Its been only a week since the Cardinals improbable run to a World Series title was complete. While the city of St. Louis celebrates their championship, here in New York it's never too early to look forward to Opening Day 2012. So what can we expect the Yankees and Mets to do this offseason?
Lets lead-off with the Yankees.
In terms of the position players, there won't be much that changes. You still will have the same infield with Teixiera, Cano, Jeter, and A-Rod 1st to 3rd. The outfield will remain the same with Gardner, Granderson, and Swisher left to right for another season. Martin behind the plate and Montero as the DH. Your bench will remain the same as well with Cervelli and Nunez the main backups.
One thing the Yanks will have to get is a right-handed hitting outfielder for the bench. Andruw Jones filled that role quite well in 2011, but you look at the list of free-agents OF's and the perfect fit for the Yankees is... Michael Cuddyer. Why? Cuddyer is not only right handed but very versatile. Can play multiple positions and with this team getting older, not younger you need a player like Cuddyer.
Of course starting pitching is important. A week into the offseason and the Yanks have helped themselves big time by locking up C.C. But can Nova duplicate his 2011 success? What about Burnett and Hughes, can they turn around what was a tough 2011? The two SP's you hear the most that are available are Mark Buehrle and C.J Wilson. So who is the better fit for the bombers? It's Buehrle. Yes he won't light up rader guns but he is someone who can give you 200 innings by accident. Also, the lefty has averaged 15 wins a season for his 12 yr career and has tossed two no-hitters. Wilson is not a bad option either. Yes his 2011 postseason wasn't great but he would be a admirable #2 which is what he really is, NOT an ace.
That brings us to the Mets.
A team that can't seem to shake off the injury virus or the collapses of 2007 and 2008. Lets be honest and I know New Yorkers never want to hear these words to describe ANY New York sports team but this team is a "team in transition"
With the Madoff suit and other issues surrounding this team the payroll is rumored to be approx. $100 million. First things first, do not expect Jose Reyes to be on this ball club next year. But who can and can't Mets fans expect to see on the 2012 roster?
Like a bunch of Major League teams this offseason the Mets need pitching, both starting and relievers. The SP market is thin this year but the relievers are full of talent. Expect Santana, Gee, Niese, Dickey and Pelfrey right now because of how weak the SP market looks but if Santana could somehow show signs of the old Johan then that could be the Mets pickup. The farm team does have two up and coming starters in Wheeler and Harvey but they're not ready.
The bullpen needs a dramatic turnover and for a team looking for a closer, there are plenty out there. And if there are none that the Mets are convinced by, one move the Mets should look into is trading Daniel Murphy. I know he is a fan favorite and the team is high on him but there is a big problem, WHAT IS HIS POSITION!? He would make a great DH for an American League squad and in return the Amazin's could get a reliver who could become, well Amazin.
In terms of the position players. Without Reyes and possibly Murphy and with the dimesions of Citi-Field helping the Mets offense expect a healthy Davis and Wright at the corners. Tejada at shortstop and Turner at second. Bay and Duda can patrol Left and Right Field respectively which brings us to center. Pagan is arbitation eligible but better fits for the Mets include Rick Ankiel and yes Grady Sizemore. Sizemore is injury prone but bring him in on an incentive-based contract and like the lottery "Hey you never know" If there is one thing the Mets can get, it's one year wonders out of either nobodys or prior successful players (i.e Valentin, Tatis, Maine, even Perez in '07). But bottomline for the Mets, expect a few tough years before the good times roll back in Flushing.
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