- Add a left-handed bat, probably a rightfielder/DH type, and a bonus if he could play first (kind of like Greg Norton used to, but better). Darin Erstad looks like a perfect fit, but Rays are also considering free agents Geoff Jenkins, Brad Wilkerson, Cliff Floyd, Tony Clark, Mike Lamb, Mark Sweeney, Corey Koskie and, yes, Norton. Plus there are trade options.
- Further improve their defense by upgrading from Josh Wilson and Ben Zobrist as potential utility infielders and a possible starter at third (or second) if prospect Evan Longoria isn't deemed ready on opening day. They'd similarly upgrade at catcher with a veteran (Michael Barrett? Johnny Estrada?) if the opportunity arises.
- Find a left-hander for the bullpen better than Kurt Birkins, whom they claimed from Baltimore, or Jeff Ridgway.Ron Mahay is among the options, as are ex-Ray Trever Miller and Jeremy Affeldt.
- Determine if oft-injured Rocco Baldelli, who missed most of last season with mysterious medical issues can be - as they are hoping in a "cautiously optimistic" kind of way - the primary rightfielder or at least DH.
- Negotiate long-term contracts with arbitration-eligible 1B Carlos Pena and LHP Scott Kazmir, or at least work out one-year deals to avoid the volatility of going through the hearing process.
The whole Erstad (internet) rumor of course started with this diary and withheld my smell check, Maddon "loves him", which is rather unfortunate because he's just not a good ballplayer. Koskie is the most interesting option named; he can play 1B/3B and back in the day played some right field, as the piece mentions the Rays want someone who can play third as well so Mike Lamb would be my second choice without knowing who the trade options are. From there Mark Sweeney is another intriguing choice, and we've talked about the rest.
Trever Miller's return? That would be quite the spectacle, I can't remember for sure, but didn't he bash the organization (note: I'm really not sure if he did)?
I mentioned Estrada earlier to Jake since the Mets probably wouldn't get much for Schneider and seem to like Ramon Castro, and I'd throw Antonio Perez against a wall as our utility infielder.