I'd like to pick up:
Nixon, Lugo, Gary Matthews Jr. and Jeff Suppan.
If I couldn't resign Ramirez, then I would have to find another 'big bat' - picking up Mark DeRosa (who isn't big) instead of Nixon and then try to land either Carlos Lee or Alfonso Soriano to supplement the offense.
Rotation and bullpen are damaged but more solid than many in the NL adding Suppan would bring some health and stability. Cubs bullpen could stand firm with Wood possibly coming in as a 3-4 million $ closer with Dempster moving to relief or clean up roles.
Lugo brought in to bring some respectable plate appearances to the SS position. Matthews signed to close the hole made by the imminent departure of Pierre - also helping defense of corner outfielders.
If Ramirez signs OF would consist of Murton/Jones, Matthews and Nixon; if not, Lee, Matthews Murton/Jones. If there are suitors out there for a midland outfielder, package Jones with Izturis for either a comparable prospect or a ground ball 4 or five position starter.
Nixon brings needed balance to both defense and leadership. Matthews brings moderate speed and a possible leadoff. Lugo is more consistent at the plate than any of our current options. Suppan is not a star, but a known quantity; he has composure and experience that our younger starters need. While Suppan is not a typical #3 guy he consistently throws 190+ innings years; he could reside there till Hill or Marshall prove worthy of taking over the spot.
Having a starting rotation of:
Zambrano, Prior, Suppan, Hill, Marshall + bullpen (@$40)
Bullpen: Dempster, Eyre (L), Howry, Miller, Ohman (L), Rusch (L), Wood, Wuertz
Daily lineup (@ $58-60 million with FA signings)
C Barrett (R)
1B Lee (R)
2B Theriot (R)
3B Ramirez (R)
SS Lugo (R)
LF Murton/Jones (R/L)
CF Matthews (S)
RF Nixon (L)
1B Lee, D.
LF Lee, C. (R)
Bench: Bynum (L), Pagan (S), Izturis (S), Cedno (R), Murton/Jones, Blanco or? (R)
Use off season moves/opportunities and Spring training results to confirm 12 or 13 man pitching staff and final bench situation.
Total payroll @ $100, leaving room for July acquisitions and response to possible market opportunities. Use off season and early season to find possible buyers for excess pitching, Cedeno, Izturis and Jones. Turn in a solid season, build minor league system and hope for a 89 win playoff birth.
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