November 19, 2009

Hot Stove Predictions - Part 2, Middle Infielders

The free agency pool of middle infielders is pretty bleak, but there are a couple of interesting players.

Khalil Greene is one of them. Here’s a guy who has never really lived up to his potential. He’s shown flashes here and there (like in 2007 when he belted 27 homers), but for the most part, he’s lived off his reputation as a defensive stand out. Last year he had some issues with some social anxiety disorders and suffered through a horrible statistical season. His career batting average and OPS are well below average, but again it’s all about his glove.

I see Greene going to San Francisco to be reunited with Bruce Bochy. I can’t figure out who’s going to play where in the Giants infield, so I’ll confuse the issue some more by adding Greene to the mix. He could possibly play more than one position there and being reunited with his first manager might be just the thing to get Greene on track.

I’m not sold that the Dodgers will go with Blake DeWitt or resign Ronnie Belliard. I predict the AL 2009 gold glover Placido Polanco will replace the 2009 NL gold glover (Orlando Hudson) at second base in Los Angeles. Polanco is a year younger than Belliard (whoo-hoo) and is definitely better defensively. Personally, I think the Dodgers should resign Hudson, but I don’t see it happening.

Speaking of the “O Dog” – I have read that the Mets desperately want to move Luis Castillo and make room for Hudson. Sounds good, but I predict he ends up playing for the Cubs. Move over Mike Fontenot, the “O-Dog” is going to take your job and solidify the middle of that infield. He’s just the kind of dynamic presence that could give Cub fans the little bit of hope they need to gear up for yet another season.

Orlando Cabrera faced a tough off season last year. A Type A free agent, he found the job opportunities slim out there, as no one seemed to want to part with a draft pick to sign him. He took care of that in his last contract as he made it so that his team couldn’t offer him arbitration. That makes him a little more attractive, but at 35 he may be best suited to play second base some where. I see him signing with the Mets as they settle for this Orlando as opposed to the one who’s last name is Hudson. O-Cab will back up Reyes and allow the Mets to move Castillo out of town for good.

The rest… Felipe Lopez will sign for too much money to be a utility guy with the Yankees. Jamey Carroll is rumored to be of interest to the Marlins. I’ll say he resigns with Cleveland. Ronnie Belliard will head to Detroit to serve as a back up plan for Ramon Santiago, Jerry Hairston, Jr. will head back to Cincinnati where he began the 2009 season, Mark Loretta will return to the Dodgers, Alex Gonzalez heads to the Astros, and Adam Everett will take over for Marco Scutaro in Toronto. Last, but not least Omar Vizquel will seek a backup role with the Chicago White Sox. As for Eric Bruntlett and Nick Green… does anyone really care? I'm just saying...

That’s all I have for this round. Things should start to get interesting starting tomorrow as the exclusive negotiating window for teams and their free agents ends and the players hit the open market.

Update on the Angels Hot Stove:

Arte Moreno has told Bill Shakin of the LA Times that they “are not looking at Holliday at all.” He also claims Bay remains a possibility. I’m thinking Moreno is done with Scott Boras (at least this year – because let’s not forget that Jered Weaver is also a Boras client) and that last year’s negotiations for Mark Teixeira has left a bad taste in his mouth.

On Lackey and Figgins, Moreno hints that they can’t afford both based on what they’re asking for. I had a feeling this would happen – that’s why I predicted they would sign Lackey and not Figgins; however, he also said "We'd like to have a power bat, a starter and another bullpen guy." If I am to read into that, it would appear the Lackey will be gone and Figgins is the more likely to be resigned. I mean why else would they be looking to add a starter?

Good news

Bud Seling is listening. Per the OC Regisrer Blog: Commissioner Bud Selig said Wednesday that Major League baseball will heed Angels manager Mike Scioscia’s advice (it was more like constructive criticism), and tighten up the baseball playoffs with fewer off days.

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