With the signing of Valentin, the team is really starting to look set for next year:
Hatteberg, Valentin, LaRue, Freel, Dunn, Jr, Arroyo, Milton, Cromier are signed.
Aurilia's option will be picked up, you'd have to think.
Phillips, EE, Ramirez, Bray, Majewski, Shackleford, Coffey, Belisle are not yet arb eligible, and certianly worth keeping.
That's 9 hitters and 9 pitchers under contract, leaving 3 or 4 pitchers and 3 or 4 hitters:
Harang and Ross must be resigned. Lohse likely will.
If you assume the non-arb eligible guys get $400k each (the minimum will go up next year with the new CBA), the payroll is already almost $54 mil, before the arb guys are signed. Even if Harang gets $5, Lohse $4, and Ross $2 (as I've stated, I think Harang and Lohse will get significantly more), that's still $65 mil before a move is made, and 4 more players are needed. And next year's team will look just like this year's, which has struggled to stay above .500.
So what happens? Does someone get traded? Dunn isn't going anywhere; Jr, Milton, and LaRue can't; only Harang and Lohse will make enough to make a difference (but Harang is staying).
I don't advocate replacing Lohse with Bailey; I'm starting to question Ramirez's place in the rotation, and would rather see Bailey replace him.
So what do you do?