Below is the table of most of the available free agents, I've added a column of interest. I have no idea who Ned may be targeting. We know we need a 2nd baseman to replace Hudson/Bellaird, someone in the rotation to replace Wolf, possibly a bullpen piece.
Tepid interest for me means that I'd like to have that player on the Dodgers, but that I expect the price to be more then I would like the Dodgers to commit to. Many of the players I said No to, are good players but are not players we need at the position they play.
Plenty of 2nd base options abound with Hudson(Arb), Belliard(Arb), Polanco, Lopez, DeRosa, even possibly Chone Figgins. Our internal options at the moment are DeWitt and DeJesus. No way Ned stays with that scenario. Figgins will be to expensive as will Polanco. I'd target DeRosa and Belliard, while hoping DeJesus can take the job away sooner then later. My expectation is that we either sign Belliard to share the job with DeWitt or we trade for a 2nd baseman. I don't believe for a 2nd the rumor of AJ Ellis for Alberto Callaspo but I'd make that trade in heartbeat.
The rotation is tricky, I'd love to take chances on the great arms of Bedard, Harden, or Sheets but after the Schmidt fiasco I can't picture Ned going that route. When healthy they offer the biggest bang but they have all proven to be extremely brittle pitchers with no guarantee's of health going forward. I don't think we need much bullpen help but I sure wouldn't mind adding the fragile arms of Soriano or Gonzalez for the right price. Given the expected budget I don't see how we can add a quality relief pitcher and we probably don't need to.
Could we trade Loney for a 2nd baseman or pitcher and sign Nick Johnson or Carlos Delgado? We could, but we won't so I'm didn't bother with scenarios like that. Maybe later.
When speculating on who we can afford I'd stay within a $100 Million budget until we see some proof that the McCourts will go above that. That is what we started 2009 at and I don't expect much of or any increase. Eric has updated the payroll and we are already at 94 Million when you take into account his expected arbitration raises. Not much room for improvement unless Ned sheds some current salary (Pierre, Sherril, Martin). Part of the problem is the large amount of money being paid to players no longer on the team. Teams on a budget will always pay the price when those future obligations come due.
In the previous thread there was talk of trading one of our arbitration eligible players. If I had to bet on anyone it would be Martin. Eric has him pegged for $6 Million this year.