All right guys, my roster ideas are kind of out there but stick with me on this.
1. First and foremost, I would try to re-sign Greinke, but seeing how that is unlikely, my plan B would be to take a chance of trading for Josh Beckett. The Red Sox are apparently down on him and are listening to offers. He has the highest upside of any FA starter aside from Greinke in my opinion and we won't have to make a long term commitment since he is only under contract until the 2014 season. I would also have the Red Sox include a reliever such as Franklin Morales. I will explain a hypothetical package later in the post.
2. Next, as unpopular as it may be, I would consider trading Corey Hart. We will miss his power but with the money saved along with the pieces that could be acquired make it worth it in my opinion. Also, they do have a lot of outfield depth so I believe the offense would be ok without Hart. Two teams that look like they could use Hart are the Giants and the Pirates, so assuming one of them wants Hart I would expect to get a solid reliever to set up Axford, a nice bench piece, a young reliever (preferably left handed), and a prospect to fill out the deal. So, for example that would look something like this: Santiago Casilla, Connor Gillaspie, Josh Osich, and Tommy Joseph for Hart.
(then I would flip Joseph to the Red Sox, along with a minor league pitcher or two for Beckett and a reliever like Franklin Morales who is having a good year)
3. Next, I would try to acquire another experienced starter on a one year deal for no more than 5M. Personally, I would try to acquire Mike Pelfrey. He has upside and shouldn't cost more than a couple of C prospects to pry him from the Mets if he doesn't get non tendered first.. I think he's worth taking a chance on provided we don't have to give up anything of value for him. He got off to a good start this year before being shut down after three starts.
4. After that, I would be in favor of re-signing Alex Gonzalez on a one year deal.
5. Finally, I would bolster the bench by trading for a young, controllable utility man like Tyler Pastornicky or Adam Rosales to add depth to the roster and trying to sign Eric Chavez to back up the corners and to pinch hit.
So, the roster would end up looking something like this
There are definitely some question marks but if Schafer and Gamel are productive which I expect them to be their lineup will be pretty good along with a rebound year by Rickie Weeks. I don't see why Gamel and Schafer won't produce - there are no glaring holes in Gamel's swing, I've seen him hit inside pitches, outside pitches, fastballs, and curveballs. I think he just needs consistent major league AB's to be productive. As for Schafer, I thought he might have been Major League ready this year but with Nyjer Morgan on the roster there was no room for him. As for the pitching, I would expect Beckett to have a bounce back year. However, I'm not to sure what to expect from Pelfrey but hopefully he can eat up innings and add depth to the pitching staff. I'm not as quick to just give Fiers the number 5 spot. But unless he has a relapse (Josh Collmenter this year) than he would be fine in the five spot and the young pitchers can be called on in case of injury or ineffectiveness. I think that bullpen would be much improved from this year's but you never know with relief pitching, but at least they would have depth and the same can be said about the bench.
All right guys go ahead and criticize! I wanna hear it. :D