If I was a GM, here’s who’d be on my wish list

By Dave Fultz

Now that we are all back on campus for our “stretch run” of final papers and exams before the end of the semester, it is finally about that time of year you’ll start looking for anything to distract you from schoolwork.

Whether you are studying NMR spectroscopy for a chem lab or finishing up a 12-page philosophy paper, you’re going to need something to keep you off-task, just enough to make you ignore how attractive the inside of your eyelids begin to look at 3 a.m.

I say look no further than the news that will stream out of MLB’s winter meetings, ladies and gentlemen.

Spanning from Dec. 8 to Dec. 11, baseball’s version of Black Friday is right around the corner and conveniently placed right before finals start to keep your mind off of all the pesky work you’ll have to endure before the next few weeks are through. It’s highly likely that more talent will change teams over these three days than at any other time aside from next July’s trade deadline.

Not only is the free agent crop rife with big names this offseason, but there are also plenty of valuable players to be had in the trade market as some worse-off clubs try to shed payroll for next year. With so much top talent readily available, all the wishful general manager has to do is write out his list and hope Santa remembers to bring his team a power-hitting first baseman or a lefty ace for the holidays.

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    If I were a GM, here’s how my wish list would look this offseason:

    1. Mark Teixeira, 1B, free agent

    Not only is Teixeira the top overall player on the market this winter, he’s the best long-term option as well. The switch-hitting first baseman puts together a very potent mix of power hitting, defensive prowess and youth that will make the slugger a very rich man by the time he signs on the dotted line. At 28 last season, Teixeira put together a very impressive .310 BA/.410 OBP/.552 SLG line to go along with 33 home runs and 121 RBI as he split time with the Braves and Angels.

    A true switch-hitter, “Big Tex” is also one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball. This, combined with his age and history of durability (he’s missed less than five games in three of the last four seasons) will likely yield a huge contract that only the richest of clubs would be able to afford. Word has it Teixeira is seeking a ten-year deal, but I’d be surprised if any team has the deep pockets or the inclination to tie up close to $20 million a year for the next decade on any player this offseason.

    2. CC Sabathia, SP, free agent

    Charles Carsten Sabathia was nothing short of superhuman during the Brewers’ stretch run in ’08 and will likely be given the richest contract ever for a pitcher. Reports have surfaced that the Yankees have already offered the big lefty a contract surpassing the one the Mets gave to Johan Santana last winter, and after he went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA during his stint in Milwaukee, who could blame them.

    My bet is that Sabathia will end up in the Bronx, but his love of hitting and the near-ridiculous amount of success he had in the National League last year may cause him to think twice about leaving the senior circuit.

    3. Jake Peavy, SP, San Diego

    On the surface, Peavy had a rough 2008 season. But if you look closer, you’ll see that the big righty was as good as ever. His 10-11 record obscure the fact that his 2.85 ERA was nearly a full run lower than the league average and his strikeout to walk ratio was still nearly three to one. Mired on a terrible Padres team, Peavy’s efforts went unrewarded and he is now on the trading block as San Diego GM Kevin Towers is being forced to cut payroll.

    Peavy is a very attractive option because he can be had for a relatively cheap price, is under contract for the next four years at below market value and is still one of the best pitchers in baseball every time he takes the mound.

    Next week I’ll be back to round out my 10 before meetings start. Until then, have fun studying and even more fun procrastinating.

    Dave Fultz is a senior in Media. He can be reached at [email protected].