Make sure to get requests in for the blog opener soon, for I will make my decision within the coming days. So far I have heard requests for "Nationals Player Profile", "All Star Teams" (based on specific credentials), "Negro League Player Profile", and "Baseball Terminology". To me, the one that sounds most fun to write about is the All Star Teams. Remember, this will be something that heads every blog, so it must be something for which I can run many entries. Today, I will preview the Nationals offseason.
Nationals Offseason Preview
The Nationals gearing up for the offseason just like the other 29 teams, and they are ready. The first order of business is 2012 Gold Glove winner Adam LaRoche, who has a mutual option worth $10 million. If either side declines, he becomes a free agent. It is doubtful that he will pick it up. The Nats do head into the offseason needing an outfielder (if LaRoche leaves) and some pitching. Provided LaRoche goes to another team, either Michael Morse or Tyler Moore will move to first, and the other traded. This would give the Nationals options in left. They can try to sign a player such as Michael Bourn or Shane Victorino, or they can trade for one such as Alex Gordon or Denard Span. Pitching is also huge. Edwin Jackson is likely to leave via free agency, and that puts a hole in the rotation. If Mike Rizzo is feeling ambitious, he could go out and sign a top-notch starter like Zack Greinke or Kyle Lohse, or go for a lesser starter like Hiroki Kuroda or Shaun Marcum. Resigning Jackson is not out of the question, and neither is using Christian Garcia in the five spot. The bullpen could be an area of tumult as well. Drew Storen is probably the only player guaranteed a job on the Nats next year. Michael Gonzalez and Chien-Ming Wang are free agents, Sean Burnett is likely to decline his mutual option, and Tom Gorzelanny is a candidate to be non-tendered (fancy way of saying opting out of a contract). Ryan Mattheus and Tyler Clippard are trade candidates. Washington could target veteran relievers such as Brett Myers, Kyle Farnsworth or Jeremy Affeldt. Other than that, which may seem like a lot, the Nationals are pretty set for 2013. Here is a quick recap.
Players With Secure Spots (Most Secure -> Least): Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Drew Storen, Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos, Kurt Suzuki, Ross Detwiler Chad Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi, Craig Stammen, Cristian Garcia
Trade Candidates (Most Likely -> Least): Michael Morse, Tyler Moore, Danny Espinosa, Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Clippard, Roger Bernadina
Free Agents: Edwin Jackson, Adam LaRoche (probably), Sean Burnett (probably), Michael Gonzalez, Mark DeRosa, Chien-Ming Wang, Zach Duke
Non-Tender Candidates: Jesus Flores, Tom Gorzelanny, John Lannan
Players on Radar: Zack Greinke, Kyle Lohse, Shaun Marcum, Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers, Kyle Farnsworth, Jeremy Affeldt.
The Gold Glove Winners were announced. They are as follows:
American League: Matt Weiters (C), Mark Teixeira (1B), Robinson Cano (2B), J.J. Hardy (SS), Adriab Beltre (3B), Alex Gordon (LF), Adam Jones (CF), Josh Reddick (RF), Jake Peavy (P)
National League: Yadier Molina (C), Adam LaRoche (1B), Darwin Barney (2B), Jimmy Rollins (SS), Chase Headley (3B), Carlos Gonzalez (LF), Andrew McCutchen (CF), Jason Heyward (RF), Mark Buehrle (P).
Free Agent Signings
White Sox resigned Jake Peavy (11-12, 3.37 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2013 age: 32) to a two year, $29 million deal ($14.5 million per season).
Dodgers resigned Brandon League (2-6, 3.13 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 15 saves, 2013 age: 30) to a three year, $22.5 million deal ($7.5 million per season).
Angels traded Ervin Santana (9-13, 5.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 2013 age: 30) to the Royals for minor leaguer Brandon Sisk (3-2, 2.54 ERA, .234 BAA, 8 saves at AAA, 2013 age: 27-28).
The Royals acquired the pitching help they need, marking the second starter they've acquired in the past few days. After claiming Chris Volstad off waivers, they added Santana, an inconsistent but solid starter. His best year was 2008, when he was 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA. In 2011, he went 11-12 with a 3.38 ERA. Last year, however, was a season to forget. Over 30 starts, he was just 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA, falling to the back of Los Angeles' rotation. He does have a no-hitter to his name, and the San Cristobal, Dominican Republic native will look to get back on track in Kansas City, and won't turn 31 until December.
The Angels got Brandon Sisk, a lefty reliever who has been slow through the minors. After being signed just days before his 23rd birthday in 2008, he crept up through the minors until finally reaching AAA Omaha in 2011. Over 25 appearances, he shut down the opposition by going 4-2 with a 1.41 ERA. In 50 appearances this year, he became a part-time closer and posted a 2.54 ERA in the homer-happy Pacific Coast League. Pitching for the Navegantes del Magallanes in the Venezuelan League this offseason, he has given up three runs in 2.2 innings (10.12 ERA).
Rafael Soriano opted out of his contract with the Yankees, making him a free agent.
Indians declined Travis Hafner's option ($13 million).
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage