So, this season is not officially over. We will need some luck, timely hitting and Jimenez, Masterson AND Carmona to pitch like aces the rest of the way and get decent performances out of Gomez and Huff. A tall order. Too bad the Indians didn't take my suggestion about renting Lance Berkman from the Cardinals for the month of September.
So, there is hope left but it is never too early to start thinking about the off-season. This starts with who we need to play the rest of this season.
Free agents to be:
Believe it or not Kosuke Fukudome is near the bottom of Type B FA AL OFers. Let's hope he hits the rest of the way and someone gives him a 3 year offer this winter and we offer him arbitration. We need the draft pick. Speaking of draft picks we currently stand at having the 18th pick in the draft, not good if we want to sign a Type A free agent as we would lose our top pick..
NOTE: Fukudome's salary ($14.5 million this year) would preclude us from offering him arbitration. However, maybe he would accept a little extra cash to allow us to offer arbitration with him declining it. We did the same thing with Juan Gonzalez a few years back when fans said THAT couldn't be done. And Gonzalez was a Type A free agent. Fukudome, as a Type B, would certainly understand that us getting a supplemental pick for him would not hurt his bargaining power. So, it is worth exploring.
The rest of our potential FA with enough service time to qualify for draft picks (Sizemore and Durbin) don't qualify at either Type A or Type B and it isn't even close.
We also have other potential FAs: Hanahan and Carmona and we hold options on Sizemore ($9 million) arnd Carmona ($7 million).
Guys still in the minors we have to take a look at: Goedert and Putnam. I don't think that we will bring either of them up but I hope at least Goedert gets his chance. While there is no way I would cut Duncan, Durbin or Hannahan now, the only way to rationally remove them from the roster right now is to trade them and I don't know if that will happen. I still think you could get something decent for Joe Smith, even if he can't play in the playoffs this year, as he still will have two years after this one before he can become a FA.
With the 40 man at 42 without Goedert and Putnam, that presents an issue. Right now we can jettison Hannahan and Durbin along with Duncan this off-season but, after that, we have to start removing prospects. If we find a way to add Goedert and Putnam now (e.g., recall Rondon and put him on the 60 day DL. put Carrasco on the 60-day DL) we still will have to pay the piper this off-season as we would then have 40 men on a 40-man, assuming Durbin, Fukudome, Duncan and Hannahan are gone. No room for FA signings, no room for Rule 5 draftees, simply no room...unless we dump prospects or make a multiplayer trade before the rosters have to be locked.
So, there you have it. Play Fukudome and find a way to play Goedert and Putnam. I say give everyone a look and sort it through DFAs in the off-season. But that is just the wild and crazy me speaking.