Blog Entry

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

Posted on: November 1, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 10:20 pm

By Matt Snyder

With open free agency set to hit us at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, it's worth taking a quick look at what every single team is going to be looking for. We've already done detailed breakdowns in the R.I.P. series, so here are some quick hitters for the American League:

Baltimore Orioles | R.I.P.
Needs: Could use a corner infielder, depending upon where they want to play Mark Reynolds (including DH). Pitching, starting and in relief.
Money to spend? They should have a decent amount. Between Derrek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, Mike Gonzalez, Koji Uehara and Cesar Izturis, that's roughly $25 million coming off the books from the beginning of last season. Some arbitration raises are coming, but we'll see how much owner Peter Angelos wants to spend. The Orioles have already raised payroll about $20 million since 2008. Don't count out a run at Prince Fielder or some other big name.

Boston Red Sox | R.I.P.
Needs: Pitching, right field.
Money to spend? Will new GM Ben Cherington be more careful on big free agent deals after seeing some colossal failures in recent years? It's hard to tell, but if the Red Sox let both David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon walk, they'll be able to spend. The two combined to make over $24 million last year. J.D. Drew's $14 million is gone just as Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield are free agents. A few arbitration raises should still leave the Red Sox about $30 million short of last season's payroll. So there's room to play.

New York Yankees | R.I.P.
Needs: Pitching, pitching, pitching
Money to spend? With Jorge Posada's hefty contract coming off the books, yes, you can expect the Yankees have money to spend. Do they go large and land C.J. Wilson? I'd guess there are serious discussions about doing so. He's left-handed, which is a great fit for Yankee Stadium. Maybe Mark Buehrle is a fall back and posting for Yu Darvish is entirely possible. One thing is for sure: Getting CC Sabathia nailed down before free agency began was huge.

More Free Agency
Position rankings
Tampa Bay Rays | R.I.P.
Needs: Catcher, first baseman, shortstop, bullpen help
Money to spend? Not much. The situation in Tampa Bay is dire, so if the Rays are really looking to shore up that many positions via free agency, it's going to have to be on the cheap. And they might even have to trade James Shields to do so. Trading B.J. Upton is a no-brainer in order to save money. In dealing those two, they could plug Desmond Jennings in center and Matt Moore in the rotation and then fill the holes cheaply with guys like Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman (which they did last season).

Toronto Blue Jays | R.I.P.
Needs: All kinds of pitching, second base.
Money to spend? The belief is they have a lot of money to spend between this offseason and next. Do they make a big splash now or wait? They could make a run at Prince Fielder or David Ortiz, but the offense doesn't need near as much help as the pitching -- plus, with Edwin Encarnacion coming back 1B and DH seem to be filled. They will probably hit on a closer like Jonathan Papelbon or Ryan Madson. As for the second base crop, it's pretty thin. Maybe Ramon Santiago or Jamey Carroll? If they really wanted to go for it, they could move Brett Lawrie back to second base and go after Aramis Ramirez, but that's not happening.

Chicago White Sox | R.I.P.
Needs: To get younger
Money to spend? Not much. The White Sox had a huge payroll last season and got nothing to show for it. Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy will make over $55 million combined and there don't appear to be any areas where a quick fix would make the White Sox a ton better than last year. Instead, they should stay away from free agency and instead start trading veterans to stock a barren farm system.

Cleveland Indians | R.I.P.
Needs: catcher or first base (depending on where they play Carlos Santana), left field (Michael Brantley likely moves to center with Grady Sizemore gone)
Money to spend? The Indians have a lot of good, young talent but it's all already arrived at the big-league level (or been traded away). So they're ready to make a move in the Central, as evidenced by trading for veteran Derek Lowe. There's some extra revenue from the increased attendance in 2011, but they still can't come close to affording Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. Maybe Carlos Pena? He's a good defensive first baseman and hit 28 homers with 74 RBI and an .879 OPS if you lop off his dreadful start in 2011 (that listed stat line began May 3). If not Pena, Casey Kotchman is a decent fall back.

Detroit Tigers | R.I.P.
Needs: Second base and third base (or shortstop, with Jhonny Peralta shifting positions).
Money to spend? With some big contracts (like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen) coming off the books and a revenue stream from a season that saw the Tigers hit the ALCS, you can bet they'll be spending. Jose Reyes or Aramis Ramirez would work well, but it seems like a top-of-the-order guy makes more sense, considering Jim Leyland was forced to keep trotting strikeout machine Austin Jackson out in the leadoff spot and the Tigers already have Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the middle. Also, the Tigers could also go cheap in the infield and grab someone like Michael Cuddyer for right field. We'll see.

