I was inspired by a thought by another LL poster, who noted that the M's actually have a lot of flexibility with Seager and Ackley both playing different positions in college and the minors.
I am also using Cot's as a reference for the M's 2013 contracts. The M's owe only about $50M in contracts next year (accounting for Ryan and Vargas (who probably won't be with the team anyways), and (obviously) have a lot of young "talent" but also a lot of potential holes. But I think that with some thought, those holes might be a "good" thing.
By my count almost every single position on the field in available, even if one player would stay as a starter.
I don't think I explained that very well, so here is what I mean.
Imagine you've got an eye on a free agent 3rd baseman. Doesn't really matter who.
But you like Seager, and you think he's got potential on the team. Well, Seager can move to 2nd base or shortstop (giving Franklin enough time to get ready for the majors?), where he has played a lot, and Ackley can move to LF, (or 1B, but probably not), where he played in college.
The same thing goes for nearly any slot. The least flexible would probably be catcher and first, given that none of the current catchers and firstbasemen have really played anywhere else. But Montero to first isn't groundbreaking, either.
So, the more interesting question is what two positions can't you stack? I would say it would be hard to add a 2B and a 3B, or 2B and OF, or a 1B/DH and a C. But spending a bit on a 1B/DH and a OF or a 3B could allow for a huge upgrade, especially when you consider that you can still have flexibility all the way through spring training.
The biggest problem I see for the M's next year is in the rotation, where it looks like the talent is probably not up until late 2013 or early 2014. But, as Kevin Millwood has proved, there can be very serviceable starting pitching had for relatively cheap.
I think with all this flexibility in defensive position as well as money to spend, it could be a REALLY interesting offseason. And I think it really should be, seeing as how the franchise needs it before it descends into Pittsburgh Pirates-level irrelevance.
I always like to finish with a poll.
Where do you want to see the M's upgrade in free agency this offseason?
First (52 votes)
Second (0 votes)
Third (5 votes)
Shortstop (9 votes)
Outfield (42 votes)
Pitcher (30 votes)
Catcher (3 votes)
141 total votes