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Theory and Strategy - Platinum
Written by Todd Zola   
Monday, 02 December 2013 00:00

December 7

Baltimore Orioles

NEEDS: Left field and designated hitter though one may be taken care of in-house with Henry Urrutia, Nolan Reimold and Steve Pearce. A second baseman could be brought in as well. Depending on how the staff/bullpen fleshes out, a starter or closer is likely (see below).

UP FOR GRABS: If Jonathan Schoop shows he is ready, the second base job is his otherwise it's a battle with Ryan Flaherty and Jemile Weeks (blech) unless someone is brought in. As alluded to, left field and DH are in flux. Pitching is interesting as the bodies are there but the roles are in flux. There's talk of making Bud Norris a closer. Both Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter were promised shots at starting again.

Boston Red Sox

NEEDS: A team barber specialzing in facial hair. The World Series champs could stand pat and go with Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley, but chances are at least one bat will be brought in.

UP FOR GRABS: Given that as presently constituted left is a time-share with Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava, everything is pretty much set. But if an outfielder is brought in, add Bradley to that mix for the last spot and it gets interesting. Fifth starter fight with Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront. Assuming Koji Uehara is closer, the next-in-line becomes important since Uehara can't be counted on to stay healthy.

Chicago White Sox

NEEDS: Just not convinced Conor Gillaspie is the answer at third. A reliable arm to stabilize the back end of the rotation is likely.

UP FOR GRABS: Third base with Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger (as it stands now). Catcher will be split between Josh Phegley and Tyler Flowers with the percentage unknown. Exactly how Paul Konerko fits in isn't clear and no doubt revolves around how well (and how fast) Jose Dariel Abreu adjusts to MLB pitching. As of now, last two rotations spots come down to Hector Santiago (favorite for one spot) Andre Rienzo and Erik Johnson.

Cleveland Indians

NEEDS: One more bat is possible though the Tribe has ample moving pieces to cover everything as is. A thirid catcher is needed since Carlos Santana (and Yan Gomes) will be playing other spots. Rotation could use some veteran insurance to be a swingman. Closer but could (and should) be filled in-house though that will open a spot for another set up man.

UP FOR GRABS: Lonnie Chisenhall will be given a shot to man the hot corner with Ryan Raburn in the wings. Time share in right undetermined between David Murphy and Drew Stubbs. DH could be revolving door. Barring another arm brought in, fifth starter between Trevor Bauer and Carrasco. Closer battle with Cody Allen and Vinnie Pestano.

Detroit Tigers

NEEDS: Likely to bring in one more bat as an outfield time-share or to play third with Nick Castellanos the yo-yo. 

UP FOR GRABS: Third base and left with one probably Castellanos' to lose.

Houston Astros

NEEDS: Any other team and I'd call for another stick but getting Dexter Fowler and waiting for George Springer and Jonathan Springer may be the plan.

UP FOR GRABS: Fowler's gonna play. The other two spots up or grabs with Robbie Grossman, LJ Hoes, Marc Krauss, Trevor Crowe and Springer in the picture - then add that group to Brett Wallace and Chris Carter and the 1B/DH secene. Closer unsettled.

Kansas City Royals: Chance a second baseman is brought in making Emilio Bonifacio a super-utility (which is where he should be).

NEEDS: Another veteran arm is needed either to start or be ready if needed to starts.

UP FOR GRABS: Second base should be fight with Bonifacio and Johnny Giovatella but we'll see. Last two rotation spots not set in stone with Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura the favorites and Wade Davis and possibly Luke Hochevar in the mix.

ON THE BLOCK: Billy Butler

Los Angeles Angels

NEEDS: Sounds like the club is serious about giving Kole Calhoun first dibs in right but someone may be brought in. At least two starting pitchers needed.

UP FOR GRABS: When Joe Blanton is your third starter, you have at least three spots up for grabs though two with Blanton as number five would work.

Minnesota Twins

NEEDS: A catcher to help Josmil Pinto. Otheriwse, ample parts to make everything work, will come down to willingness to spend, especially in the outfield.

UP FOR GRABS: Likely Josh Willingham plays if he's on the team and Osvaldo Arcia very likely has a spot. Center not set with Aaron Hicks, Alex Presley and Darin Mastroianni in the picture.

ON THE BLOCK: Josh Willingham

New York Yankees

NEEDS: Offensively a lot depends on the Alex Rodriguez ruling and whether Derek Jeter can play the field so let's say help on the left side is a need. Then there's that gaping hole at second. Several more arms needed - starting and bullpen.

