Blog Entry

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks

Posted on: November 1, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 10:20 pm
 


By C. Trent Rosecrans

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 National League:

East
Atlanta Braves | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, corner outfielder, relief pitching
Money to spend?: Not much. The Braves' biggest need was getting rid of Derrek Lowe, and they did that and have saved $5 million to boot. The team has good, young starters, but put too many innings on their bullpen. They'll need more bullpen arms and also a bat in left field and a shortstop. With Tyler Pastronicky just about ready, the team could use a veteran backup just in case he doesn't work out.

Miami Marlins | R.I.P.
Needs: starting pitching, center field
Money to spend? Oh yeah… with the team preparing to move into a new stadium, owner Jeffrey Loria is expected to make a splash in free agency and could raise payroll to the $100 million range. South Florida will be a favorite of baseball agents in the offseason who will use the Marlins as leverage -- they may even be more popular than the "mystery team" of the past off seasons. The Marlins will be rumored as a possible landing point for nearly every big free agent. The question is, which ones -- if any -- will actually take their talents to South Beach.

New York Mets | R.I.P.
Needs: starting pitching, closer, relief pitching, middle infield
Money to spend? There are plenty of questions about the Mets ownership group, so nobody outside GM Sandy Alderson really knows what's going on and how much money he has to play with. It doesn't look like the team will go crazy in trying to re-sign Jose Reyes. The team will instead hope to improve its bullpen and rotation.

More Free Agency
Position rankings

Philadelphia Phillies | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, corner outfielder, closer, relief pitching, first base
Money to spend? It seems like they always find it when they need it, so there's no real concern about the budget. Even with Roy Oswalt likely to leave Philadelphia, there are few worries about the team's rotation. The bullpen, however, will need to be addressed. Ryan Madson may be re-signed and used as the closer, but the Phillies need middle-innings guys, as well. Left field is still an issue and the team could look to upgrade there, but will also need to address first base while Ryan Howard recovers from his Achilles injury. John Mayberry Jr. can play first, but moving him there creates a spot in the outfield.

Washington Nationals | R.I.P.
Needs: center field, starting pitching, relief pitching
Money to spend? Oh yeah. Like the Marlins, the Nationals have money to spend and unlike the Marlins, they have shown a willingness to actually use it. Last year the team overspent on Jayson Werth, something that certainly caught the eyes of free-agents-to-be. Several top names will certainly be courted by the Nationals, including Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and C.J. Wilson. The Nationals really can't be counted out on anyone.

Central
Chicago Cubs | R.I.P.
Needs: first base, third base, closer, relief pitching, right field
Money to spend? The Ricketts opened the pocketbooks for their general manager, so it's unlikely they'll close 'em for players. Epstein says he wants to build a team from the bottom up, but that takes time and there will be pressure to win right away, and free agency will be part of that. Expect the Cubs to at least talk to the likes of Pujols and Fielder, even if they don't sign them. With Epstein in the fold, it'll certainly be interesting to see what route the Cubs take.

Cincinnati Reds | R.I.P.
Needs: closer, relief pitcher, corner outfielder, shortstop
Money to spend? Not much. It looks like the team will stand pat in the rotation, but after not picking up the option on Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati will need someone to finish out games. Last year Walt Jocketty stayed quiet during the offseason, but this winter that may not happen. However, the team is more likely to use the trade market than spend big in free agency.

Houston Astros | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, relief pitching
Money to spend? The Astros are in full-on rebuilding mode, as evidenced by their July fire sale. There's also the holdup of the sale of the team and the possible switch to the American League. If Jim Crane is approved by MLB, he may want to find his own general manager. The Astros won't be much of a player in the free agent market, looking for low-priced.

