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MLB: MLB Players Who Could be Traded During the 2012 Offseason:

With Free Agents Jake Peavy (Chicago White Sox) and David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox) resigning with their respected teams, the MLB Free Agency pool seems quite limited but there’s still a few significant players to watch this offseason as the Free Agency period gets underway. Below are a list of the top free-agents and which team I feel they will sign with during the offseason:

1. Zach Greinke: (Los Angeles Angles): With Zack Greinke being the only elite level pitcher on the Free Agent Market, there’s no question that he will be the most sought after free agent this winter. The 2009 Cy-Young Award winner will have numerous teams interested in signing him during the offseason and that list will start with Greinke’s 2012 Team: the Los Angeles Angeles. With Bobby Abreu, Dan Haren, Torii Hunter, and Ervin Santana off their payroll, I feel the Angels will have the necessary money they need to resign Zack Greinke to the biggest Pitcher contract this offseason. The other teams that would be interested in signing Zack Greinke this offseason are the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals.

2. Josh Hamilton: (Washington Nationals): The Nationals already feature a sold core of hitters (Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Zimmerman) but have been looking for an additional left-handed impact bat to add to their lineup so they can be that much more deeper from both sides of the plate. If the Nationals were able to sign Hamilton, then they could move Morse from the outfield to First Base and feature one of the best offensive and defensive outfields in Hamilton, Harper, and Werth. In addition to the Nationals, I feel the Baltimore Orioles and Hamilton’s current team, the Texas Rangers, would still be interested in bringing him back to Texas.

3. Michael Bourn: (Philadelphia Phillies): The Braves would love to bring back the 2-Time All-Star and Gold-Glove winner however it seems unlikely they would be able to afford his reported asking price. With the Phillies dropping almost 40 million dollars from

last years and in addition to trading 2 of the teams 3 starting outfielder from last years team, I feel Philly will be one of the most active teams during

the offseason. Other teams that will look to sign Michael Bourn are his former team, Atlanta Braves along with the Washington Nationals if there unable to sign Josh Hamilton.

4.  AJ Pierzynski: (Texas Rangers): At 35 (and soon to be 36 years old) the 2-Time All-Star Catcher had his best statistical season of his career winning his first silver slugger award and still looked to be at the top of his game. With that said, as much as Pierzynski has ment to the White Sox organization, it seems like the White Sox have decided to go younger and start last year backup catcher Tyler Flowers. Flowers proved last season that he can do a solid job at calling a game in addition to having a great deal of power from the catcher position. I feel the Rangers will sign Pierzynski who has proven to be a much more durable catcher behind the plate than 2011 Ranger Mike Napoli (Napoli has never caught 760 innings in a season while Pierzynski has caught 1,000 Plus innings 11 times in his career). The other teams that also might look to sign Pierzynski this offseason are the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

In addition to the Free Agency Process, there’s 5 other significant players that I feel will be mentioned in a number of trade rumors this offseason.

Alex Rodriguez: (New York Yankees): The Yankees expensive 3rd Baseman had another injury plagued season and showed that he’s still having some durability issues as A-Rod hasn’t played in 140 games in season since the 2007 season and in three of those season he played in under 125 games. Even with all his injuries and problems throughout the MLB Playoffs, I still feel A-Rod will be a Yankee when the 2013 season starts. On the other hand, will the Yankees at-least test the Trade Market… absolutely. So which teams will the Yankees talk with A-Rod about: before the Blockbuster Trade on Tuesday I would have said the Miami Marlins, but now I feel there’s only two teams that would consider trading for the former 3-Time AL MVP Winner: Chicago White Sox (however, with Rick Hahn now the GM, the White Sox might have a new perspective on A-Rod) and drs. In the end, I feel Rodriguez will once again be in Yankee Pinstripes when the 2013 Baseball season begins.

Chase Headley: (San Diego Padres): The Padres have a ton of solid prospects in their organization and with the Giants, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks in their division, I’m not sure there ready to win now so I feel they should look to trade their best asset; Chase Headley. Headley had by far his best season, Hitting .286, to go along with 31 Home Runs and an NL High 115 RBI’s while playing in arguably the toughest hitting ballpark in all of baseball and because of this he’s a finalist for the 2012 NL MVP Award. In addition to having such a great season, Headley is just hitting his prime (28 years old) and has 3 more Arbitration Eligible Seasons left on his contract. Because of his age, contract status, the chances of him replicating this season and the state of this franchise, I feel the Padres should look to trade Chase Headley this offseason. Some of the places that have enough assets to acquire Headley and look to trade for him are the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, and the Oakland Athletics. In the end, I feel the Padres will ask for too much and not trade the 28 year old 3rd Baseman whose also proven he can play First Base and Left Field.

