Saturday, November 20, 2010

A's Active Early, Plus MLB FA Predictions

Since we've been so focused on football here lately , I wanted to get back into some offseason baseball stuff as the A's have been amongst the busiest teams early on.

First off, the Billy Beane dealt Vin Mazzaro to the Royals for all-star outfielder David DeJesus, then they claimed the rights to Japanese pitching phenom Hisashi Iwakura (which doesn't necessarily mean they'll sign him, but the interest means they very well could end up with him. Then they claimed third basemen Edwin Encarnacion off waivers from Toranto, right before trading Rajai Davis to the Blue Jays for a pair of prospects. Out of the three moves, I have to give Beane a 2 out of 3, because I just think he could have gotten more for a 50-base stealing, .300 leadoff hitter who plays a great center field (granted, this style of player does seem to be in abundance these days with the era shifting a bit). Other than that, I love the fact they got Encarnacion (a guy who just 2 years from now was considered one of the up-and-coming 3rd basemen in baseball) for nothing. Encarnacion has battled injury in the past, but is still just 27 years old and has a few nice seasons under his belt already. Last year in Toronto in an injury shortened, 96-game season, Edward hit .244 with 21 HR and 51 RBI. In his 3 healthy seasons in Cinci from '06-'08 he averaged a .279 avg with 19 hr, 72 RBI and +.800 OPS. He should be the A's opening day third basemen. DeJesus should move into left in place of Davis and probably take his place towards the top of the order. He's got more gap power and is a better hitter than Rajai, but nowhere near the basestealer and not the defensive outfielder Davis was. Still an overall upgrade though all things considered.

While on the topic of hot stove baseball talk and free agency, here's my picks on where some of the bigger name free agents in this very thin 2010 class will end up playing in 2011:

Adrian Beltre- Orioles, 3 Yr/ $37.5 M (O's always need help wherever they can get it. One problem is that they've had a rough defensive team for years and it's helped a mediocre pitching staff look even worse. Beltre would solidify 3rd and give the O's a consistent 3-4-5-6 hitter) Or: Indians, Rockies, Astros

Rafael Soriano- Angels, 3 Yr/ $29.5 M (If he wasn't such an injury risk, he'd be well recognized as one of the best releivers in the game today. Has been healthy last 2 years though and that should lead to big time pay day for some team in need of a closer in a thin marked. Just check out what Joaquin Benoit got!)

Pat Burrell- Braves, 1 Yr/ $4.5 M* (Big 2nd half with Giants should earn him at least a platoon/part-time role with a team who needs a RH slugger like ATL) Or: Padres, Cubs

Jorge De La Rosa- Nationals, 3 Yr/ $39 M (Would have to overpay since he's one of top arms in thin SP market, but nobody needs starters more than Wash, especially since Strasburgh's out till '12) Or: Rangers, Astros,

Carl Crawford- Dodgers, 5 Yr/ $112 M (Dodgers need to keep up in the West. Have some young talent, but need new leader who's been there, and imagine a Crawford-Kemp-Eithier OF in LA!) Others: Angels, Rays, Tigers, Mariners

Jorge De La Rosa- Nationals, 3 Yr/ $39 M (Would have to overpay since he's one of top arms in thin SP market, but nobody needs starters more than Wash, especially since Strasburgh's out till '12 Or: Rangers, Astros,

Aubrey Huff- Giants, 2 Years/ $16 M (Huge in their WS win, and even if he slows over the next 2 years, he's flexible so won't have to stick in one spot and even in his worst year still had 85 RBI). Or: Texas, Houston

Cliff Lee- Rangers, 4 Yr./ $105 M (Could be NY Bound, but something tells me he may want to stick around and help Texas finish what they got so closed to in '10") Or: Yankees, Cubs, Astros

Victor Martinez- Red Sox, 3 Yr/ $40 M (Was big for Boston in '10 and really helped solidify the middle of that order with Papi and even Youk struggling at times) Others: White Sox, Mariners

Manny Ramirez- White Sox, 1 Yr/ $12M*(Options are limited, but some AL team will take a chance on a guy still well capable of .300, 25, 100, especially without the rigors of playing the field everyday) Or: Tigers, Rangers, Orioles

Bengie Molina- Mets, 1 Yr/$6 M (Only a small disagreement in contract terms kept him from going to NY last winter and they need his influence on their pitchers more than anything... May be Chicago bound as well, where he'd be a huge upgrade over Pierzynski.) Others: Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox

Derek Lee- Astros, 2 Yr/ $19.5 M (Still a smooth fielding first basemen and although he's nowhere near the power threat he was 5 years ago, he's still a 20-80 guy who'll hit right around .300.) Or: Braves, Red Sox

Paul Konerko- Red Sox, 2 Yr/ $25 M (Huge 2010 season should earn him the most among the many free agent first basemen. Boston could use that big right-handed bat in their hole at first, with Youk moving over to 3rd in place of Beltre.) Or: Astros, Yankees, Rangers

Juan Uribe- Giants, 2 Yr/ $16 M (Amazing to think of giving Juan Uribe $8 mill. a year but the dude has really earned it. He's been consistent and clutch ever since he put on a Giants uni, not too mention he plays 3 positions very adequately.) Others: Cardinals, Padres,

Jayson Werth- Padres- 3 Yr/ $42.5 M (Getting a RH masher like Werth would be very wise for the Pads, especially if they want to try and keep Gonzalez in town. I think Werth has the pop to hit his 20-25 HR per even playing 1/2 games at Petco too, they just have to convince him that.) Others: Washington, Texas

* indicates incentive-laden deals

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