This is my portrait of where I believe players should be designated for next year's squad. Notice the empty slots....this is how I see our current core on next year's team.
C - John Buck / Miguel Olivo
1B - Billy Butler
2B - Mike Aviles (Platoon?) / Alberto Callaspo (Platoon?) / Esteban German
3B - Alex Gordon
LF - Jose Guillen
CF - David DeJesus / Mitch Maier
(Backups are behind the '/')
Starting Pitching Staff:
#1 SP - Zack Greinke (with a contract extended through 2013)
#2 SP -
#3 SP - Gil Meche
#4 SP - Luke Hochevar
#5 SP - Brian Bannister / Kyle Davies
LR - Horacio Ramirez
MR - John Bale
SR - Leo Nunez
SR - Ramon Ramirez
SR - Ron Mahay
CL - Joakim Soria
Gone are: Ross Gload, Mark Grudzielanek, Robinson Tejeda, Jimmy Gobble, Jason Smith, Tony Pena, Joey Gathright, Joel Peralta, Luke Hudson, Mark Teahen
Possible trade-bait (from list above): Joey Gathright, Joel Peralta, Mark Teahen
We are missing: Starting DH/1B, corner outfielder, shortstop, top-notch starting pitcher, setup man, another miscellaneous bench guy (can come from own system)
Backup/bench possibilities for Opening Day:
C - Brayan Pena (upside: backup)
1B - Ryan Shealy (upside: platoon)
SS - Angel Sanchez (upside: backup)
COF - Shane Costa (upside: backup)
RP - Carlos Rosa (starter or reliever?)
RP - Dusty Hughes (upside: middle reliever)
RP - Neal Musser (upside: 5/6 reliever)
RP - Brad Salmon (upside: long reliever/mopup)
RP - Yas Yabuta (upside: long reliever/mopup)
RP - Devon Lowery (upside: mid reliever)
RP - Jose Capellan (upside: long reliever/swingman)
Dawkins, Nilsen, Matranga, Stodolka, Buchanan, Hollins, Colon, Duckworth, Fulchino, Lumsden, and Wright are nothing more than organizational filler at this point.
As for offense...Plenty of backup possibilities in Omaha, but nobody screams 'Start me!' We have plenty of work to do within our own organization to develop potential everyday player prospects. I'm assuming Kila Kaaihue (24?) and Josh Newman (23?) won't be ready until mid-season.
As for pitching....Plenty of potential mid-relievers. Nobody screams closer potential except Carlos Rosa. He's probably a #3/#4 starter at best. But no more starter possibilities reside in Omaha right now except possibly Capellan.
Dayton Moore needs to do the following this offseason:
- Sign a high-budget, middle of the order bat (Teixeira? Dunn? Burrell?)
- Make a shrewd, under-the-radar move for our offense (Milton Bradley of 2007-08, Part II?)
- Sign or trade for a #3/#4-type starting pitcher, at least.
- Sign or trade for a setup man with upside (Ramon Ramirez 2007-08, Part II?)
....And that's just for the Major League level.