Kansas City Royals | R.I.P.
Needs: Starting pitching, relief pitching, bench depth
Money to spend? The Royals haven't yet made their move in the AL Central, so revenues haven't greatly increased just yet. They'll be able to spend some money, but mostly the type that can land spare parts while the Royals wait on the young wave to thrive. Reports have indicated general manager Dayton Moore wants to trade some of the Royals' many coveted prospects for a good starting pitcher, so expect K.C. to be more active in hot stove trade talk than in major free agency signings.

Minnesota Twins | R.I.P.
Needs: Closer, setup men, corner outfielders and to stay healthy
Money to spend? If the Twins bring back both Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer, they'll be a bit strapped for cash. If not, they'll have plenty to spend, as those two leaving along with Joe Nathan and Matt Capps frees up lots of money. Expect the Twins to be aggressive in seeking relief pitching help, even possibly willing to trade other pieces to shore up the back-end of the bullpen.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | R.I.P.
Needs: Catcher (hmm, if only they didn't trade a certain postseason star), pitching depth
Money to spend? Nope, they're pretty much on lockdown, as owner Arte Moreno has said the payroll will decrease -- and they're already saddled with lots of huge veteran contracts. Even if they could find takers for some of the overpaid veterans, they'd have to give significant salary relief. As things stand, the Angels in 2012 probably greatly resemble the Angels of 2011.

Oakland Athletics | R.I.P.
Needs: An entire outfield and third base.
Money to spend? The A's have over $23 million in salary coming off the books, but the question is if Billy Beane attacks things in a similar manner to how he did last year with the offense. Several modest one-year contracts were handed out. Why not instead go young with Michael Taylor, Chris Carter and Brandon Allen while using the free agent money on one bigger bat (Aramis Ramirez? Carlos Beltran?)? The problem there lies in convincing a major free agent to play in Oakland, so the guess is Beane again signs a few cheaper guys like Josh Willingham and Hideki Matsui last season.

Seattle Mariners | R.I.P.
Needs: Pitching depth, offensive firepower.
Money to spend? There's a modest amount of money leaving the payroll while Ichiro is signed for $18 million in 2012 before he's done. So the Mariners could actually backload deals if they want to make a huge splash. Could they get crazy and go after two big offensive names? They've done so in the past (the Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson signings). Expect to hear the Mariners in rumors for Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes, and probably trickling on down to the likes of Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins. Now, whether or not they can convince any of those guys to sign, we'll see.

Texas Rangers | R.I.P.
Needs: Bullpen depth
Money to spend? A modest amount. It's likely the Rangers let C.J. Wilson walk and fill in the rotation either in-house (Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando, Scott Feldman) or by signing Japanese phenom Yu Darvish. From there, the Rangers could make Mike Adams the new closer and focus on setup men, or go after a free agent closer like Jonathan Papelbon or Ryan Madson. Keep in mind, the Rangers don't have to change much, considering they were one strike away from a World Series title twice and the overwhelming majority of the team is returning intact. Plus, the revenues from going to two consecutive World Series will give them the ability to increase the payroll should they wish.

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Since: Jul 17, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:25 am

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

Great post !!  Sadly , the "Haters" ( majority RSN ) can not and do not listen

to accurate facts. Disregard the "Haters" ~ A wiseman once said " Never enter

into a battle of wits against an unarmed man" How true !! Hopefully Cash will

be active over the off-season and once again the Yanks will rule the AL East , and

 advance farther next season.  Laughing

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 9:57 am

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

You're a dope CLake. Don't be bitter of the Yankees success by crediting them as "the best team money can buy". That statement has been less and less valid over the years. Yankees payroll has been stabilizing under Brian Cashman & the real strength of the team now lies in their farm system. Cano, Robertson, Nova, Nunez, & Montero are the present while Betances, Banuelos, & Sanchez are next. Other than A-Rod's albatross contract, the Yankees are virtually even with the other titans of the league like the Red Sox & Phillies.

And I really don't understand why everyone points to the Yankees pitching as a problem, timely hitting would've sent the Yankees into the ALCS. The bullpen is a real strength for this team and with young pitching on the way & CC locked up, this team will be very successful for a long time. Sorry haters.

