Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NL West - Preview

Arizona Diamondbacks
Even though we are coming off a disapppointing Season 4, The Diamondback fans are confident that good times are on the horizon. The owners opened up their wallets and landed one of this year's top free agents in superstar LF Jack Meadows signing him to a monster $130 million contract.

This was the icing on the cake to what was a successful offseason that saw a huge trade bring the talented 2B Curtis Howell and RP Stu Myers to the desert from Philly.

It's never easy to trade away quality prospects like Fernando Martin, Yeico Lee, and Carlos Gandarillas, but nobody can question we aren't trying to make this team better immediately.

The Farm system is still very strong headlined by young phenoms Darryl Duffy, Justin Jacquez, Murray Dawley, and Jacob Munoz to name a few.
A #5 pick in the draft and money budgeted for at least one good IFA should just add to the depth in the minors.

Sub-par starting pitching this year will keep us from being a serious contender, but a wild card spot isn't out of the question if the team gels and stays healthy.

Everyone is fully committed to turning this around as evidenced by ML fielding instructor JJ Harris who was signed to a somewhat controversial 5.22m contract last year and yet was willing to come back this year for only 750k.

Guess that's what HBD is all about.

Good luck to everyone in Season 5 and keep an eye on The D-back as we are building something special here.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Key Player Added: C Rod Shaw

Key Player Lost: RP Santiago Martin

Key Transaction: SP Fernando Veras and SP Livan Suarez were traded for 2B Shigetoshi Ming.

Rookies: 2B Cookie Castro, 3B Rodrigo Chavez, SS Ross Francoeur, SP Jack Bailey, RP Julio Leon, RP Jumbo Ramirez, RP Marc Teahen and SP Abraham Brignac.

Outlook: Win at least 70 games.

San Diego Padres
The Padres continued the overhaul to the offense after again disappointing in the playoffs. The checkbook was opened for Delino Melendez, the key off season acquisition. A couple of role players were also added to the bench via free agency, but Melendez was the only significant addition.

Gone from last year's squad are first baseman Randall Robinson and CF Daryl Durham, a couple of everyday players. They were moved on to allow playing time for younger players ready for a larger role - Phillip Kroger and Phillip French.

No impact minor leaguers are on the horizon for this season.

San Diego is once again poised to battle NL West division rivals for the coveted playoff spots. The team remains centered around pitching and defense although the bats have improved slightly over the last few seasons. Look for Stu Delucia and Jesus Rodriguez to vie for the NL Cy Young award.

NL South - Preview

Atlanta Braves
Time for the new season and Braves fans are wondering once again if the aging vets have what it takes for a repeat. The magical playoff run of last year was certainly bolstered by the last minute acquistions of slugging OF Tomas Rojas and former Brave SP Joe Hannity from the Reds. Both of these guys came with hefty salaries, but were huge contributers down the stretch. If Hannity continues to pitch like he did in his first 2 years in Atlanta then the Braves starting 5 will be among the best in the league and will minimize the losses of Josias Mercedes and Freddie Desmond who left via FA.
The Braves also lost SS Curt Leslie and 2B Darron Harding to FA, however last minute negotiations are rumored to be in the works with both Leslie and Desmond. Because of cap restrictions (due in large part to picking up Rojas and Hannity) the Braves were quiet in the FA signing dept. They did manage to pick up versatile IF/OF Darren Whitaker for only 2M. Could be a bargain for a guy who can hit 35HRs and drive in 100RBI and has a career OPS near .900. The Braves also made 1 off-season trade with NL rival SD. The Braves sent up and coming RP Shelby Stinnett to the Padres for the speedy Gold Glove CF Daryl Durham. The Braves will surely miss Stinnett, but just signed RP Rudy Pote to try to replace his prescence in the bullpen. The question now is," Will Chief Noc-A-Homa's tribe dance Bravely in the southern heart of Atlanta once again?"

Florida Marlins
Key Players added
Buddy Connrad LF 22 promoted
Bubba Rasmus RF Rule 5
Fernando Park CF 25 Rule 5
Rafael Franco CF 34 FA
Geraldo Guardado 3B FA
Jesus Torres SS 31 FA
Evan Howard P 38 FA
Sean Griffin 3B 35 FA
Diory Machado C 28 FA

Key Players Lost

Buddy Connrad just promoted before spring training will be a huge asset to our line up.

A new Florida Marlins Team this year. A much younger Minor League system, I had 75% of my minor league system retire this Spring, and only had 3 returning coaches. The Major adjustment we made this year, was adding guys that can hit right handed pitching and play defense. I think our biggest worry is that our bullpen wil get over worked. Remenber the name Buddy Connrad for Rookie of the year

NL North - Preview

Montreal Expos
Key Player Added : Sidney Capps (Trade)
Key Player Lost : Bob Richards (FA), Art Harvey (FA) and Morgan Russell (Trade)
Key Transaction: Morgan Russell traded for Sidney Capps and Jaime Stoops
Rookies: None

Outlook: The Expos have lost some good player in Morgan Russell, Art Harvey and Bob Richards. They also acquired a nice starting pitcher in Sidney Capps. The team has some problem with their pitching staff depth, but if they need a new pitcher, they have a lot of free money.

