It seem the winter of '08 will be much like the winter of '07. [Smells Like Mascot] summed things up nicely then, and sadly, it still applies.
With Orland Cabrera, Juan Uribe, and Joe Crede all on their way to free agency, the infield positions of third base, short stop, and second base are all up in the air. Assuming Alexei Ramirez will be our short stop extraordinaire, who will be our second and third basemen? The first logical step may be to resign our current 2nd and 3rd basemen; that is, rehire Uribe and Crede. Uribe, however, is the infield version of Brian Anderson. Can’t complain about the defense, but he is a sucker for a high fastball with 2 strikes. He isn’t exactly worth the money he will be asking. Alright, our second option. Going down to the farm. Chris Getz. I like this option quite a bit. He seems to be able to steal a base and get on base in general. But then again, that was all in the minors. He could just as well be the next Brian Anderson and go from hitting .300 to .220. Assuming he is major league ready and can handle major league pitching, our problem is solved. There’s a third option of signing someone from another team with a well-placed trade or checking out the free agent market.
Then, there’s Crede. His back is an issue. Who knows why it’s acting up, and more importantly, will it act up again? Will it end a third season for him early? And then there’s the fact that he would cost a pretty penny. And then there is the Legend of Scott Boras, his controversial agent. If Crede doesn’t come back next season (as painful as it is for me to admit that it is a possibility), we must move on to the farm, where Josh Fields has been seething with rage and jealousy, having first to relinquish his “hard-earned” spot to Crede and Uribe. I would rather have Jeff Cox play third base than Fields, but it’s an option. There are also third basemen out there or the taking. Maybe the Royals will be naïve enough to take Fields off our hands in exchange for Alex Gordon. I can’t explain it, I just really like the kid. And since when are the Sox prejudiced against someone with a low average?
As for center field, we have plenty of fielders. (Safely assuming that Quentin and Dye are permanent fixtures for quite some time.) But do we really want any of them? Swisher, Anderson, Wise, even Griffey. Why must other teams be blessed with Grady Sizemore and Carlos Gomez while we must dream of the good days of Rowand? Swisher is, in fact, under contract for another two years or so, but it wasn’t written in stone. Trades happen. As for Brian Anderson, he isn’t a much more accomplished hitter, Dewayne Wise isn’t historically as talented as he’s shown to be this year, and Griffey isn’t just ridiculously expensive, but way over the hill. Perhaps Jerry Owens can play center field, as painful as it may be to watch. Perhaps we can trade all of our options for anyone. Really, anyone at all. I’ll take Edmonds at this point.
Not to mention the pitching. Buehrle, Danks, and Floyd are solid in themselves, but what of Vazquez and Contreras? Mix in Lance Broadway and Clayton Richard, and you have 4 men to fill 2 holes. Theoretically, of course. But Broadway hasn’t had much success against anyone other than the Royals (not that he’s been given a chance), Richard is a strong lefty, but tends to falter after about 4 innings, and then there’s Javi and Grandpa Jo. Jose Contreras probably won’t be pitching for any of the first half. And Javi, while physically fit, is often mentally unfit to handle the ball. So once again, 4 bodies, 2 positions, no desirable candidates.
So there you have it. All these names floating around. Too many contracts, not enough positions. But even if we had 5 positions in the outfield, 4 available spots in the pitching rotation, and enough infield positions to keep Cabrera, Uribe, Crede, Getz Ramirez, and the entire farm system, would their combined talents be enough to add up to a winning team? A roster full of no one to play.