8 Moves MLB Teams Must Make the Rest of the Winter
Most of the big names are off the board now, but the Major League Baseball hot stove is far from finished.
Trades will happen, free agents will join new teams and teams will always be looking to get better for the 2013 campaign.
Every general manager will be working in what he believes are the best interests of his team, but some deals will inevitably be better than others. Some acquisitions will fill holes perfectly, while others will only be patches.
Where will these brilliant moves come from?
Here are eight decisions that would make a lot of sense if they were to happen before the end of the winter.
Texas Rangers Sign Michael Bourn
The Texas Rangers have had a difficult winter.
Not only did they lose superstar Josh Hamilton to the Angels, but they also lost out on potential ace Zack Greinke.
With the two failures behind them, they will now look to make the biggest splash that they can and bring in the best free agent left on the market.
Admittedly, Michael Bourn is not nearly at the level of the two aforementioned players, but he is incredibly fast and could be a dynamic force at the top of the lineup.
Washington Nationals Re-Sign Adam LaRoche
I know this is not what you might call groundbreaking, but the Washington Nationals need to make this move.
Last season, Adam LaRoche hit 33 home runs and tallied 100 RBI from the middle of the lineup.
He also plays great defense and will anchor the infield from first base.
Overall, he is everything that the Washington Nationals need from a corner infielder, and it would be a major mistake if they let him go.
Los Angeles Angels Trade Vernon Wells
Vernon Wells really does not have a spot with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
After the acquisition of Josh Hamilton, the outfield is even more crowded than it was last year. Wells only appeared in 77 games last year, and that number could fall even lower.
Honestly, if the Angels are able to bring back anything of value for an outfielder who had and will have a very limited role on this team, there is absolutely no reason not to trade him.
I am not sure how brilliant the move would be for the Phillies or the Yankees, but it would be brilliant for the Angels.
St. Louis Cardinals Re-Sign Kyle Lohse
While it would be unrealistic to expect another 16-3 season out of Kyle Lohse, it is definitely reasonable to expect him to continue pitching well.
His 2.86 ERA last year was a career best, and even though he is getting older, he doesn't rely on velocity to get his opponents out. That should help him have continued success even if he does lose a little bit of power.
While there are plenty of teams still looking for starting pitching and Lohse is probably the best option left on the market, the St. Louis Cardinals shouldn't have too much of a problem retaining him.
Tampa Bay Rays Sign Lance Berkman
Lance Berkman had an injury-riddled 2012, but that makes him a prime candidate to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays.
His less productive season will drive down his price on the open market, which will appeal to the Rays, but he has tremendous upside. As recently as 2011, he hit .301 with 31 home runs and 94 RBI.
Berkman is getting older, and there is naturally risk involved in hoping for a comeback. However, if he is able to return to the 2011 form that reaffirmed his status as one of the best run-producers in baseball, this would be an excellent move for Tampa Bay.
Arizona Diamondbacks Trade Gerardo Parra
Gerardo Parra is an excellent fielder who hits for a decent average with a good amount of speed.
However, he is going to be the odd man out again this year with the Arizona Diamondbacks given the fact that they just signed power-hitting Cody Ross.
It doesn't make a lot of sense to leave a player who would actually have trade value on the bench. Parra deserves to have a starting position somewhere, and perhaps Arizona would be able to bundle him in a trade to acquire more bullpen support.
Chicago Cubs Trade Alfonso Soriano
Alfonso Soriano has had a roller coaster of a career, but he was excellent last year for the Chicago Cubs.
He brought his average up to .262 and clubbed 32 home runs with 108 RBI.
Soriano is going to turn 37 in January, so it is definitely possible that his production will begin to drop a little bit. His value will decrease with his performance.
Right now, there are plenty of teams in the market for an outfielder after missing out on Josh Hamilton and B.J. Upton. Soriano could be the perfect fit.
On the flip side, the Chicago Cubs are unlikely to be in a competitive position this season. Soriano will probably not be a part of their future plans, so they should cash in on his enhanced value right now.
Arizona Diamondbacks Keep Justin Upton
I know this one might seem a little bit unnecessary because I just advocated for a trade including Gerardo Parra.
However, trade rumors continue to swirl around Justin Upton (via CBS Sports' Jon Heyman), and it seems as if people are frustrated with the 25-year-old outfielder.
Despite this frustration, the fact of the matter is that he is always a threat to go 20-20 at worst, and we have already seen him do more than that in his young career.
Yes, he probably should have done better than .280 with 17 home runs, 67 RBI and 18 stolen bases last year. That goes without saying.
Regardless, his potential is so great that there is no way the Arizona Diamondbacks should consider trading him at this point.
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