Gavin Floyd: (Milwaukee BrewersWith White Sox 2012 Third Baseman Kevin Youkilis most likely departing from the South Side of Chicago this offseason, its very clear that the Chicago White Sox have a significant void to fill at the hot corner that they’ll look fill via a Trade (the Free-Agent Market is quite thin). With that said, a number of teams are looking for veteran pitchers that haven’t had any significant injuries in the past. Fortunately, Floyd fits the criteria as he’s thrown over 180 innings for of the past 5 seasons showing that he can take the ball at any time. Because of this, I feel the White Sox will either trade Floyd straight up for a 3rd Baseman or trade Floyd for a number of prospects that they can then flip the prospects for a third baseman. I feel the White Sox number one option would be moving Floyd and a few other prospects for either top prospects Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals) or Mike Olt (Texas Rangers). So why would Texas or Washington be in such a hurry to trade one of their top prospects? Because both teams have a log jam at third base in Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) and Adrian Beltre (Ranges). Zimmerman, (who agreed to a new contract last offseason), and Beltre, (who hit .321 to along with 36 Homers and 102 RBI and has 4 more years left on his contract) might feel they don’t need one of these elite level prospects and instead might look to acquire a quality veteran pitcher. Both teams have the two different options for these two players: either move one of the top prospects in baseball so they can fill other holes on their roster or have them change positions because nethor will be playing 3rd Base in the near future. In the end, do I foresee the White Sox acquiring one of these two young 3rd Base prospects…no and because of this I feel they will trade Floyd to the Milwaukee Brewers for a number of prospects to help improve their farm system. With that in mind, I also feel the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers will also make a run at Floyd.

Matt Garza: (Chicago Cubs): The Cubs 28 year old right hander had an up and 2012 season that unfortunately ended with him on the DL from July 21st until the completion of the Season. With Garza being in the prime of his career, a proven winner, and having no significant injuries in the past, its a forgone conclusion that a number of teams will look to trade for Garza this offseason. So what teams will look to trade for Garza? I feel the list for Garza will include the Baltimore Orioles, AL Champion Detroit TigersKansas City Royals (who feature a great Bullpen and Offense but need to upgrade their starting rotation), New York Yankees, and Texas Rangers. In the end, I think Garza will start the season with the Cubs so they can show he’s recovered from his triceps injury and then decide wither or not to trade him depending on where the Cubs are in the standings around the July 31st Trade Deadline.

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San Francisco Giants: Bruce Bochy Hello Hall-of-Fame

Following a Kick return for a Touchdown by Desmond Howard in a game between Michigan and Ohio State during the 1991 season, notable commentator Keith Jackson uttered the words “Hello Heisman” as Howard did the Heisman pose in the Michigan Stadium end zone. With that in mind, I wanted to use a similar variation of that line for current San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy “Hello Hall-of-Fame. With the Giants winning their second championship in the past 3 years, manager Bruce Bochy has proven to be one of the best postseason in-game managers in baseball since he started managing during the 1995.

Bochy, a former catcher, started his managerial career during the 1995 season with the San Diego Padres where he spent the last 4 seasons of his playing career. During his tenure as manager of the Padres, Bochy finished in first place 4 times and in 1998 he led the Padres to the World Series for the first time since 1984 when Bochy was a player on that team. However, following the 2006 season, with new management taking over their front office, San Diego decided they wanted to go in another direction so Bochy decided to move up the California coast to another member of the NL West; the San Francisco Giants. In San Francisco, Bochy’s first season was surrounded by a number of significant events in the 2007 All-Star Game being played in San Francisco along with Barry Bonds quest for Hank Aaron’s Home Run record of 755. Following the 2007 season, the Giants decided to go in a different direction as they allowed Bonds to move on and instead decided to build their roster around pitching and defense. The new direction seemed to fit more of Bochy’s style that he managed with in San Diego.

So with that, the Giants decided to build through the draft, (Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey were all former 1st Round Picks) add a few under the radar free agents, (Aubry Huff, Gregor Blanco, and Ryan Vogelsong), along with making a couple of quiet, but effective trades (Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, Marco Scutaro, ) to help add to the depth on their roster.

