Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Last-Minute Team Off the Street

The last time we brought in some coal for the hot stove was December 29th. It's even colder here in New York the last week of January.

When we discussed the hot stove late last year, we were able to put together a pretty lousy team comprised of available free agents. The rotation was shaky, being lead by Jeff Francis, Carl Pavano, and Brad Penny, and the lineup only had one scary hitter in Adrian Beltre. The bullpen should have been better with Soriano, Fuentes, and Balfour, but really, that team would not contend. There were significant injury/age/performance issues attached to 23 or 24 players on the fake 25-man roster.

Most of the players from that last post have since been signed, and we're actually going to try it again. Before even trying this, I'm not sure there are enough free agents to even field a team.

Let's say we're in a crazy situation with MLB expansion meets Brewster's Millions.

"Todd Wellemeyer??? HaHaHa!!"
The last players we heard have signed were Jorge Cantu to the Padres, Todd Wellemeyer to our beloved Cubs, Clay Rapada to Baltimore, and Chris Ray to the Mariners.

Pitchers and Catchers are due to report to Spring Training in about 3 and a half weeks. ~ Whom would you sign?

It's late. Grab a coffee or a beer. While we look for diamonds in the rough, this team is going to be terrible.

SP: Freddy Garcia
We'd give Manny Corpas's mom
great seats to see her boy close.
SP: Justin Duchscherer
SP: Jeremy Bonderman
SP: Kevin Millwood
SP: Ben Sheets
Swing: Alfredo Aceves
Middle: Cla Meredith
Middle: Manny Delcarmen
LOOGY: Joe Beimel
Setup: Juan Cruz
Closer: Manny Corpas

C: Bengie Molina
1b: Russell Branyan
2b: Willy Aybar
We'd like to reunite Molina and Dye.
SS: Orlando Cabrera
3b: Troy Glaus
LF: Laynce Nix
CF: Lastings Milledge
RF: Wladimir Balentien

C: Michael Barrett
IF: Bobby Crosby
OF: Vladimir Guerrero
PH Rt: Jermaine Dye
PH Lt: Nick Johnson
Bench: Hank Blalock

Have we gone crazy with that starting outfield? Nix, Milledge, and Belentien?? At this stage in the game everyone is either risky or guaranteed to be less than good. In these cases, we go for risky. We'll go for players who have a chance to surprise us in a positive manner, as opposed to guys like Casey Kotchman or Eric Bruntlett, who've reached their unimpressive ceilings.

Joe Beimel should soon sign with one of five teams that are rumored to be actively pursuing him. From what I read, it looks like he'll either take a Minor League deal with the Red Sox or big league deal with Baltimore. Most players would ten times out of ten go with the Major League deal, but if Beimel failed to make the contending Red Sox out of Spring Training, he'd surely catch on somewhere else right away. When Beimel signs, our favorite lefty reliever remaining on the market would probably be the 40-year old Ron Mahay or Bobby Seay.

We still believe in you, Norris!
Most of these guys are getting spring training invites with no guarantees, if anything at all. Whom do you like? Are retreads like Mark Kotsay, Ryan Garko, or Jose Guillen better than Jermaine Dye? It may be likely. We don't really like the idea of signing players like Julio Lugo or Felipe Lopez. Young players with less baggage and some upside would probably be better than those wife beaters. On the other hand, would someone like Norris Hopper be exciting to add to Spring Training? We still think he has something to add. Brandon Jones is another relatively exciting minor league free agent outfielder. Guys flying way under the radar who can still make some noise in the big leagues are Carlos Delgado, Tommy Everidge, Travis Metcalf, and Rocco Baldelli.

So, again faithful readers, whom do you like? Who do you wish your favorite team would still sign?

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