I was reading some other posts on this blog, and it got me thinking about what type of approach the M's should take for the rest of the offseason.
A huge part of this is based on where the front office sees this club in its return to contention.
Obviously, the roster is far from set. But a lot of the available players are no longer options. We have traded our best trade chip, and the other players who we could move (Sexson and others) would be more likely to be 2008 moves than win-now moves.
So, I wanted to pose the question:
Are the M's actually worse now than they were in 2006?
Again, it remains to be seen what the team does for the remainder of the offseason. But, supposing Bavasi et al don't do anything dramatic (which seems unlikely to me), and only add, say, something along the lines of Jeff Suppan and Cliff Floyd, will this club win more games than they did in 2006?
As it stands now, the offense should be better. Ichiro in CF and Guillen in RF is an upgrade. It is not unrealistic to expect improvement from Sexson, Beltre, Johjima, and Lopez in 2007. Adding a guy like Floyd would just make the club better, and Snelling is far better than anyone we have had on the bench in a while.
But the pitching is way worse than it was in 2006. We have essentially traded Meche and Moyer for Horacio Ramirez. Assuming we don't add Barry Zito or pull off a major trade, the next pitcher the M's add is likely to give us close to the same production as Moyer (guys like Suppan and Thomson fall into this category). Baek and Woods are 6.0 ERAs waiting to happen, and Feierabend is the only guy who I consider a long-term option who is anywhere near ML ready. He is not an impact player, and definitely shouldn't be counted on to come in like Verlander did last year.
At the same time, we just subtracted our second best relief pitcher. The pen is not going to be as good in 2007. We had a lot of guys who overachieved, and I don't expect guys like Huber, Woods, O'Flaherty, and others to fill that gap in the pen. They will still be good, but not as good.
I dunno. I figured that the M's were a near lock to at least continue their slow incremental improvement since 2004. But I am not so sure now. This is looking like a 78-80 win team to me, with a big possibility of setbacks. The season could all fall apart easily given the lack of starting pitching depth that the club has.
I would be interested to hear what you guys think.
I am beginning to think that the M's need to reevaluate their status and reconsider their approach to this offseason.