So what make’s Bruce Bochy such a great manager? Two Reasons:

1. Unlike other teams, the Giants don’t have a great deal of offensive star-power: The Giants have won 2 of the last 3 World Series, and during both Championship runs had to go through 6 different teams that featured a number of elite offensive players in their lineups. Going back to the 2010 Playoffs, the Giants faced the Braves (Chipper Jones (1999 MVP), Brian McCann (2010 All-Star Game MVP), Martin Prado) Phillies (Ryan Howard (2006 MVP), Jimmy Rollins (2007 MVP), Chase Utley, Shane Victoriano, Jayson Werth), and Rangers (Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton (2010 MVP), Michael Young, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler) and during the 2012 Playoffs they faced the Reds (Joey Votto (2010 MVP), Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Scott Rolen, Drew Stubbs), Cardinals (Carlos Beltran (9th Most Postseason Home Runs), David Freese (2011 NLCS and World Series MVP), Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday), and the Tigers (Miguel Cabrera (2012 Triple Crown Winner), Prince Fielder (2011 All-Star Game MVP), Austin Jackson, Jhonny Peralta). Not that the Giants didn’t trot out a number of solid hitters (Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Scutaro, Pence) but the Giants hitters don’t have the star power that the other teams they faced feature.

2. Bochy and the Giants aren’t afraid to make bold moves in the Playoffs: The majority of managers wouldn’t ever think of ever making some of the moves that the Bochy and the Giants front office made over the past 3 seasons. Once again, I want to go back and look at the Giants 2010 Season and then move forward to some of the decisions they made during the 2012 season. During their 2010 Playoff Run, the Giants decided to trade starting catcher (and former World Series Champion (2002)) Bengie Molina to the Rangers for a minor prospects. This move was made so the Giants could have top prospect (at that time) Buster Posey start at catcher and Aubry Huff move to first base. Posey went onto win the 2010 Rookie of the Year Award and became the face of the Giants offense. An additional key move the Giants decided to make during their first World Series run was putting Pablo Sandoval and Aaron Rowand on the bench during the Playoffs along with having former Cy-Young Award winner Barry Zito (the highest paid player on their roster) not apart Playoff roster. Finally, following a game 3 loss to the Rangers, Manager Bruce Bochy decided to change-up his lineup by moving Aubry Huff to DH and added Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz to their lineup. It seemed that at every significant time during the 2010 Playoffs, Bruce Bochy was making all the correct calls throughout these crucial moments.

As for the 2012 Playoffs, Bruce Bochy and the Giants once again showed why they are on top of and prepared for any situation that comes their way. Bochy’s problems started at the beginning of the season when on April 15th, 3-Time All-Star Closer Brian Wilson was forced to miss the remainder of the season with Tommy John Surgery. With Wilson on the shelf for the remainder of the season, the Giants were forced to go with a closer by committee situation which included Santiago Casilla (25), Sergio Romo (14) , and Javier Lopez (7). In addition to that, San Francisco also saw the division rival Dodgers acquiring a number of significant players throughout June, July and August to help bolster their lineup and rotation. To the Giants credit, they didn’t panic and instead made a few key under the radar trades in acquiring Colorado Rockies infielder Marco Scutaro and Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence. Just 15 days after the MLB Trade Deadline, All-Star Game MVP (and at the time NL Batting Leader) Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance. The Giants already featured a lack of depth in their outfield and with this occurring. it made it that much more important that the Giants traded for Pence at the deadline.

Once the Playoffs started, even with all his struggles throughout the 2012 season, most people felt that 2-Time Cy-Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum (2008 and 2009) would stay in the rotation for the entirety of the MLB Playoffs. That wasn’t the case as Lincecum only started 1 game during the 2012 MLB Playoffs (NLCS Game 4) and instead the Giants decided to use him out of the bullpen where he worked 13 innings while only giving up 1 run. With Lincecum out of the rotation, and 2010 Postseason hero Cody Ross in Boston, the Giants needed for two people to step up and fill their spots. Ironically it was the 2 players that were little used during the Giants 2010 Championship run: Pablo Sandoval and Barry Zito. During the 2012 NLCS, the Giants need Zito to step up and win a crucial game 5 so the series would be sent back to San Francisco. Fortunately for the Giants, Zito delivered as he threw 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball sending the series back to the Bay Area. So what about the hitter that stepped up, it was Pablo “the Panda” Sandoval who had the second most hits in a single Post Season (24) and joined Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols in hitting 3 Home Runs in a World Series Game. With Zito’s dominant pitching, Sandoval’s hot bat, and a team that refused to give up (down 2-0 to the Reds; won 3 straight in Cincinnati and down 3-1 to the Cardinals; won 3 straight games vs he defending World Champs), the Giants used these three aspects to bring another Championship to the City by the Bay. In my opinion, both the 2010 and 2012 MLB Playoffs showed why Bruce Bochy is one of the best in-game managers of all time and why he’s deserves to be considered a future Hall-of-Fame Manager.

