Kansas City McCoys (AL)
The McCoy's could use a backup C, backup SS and a starting 3B. SS Spike Meusel is no longer a capable backup at SS. Last season he hit rock bottom hitting the Mendoza line in S18. 3B Bo Nitkowski can still hit, he has shown that, but his fielding is becoming a concern. Watch for him to get a small contract. Backup Catcher Artie Hausmann might be resigned for a song. For a guy who can play his defense, KC has an edge. Adding Sp Albert Telford allows the team another season to find a more permanent solution for the Rotation. Telford is a former cy young winner and a 6 time all star. He has the experience KC needs to solidify their rotation and at 3.3M he is very affordable.
Eight Arbitration cases to settle. Players of note looking to get bigger paychecks are Starting Catcher Dicky Collins (R) and Defensive specialist Dicky Sanders. Both could be had reasonably priced for their talents. Collins is far from an elite catcher but he does a fine job with both pitching and has proven a solid bat in the lineup. Sanders offer the McCoys a bit of speed off the bench and a sure glove at 2B and Cf when needed. Neither will break the bank on a return. Arbitration eligible Willie Tavarez will also come at a discounted price, but at 7-14 with an ERA north of 5 and a WHIP north of1.6, I don't see him getting a long-term deal. The rest of the cases will be tough calls for KC. RP Gerald Pong (6.02ERA), SP Felipe Melendez (7.12ERA), RP Dustin Eischen (7.24ERA), and RP Brad Maduro(6.71ERA) all struggled through last season and most ended up with time adjusting their game in AAA. Most have talent, but just seem to lack the focus requited to have success. A change of scenery might aid both KC and the players. With the Exception of Eischen, all should come in under 2M a season. CF Karl Ward has a different dilemma, He had a solid season batting over .300 as a super utility guy, but scouts believe his skills will be far less than his price tag and he might be had far cheaper on the open market than through arbitration.
David Seanez is still the featured hitter in the McCoy offense. He still can be expected to hit 15 HR and knock in 75 RBI. Last season he hit 21 HR with 78 RBI. To maximize him, the McCoy's need to improve his supporting cast. Veterans Brian Mecir, Kevin Hatcher, and Dick Sparks are not getting the job done. Hatcher should make his way out of Shortstop this season and takes No Nitkowski's vacant third base. This will leave a huge hole at SS that KC will need to address in Free Agency. Internally there will a battle at DH and 1B with Veteran Justin Lewis, Jose Uribe and rookies Alfredo Wainhouse and Carl Bunch(AAA) vying for 2 spots in the lineup. Spring will decide if Justin Lewis will have a job or be forced into retirement. His 30 bombs in S18 say he still has life in his bat. Kansas City will also want to get a good look at LF prospect and #20 pick from S17 draft Gregg Washington who looks like he is ready to sample the big lights and could give Brian Mecir a run for his money. RF Prospect Claude Branson could also make the jump from AAA this season and give Seanez some time to rest his aging bones in Right field.
76M man Mark Cox went 15-9 in S18 with a 3.15ERA, He seemed to play for his paycheck and served as a top tier anchor for the McCoy lineup. KC has to be happy with him right now. At 31 and with another 4 years on the contract he will see how he looks in S22. If he is pitching like 38 year old Willie Hamill, Kansas City will be dancing a jig. Hamill is a solid #2 guy, no longer an all-star but very capable and craft on the mound. He still has enough fizzle on his pitches to strikeout the best. #3 starter Trenidad Durham signed a 5 year 25M deal in S17 and has not been able to live up to expectations. In S18 he spent 10 games in AAA adjusting his mechanics and still finished the season with a 6.90 ERA and a 1.85 WHIP. Willie Tavarez should be able claim the #4 spot in the rotation, but his lack of developing a solid 3rd pitch will keep him from moving any higher. Rookie Felipe Melendez struggled in his audition in S18 but should get a shot to compete for the final spot. He has shown mixed results in AAA and has never performed in the big leagues in his 3 opportunities. This might be his final chance in KC. Julio Carreras who held down a rotation spot in s18 looks to be no longer able to stretch to a solid 5 innings, his talents might be better utilized as a long reliever and spot starter. Albert Telford's signing should allow, prospect Darron Gross a chance to grow another season in the minors. I'm sure he would love to make the jump from AA to the bigs this season and his talent is close to being there so it might not be a pipedream, but Kc has given themselves a chip that will afford them the opportunity to wait .
CL Stephen O'Connor was the McCoy's most sure hand in the Pen, but he most likely will be gone in Free Agency. Former Closer Jose Jose struggled through the season posting an 8.00 ERA between Minor League Stints. His days in the league may be over unless something incredible happens. Setup men Peter Carver, Santiago Frias and Babe Rose also suffered through difficult times in the Pen. A new bullpen coach might be the best solution to explain why the pen on a whole is down. Or it might be these guys have reached the age where their gray hair is limiting their pitching talent. The sole exception might have been Waiver claim Luis Benitez who looked solid in his partial season of play. The farm has a pair of solid prospects to audition for the big club, AA prospect Cristian Hernandez is close to mature enough for the leap and Carl Rupe should get plenty of opportunity to fill the gaping holes in the KC pen.
SUMMING UP WITH A QUOTE:
"My moustache is my power, my ability, my strength and on this moustache, the McCoy will ride again!" David Seanez KC's selfproclaimed best player.