by Aaron Rife
Hot Stove Update
One month into the “Hot Stove” MLB offseason and there’s been a lot to talk about. With Winter Meetings just around the corner, let’s catch everyone up on what has happened so far each day with a different division.
Arizona Diamondbacks: The surprise winner of the NL West last year, the Diamondbacks don’t lose much of anything going into 2012. Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson took huge steps towards becoming solid #1 and #2 starters and they found their 1B of the future in Paul Goldschmidt. J.J. Putz helped solidify a bullpen that seemed to be perpetually inept, and Kirk Gibson has the team playing as hard as anyone. One thing they could use is a back-end starter or two. The chances of Josh Collmenter recreating his 2011 are slim and he’s slotted 4th. I don’t see them spending a lot of money to fill their rotation out unless they can talk Hiroki Kuroda into playing somewhere other than LA. They could just take a couple one-year fliers on injury risk guys like Erik Bedard and Brad Penny.
- Resigned Willie Bloomquist (SS/OF), Aaron Hill (2B), Henry Blanco (C), John McDonald (INF)
- Declined team option on Zach Duke (SP)
- Key FA Losses: Xavier Nady (OF), Lyle Overbay (1B), Jason Marquis (SP)
Colorado Rockies: A disappointing 4th place finish last year; the Rockies seem to be stuck in mediocrity. They traded Ubaldo Jimenez last year for Drew Pomeranz; he should step in to the back of the rotation at the beginning of the year. Their pitching staff is young and mostly unproven. They’ve been talking about trading closer Huston Street for a starter as well as Ian Stewart for a steadier 3B. They don’t need a long-term 3B as they have Nolan Arenado ready to come up by September, if not earlier in the season. Eventually they’ll need a long-term 1B as currently they have the ageless wonders Todd Helton and Jason Giambi. Also, I doubt Eric Young is the answer in LF. The only thing he brings to the table is speed. They could use another power bat to go along with Tulo and Cargo.
- Declined mutual option on Aaron Cook (SP)
- Exercised mutual option on Jason Giambi (1B)
- Signed Ramon Hernandez (C) to a 2-year deal
- Traded Ty Wigginton (1B/3B/OF) to Phillies for PTBNL
- Key FA Losses: Kevin Millwood (SP), JC Romero (RP), Mark Ellis (2B)
Los Angeles Dodgers: The cash-strapped Dodgers managed to lock up Matt Kemp for 8 more years. Other than Kemp and Ethier their offense will be lacking any punch. With the team currently being sold they are kind of wild card. Do they have a lot of money to spend or don’t they? Their most glaring need would be at 3B; Aramis Ramirez would be a good fit but would cost more than most. Another starting pitcher would help too. Dana Eveland only looks like a major league pitcher when he faces the Pirates. Word is Hiroki Kuroda will only come back and play in MLB if the Dodgers resign him but that’s not looking likely. Rod Barajas is gone so currently their starting catcher is A.J. Ellis. I could see Chris Snyder coming in on a one-year deal giving them more pop at that position as well.
- Signed Matt Kemp to an 8-year extension
- Signed Juan Rivera (OF), Mark Ellis (2B/1B), Matt Treanor (C), Adam Kennedy (INF)
- Declined team options on Casey Blake (3B/1B/OF) and Jon Garland (SP)
- Key FA Losses: Hiroki Kuroda (SP), Rod Barajas (C), Jonathan Broxton (RP), Mike MacDougal (RP), Vicente Padialla (SP/RP), Jamey Carroll (SS/2B), Aaron Miles (INF)
San Diego Padres: Last in the West as expected in 2011. They return a solid pitching staff with up-and-coming ace Cory Luebke ready to make a huge step. They lose Heath Bell but have Luke Gregerson ready to take over and close. This will leave the rest of their bullpen fighting for the 7th and 8th inning roles. They have a couple of candidates in Ernesto Frieri and Josh Spence so they probably won’t try and make a big splash RP signing. They are clearly in rebuilding mode so a significant offensive signing isn’t likely. It seems like a good landing spot for Johnny Gomes. They need someone who can put the ball out of that mammoth ballpark and do it cheaply for one year, maybe two. Cameron Maybin was a nice surprise in CF, so that’s one spot they don’t have to worry about.
- Traded Wade LeBlanc (SP/RP) to Marlins for John Baker (C)
- Signed Mark Kotsay (1B/OF)
- Declined team options on Aaron Harang (SP), Chad Qualls (RP), Brad Hawpe (1B/OF)
- Key FA Losses: Heath Bell (RP)
San Francisco Giants: After a couple of years of trade deadline speculation, the Giants finally traded Jonathan Sanchez. They got CF Melky Cabrera who had a surprisingly good season last year. That still leaves them with Barry Zito as their 5th starter. They just can’t shake him. They should look at trading Brian Wilson while the market for closers is at its peak. To me he’s annoying and they have plenty of arms in their bullpen that could close. I think they should go Rafeal Furcal and let him mentor Brandon Crawford at SS. They could get him on a 1-year contract for minimal damage. Their big acquisition will be getting a healthy Buster Posey back. He only played in 45 games thanks to being bowled over at the plate and breaking his leg and tearing ankle ligaments. I imagine he’ll play some first base this year also as he works his way back behind the plate. They should have a pretty solid team going into 2012.
- Traded Jonathan Sanchez (SP) to Kansas City for Melky Cabrera (OF) and Ryan Verdugo (P)
- Exercised team option on Jeremy Affeldt (RP)
- Signed Javier Lopez (RP) to 2-year extension
- Key FA Losses: Orlando Cabrera (INF), Mark Derosa (3B/OF), Carlos Beltran (OF), Cody Ross (OF)