Despite of all this, the Expos still have a good pitching rotation with Daniel Ratliff, Rabbit Mauer, Buzz Epstein and Sidney Capps.

Terrence Fonville will be the closer for the season. His numbers are great, and we are sure that he will keep showing good numbers. It was his third season in the bigs, and he is becoming better.

On the positions players’ side, the Expos almost have the same lineup. With his high batting average, J.R. Baines will be use as clean up spot. Sherry Merrick will be the lead up guy, following by Charles Suzuki and Greg Nichols. We will have Hector Colome, Peter Yamamoto and D’Angelo Duran following Baines. All of them can hit the ball for home runs.

Since the Expos have some nice young players that are pushing toward the majors, some player may be trade through the season.

There is a jinx on the Expos regarding the fact that they can’t beat Atlanta in playoffs… We will try another time to break it.

We are projecting to enter in the series a one of the two wild card teams.

Philadelphia Phillies
This Philadelphia Phillies are once again in competition for the playoffs wild card, or division. The 101 win team from last season, who was embarrassed in the 1st round with late season injuries to top players, will get their crack this season to overcome those troubles. This season they are once again led by the leadership of Les Milner who will be changing positions to LF after back to back Gold Glove awards at 1B. This is to make room for the Home Run Derby Champion from last season Kevin Edmonds. The Pitching Staff plans to come back from a great season last year in which they were ranked 2nd in ERA out of all 32 teams. This team has lost a fair amount of great players in Meadows, Howell, and Myers and only really added one in Edmonds, but hopefully the team can show their resilience and bring the proud city of Philadelphia another division title and maybe this time a pennant.

Key Players Added:
1B - Kevin Edmonds (Trade)
C – John Tebeau (Trade)
Bench/Pitch Hitter – Jon Cohen (Trade)
RP – Marcus Carson (FA)

Key Players Lost:
LF – Jack Meadows (FA)
2B – Curtis Howell (Trade)
RP – Stu Myers (Trade)
RP – Alfonso Reynoso (FA)
C - Ralph Byrd (FA)

Projected Opening Day Line-up
1.) CF- Luis Diaz (L)
2.)2B - Miguel Vazquez (R)
3.) LF – Les Milner (S)
4.) 1B – Kevin Edmonds (L)
5.) C – John Tebeau (S)
6.) 3B – Posiedon Buddie (L)
7.) RF – Bob Scoroposki (L)
8.) SS – J.R. Porter (S)

NL East - Preview

Washington Nationals
key players added: p bip leifer, 3b- alexi colon, cfer-pascual mendez and rule 5 additions-ss raymond boling and bryan hearn.

key players lost: rfer-darren whitaker, cfer-delino melendez, 3b-fergie crawford.

no rookie

my outlook is OK we return all piching but that could be bad not good b/c they didnt perform up to expectations. we do return lfer johnny munro who is very good and a leader offensively.

AL West - Preview

Seattle Mariners
Projection: 105 wins 1st RD BYE Key Additions Sun-Woo Zhang (SS) I over paid this guy thinking there would be more of a demand on SS.

I would’ve been better off resigning Odalis Andujar for the reduced rate of $2.8M. Hopefully Zhang can get me more SB and less errors. (PROJ .250) I’ll probably attempt to trade this guy at some point.

Morgan Russell (LF/RF/3B/1B) I traded away SP Sidney Caps to acquire this guy. Morgan will probably rotate through a few different positions this season. I’m expect him to bat in the 7/8 spot mostly at LF.

(Proj .275 Avg with 35 HR’s) Sal Bristow (RF/LF/3B/1B) I traded a couple pitching prospects for this guy late last season. I’ll probably rotate him through a few positions and he’ll likely bat in the 7/8 spot mostly at RF.

(Proj .270 Avg with 30-35 HR’s) Yank Stafford (Closer) We brought this guy back to fill our close needs. He will free up Juan Martinez which will hopefully solve some of my set up concerns.

BC Leon (Set Up B) I added this geezer for $875K.. Should be a bargain for 50-60 solid IP. Key Losses Sidney Capps #5 SP I traded away this guy to acquire Morgan Russell.

It may end up biting me in the ass. I will use Brendan James as my #5 SP and hope that everyone stays healthy. James was pretty solid late last season, hopefully I don’t regret making this trade.

Benito Johnson (LF/1B) I had to let either Harry Suarez or Benito Johnson go. I decided to keep Suarez due to his superior fielding and lower $$ demand. Benito should be solid in at with his new team, Anaheim

AL South - Preview

Kansas City Royals
Last year 87 wins, this year 95 wins.

