Originally Posted by mth123
Starting pitcher first. Vazquez is retiring. Oswalt has too many injury issues. Buehrle is the guy I'd like to see them add. If they could add a strong starter without dealing Alonso, Votto or Bruce, then I don't really think they need to do anything with the position players they have. The primary weakness they had in 2011, as far as position players are concerned, was a lack of middle of the order depth and guys who can hit well against RHP. That weakness is addressed with Alonso replacing Gomes as the primary LF and with Heisey as a strong 4th OFer. The bottom of the roster is much stronger with Cozart replacing Janish, Mes replacing Ramon and Francisco and Frazier replacing Lewis and Renteria. The only reason they may need to add a position player would be if some need to be dealt to fix the rotation. If they could sign Buerhle while leaving Chapman in the pen, I'd say they are all set. Deal Volquez for a prospect or two and be done with it.
Cairo and Frazier round out the bench as utility guys. Beyond that, they may look at dealing Stubbs if Sappelt forces his way in. Sappelt in CF and the 2 hole looks alot better, but they wouldn't need to force the move.
Fortifying the rotation with another effective innngs horse like Buehrle will do wonders for the bullpen and if Arroyo can bounce back to the 200+ league average innings guy that he has basically been while taking the gloves off as far as limiting Leake's innings and that pen should avoid imploding under the weight of overuse in April and May. Bailey would be the biggest question mark they have because of his health, but if he can stay healthy, I still think he'll be the ace by the end of the year. If his health falters, they still have Wood and Lecure as options.
They should sign some vets as insurance for AAA. This year's version of Willis (my vote is Scott Kazmir) and a steady defesive SS who could come up and field the position every day should Cozart be injured or awful should be things they look to add on the cheap.
If they must spend money on the bullpen, I hope its for cheap experience along the lines of Jason Isringhausen rather than sinking multiple years or anything over $2 Million into a reliever, but if they keep everyone but Cordero and leave Chapman in the pen, I don't think its necessary. Brad Boxberger will be on the scene by June and if used correctly he and Chapman might be dynamic at the end of the game (think Kimbrel/Ventors in Atlanta as an example) with strong arms like Arredondo, Bray and Masset really solid in the middle.
I wouldn't mind your way of doing things at all. However, Chapman needs to go into the rotation soon, he's more valuable that way. I hope a good Winter League showing doesn't stop Jocketty from getting another arm, or thinking practically about Cordero. Hazarding those things are hand in hand with entering Chapman into the rotation, at least until we see what happens.
I had heard about Vazquez retiring, but maybe he could be talked back for some extra cash. Renteria was talking that way last year as well.
Oswalt would need to find a clean bill of health for the Reds to sign him, and I somehow think he'd shirk off the idea of coming here, but he's an elite talent, totally grizzled, he'd be a boon for the rotation if healthy.
We agree on Buehrle. If he goes to St. Louis, that would suck. Maybe playing in the Central would be enough for him. His price tag will likely be too high and would probably squeeze out Phillips in 2013.
Again, I like the Heisey/Stubbs platoon, or possibly letting Sappelt take over CF. I like the upgrade Alonso brings to the lineup, specifically vs RHP. I think Cozart will add some offense as well. All those things will stabilize the offense. However, I think a great way to find value is to pick up guys that are coming off injury. In fact, I'd sign Sizemore to a 3 year deal if he'd do it. Eventually, he'll come out on the other side with the same talent as before. Perhaps he'd take a year to catch on, but catching on for him is something special. Think of what Lance Nix, Junior, Carpenter, etc have done post injury history. The fact that Sizemore comes with significant value as a slugger makes it worth while. I wouldn't, for example, pursue a guy like Rollins, who as a small speedy guy, I think would be more likely to perform badly.
I try to focus on premium talent and the list above is mostly that. In years past I've thought Damon, Abreu, Rolen, and Berkman were good finds. I feel pretty good about Sizemore and Oswalt in particular. These players could supercharge this team if they perform to 85% of their ability. Meanwhile, there is certainly enough depth to replace them if they falter. And their market values are down as well.
Finally, these also have a Walt Jocketty flavor to them. Add vets that have pedigree and an exceptional past, even while in decline or recovering from injury. Younger the better, sure, but don't overlook your Abreu's or Damons, especially since they are very healthy. As we've seen with Rolen, just half a season of production at their full potential is very valuable.