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MLB Sleeper teams in 2012

Of course on paper it looks like there will be 6 dominant teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Rangers, and Angels); however, I feel  plenty of teams will go under the radar and become great sleeper teams throughout the 2012 season. Even though some of the teams listed below might not make the playoffs, I feel the teams that don’t make the playoffs will start to show their foundation on their roster and be ready to make a good run in the future.


Chicago Cubs:
Am I saying the Cubs will make the playoffs in 2012…no. At the same time, I do believe the 2012 Chicago Cubs will be a team that plays hard and the correct way day in and day out under new Manager Dale Sveum. If the Cubs can receive bounce back years (which I feel is very possible) from Soto, Soriano, and Byrd, along with Castro showing that he’s one of the top 5 shortstops in baseball, I believe this offense has the capability to be better than what people think. The biggest question surrounding the Cubs is their pitching staff as outside of Matt Garza, the rest of the rotation still has a lot of question marks. With Zambrano out of the rotation, I feel there won’t be as many distractions surrounding the Cubs will become a more productive pitching staff. One website predicted the Cubs would win 66 games this year and I feel the Cubs will easily surpass that total and finish with a minimum (remember I said minimum) win total of 75. Again, I’m not sure the Cubs will win the division this year, however, I feel the Cubs will tougher a lot better than people think and a roster that most other teams don’t want to play against.

Atlanta Braves: If the Braves are able to forget about what happened last year (losing a 8 1/2 game wild card lead in 2011) and realize that this is a new season; the Braves can become a legitimate threat to the entire league once the season begins. The Braves feature one of the best young cores in baseball with hitters Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward to go along with veterans (who aren’t 30 years of age) Michael Bourn and Brian McCann. Atlanta features a great young pitching staff (which goes 7 deep and has 6 of them being 26 and younger) with Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy, Mike Monor (who was the 7th overall pick in the 2009 draft), Randall Delgado, and Julio Teheran along with veteran pitcher Tim Hudson. In another shocking event, the Braves also have the best young bullpen in baseball with lefties Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters (both 27) and 2011 rookie of the year winner Craig Kimbrel. With team leader Chipper Jones announcing that this would be his last season playing baseball and the young Braves growing up next year, this could become a sleeper team to not just make the playoffs, but might just be the NL Representative in the World Series.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers will finally become a quieter place with the team being sold to a group that included NBA Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson. The Dodgers have arguable two of the 10 best players in the league with Center Fielder Matt Kemp and 2011 NL CY Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to go along with Dee Gordon, James Loney, Andre Ethier, Chad Billingsley, Kanley Jansen, and Javy Guerra. The core of this team is very solid and showed at the end of the 2011 season that they have the potential to be a solid roster and might be a sleeper team to win the NL West Title.

Kansas City Royals: The 2012 Kansas City Royals has a lot resemblance to the roster that the Colorado Rockies featured from 2007-2009. Colorado featured a lot of great young hitters (Troy Tulowitzki, Garrett Atkins, Matt Holliday/Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Iannetta) and pitchers (Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Hammel) when the Rockies were in the playoffs twice during this span. As for the Royals, they feature a core that will either resemble those Rockies teams or be even better. The Royals have one of the best offense’s in baseball (Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain (great Fantasy Baseball sleeper pick), Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler), a solid future young pitching staff (Danny Duffy, Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi, John Lamb), and good young bullpen (Tim Collins, Greg Holland, and Aaron Crow). The Royals should be the next great young franchise, become a difficult team to beat in the long-term, and if there pitching is above average has a chance to finish in second place in the AL Central.

Toronto Blue Jays: Just like the Royals and Braves, the Blue Jays feature a good solid core of players which includes Jose Bautista and Adam Lind to go along with youngsters Eric Thames, Colby Rasmus, Brett Lawrie, and J.P. Arencibia. The Blue Jays biggest problem lies within their pitching staff which features a few solid number 3 and 4 starters (Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Henderson Alvarez, and Kyle Drabek), but no true number 1 or 2 starters on their roster. If the Jays were able to have manager (and former Red Sox pitching coach) John Farrell fix this problem and the rotation was stable in 2012, Toronto would become a difficult team to beat in 2012.