UP FOR GRABS: The outfield is crowded with Vernon Wells and Ichiro the expendable parts. Top three in the rotation are set but last two spots upf or grabs. Internally, David Phelps and Michael Pineda and perhaps Adsam Warren are possibilities. David Robertson will close barring soneone brought in (which is quite possible).

ON THE BLOCK: Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells

Oakland Athletics

NEEDS: Can make it work as is but a veteran second baseman is possible as is a stick to DH.

UP FOR GRAB: First base will be very interesting with Daric Barton finally showing signs of life to challenge Brandon Moss. Second base some measure of time share with Alberto Calllaspo, Eric Sogard and Nick Punto. Craig Gentry's role a bit unclear and may stay that way until Moss's role is clarified. Four rotation spots set with Sonny Gray the favorite for the fifth but not a sure thing with Brett Anderson and Tommy Milone lurking. Closer should be a fight with Jim Johnson and Luke Gregerson but Johnson is probably the favorite.

Seattle Mariners

NEEDS: Back-up catcher likely. Then at least two, maybe three outfield/DH bats. When Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders anchor your outfield, you need help. And lots of it. Pitching strong up front and loaded with potential in the back, but some reliable arms to bridge are likely. Closer is also likely to be brought in.

UP FOR GRABS: You sort of need bodies to fight for a job so let's just say that right now, everything is up for grabs with Ackley in center the only probable piece in place and even that is sketchy. Jesus Montero could help the DH opening.

ON THE BLOCK: Ryan Franklin

Tampa Bay Rays

NEEDS: Someone on the right side of the infield with Ben Zobrist at the other. Either a full-time DH making Matt Joyce the extra outfielder or more likely a 4th outfielder with Joyce at least platooning at DH. More of that pixie dust that was used on Kyle Farnsworth and Fernando Rodney.

UP FOR GRABS: Time split with Ryan Hanigan and Jose Molina needs to flesh out. The rest revolves around the acquisitions.

ON THE BLOCK: David Price

Texas Rangers

NEEDS: One stick for sure to play left or DH with Mitch Moreland flopping to the other spot. Maybe a starting pitcher though there is enough in-house to get by. Closer but again may be filled internally.

UP FOR GRABS: Time share between Geovany Soto and JP Arencibia needs to sort out. Assumption is Leonys Martin is a full-timer but he could drop into a platoon. Last rotation spot between Colby Lewis and Alexi Ogando could be interesting. Closer could come from Neftali Perez, Tanner Scheppers and Joakim Soria or from the outside.

Toronto Blue Jays

NEEDS: Middle infielder pushing Maicer Izturis to utility or someone to back up second and short. If Anthony Gose is ready he can do the Rajai Davis role else a fourth outfielder is needed. Plenty of arms to start but their reliability is low so support may be on the way. 

UP FOR GRABS: Second base looks to be Iztruris' to lose with Ryan Goins a possibility. Backup receiver up in the air and may depend on whether Erik Kratz can handle R.A. Dickey or if Josh Thole is needed to take the knuckler. Front three starters set with J.A. Happ, Esmil Rogers, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, Todd Redmond and Thad Weber competing for the rest.

December 1

Baltimore Orioles

CATCHER: Matt Wieters is as durable as they come. Johnny Monell and Steve Clevenger will battle for the sparse leftovers.

INFIELD: Will Manny Machado be healthy in the spring? Will Ryan Flaherty hold diwn the fort until Jonathan Schoop is ready or so they look outside for a second baseman?

OUTFIELD: Big hole in left - can't count on Nolan Reimold to fill, expect a signing.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Reimold, maybe Henry Urrutia, good chance another stick is signed

STARTERS: Top four spots locked with fifth a battle between Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman.

BULLPEN: Jim Johnson is arbitration eligible though he will likely be brought back but if not, Tommy Hunter is more than capable of doing the job.

Boston Red Sox

CATCHER: David Ross needs a friend. It may be someone new or Jarrod Saltalamacchia may come back.

INFIELD: A Will Middlebrooks/Xavier Bogaerts left side is still not a sure thing as a 3B or SS could be signed, obstructing Middlebrooks' playing time. Dustin Pedroia should be 100 percent after thumb surgery. Big opening at first.

OUTFIELD: On paper Jackie Bradley replaces Jacoby Ellsbury and everything else is staus quo but expect a bat to be signed, either to supplant the Daniel Nava/Jonny Gomes platoon or delay Bradley's taking over.

DESIGNATED HITTER: This is David Ortiz' bleeping spot.

STARTERS: Excellent depth with sixth starters, but who's the odd man out?.

BULLPEN: Koji Uehara almost has to start the season as closer after the way '13 ended - but remember his issue has always been durability. Expect more reinforcement along the lines of newly acquired Burke Badenhop.