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 8:48 am

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

Class act.... he was until he was lumped in as a nother PED user

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 8:25 am

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

Don't worry Yankee fans.  The best team money can buy will once again go out and purchase all the parts they need to be playoff bound in 2012.  NYY pitching, good enough to win 97 games in 2011, has to improve to compete with teams with better pitching talent.  Sabathia and a wing and a prayer doesn't cut it in a five game series or a seven games series for that matter.  If NYY signs a pitcher like CJ Wilson, they have the "twin towers" needed in a short series which gives them a chance.  Rodriguez and Jeter are at the tail ends of their careers so the lineup seems less dynamic than TB or Texas, both of which have the kind of younger and upcoming hitters that will get better.  I predict NYY will make the playoffs again as division champs over the Red Sox, otherwise known as the 'gang that can't shoot straight'.  Then the poor Yanks falter yet again in round one against a Texas juggernaut who, unlike the Yankees, has a legit team rather than a collection of superstar parts like NYY or Boston.  TB, with Matt Moore joining the rotation, could also be in there.  For NYY to succeed, they need to figure out how to meld a collection stars into a team.

Since: Jul 24, 2009
Posted on: November 2, 2011 7:05 am

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

I;m going to say it now....Prince will go to the Yankees, he will chase the money...for shame!
I say there's ZERO chance the Yankees sign Fielder or Pujols for that matter.  If you think the Yankees are going to hand out another bloated contract to one of these free agent sluggers just to be a DH you're delusional.  The Yankees already have Jesus Montero to DH and ARod will need to DH a lot more next year to preserve his health.  

Since: Jul 9, 2009
Posted on: November 1, 2011 11:41 pm

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

So the biggest need that the Yankees have is pitching,eh? I guess you didn't watch the ALDS.They won 97 games with CC,Nova,and a hope and a prayer.They lost the ALDS because they have no clutch hitters
Klongyaw, did they win those 97 games primarily with (starting) pitching, or primarily with hitting?  So their hitters had a poor best-of-five series.  It happens.  (My own team knows about that, it pains me to say.) 

Yes, some of your hitters are getting older, and no doubt that will have to be addressed.  But in the long run I'd still bet on your hitters before I'd bet on your current starting pitchers other than Sabathia.  Until your starting rotation is improved, going very far in the post-season is a longshot.  I'm betting your front office realizes that, even if you don't.

Since: Oct 15, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:52 pm

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

So the biggest need that the Yankees have is pitching,eh? I guess you didn't watch the ALDS.They won 97 games with CC,Nova,and a hope and a prayer.They lost the ALDS because they have no clutch hitters,and they are talking about putting basically the same freaking line-up out there next year.The pitching that they had was good enough to have beaten Detroit.The offense was not.The pitching does need some help,but you have to change the offense if you want another ring.Look who just won the World Series.Outstanding starting pitching? Hardly.Carpenter is very good,Wainright is hurt,and after that,it's very average.But the bullpen is pretty solid and versatile,and they got key hits,and not from AP for the most part.That's how they won.The Yankees have a good bullpen,and the starting pitching needs some tweaking.But the biggest problem is the offense.The runs scored is misleading,and if you don't change it,you're going to get more of the same next year.

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:49 pm

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks


First, I doubt Prince is ready to be a full-time DH because that is what he'd be on the Yankees as long as Tex is at 1B.  Second, the Yankees don't need a bat.........they need pitching.  They'll overpay for C.J. Wilson before they offer Prince a dime. 

My biggest fear is that the Yankees throw some cash at..........gulp...........Big Papi! <<almost puked just typing that!>>

Since: Oct 24, 2011
Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:42 pm

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

You guys are absolutely correct on Posada being a class act.  I may not be a yankees fan, but i have mad respect for Posada.  He always played the game right with no "it's all about me" crap that you see all over the league.  When he hits a homerun he rounds the bases like he's done it before, which in itself shows he has class and respects the game. 

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:26 pm

Team-by-team AL free agency outlooks

Nice post by PeopleWillCome. Posada has been a solid, durable player, and a class act for years.  He's had some huge contributions over the years and some big moments by which to to remember his career. Four WS rings and plenty of big hits and big RBI's and a leader in the clubhouse.

I too believe it is time for Jorge to hang up the cleats and retire while he can still get out without people saying he stayed a year too long. Even if he isn't on the field, there is always a place in baseball for a classy guy like Jorge.

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