Cincinnati Reds: The Brewers and Cardinals might have won the NL Central in 2012, however, I feel the Reds “on paper” have the best team in the NL Central. At the same time, like other teams, the Reds still have a few key questions they have to make sure they address (which I’ll discuss in a few sentences). Before I get to these questions, I want to look at the positives on this roster which is highlighted by 2010 MVP Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Drew Stubbs, Jay Bruce, and pitchers Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, and Sean Marshall. The Reds were hit hard with the surgery to closer Ryan Madson and now need to find a reliever who has the capability to record the toughest 3 outs in baseball. If the Reds are able to find a reliable closer (and as much as I like like Marshall, I’m not sure how successful he’ll be as a reliver), their bullpen is able to hold up, and Mat Latos is able to adjust to the Great American Ballpark, I feel the Reds might become the team to beat in the NL Central and might make a apearance in the World Series. The Reds and their fans also realize that Joey Votto’s contract is almost up (after the 2013 season) and the time for them to win and go deep in the playoffs is now.

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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in MLB, Sports

 

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National League East Spring Training Preview

The National League East features three possible teams that can compete for a division title in 2012, and another team that should become one of the most improved teams in baseball.

Philadelphia Phillies: Once again, the Phillies surprised the baseball world by quietly signing 4-time All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon of the Boston Red Sox. Since the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, Philadelphia’s signed at-least one big name free agent each of the past 4 off-season’s (Raul Ibanez 2008-2009, Roy Halladay  2009-2010, Cliff Lee 2010-2011, and Jonathan Papelbon). Unfortunately for the Phillies, the last out of their seasons was costly in more ways than one as star first baseman Ryan Howard tore his Achilles while attempting to run to first base and will likely miss part of the 2012 season. As insurance for Howard, Philadelphia signed former Phillie Jim Thome along with utility infielder Ty Wigginton. If everyone on their roster comes back healthy this year, the Phillies still features a solid lineup (Howard, Utley, Rollins, Victorino, and Pence) to go along with the best four man rotation in baseball. Their rotation features Cy Young Award Winner’s Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee along with 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP Cole Hamels (in a contract year), and second year starter Vance Worley. This Phillies should be one of the most competitive teams in baseball and once again be a contender for another World Series Title.

Atlanta Braves: Last year, the Braves suffered through the second greatest September collapse in baseball history (Braves fans can thank the Red Sox for not being known as the organization who suffered through the greatest collapse in baseball history). If this Braves team can recover from last year’s collapse and move forward, Atlanta will be a playoff team and once again a contender for a World Series Title. Just as the offseason was getting underway, the Braves traded veteran starter Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians and decided to feature one of the youngest but most talented rotations in baseball. Atlanta’s pitching staff is led by 3-time All-Star Tim Hudson,  2011 All-Star Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, and Brandon Beachy to go along with the best young bullpen in baseball with lefties Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty alongside rookie of the year winner Craig Kimbrel. As for the fifth spot in the Braves rotation, there will be a great competition between talented young starters Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, and Julio Teheran to see who joins the other four pitchers at Turner Field. Unfortunately for the rest of the league, to go alongside one of the best young rotations in baseball, the Braves also feature one of the best hitting cores in the league. Led by the best catcher in baseball, Brian McCann, the Braves have Freddie Freeman (runner-up to teammate Craig Kimbrel for the 2011 rookie of the year), Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward, Michael Bourn, Martin Prado, and the ageless Chipper Jones. Atlanta features the best young talent on any 25 man roster in baseball and should be at the top of the NL East in 2012 and beyond.

Washington Nationals: Most people don’t realize this, but the Washington Nationals finished the 2011 season one game behind the .500 mark (80-81). The Nationals featured one of the most bizarre June’s in the history of baseball as it started on a high note winning 11 of 12 games. As their streak reached double digits, then manager Jim Riggleman (yes the former Cubs manager) decided to resign during the winning streak after not receiving a contract extension and then a few days later deciding to hire former World Series winning manager Davey Johnson. In the off-season, the Nationals were reportedly one of the teams interested in signing former Brewer Prince Fielder to help bolster their lineup but unfortunately for the Nats they were outbid by the Detroit Tigers. A few weeks later, Washington decided to extend all-star 3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman for an additional 6 seasons, making him the face of the franchise. The Nationals weren’t completely quiet this offseason as they decided to upgrade their starting rotation by signing the well-traveled Edwin Jackson to a one year deal and traded for 2011 All-Star Gio Gonzalez (a few days later Gonzalez agreed to terms on a 4 year extension). Like the Braves, the Nationals feature a lot of great young talent led by pitchers Jordan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg along with Gonzalez, Jackson, and John Lannan. As for the Washington lineup, they feature a nice mix of both young and old veterans on their roster led by Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Roger Bernadina and veterans Mark DeRosa, Michael Morse, and Jayson Werth. The Nationals organization has two key questions they need to address before the end of spring training as it involves two of the best young prospects in baseball        (Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon). Harper, the number one ranked player in the minor’s, is still a teenager (19, and doesn’t turn 20 until October) and has people wondering if he’s ready to break camp and start the season with the Nationals. As good as Harper will be in the future, I feel it would be in the best interest of Harper and the Nationals organization if he waited until after the trade deadline and started the season at AA or AAA. The other question Washington needs to address is last year’s number one pick, third baseman Anthony Rendon. Washington also needs to find a new position for Rendon as Zimmerman (27) is now signed though the 2020 season and includes a no-trade clause. The Nationals have an interesting team as although they aren’t quite ready to compete for a playoff spot in 2012, the Nats are a team on the rise that will only improve in the future. In two years, I believe the Nationals will compete for a playoff spot and become one of the most competitive teams in baseball.

New York Mets: The Mets are now in a transition phase and have finally realized that its time to start over. Throughut the 2011 season, New York decided to start the new Mets era by trading closer Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee and All-Star Carlos Beltran to San Francisco for prospects (in that trade the Mets received the best prospect currently in their organization, Zack Wheeler). A few months after the season, New York saw star shortstop Jose Reyes leave for the division rival Miami Marlins. The Mets  still have a few long-term contracts on their payroll (Jason Bay and Johan Santana until after the 2013 season) and then will be 100% prepared to start the rebuilding stages of the Mets. The other key issue the Mets need to address this year is to decide what to do with David Wright and his contract. Wright has one more team-option remaining on his current contract (for the 2013 season), however, if the Mets do decide to trade him during the season, his 2013 team option can be voided and Wright has the option to  become a free agent. The Mets need to ask themselves a few questions. First, the Mets need to  determine if they want David Wright to become the face their franchise. Second, if New York does decide they want him to become the face of their franchise, they need to see what type of contract he would want to stay in New York. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, the Mets should  look at the possible trade options to add more depth to their farm system. After Jose Reyes decided to sign with the Miami Marlins, the rest of their offseason was quiet as they only made a few other minor moves to their roster. For Mets fans, this season, along with the next few will be difficult for the Mets to watch as they continue to revamp their organization.

Miami Marlins: The most interesting team in baseball this year will most certainly be the Miami Marlins. The busy off-season started a few days before the end of the regular season when the White Sox agreed to trade manager Ozzie Guillen to the Marlins for two minor league prospects. As for the other moves made this offseason, the Marlins decided to start the Winter Meetings off by agreeing to terms with Padres closer Heath Bell on a 3 year deal. A few days later, the Marlins made their most significant free agent signing since Ivan Rodriguez signed with the Marlins prior to the 2003 season when they signed Jose Reyes to a 6 year deal. The Marlins ended the Winter Meetings by signing another former White Sox in starting pitcher Mark Burhrle to a 4 year deal, hoping to improve the front of their rotation. The final major move the Marlins made this offseason was by trading for the talented, but unpredictable Carlos Zambrano. Unlike other managers, Guillen in the past stated that the former Cubs pitcher would be fine if he managed Zambrano. First, on the field the Marlins are a vastly improved team that features one of the best leadoff hitters in the league (Reyes), the best young power hitter (Stanton), along with All-Star Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison. As for the pitching staff, if everyone stays healthy and in-check, the Marlins should have improved rotation led by Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, and Carlos Zambrano. Now for the fun part, the Marlins will be must see TV everyday with the personalities shown within their organization. From the Ozzie being Ozzie, the unpredictable Carlos Zambrano, the opinionated Logan Morrison, goofy Heath Bell along with the Hanley not wanting to play third debate, this will be the must see off the field team in 2012.

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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in MLB, Sports

 

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