So, What Now?
Since the Winter Meetings, trade winds have been a-swirling. Most significantly, the Mariners acquired Cliff Lee for next to nothing shortly after inking Chone Figgins to start at third base. Seattle is one hitter away from being finished with their offseason shopping. So goes the offseason of a team with a competent, creative GM. In comparison, we have yet to get anything done.
To be completely fair though, there hasn’t been much to choose from. The real news truly is what we haven’t done. The free agent catchers in the mold of Jason Kendall and Pudge Rodriguez got two year deals, something that Brian Sabean mercifully avoided. The front office has been insistent that they’re not interested in going after a Jermaine Dye rental to play left field. We didn’t cough up $9 million for Brad Penny based on a fluky September and we had the emotional fortitude to let Bengie Molina demand a 3 year contract from some other sucker.
So what does that mean for our offseason wish list exactly? Well, Nick Johnson is reportedly about to sign with the Yankees for a one year deal worth $5.5 million, so he’s out of the question. Adrian Beltre would represent the second coming of Pedro Feliz. Matt Holliday and Jason Bay are not worth the money and years they’re likely to get. In terms of viable free agents, that’s the short list (excluding Johnny Damon, whose power numbers are likely to completely tank at AT&T).
This leaves the trade market as the best option for improving. As I’ve discussed earlier though, successful and creative trades haven’t exactly been Brian Sabean’s strong suit for the last decade or so. This leaves us with a scarce free agent market and a GM who lacks the creativity to swing a deal. All this being so, this offseason is now the litmus test of just how creative Sabes can get when backed into a corner.
Talks with the Marlins concerning Dan Uggla have continued, but I fear even adding him isn’t enough to fix this broken offense, especially with a Velez/Torres platoon slotted into left field. Now if we had somehow managed to get Uggla without selling the farm while signing Nick Johnson to an incentive-laden deal, I’d call it a successful offseason. But as the Rolling Stones so wisely stated, you can’t always get what you want. And what I want is a league-average offense.