Since he signed Eckstein I think he is in and that is a major hit. Alomar maybe not as his contract is not guaranteed. Still, it looks like they are going to give him a shot at the job. For 5M in saving, that really is not good value IMO. Eckstein is horrible.
And they saved some cash by losing Matheny didn't they? That Renteria loss is the one that is really going to come back and hurt them IMO.
I completely agree that it is a big step down at SS, there is no question there. Walt is going to make a move for either a better 2B or SS (then they can slide Eckstien to 2B) though, there is no question about that as well. Losing Matheny does hurt, but I think a lot of people aren't giving Molina the credit he deserves. He is very good at handling the pitching staff, he swings a decent bat, and he comes a lot cheaper than $4million a year (not sure of his exact salary in '05). Overall you can't look at this team up the middle and realistically say it will be better than '04, but it's not quite the doom and gloom that people are predicting. All they really need from the new guys is solid defense, an average bat, and with the upgrades in the rotation, the cost cutting so far (Morris' deal, losing Renteria and Matheny) this team shouldn't be too far off the pace (90+ wins) set by the '04 squad. Sometimes I think people are forgetting that this team still has Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, and Walker (if healthy) to pick up the slack at the plate, the only place this team could really be hurting next year.