Milwaukee Brewers | R.I.P.
Needs: first baseman, shortstop, third baseman, relief pitching
Money to spend? Some -- for the right people. The team will try to make a pitch to retain Fielder and possibly Jerry Hairston Jr., but are likely celebrating to be free of Yuniesky Betancourt. The team probably won't be in the race for Reyes or even Jimmy Rollins, but could be in the market for a second-tier shortstop like Clint Barmes. They'll also need to add some arms in the bullpen, but could try to re-sign the likes of Takashi Saito and LaTroy Hawkins.

Pittsburgh Pirates | R.I.P.
Needs: catcher, first base, shortstop, corner outfielder, starting pitching
Money to spend? Yes, as much as $25 million or even a little more, but they also have plenty of holes. The Pirates took some steps forward in 2011, but will need to fill out their roster and will likely be going for the second-tier players to fill out a lineup around Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton and James McDonald.

St. Louis Cardinals | R.I.P.
Needs: First base, shortstop, relief pitching
Money to spend? Some for the right player. The Cardinals have nearly $60 million tied up for 2012 in six players -- Matt Holliday, Kyle Lohse, Lance Berkman, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook. There's also the little matter of Pujols -- who will listen to offers from the Cardinals, but is unlikely to give much (or any) of a hometown discount. The team also needs a shortstop and could use another left-handed reliever.

West
Arizona Diamondbacks | R.I.P.
Needs: second base, middle infield, relief pitching
Money to spend? There's not much tinkering expected of a team that surprised everyone by winning the NL West in 2011 -- the rotation is looking good and most of the positions are already manned. The team declined its option on second baseman Aaron Hill, but could also look at former Diamondback second baseman Kelly Johnson. The bullpen was radically rebuilt last season, but could use some tweaking.

Colorado Rockies | R.I.P.
Needs: starting pitching, second base, third base
Money to spend? The team needs a starter and also two infield spots -- all without spending much money. They could be looking to trade to find their infielders and a lefty reliever. But they also need a pitcher that can throw 200 innings in a season, but those don't come cheap on the open market. They'd also like a right-handed bat.

Los Angeles Dodgers | R.I.P.
Needs:catcher, second base, third base, starting pitching, relief pitching
Money to spend? Who knows? With the Frank McCourt mess, nobody knows what the future holds for the Dodgers. If they are sold, the timing may still be off for any big additions to the budget. In a perfect world, the Dodgers are looking at the big names like Fielder, Reyes and Wilson, but it doesn't seem like that will happen.

San Diego Padres | R.I.P.
Needs: closer, relief pitching, corner outfield, middle infield
Money to spend? The Padres have money to spend and spots to fill -- but don't expect them to be wooing the big names. Big money in San Diego is still small money to the likes of the Phillies and Cubs. The highest-priced free agent likely to sign with San Diego is closer Heath Bell.

San Francisco Giants | R.I.P.
Needs: shortstop, corner outfielder
Money to spend? The Giants will spend for the right player, and Reyes may just be that player. Or Rollins. The team may also try to retain Carlos Beltran, but at his age and injury history, the Giants are unlikely to gamble with a multiyear contract.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Comments

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: November 5, 2011 7:09 pm
 

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks

To FatCharlie your coments are good. But I'd stick with your youth movement even Dusty Baker who dosent like brinking up young players to early is changing. Brink up Bliiy Hamilton at ss lead him off. Find a home for Yonder Alonso Put Chapmen in the rotation and pick up Heath Bell as closer  Hell I'd even see what the Cubs want for Brett Jackson put him in outfield and bat him ninth Jackson Hamilton  nice 1-2 punch as the game does along and your power hitters follow. I'm just dreaming on the Brett Jackson idea . Good luck to your Reds my best friend from school days in florida loves the Reds. I was at the new stadium 2 summers ago on my way out to Indy for the Drum corp Finals. Went to a Wed. day game against the Cards Headed to Indy after the game .



Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:49 pm
 

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks

Wow, really?  Not to over-indulge on the Reds, but they don't need a short stop or relievers.  The Reds need a top of the rotation guy.  Period.  Cozart will be healthy out of spring training and the starting job is his to lose.  And why not?  He looked great for the limited time he had before the freak elbow deal.  Jocketty said he would like to find a seasoned veteran SS to back him up.  Janish will be non-tendered.  He's not much of a bench bat.  Francisco will back up Rolen, which means he will probably see just as many ABs once Rolen's shoulder blows out for good.  I think he'll be OK.  If they don't resign Cordero on the cheap, they might....MIGHT pick up a free agent closer since there is an ample supply.  However, Boxberbger had an awesome year at AAA and he could make the roster come opening day.  Chapman cannot pitch twice in three days, let alone 3 days in a row.  Yeah, he's got some nasty stuff, but that arm needs a few days rest in between appearances.  He was a starter in Cuba.  He will be a starter in Cincinnati so long as he is a Red.  If they can pick up a #1 or #2 type SP, this team could win 95 or more in 2012.



Since: Dec 23, 2010
Posted on: November 3, 2011 6:04 am
 

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks

Were in big TROUBLE...knobler has pick Albert to stay in Saint Louis. This guy has picked against Saint Louis all throughout the Playoffs and we have seen the Cardinals become World Champions. Now he picks Pujols to stay he is never correct. If Albert  leaves which I hope he doesn't , we should use the money saved to go after a very good Starter to go with Wainwright-Carp-Garcia... Then put Berkman in Right Field and put Craig at 1ST Base. Then go and get a SS and Left Handed Reliever. The money saved can do all that.





Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:44 am
 

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks

Cuddyer sounds like a good pickup I kept him in my league to be middle infielder I have Ben Zorbrist at 2nd David Wright at 3rd and Miguel Cabrera at 1st with Paul Goldschmidt at corner infield. I dumped Justin Morneau to keep Paul Your Phillies should go after Aramis Ramirez to play third 30 dingers in band box stadium and see if you can get either Billy Hamilton from Cincy or Jean Segura from the Angels to play ss true leadoff men.



Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2011 3:50 am
 

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks

IF I WERE THE PHILS I;D GRAB CUDDYER FROM MINN.-HE;LL TAKE OVER AT 1ST FOR HOWARD WE'LL HE RECOVERS FROM SURGERY THEN PLAY LEFT TAKING OVER FOR OVER THE HILL. MADSON IS A MUST. ROLLINS THEY CAN LIVE WITHOUT. HE'S NEVER GOING TO LEARN HOW TO LEADOFF. THE KID BEHIND HIM HAS JUST AS GOOD A GLOVE. SAVING ROLLINS' MONEY THEY SIGN CUDDYER. MIND AS WELL SIGN A GUY THAT ACTUALLY KNOW'S HOW TO HIT HRS. SORRY JIMMY.



Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:34 pm
 

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks

Another Reds fan weighing in. I don't think Cincy needs to find as many players as they need to find some decent dugout staff. Baker's coaches showed me nothing this year in helping young players get better and if that continues, the Reds will be tedious. The pieces are in place to contend in the NL-C without going into the FA market. I'd try to trade for a quality 3B, which wasn't addressed here. Scott Rolen's time is nearly over. Francisco is not going to get it at 3B.




Since: Sep 12, 2011
Posted on: November 1, 2011 6:55 pm
 

Team-by-team NL free agency outlooks

great read first and foremost, one team i like will try to attempt to breakdown is the reds. First is that this team should had tried to trade Francisco Cordero now they just have to dropped him. Good that they brought back Brandon Phillips. Just my opinion i think Aroldis Chapman should be groomed as a closer, i know they could try get one like K Rod for instance as a closer or as a relief pitcher, but still i like Chapman's velocity that really is his strength that could spell a big difference in the later innings. As for the shortstop position, i thought Zach Cozart was playing very well before injury, if healthy he can push Paul Jannish out of the team hopefully. So i agree somewhat that they need a closer but if they can find a shortstop that won't break the bank then they should try get one also.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com