We are four long months of painful waiting ahead of us until the next year comes around. We had an altogether very encouraging year in the post-fielder era, and I, personally, am very excited to get the next one on the road. However, before we can do that, and be entirely excited, we have to address our needs. This horse has been almost beaten to death, but lets check out the free agent market. Its accepted that we need a veteran starter and some bullpen help. So lets say the positions we know we're solid at, or at least on the radar:
BP/Minors: De Los Santos
Now this has some options here. One is the elephant in the room, by the name of Josh Hamilton. I would love to have him, our line-up would be unstoppable, however, only on the cheap. I would not take him in expense of our bullpen. So lets focus on pitching. Out of the starters, Gallardo is a lock at No.1, as he should be. It looks like Fiers will definitely get his chance, which he deserves however, I fully expect him to be less than his previously spectacular form as the league figures him out. Probably should be a high quality 4 starter, maybe 3, maybe 5. I'd love to see Rogers claim the form we drafted him for and claim that No. 2 spot, but he is a major question mark, and though he will probably be a starter, I wont put too high hopes in him. Next is Peralta, I would LOVE to see him on the opening day roster, claim the No. 2 spot as a power workhorse, but hes still young and will have his ups and downs. Now I would like to leave room in here for a free agent. And I would like to see Estrada and Narveson both in the bull pen to start the year. Though with their work ethic and what they've given to the team I would say they both deserve a starting spot, however its just not in the cards, if going toward the team's highest potential. Axford, Henderson and Kinzler look to be the only holdovers in the bull pen. (Excluding Estrada and Narveson). So here's the fun part. I would like to say who my ideal signings would be out of who's left.
1. Zach Grienke (Hes not coming back, probably going to LA)
2. Anibal Sanchez (Probably not worth the money)
3. Ryan Dempster (My first real option. Good veteran who will be a great stop gap without blocking our up and coming pitchers)
4. Kyle Lohse (I've watched him kill us every year with the cardinals, hes a veteran and consistent, he'll be expensive but he could be a great fit)
5. Brandon McCarthy (Also not worth the money)
6. Dan Haren (Could be good but also quite expensive)
People will also want to say Edwin Jackson, but I've seen him pitch many times and he is one of the least consistent players i can remember, and I don't want it.
My pick: Ryan Dempster
1. Rafael Soriano (Would be nice but won't happen)
3. Jason Grilli (A solid option)
4. Sean Burnett
5. Mike Adams
The Bottom two are the ones the Bleacherreport says we'll pick up, which I would not mind at all.
My picks: 2 out of : Grilli, Burnett, and Adams
That leaves my ideal pitchers next year (assuming Hamilton is not a go situation)
I do realize I have one extra guy in the bull pen but its a fantasy so I don't care. I also realize I will definitely not get my wish and Melvin will do what he does. So I close with, in Melvin I trust.