The new players, via FA Kevin Anderson, via Trade Xavier Russell, Martin Cook, via Call up Geraldo Machado Javier Mantalban and improvement to SP's Pedro Coronado, Johnnie Donovan who both got long term contracts. This team is here to stay and win for 3-5 years. Good luck AL South it will be another tough season for us all.

This should be the team for the next 3 seasons as contracts are set so hopefully this is the correct mix. Good Luck AL South it will be another tough year.

Tampa Bay Rays
Key Player Added: Odalis Andujar, SS (2 years, 2.8mil per year)

Key Player Lost: Abraham House, CF (FA - Unsigned)

Key Transactions: None

Rookies: None

Outlook: The Rays finished with 108 wins last season and were then swept in the ALCS by a tough Seattle team. Instead of blowing up the roster, the Rays decided to let other teams make moves around them and see how they can stand up with their roster. The core of the roster is locked in for the next few seasons, so Tampa is hoping to wrap up a couple of titles. Will that happen? Just have to wait and find out now.

AL North - Preview

Chicago White Sox
Optimism is high in Chicago's US Cellular Field this year. The White Sox shouldn't have any problem scoring runs. The potent lineup includes CF Yunel Andujar, 2B Evan Henry, 1B Yusmeiro Owen, LF Everth Henriquez, DH Fred Bieser, and C Slick Shumpert.

However, this is tempered by the questions concerning the pitching staff. Will the young pitchers Bernard Brooks, Diory Andino, Darrell Swan, Rafael Azocar, and Dave Loiselle progress? Will the staff respond to last year's dismal season?

Key Players added: SP Rodrigo Rivera, SP Don Fleming, DH/C Fred Bieser, and IF/OF Glenn Aspromonte

Key players lost: Xaiver Russell, Michael Newsome, Dustin Peters, Stan Hodges

Big trade: Xavier Russell for Fred Bieser and Rodrigo Rivera

AL East - Preview

Boston Red Sox
With new management in town the Red Sox have started the roster turnover needed to make the team a sustainable winner. Traded away are big names John Tebeau, Kevin Edmunds and Brett Kerr in return for numerious propects. the focus of the trades was to improve the future pitching of the team as management belives that is the key to winning championships. With the many departures allows for the playing of many young players. Noted rookies include Will Taylor, Vicente Franco, Brent Wunsch, Sammy Vega, Benjamin Carew, Alex Kyung, Jesus Miranda and Welington Balboa. As management continues to turn over the roster other young players will have the oppertunity to show that they belong on the ML team. Even with all the turnover and terrible record last year, management expects this group to compete in every game but is expecting about 70 wins for the club.

Cleveland Indians
Key Player Lost – Stubby Swann – he declined his option then wanted to file for free agency. I didn’t have the money to keep him, that will be a big loss.

Key Player Added – Not a single player addition can make up for losing Stubby Swann. No major additions either.

Transactions: Revamped bullpen with some new faces. No good way to make-up for losing Stubbby. Also bringing up Bruce Liddi from the minors should be a nice boost for the lineup.

Rookie – as mentioned above, adding Bruce Liddi will hopefully prove to be a big plus for the team. Solidifies an infield position to give some consistency.

Outlook – expect a solid season from the lineup again, but the pitching is definitely a question mark. I expect to be somewhere near the playoff race, although it might be as a wild card. I expect the offense will carry the team this year, but will need good performance from the bullpen and at least passable pitching.

Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles are a team in transition this season. Gone are veteran players SS/3B-Glenn Aspromonte and CF-Pascual Perez (free agency) as well as veteran RHP-Alex Kennedy and C-Martin Cook (traded).

The team did sign three veterans in SP-Art Harvey, C-Cory Williams, and LF-Marv Sauveur; and, it traded for two prospects in CF-Michael Swindell (who made the ML team) and SS-Enrique Bazardo (low-A) who is still a few seasons away from his Camden Yards debut.

The goal this season is to let ML rookies 3B-Ralph Bay and CF-Michael Swindell gain experience while meshing with the other members of the team's young nucleus (SP-Roy Leonard, SP-Vernon Sewell, etc). ..all that, while trying to avoid a 114+ loss season (which would be 200 in two seasons).

It will be a struggle in the AL East as the Indians are always the team to beat and the young and hungry Yankees have improved a lot in the off-season as well. Adding to the dilemma...is the fact that other teams like Kansas City, Minnesota and Oakland made some big moves to get better this off-season too...so it will be a chore to avoid losing 100+ games in the always tough American League this season.

The Orioles hope to have a great draft this year as they have 4 of the top 69 picks...including #15 overall. The team is also looking to sign an International free agent or two this season to expedite the rebuilding process.

GM Terry Swayne has gone on record to say that “No one on our team is untouchable. We will consider trading anyone in our organization as long as it makes financial sense and makes us a better team. Our goal is to become an elite organization in this league. One that will be good for a long time and win multiple Championships. We want to build a dynasty here in Baltimore and we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to accomplish that.”