Chicago White Sox

CATCHER: Josh Phegley and Tyler Flowers will compete.

INFIELD: Newcomer Jose Dariel Abreu will replace Paul Konerko, rest status quo unless they look to upgrade Conor Gillespie but 3B market is scant. Marcus Semien is in the radar - he could be in the mix at 2B or maybe 3B.

OUTFIELD: Will Avisail Garcia comtinue to mature as a hitter? Can Dayan Viciedo stay healthy?

DESIGNATED HITTER: Adam Dunn back for another season of walking, whiffing and whacking homers.

STARTERS: Top four set - fifth spot between Erik Johnson and Andre Rienzo unless another vet is brought in (quite possible).

BULLPEN: Addison Reed returns and will continue to home control. Set-up is real suspect.

Cleveland Indians

CATCHER: Carlos Santana playing less receiver every year. With Yan Gomes around, that will continue.

INFIELD: Solid up the middle. Last hurrah for Lonnie Chisenhall?

OUTFIELD: I suppose a David Murphy/Drew Stubbs platoon is serviceable, I just expect one more bat to play OF or possible 1B (pushing Nick Swisher to OF) or possible DH. Just too many soft hitters - more thump is needed.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Santana and maybe Swisher will get some at bats, likely someone will be brought in to make one of these giuys ful time or pick up AB themselves.

STARTERS: Interesting group with lots of upside. Carlos Carrasco likely on the bubble with Trevor Bauer and Zach McAllister battling for two spots but all three should get double digit starts by season's end/

BULLPEN: My money's on Chad Allen over Vinnie Pestano for closer. Gaping hole with loss of Joe Smith needs to be filled though Bryan Shaw is quietly effective.

Detroit Tigers

CATCHER: Alex Avila will be the regular with Bryan Holaday and .Ronny Paulino battling for backup.

INFIELD: Looks like Miggy wants to return to first base opening the hot corner for Nick Castellanos or more likely someone from outside the organization (trade or free agent).

OUTFIELD: Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter are locks. Castellanos could move into left with Andy Dirks or a platoon-mate for Dirks can be brought in for Castellanos to move back to third.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Wouldn't be too surprising if Miggy snuck in a few games moving regular DH V-Mart to first.

STARTERS: There are whispers the Tigers may deal a starter (Rick Porcello or Doug Fister most logical since dealing Prince clears cash to extend Max Scherzer) clearing a spot for Drew Smyly.

BULLPEN: Last spring's next big thing Bruce Rondon is still in the picture but you have to assume they'll bring in a veteran.

Houston Astros

CATCHER: Jason castro now firmly established with Carlos Corporan in reserve.

INFIELD: Starters set - and you know what? They don't suck.

OUTFIELD: On the other had, the outfield is replete with unproven potential. Everyone assumes George Springer will break camp and be a star, but I lean more to Rob Leibowitz' comp of Mike Cameron, at least until we see how his contact translates. Every spot is really an open competition.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Whichever of Brett Wallace or Chris Carter isn't playing first will likely DH but with so many outfielders in the same level, there will be no shortage of guys looking for at bats.

STARTERS: Better than you may think as Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock both showed hints of usefulness. Jarred Cosart quietly effective as well.

BULLPEN: Yeah. this year it may actually matter. Josh Fields earned a spring look but they may go bargain hunting with the leftovers from free agency depending how the market shakes out.

Kansas City

CATCHER: Salvador is the main man and plays a ton. Brett Hayes present backup but wouldn't be shocking if someome else comes in.

INFIELD: What's the opposite of man-crush or bromance? Whatever it is, I have the opposite for Emilio Bonifacio which is why I'm reticent to call him the regualr second baseman. The rest of the infield is set.

OUTFIELD: Two spots set (Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain) and there are plenty of bodies for the third (David Lough, Justin Maxwell, Jarrod Dyson) it makes sense for a decent bat (Carlos Beltran?) to be brought in to take advantage of the window to win.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Billy Butler is the guy - note he does NOT have first base eligibility.

STARTERS: Three spots filled with veterans. Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, perhaps Wade Davis and maybe even Luke Hochevar will vie for the last two, though someone else may be brought in.

BULLPEN: One of the best in the game.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

CATCHER: Chris Iannetta still holding down the fort though Hank Conger is seeing more time.

INFIELD: How's Albert Pujols foot? Rest is set though with Erick Aybar and David Freese likely to miss some time, the reserve could be a useful pick in deep leagues (Grant Green?).

OUTFIELD: The word is Kole Calhoun will be a regular, but I'm not convinced.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Mark Trumbo will fill the spot though it would behoove the Halos to take advantage of some flexbility and float Pujols and Hamilton into the spot.

