Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Offseason previews

The UT had their offseason preview today, and MLBTradeRumors ran theirs last week.

With payroll in the $40Ms, the new GM should have some room to make changes to the big league roster. Both articles suggest trades this offseason of arbitration eligible players; UT points to Kooz, due to the overlap of his and Headley's skill sets, and MLBTR says it should be Bell, to sell high. I agree on Kooz, especially if he can win the Gold Glove the Pads were campaigning for, because his value may never be any higher either. One of Kooz or Headley has got to go, and since Kooz is more expensive, I would bet it would be him.

I cannot see a new GM coming in and trading Bell. I could have seen Towers trading him, because he brought him in for nothing and has always been able to put a bullpen together from the scrap heap. But a new GM faces a number of hurdles:
  • he would have to get a ton for him
  • it would immediately start comparisons with Towers and remind everyone that Towers brought him in for nothing
  • with the big change on Friday, losing one of the few immediately recognizable guys on the team would be another PR issue for the team

Not to say that any of these cannot be overcome. Just altogether, it makes a deal unlikely in my mind. I also think selling high is always a good idea. If we could count on Adams to stay healthy, I think its a no-brainer. But you can't, so it would be risky.

As always, they could use a big corner bat to help with the middle of the lineup. I would feel comfortable with the everyday lineup with one more hitter in the outfield, joining Venable in center and Blanks at the other corner. The infield is set with AG, Eck, Everth and Headley/Kooz. I think Hundley will get a little bit better behind the dish and stay above replacement level. That could be an above average lineup.

That leaves the rotation as the biggest question. And it starts with can we believe the performances we have seen, or were they just good (misleading) streaks? Is Correia's improvement for real? Is Richard a solid major league starter? Will CY stay healthy for a full season? Will the real Wade LeBlanc please stand up? How many innings will Latos be available for next year? There are a dozen internal candidates for the 5 spots, but do any give you the warm and fuzzy comfortable feeling?

I think that was KT's biggest plus, he knew pitchers. Pitching drives the team's performance. Its nice to have a good offense, but you need a good staff to compete. You can look at the stats all you want, and that may allow you to put together an effective pitching staff, but it made me comfortable that Towers had that gift of evaluating pitchers. When to buy (Heath Bell), when to sell (Adam Eaton), that's the most important thing Towers brought to the Pads for the last 15 years. And that will be hard to replace. And it will take time to get comfortable with the new GM, whoever they may be.

But change happens. Past performance doesn't guarantee future returns. It is what it is. Worry about the things you can control. Go ahead and pick your cliche. I am not making these decisions, so I don't fret over these decisions that are made. Lets see who comes in, and lets see their plan of attack. In the end, we all want the same thing, the Pads winning some games.

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