nd . Maybe show him some pointers.
Overall these moves aren't extremely significant but like i said this was a PRACTICAL approach. We don't have any financial muscles to flex this off season and smart thing to do is lock up Wright and the other young guys. This year showed we have what it takes to be a contender. We have a strong rotation with depth and potential to be solid for awhile with youngsters like Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, and hopefully Familia leading the way for years to come. The bullpen can hopefully bounce back witch I think it will. Bullpen arms are always so inconsistent year to year but on paper we have good arms and the addition of another lefty in Blevins could make a huge difference. Hitting could use an upgrade and one would hope Ike and Duda can develop into above average contributors on offense, and free agent acquisitions of Scutaro and Pagan can add to the offense.
So the team looks this:
CF-Pagan(Ellsbury preferably but Pagan Realistically)
Bench: Turner, Valdespin, Nieuwenhuis, Bay,Satin(if not traded) and Thole
5. Pelfrey/Mchugh/Familia/Mejia... Fight it out in spring training, same may go to wheeler
Give me some feedback guys!