View Full Version : Needs in the NL (Olney)

02-05-2009, 02:02 PM
Article from Buster Olney...

Thursday, February 5, 2009
Positions of interest among NL teams

As a natural follow to Wednesday's look at some American League roster and lineup situations that need to be fleshed out, here's a similar look at the National League. For some recommended solutions from Baseball Prospectus, click here.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Closer
Chad Qualls registered saves in seven of his last eight appearances last season, but it remains to be seen whether this is his spot semi-permanently, or if other options on the staff emerge, such as Jon Rauch.

Atlanta Braves: Left field
Until last week, there was talk that the Braves might get involved with one of the veteran corner outfielders still available -- someone like Bobby Abreu or Adam Dunn. For now, the Braves are looking at a lot of internal options, like Josh Anderson and Matt Diaz.

Chicago Cubs: Leadoff hitter
The Cubs' roster is all but set, but Lou Piniella is once again faced with the quandary that so many of Alfonso Soriano's managers have dealt with in this decade -- where should they hit him in the lineup. Soriano says he's willing to hit anywhere, and the Cubs have other alternatives to bat in the leadoff spot, with Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot.

Cincinnati Reds: Center field
The Rockies decided to not tender a contract to Willy Taveras -- and the Reds gave Taveras a two-year contract, rather than committing the position to Chris Dickerson. It remains to be seen whether this was the right move.

Colorado Rockies: Rotation
This was a serious problem area for the Rockies last year, and now Jeff Francis might require some sort of surgery, meaning that the rotation behind Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez could be very muddled to start the season. The Rockies traded for both Jason Marquis and Greg Smith, and signed Josh Fogg. In the big picture, they will hope that Franklin Morales has worked his way back from control problems.

Florida Marlins: First base
Gaby Sanchez will go to spring training as the favorite to be the first baseman, replacing Mike Jacobs, who was traded to Kansas City in late October. Sanchez's past numbers indicate he will be more in the Mark Grace line-drive-to-the-gap type of offensive player, rather than a power-hitting corner guy.

Houston Astros: Third base
As Carlos Lee's salary climbs, the Astros have been forced to cut in other spots. So they dumped Ty Wigginton and signed Aaron Boone, and hope to find a solution in Boone or Geoff Blum or some surprise on their roster.

Milwaukee Brewers: Rotation
The Brewers are confident that Yovani Gallardo will bounce back, so even with Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia's departing through free agency, Milwaukee's front office feels it can build a decent group of starters. GM Doug Melvin says that the rest of the Brewers' rotation will be Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra and Seth McClung -- and Milwaukee is building in payroll flexibility, to prepare for the possibility that it will pursue a starter during the season.

New York Mets: Outfield
They got the set-up man (J.J. Putz) and closer (Francisco Rodriguez) they want, and re-signed Oliver Perez for the rotation, and now the Mets don't have any big money left to spend. But they could bottom-feed for a corner outfielder, if the price on a Garret Anderson or Ken Griffey Jr. drops far enough, to something in the $500,000 to $1 million range. But one problem for the Mets is that they feel internally that they could use a right-handed bat, while most of the available outfielders are left-handed hitters.

Philadelphia Phillies: Right-handed hitting part-time-player
The Phillies targeted Raul Ibanez and nabbed him, but his presence in the lineup adds to left-handed imbalance -- and so the Phillies are fishing around for an extra guy, like Nomar Garciaparra, who can be signed cheaply and fill in.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Rotation
Paul Maholm had a nice year and has been locked up in a multi-year deal, but there are noises in the organization that nobody else's job is safe, and that Zach Duke, Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Snell will have to earn their spots in the rotation; there will be no guarantees.

