With the July 31 trade deadline now comfortably in our rearview mirror, we can now begin looking ahead to 2013.
Over the next two days we will take a look at each team's projected 2013 Opening Day lineup, with a breakdown of strengths, weaknesses and potential holes to fill. And before you get started, there are a few things to keep in mind.
For starters, we did not attempt to place free agents, as that is almost impossible to predict. Thefore, if a player is set to be a free agent, we replaced him in the lineup with the best internal solution. In some case, that "solution" will almost certainly not be the Opening Day starter at that position, but that's the point, as it will further illustrate the biggest areas of concern for each club.
We included 2013 salaries in our projected lineups, and for players who are not eligible for free agency we took our best guess based on service time and the recent history of arbitration awards given to similar players.
When it comes to contract options, we took our best guess. If it's a good player with a reasonable club option, we kept them in the lineup for 2013. If it's a good player with a modest player option, we assumed they opt for free agency.
Teams are listed in order of the current standings. (American League projections coming Friday.)
Full National League lineup projections:
With four lineup regulars, Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Ryan Theriot, eligible for free agency after the season, general manager Brian Sabean will have his work cut out for him. The Giants would probably like to have all four of those players back, with Cabrera at the top that list, but it's unlikely they will bring all of them back, and Sabean could look to the trade market, which he used to bring in Cabrera and Pagan last winter.