Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who Has a Shot in the NL?

NL North

The North could very well wage all out war. Pittsburgh may excel overall but I am not just giving them the title either. The Brewers, Reds and Cubs are in the mix also. Chicago has a powerful offense I am just not convinced of the pitching. Actually the Reds and Brewers fall into the same category.

1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Chicago Cubs

NL East

The East is up for grabs by three teams IMO. I would toot my horn and claim the spot myself, but there was spring training and we looked horrible except for defense. The Phillies look like the team to beat again even with half the team on medicare. The Mets look good on paper but that is about it. The Indians could play spoiler but the pitching doesn't look redeeming. The Colonels has a leaders in Mendoza and Rauch but their new digs could cause problems with the pitching staff.

1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. New York Mets
3. Cleveland Indians
4. Louisville Colonels

NL South

The fight once again will be between Houston and Florida. Mexico City can't be ruled out at all and will cause some distinct problems from the get go. All three could very well be post season contenders. St Louis is on a big learning curve and didn't have much to start with., Trivia question that probably no one knows, did Honus Wagner drive a Moline-Knight?

1. Florida Marlins
2. Houston Astros
3. Mexico City Diablos Rojos
4. St. Louis Hawks

NL West

Can anybody in the West stop Salem? I don't think so. Arizona could win 90 games and still be 20 back at the end. Second place will be fought for heavily between Arizona and LA with San Fran bringing up the rear.

1. Salem Super Sequoias
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. San Francisco Giants

It could be a problem choosing 6 teams because it could be nasty and be between 10 teams. Yup, sportsfans that many.

1. Salem Super Sequoias
2. Florida Marlins
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
4. New York Mets (just because I can)...sigh
5. Houston Astros
6. Arizona Diamondbacks

Who Has a Shot this Season in the AL?

AL North

The North doesn't look much changed from last year and don't expect much of a change. Seattle may boast the best starting rotation in the North as well as all of the AL and the offense is just as good. They will be tough to oust for the North crown once again. Minnesota could make some waves but don't expect them to take the crown. Toronto may have taken the course to rebuild as they have dumped most of their overpaid underachieving offense. The Tigers will keep their chins held high as they improve over last year.

1. Seattle Mariners
2. Minnesota Twins
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Detroit Tigers

AL East

The impact here could hold a dangerous fortitude. What does that mean? Well just a bunch of jibberish if you ask me. I really like the looks of the Atlanta Braves this year to take the crown. I have picked others here before and Boston always finds a way to take the crown. I am actually giving 50-50 odds of any one of the four taking the crown. Having a winning record could even be tough IMO. I think the Senators have the best rotation but the worst pen and the offense is shaky at best. Boston and Dover are about even across the board. The Braves on paper are the best but that doesn't guarantee a crown.

1. Atlanta Braves
2. Boston Red Sox
3. Dover Dung Beetles
4. Washington D.C. Senators

AL South

The Tampa Bay Rays actually lived up to my billing last year. I really expect them to be in a fight this year with the Texas Rangers. Remember them? Came out the middle of nowhere and tied for the playoff spot with how many teams? Kansas City and Little Rock are improved but don't look for that much excitement.

1. Tampa Bay Rays
2. Texas Rangers
3. Little Rock Heads
4. Kansas City Royals

AL West

I usually mess this division up or maybe it is a conspiracy. The bad part about this is all four teams are good and to choose one is really tough. Las Vegas surprised me last year, Helena melted down again last year, the Padres fell just short and Anaheim mystified themselves. I choose Helena because they are the best team on paper but they have to get over that late season meltdown. I am going out on a limb here this year totally

1. Helena Hot Pockets
2. San Diego Padres
3. Las Vegas Slobs
4. Anaheim Angels

Since I am kind of a glutton for punishment in AL realm here is my final predictions. maybe another kinky four way for the final spot?

1. Seattle Mariners
2. Helena Hot Pockets
3. Texas Rangers
4. Atlanta Braves
5. San Diego Padres
6. Tampa Bay Rays

Hall of Fame Inductees, 22

Almost a unanimous voting decision to put Albert Johnson and Yamil Pulido into the Hall. After that it became a little murky as owners couldn't decide and the votes became scattered for their beloved sons of the diamond. Furio Lombard and Sid Bryant couldn't be persuaded into the Hall even with the vigorous campaigning that changed the mind of some.

Johnson and Pulido join Frank Gates and Mitchell Ray, who were inducted in season 20, as our honored guests in the Hall of Fame.

Pirates Season 22 Opening Day Roster

After a short off season celebrating the teams first world series championship. The Pirates are ready to defend their title. With an aging roster and financial pressures, there was some changes to the roster this off season.
Key additions: Cesar Martin came over in a trade with Toronto. Javy Nunez, Oscar Miller, Jonathan Diaz, and Omar Garrido were all free agent signings. Harry Richardson and Eric Francis are up from the minors.

Departures: Luis Cruz, Ryan Stewart, Geraldo Rosa and Esteban Valdes all left as free agents.