St. Louis Cardinals: Closer
Tony La Russa doesn't feel any need to anoint a closer in the winter, especially because one of the candidates is Chris Perez, who has a total of 41 innings pitched and seven saves in his big-league career. But going forward, it's unclear whether the Cardinals might introduce Chris Carpenter into the competition for closer, as he recovers from arm trouble. Ryan Franklin struggled in the closer's role at the end of last season, but had 17 saves. Kyle McClellan probably has the stuff to do the job, if asked.

San Diego Padres: Left field
Look, the Padres have a lot of openings in a lot of places. Chase Headley could start in left if Kevin Kouzmanoff is ready to open the season at third base, but if Kouzmanoff is laid up, Headley could shift to third, and a left fielder will be needed. This partly explains why the Padres are looking for a bargain-basement left-handed hitter.

San Francisco Giants: First base
The Giants played a whole lot of different guys in that spot last season, and nobody seized the job by the jugular. The internal candidates: Travis Ishikawa and John Bowker. But the Giants could go nab a free agent or two before the season starts.

Washington Nationals: Rotation
Do you want to know why the Nationals have had a hard time getting any name free agents to take their money? Well, consider that the Marlins' No. 4 starter, Scott Olsen, came over in a trade -- and now is arguably the Nationals' best pitcher. Daniel Cabrera also has an inside track on a spot in the rotation, behind John Lannan -- the only returning member of the organization who made more than 22 starts last season.

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The Dodgers and Manny Ramirez have made no progress in their talks, and this caused Scott Boras to amend something he said last week. It sounds like Manny could be away from the field for awhile.

The Orioles re-signed one of their former players.

Bengie Molina has indicated he'll play in the World Baseball Classic -- if he gets to be The Man behind the plate for Puerto Rico, as Henry Schulman writes. And Puerto Rico just happens to be loaded with catching.

Joe Torre continued his book tour, writes Neil Best.

At the end of the Battle of the Budgets draft, I'll go through the reasoning behind some of my picks, but keep in mind that as we did this, we were all under the impression that we were going to simulate a 162-game schedule, rather than two playoff series -- which is why I took a fifth starter before I addressed other parts of the team.

This is the most stunning thing of the whole draft for me: I continue to fail to garner the Vermont vote, in the SportsNation polling. As someone who grew up in that state, that hurts even more than my failure to land David Wright.

I can tell you this: One major star struggles in a big way in the playoffs.


Some stuff was unsealed in the Barry Bonds case. Baseball shares in the blame and shame regarding Bonds, writes Bill Plaschke.

The judge in the Bonds case is going to find out that fame is no fun at all, writes Ray Ratto.

Traveling early this morning, so I didn't have time to run down all the links. We'll do that on Saturday; no blog on Friday this week.

02-05-2009, 02:16 PM
Interesting that he notes center field and not left field. If Willy can work a .340 OBP this might have been the right move. I think left is our most interesting position. Will Dickerson develop? Will Gomes or Hairston move in? Will Adam Dunn bat .320 with 65 home runs with the Nationals and not fall on his face once?


Captain Hook
02-05-2009, 07:10 PM
I doubt any of the guys on ESPN knows the Reds any more then your average redszoner,probably less.They have to know a fair share about all the teams and everything about the Yanks and Bo Sox.I would imagine the Reds are pretty far down on their agenda.

02-05-2009, 07:46 PM
I doubt any of the guys on ESPN knows the Reds any more then your average redszoner,probably less.They have to know a fair share about all the teams and everything about the Yanks and Bo Sox.I would imagine the Reds are pretty far down on their agenda.

probably accurate :D

Seriously these guys just look to meet their quota for articles posted. The Willy Taveras blurb should have been posted a month ago and, its so obvious that I would have been surprised if anyone who saw this signing from the outside didn't think the same thing for themselves. If he wanted to talk about holes being addressed (or not) I would have mentioned the lack of defensive/offensive ability on this squad. Actually I would have just written a blurb that said, "In the coming season, 2010, the Reds have a slight chance to finish above 81 wins." I would keep that as my Reds insight up for the whole season.