2013 Off Season - Free Agents, Prospects In Waiting and Potential Moves (NL)
Astros (MOVING TO THE AL IN 2013)
Prospects In Waiting: Jonathan Singleton (1B/OF), Carlos Correa (SS), George Springer (OF), Jarred Cosart (P)
Needs: The Astros are in a rebuilding phase and their farm appears to be heading in the right direction with a few prospects listed here that could make an impact within the next couple years.
Free Agents: David Ross, Eric Hinske, Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz, Reed Johnson, Michael Bourn, Jeff Baker, Miguel Batista, Chad Durbin, Brian McCann (* - team option exercised), Tim Hudson (*), Paul Maholm (*)
Needs: The Braves will need to replace Michael Bourn in center field and Chipper Jones at third base... so a leadoff type and a three hole hitter (not an easy task in this free agent market). They'll also need find a way to retain depth in their bullpen (a real strength for this team has been their bullpen so replacing Durbin and Batista will be of utmost importance to the Braves). They'll also be looking for role players to replace the veteran qualities they're losing - Jones, Hinske, Johnson, Overbay - but they have a great young nucleus and if they can get Teheran right, they'll be formidable.
Needs: The Brewers went all in in 2012 to no avail. As they were losing ground in the NL Central, they dealt away their ace (Zack Greinke) - getting Jean Segura was huge for the Brewers but without Greinke, Randy Wolf and Shaun Marcum, the rotation appears to be in shambles. The Brewers will need to find a veteran arm they can count on and hope that Mike Fiers can make it as a starter.
Top Prospects in Waiting: Shelby Miller (P), Oscar Taveras (OF), Carlos Martinez (P), Kolten Wong (2B), Tyrell Jenkins (P)
Needs: As a Phillies fan, I will admit that I envy the Cardinals. They get the most of their players, they consistently find value on the free-agent market and their farm system always seems to be loaded with talent. The Cardinals do have needs - they need depth in the middle infield (in case Pete Kozma/Kolten Wong/Matt Carpenter/Daniel Descalso/Skip Schumaker don't work out) and they need to bolster their bullpen but this team is right where it was in 2012 and ready to go.
Top Prospects in Waiting: Brett Jackson (OF), Jorge Soler (OF), Javier Baez (SS), Matt Szczur (OF), Albert Almora (OF)
Needs: The Cubs need starting pitching... nothing else matters at this point for the Cubbies.
Top Prospects in Waiting: Trevor Bauer (P), Tyler Skaggs (P), Archie Bradley (P), Adam Eaton (OF), Ryan Wheeler (1B), Matt Davidson (3B)
Needs: The Diamondbacks are in decent shape - few needs for Kevin Towers to address. He could look to make a splash in the trade market as there are some movable pieces (depth on the farm is a strength).
Free Agents: Matt Treanor, Adam Kennedy, Juan Rivera, Bobby Abreu, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Brandon League (* - signed 3 year deal), Todd Coffey, Jamey Wright, Randy Choate
Needs: After pulling off the mega-deal that landed Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford, you'd have to wonder what else could be up GM Ned Coletti's sleeve. Well, the Dodgers have a huge need for starting pitching and I wouldn't be surprised to see them shopping around for a top tier starting pitcher via trade.
Free Agents: Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot, Melky Cabrera, Xavier Nady, Angel Pagan, Guillermo Mota, Brad Penny, Jeremy Affeldt
Needs: The World Series champs will need to replace a lot of key parts to their championship team. Scutaro was huge for them at second base and Angel Pagan played admirably down the stretch so the Giants will surely look for top of the order guys that can play the outfield and/or middle infield. They'll also do everything they can to bring back Jeremy Affeldt, who has been a rock in their bullpen.
Needs: The "new-look" Marlins had a disappointing 93-loss season that ended with the firing of manager Ozzie Guillen. Look for them to add a starting pitcher and an impact bat... a lot of holes need to be filled here and the Marlins probably won't be able to compete in 2013 but I would expect a lot of emphasis to be placed on character this off season. The Marlins 2013 off season acquisitions will be about changing the culture of the franchise and the selection of a new manager will have a lot to say about the direction of this team moving forward.
Free Agents: Kelly Shoppach, Yuniesky Betancourt, Ronny Cedeno, David Wright (*), Scott Hairston, R.A. Dickey (*), Chris Young, Francisco Rodriguez, Tim Byrdak
Top Prospects: Zack Wheeler (P)
Needs: The Mets will surely look to add depth in the outfield and in their bullpen. There are a lot of exiting free-agents on this list but I'm not sure the Mets will have a ton of money to spend via free agency. Veteran utility types will be highly coveted by the Mets this off season.
Free Agents: Adam LaRoche, Cesar Izturis, Mark DeRosa, Rick Ankiel, Edwin Jackson, Chien-Ming Wang, Brad Lidge, Jon Rauch, Sean Burnett (*), Mike Gonzalez
Needs: Find a way to re-sign Adam LaRoche... add depth in the bullpen... rinse and repeat. This team is poised to win. I'm very surprised they didn't extend a qualifying offer to Edwin Jackson - with the innings limits on Stephen Strasburg, guys like Jackson that consistently go 6+ innings are very important.
Top Prospects: Jedd Gyorko (3B), Casey Kelly (P), Robbie Erlin (P), Joe Wieland (P), Rymer Liriano (OF)
Needs: Look for the Padres to add starting pitching and/or an impact bat if they can find one for relatively cheap. The Padres are moving in the right direction - they have some nice young arms and their farm is deep.
Free Agents: Brian Schneider, Ty Wigginton, Mike Fontenot, Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre, Jose Contreras, Carlos Ruiz (*)
Needs: Center field, third base, second base (an insurance policy in case Chase Utley can't go for three months again) and depth in the bullpen. There are a lot of holes here but thankfully for the Phillies Phaithful, starting pitching isn't one of them. They need a top of the order guy to get on base. They need protection behind Ryan Howard... a lot of needs and not a lot of money to work with.
Free Agents: Rod Barajas, Drew Sutton, Erik Bedard, Kevin Correia, Juan Cruz, Jason Grilli, Chad Qualls, Hisanori Takahashi, Pedro Alvarez (*)
Top Prospects: Gerrit Cole (P), Jameson Taillon (P), Alen Hanson (SS), Gregory Polanco (OF), Luis Heredia (P)
Needs: The Pirates need a catcher and bullpen depth. They also could use a veteran arm to compliment the young arms they've got coming up.
Free Agents: Dioner Navarro, Miguel Cairo, Scott Rolen, Austin Kearns, Jonathan Broxton, Ryan Madson, Will Ohman, Ryan Ludwick
Needs: The Reds need to figure out what they're going to do with Aroldis Chapman. If he continues to close games, they'll need a starer. If not, they'll need a closer... for his sake, I hope they figure it out soon. They'll also need an impact bat to replace Ludwick, who hit 26 home runs in 2012. This is a young team that could use some depth but look for the Reds to be very competitive in 2013.
Needs: The Rockies lost 98 games in 2012 and need a lot of help. Mark Appel can't be ready soon enough... pitching is a huge need for this team and for some unknown reason, top-tier starting pitchers just don't want call Coors Field their home park. They don't have a ton of needs other than that - get healthy, stay healthy and find some starting pitching... and a manager.