STARTERS: Six guys for five spots with Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson the sure things. But since Tommy Hanson, Jerome Williams and Garrett Richards are health concerns and Joe Blanton, is, well, Joe Blanton, another vet could be brought in.

BULLPEN: Ernesto Frieri is the guy and has some decent support (Joe Smith).

Minnesota Twins

CATCHER: Josmil Pinto taking over with Chris Herrmann and Ryan Doumit lending a hand.

INFIELD: Joe Mauer exchanges his catcher's mitt for a first base glove - rest status quo.

OUTFIELD: What a mess -- again. So long as Josh WIllingham is there, he's in. You have to figure Oswaldo Arcia has earned a spot. Will Aaron Hicks hit enough to warrant his outstanding leather be in the lineup? Is Alex Presley a regular? Platoon partner? Reserve? 

DESIGNATED HITTER: Doumit with help from whoever else happens to be on the 25-man at the time.

STARTERS: Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to the rescue! The staff is actually respectable with Kevin Correia, Sam Deduno and Vance Worley chewing up innings. 

BULLPEN: Glen Perkins established though the Twins could use some help getting to him.

New York Yankees

CATCHER: The starter is presently not on the Bronx Bomber’s roster.

INFIELD: They’re not booing, they’re shouting ‘Youuuuuuuk.” Might just happen.

OUTFIELD: Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner are locks, right field is open. Anyone think the Yankees wish they were the Dodgers and could just buy replacements?

DESIGNATED HITTER: Even DH is open.

STARTERS: Solid five and decent support. Who would’ve thunk it was the sticks that were deficient.

BULLPEN: One last hurrah for Mo?

Oakland Athletics

CATCHER: Derek Norris will be given the chance to be the starter with the reliable George Kottaras as insurance.

INFIELD: Questions everywhere. Another time-share at first? Will Scott Sizemore hold second?  Adam Rosales is nice, but is he a regular? Can Josh Donaldson handle the hot corner for 162?

OUTFIELD: Opposite issue as the infield as the A’s have too many able bodies, perhaps they should play a short fielder like in softball.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Overflow from outfield should pick up DH at bats and since Seth Smith is the weakest fielder, he’s the likely candidate.

STARTERS: Very young and very promising, but very young.

BULLPEN: Will Oakland just give the ball to Grant Balfour in the ninth and not play games? Set up solid.

Seattle Mariners

CATCHER: It's Mike Zunino's show with Jesus Sucre the backup (for now).

INFIELD: Sets up nicely with their youngsters but a veteran backup, especially for the corners, would be helpful.

OUTFIELD: At least one, likely two bodies will be brought in as Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders don't supply much pop. That said, keep an eye on Stefan Romero.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Will Jesus Montero be given a shot?

STARTERS: Solid at the front, decent at the back - will the kids fill in the middle?

BULLPEN: Despite some success for Danny Farquhar, expect an established closer to be brought in.

Tampa Bay Rays

CATCHER: Jose Lobaton and Jose Molina give the Rays what they want - defense and control the running game.

INFIELD: Left side set, right side needs a body with Ben Zobrist playing the other spot.

OUTFIELD: Seems to be set, but, David DeJesus -- really?

DESIGNATED HITTER: Matt Joyce can take some at bats but he really needs a platoon partner..

STARTERS: They just grow on trees. If David Price is traded, expect Jake Odorizzi to step in.

BULLPEN: I'm going to trust that any team capable or rendering Kyle Farnsworth and Fernando Rodney useful will figure something out.

Texas Rangers

CATCHER: Not buying Geovany is the full-time guy. At least not yet.

INFIELD: New look infield is looking real good.

OUTFIELD: Leonys Martin is a site favorite. Alex Rios is a mainstay so that leaves left unless Mich Moreland takes the spot. Expect a bat to be brought in.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Could be Moreland or someone can be brought in.

STARTERS: Vterans up front youth in the back with Colby Lewis as the wild card.

BULLPEN: Will someone from Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers and Joakim Soria be handed the reins?

Toronto Blue Jays

CATCHER: Signing of Dioner Navarro likely means J.P. Arencibia will be dealt as Josh Thole is R.A. Dickey's personal bitch.

INFIELD: Starters set but reserves necessary --unless a regular is brought in and Maicer Izturis goes back to super-utility.

OUTFIELD: Will miss Rajai Davis but Anthony Gose looms.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Adam Lind has finally earned the right to have a spot for sure.

STARTERS: Still a sore spot (literally) so expect an able arm or two to be brought in though help is on the way.

BULLPEN: Casey Janssen did nothing to instigate a change so he gets the spot.

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 December 2013 13:44
 

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