The General Manager Meetings open today in Dana Point, CA. With free agency still eleven days from opening, this is where the the trading will occur or where the groundwork for trades will be laid. For a quick review of teams' needs, click through to read John Perrotto's take at Baseball Prospectus
While free agent signings are somewhat easier to track, guessing which team will trade for what player or to fill which position is not quite so easy. The Florida Marlins have made their desire to deal arbitration-eligible players quite clear with the swap of 1B Mike Jacobs for reliever Leo Nunez and desire to deal closer Kevin Gregg and LH starter Scott Olson.
What about the unforseen deals? How can we ready ourselves to anticipate those? To begin, I used Baseball Prospectus' League Position Batting Stats to see which positions under-performed relative to the whole and sorted them by HR because that is the easiest measure of power production to understand. I also included XBH to see if there were positions loaded at doubles and triples or wholly-dependent on HRs.
This data pointed out where teams could look to improve. The most obvious positions to be improved are 2B and SS in the American League. Which teams have an extra power-hitting middle infielder that would be attractive to an American league team? The Milwaukee Brewers have SS J.J. Hardy and 2B Rickie Weeks. Hardy finished 2nd amongst SSs with 24 HRs and has AA star Alcides Escobar knocking on the door. Rickie Weeks hit just 14 HRs, but that ranked 9th amongst 2B-men.
Another couple positions top the list, catcher and centerfield in the American League. Will there be obvious counterparts to fill these positions amongst NL teams or other AL teams? Maybe not, but I feel confident averring the American League teams will be looking to acquire power production from any of these positions.