C: Andy Reagan and Glenn Knepper will platoon at this position.
1B: Javy Nunez will get most of the starts here Jonathan Diaz will be a key pinch hitter and see some time at first
2B: Bernard Shelley probably his last season with the team
SS: Harry Richardson late call up last season, he's here to stay this year. Will see some time at 3rd when Riley plays
Bill Riley on the bench this season
3B: Cesar Martin key season for Cesar as Pirates have to decide to resign him or let him walk Oscar Miller will be backup in the IF
LF: David Gomez
CF: Lance Howard
RF: Omar Garrido after he declined his option, we thought we lost him, but we got him back Alex Richardson 4th outfielder this season

SP1: Tim Loewer doesn't get the respect he deserves
SP2: Emil Sosa all he does is win
SP3: Ken Shumpert hoping for one more good season
SP4: Jimmie Torres had a disappointing regular season but turned it up in the playoffs
SP5: Felix Carter
LRA: Roger Mulholland
LRB: Dennis Wingo
SuA: Daniel Blackwell him and Coronado after that its pretty thin
SuA: Flash Leonard
SuB: Eric Francis
SuB: Todd Wolf
CLA: Andres Coronado not bad for a rule 5 pickup

The Pirates see no problem winning their NL North division title this season. This will give them 9 division titles in the past 11 seasons. The offense is stronger this season. The bench is deeper this season. The starting pitching remains strong. The bullpen is weak, but it was like that last season. Defense will be weaker with Riley on the bench, but this should even out with Riley not swinging a bat. Once in the playoffs some luck is needed, but the Pirates do have the Starting Pitching and a deeper, stronger offense to go on a run. I like our chances.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Final FA Report

Omar Garrido was finally picked up by the team that let him go, the Pirates. Evidently they didn't want to see him go for a box of crakerjacks.

Abdul Riggs was picked up for his quality CF play by Anaheim fro a relatively low prie. I am betting his other attributes will be greatly appreciated in the end also.

Cy Bruske remained unclaimed til the end when his old team intervened, Little Rock. He was worth more than the bag of ball they paid for him.

Paul Keeler remains the only unsigned player that was on my radar scope.

Hall of Fame Voting

A lot of chatter on the boards for voting this year. As always a very good sign indeed. The big problem is a max of only 5 can make it if the votes aren't spread. Yamil Pulido and Albert Johnson are considered consensus Hall of Fame vote recipients by just about everyone. After that things could get a little cloudy. After reading all of the chatter I did change my vote, but probably not everyone.

Doug Cambridge - 7 time All-Star, 7 WS Rings. By his stats, he was only the bonafide closer in 5 of his 17 seasons which makes his 315 saves look more impressive. He never won a FOY though which I can't figure out. In season 19 he had the better numbers but the award was given again to Pascual Solano. You could make a case that he was on great teams, which has to be true, but still, he did his job to make sure his team was great.

Yamil Pulido and Albert Johnson - what needs to be said?

Furio Lombard - So I changed my vote from Wagner. 11 All Star appearances is hard to not notice him. The two GG's at 3rd are impressive but he was a lousy SS in my books though can't fault him for that.

Sid Bryant - Well, in the end I conceded the fact he had more going for him than Warden.

Ozuna and Robinson are not chopped liver either btw.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hall of Fame

I was looking over the nominations for the Hall this morning. I know, I know, suppose to be looking over the Rule V Draft and checking it twice, except I am not drafting anyone. There are a couple worth drafting for a change, nothing great but worth a long look. Now, back to the nominations.

I looked at the list of pitchers, my eyes got real big fast. The great Yamil is there, enough said right? There are a host of starting pitchers deserving of the vote also, about 20 in fact. I looked at saves for the relievers and Doug Cambridge was there, another great choice. The catch with Cambridge is that he wasn't exactly a closer, he more or less got pushed into the role for a while. You won't find many closers with a 67-71 record and over 300 saves.

Afterwards I looked at the position players. My wondering eyes saw Albert Johnson and a bunch of memories came flooding back. Such nostalgia! Randy Lamb was there of course and his 627 dinger total, about the only reason he would be on the list if you ask me. Then I saw Posiedon Warden on down the list, he looks rather unassuming at first. Some memories came flooding back and the tears also I am afraid to say. There are still a few here that understand, especially jose, even VL. Anyway back to Posiedon, his last year was on the Durham Bulls and the team that stopped erff from getting his 5th straight WS Ring. It was late in the season, Durham was trying to chase down the Corn Dogs led by edam55. Posiedon needed a few hits to reach the 2000 hit barrier and Soxfan needed a roster spot. I had the Cleveland team and a spot opened on the roster because of an injury. Since a trade was out of the question, Posiedon was released so I could pick him up and get him the AB's needed, I of course released him at the end of the season. Posiedon is about 6th on the career Walks list also, the reason his OBP is higher than Albert.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Meet the Season 22 Mets

The Mets fans and news wires around the Big Apple are very upbeat on the upcoming season. They were very disappointed last year that management couldn't make a deal for Wilfredo Oliva that may have made them playoff bound. Extolling that the price was too steep had many fans in disbelief although finances was more of the problem. