I wholeheartedly expect a big trade by Cashman before the season starts. The Montero/Pineda trade caught me completely off-guard and I wouldn't be surprised to wake up one of these mornings to a SportsCenter alert about a trade. However, in case there aren't any trades completed before Spring Training hits, here's what I think would best fit our roster and budget to begin the season:
1. Sign Travis Hafner to be our LH DH, taking over the role Ibanez played last year. I understand the substantial injury history involved with this guy, and he's getting up there in age, but the guy can still hit when healthy, especially against RH pitching.
I know he wasn't great against RH in 2012, but consider Ibanez put up a .248/.319/.492 line last year, and Hafner would be a few years younger heading into a ballpark better suited for his swing, I think he would certainly be able to replace that production if healthy. I know, BIG if. But at this point, I think he's our best bet.
2. Sign Jeff Baker to be our RH outfielder (assuming he beats out Canzler and Diaz).
I actually like the Matt Diaz signing. Diaz, 35, didn't hit at all last year, but he has a good track record vs LH pitching and may be a good bet to bounce back and give us some decent ABs. On the other hand, Baker, despite hitting .240/.277/.388 against southpaws last year, is only 31 and offers a career .296/.344/.498 against them. He's also shown he can play 1B, and even 2B and 3B in a pinch, so he offers some versatility. I think Canzler is best used as depth, as we can stash him in AAA in case of emergency.
And that's it. That's all I'd do for now before we see how spring training unfolds and what kind of injuries (or, hopefully, lack thereof) present themselves. I'd honestly like to see Nunez make the 25-man and get consistent playing time at SS when we are facing a LH starter to give Jeter plenty of DH days to rest his ankle/old body. The more comfortable he becomes, the better chance we'll have of seeing if he can be a long-term answer at SS, or if he has enough trade value to bring back something useful.
So, assuming there are no trades made that will change the complextion of this roster any time soon, what do you guys think of Hafner and Baker and standing firm? I think the pitching is solid, but do you think we should make any additions there?