Re: Grade the offseason.
Eric Milton is tradeable. There is always a market for a left handed starting pitcher. If we were out of it at the deadline we could easily spin him for a couple prospects to a team like the Sox or Yankees. He will pitch 200 innings and win 10+ games for us. I'll take that because it not only improves the rotation, it takes stress off the bullpen which in turn makes them better.
Ramon Ortiz could be the biggest addition of them all or he could be the worst. He got what he wanted.....a fresh start and a promised spot in the rotation. I could easily see him pitching very well this season. He is another one that could pitch 200 innings and win 10+ and take the pressure off of the pen. If he flops, we're only on the hook for one year then he's gone. If he pitches well then we got an absolute steal and can bring him back in 2006.
Joe Randa is an upgrade over anything we've ran out there at third in a year and a half. The knock on him his he hits an "empty" .287. He doesn't walk or hit for power. In our lineup, we've got some pretty good on base guys in Junior, Casey, Dunn and Jiminez. We've obviously got enough power to make up for his "empty" 15 or so career average in homeruns. He will hit 15 homeruns and drive in 70 in a lineup that was already stacked without him. He will play very solid defense. There is not one 3B in the organization who can do that right now. We got him cheap and he provides a very good one year bridge to Edwin Encarnacion. If the Reds fall out of the race and Edwin is ready to go, then you spin Randa for a prospect.
Rich Aurillia is another one that could be a huge pickup. Not long ago he was an MVP candidate. He has had steady declines in his numbers and was hurt much of last season. We picked him up on a minor league deal for very cheap. If he rebounds to the Aurillia of a couple years ago he is our starting shortstop. If not, you are not on the hook for much of anything at all as it's a minor league contract.
Kent Merkcer is one of the best lefthanded relievers in baseball. I don't think anyone could argue that he is not a solid addition to the weakest part of our team last season.
Ben Weber is yet another one who could sneak up on people. Before he came down with Carpel Tunnle last season he was one of the best relievers in the game for a number of years. All indications are he's over that and is ready to go and there's really no reason to believe he won't get back to where he was before the injury. If not, then we release him and let one of our talented kids have a shot.
Jack McKeon was not happy to lose David Weathers. He is someone who can give you solid numbers out of the bullpen and give you a spot start now and then and pitch well. He has pleanty of experience and is not scared of anything. He will take the ball in any situation. I'll take a bulldog mentality with good numbers anyday of the week.
You may not like the pickups. You may have prefered someone else. But I just don't see how anyone could possibly say they were better off doing nothing.
"Strickland Propane... Taste the meat, not the heat." - Hank Hill