Welcome to the first day of the rest of the offseason. I’ll kick it off with the obligatory “Yankees win because they have all that damned money. Curse you, Steinbrenners!” Now that that’s out of the way, we can all move on with our lives and pay attention to more important things, like the huge mountain of offensive ineptitude we have yet to climb. If you’ll notice, all the teams that made the playoff had very good hitters. Fancy that. To give some perspective, the Phillies and Yankees both had anywhere from 8-10 hitters apiece who could have hit cleanup over Bengie Molina last season.
In other news, it appears as though our front office learned something from the 2008 offseason, namely that if you sign free agents early, you’ll pay more. Our Fearless Leader has stated he wants to wait awhile before he starts his trademarked tire-kicking, so as to let the free agent market take shape. Last year we signed Renteria for $9 million for two years in the first three months of the offseason. Much later on, Oakland signed Orlando Cabrera to a considerably cheaper contract. Lesson learned.
Unfortunately for us, the market this year isn’t fantastic. Scott Boras is demanding Teixeira money for Matt Holliday, and I’m not the biggest fan of Jason Bay. Instead, the most important move of the offseason will be letting Bengie Molina walk. It’s imperative to the future of this franchise to not go anywhere near Bengie, and to instead offer him arbitration while collecting the two draft picks when some other sucker signs an overweight catcher in his mid-30’s to a multi-year deal.
In the meantime, GM’s are already swinging deals. Allegedly, Mark Teahen may be on his way to the White Sox for Chris Getz and Josh Fields, making for a pretty good deal for both teams. The Red Sox acquired Jeremy Hermida for a couple of minor league pitchers, begging the question of why we couldn’t pull that off. Hermida made $2.25 million last season, so he’d be a low cost, high reward kind of risk to take. Point being, good move by the Red Sox.
In terms of our positional weaknesses, the FA market doesn’t have much to offer. The best options to fill our hole at first base are Adam LaRoche and Nick Johnson. At shortstop, our only real option at this point is re-sign Juan Uribe and hope to God he can be half the player he was in 2009. In the outfield, my biggest fear is that loss of Randy Winn will lead us to waste money on Marlon Byrd, who is far from an offensive solution for the money we’d have to pay. Needless to say, Sabean will need to get creative on the trade front in order to even come close to fixing this offense.
So where does that leave us? Well, since we have a new hitting coach everything’s going to be OK right? I’m not out to bash Hensley Meulens at this point, but people are reading way too far into his signing in terms of a coach’s ability to fix hitters. Put simply, the problem is personnel, not coaching. If you have players with a patient approach, they will be patient hitters with high OBP’s. This in turn will result in lots of lots of runs and happiness and winning for everyone forever and ever. Get r done, Sabes.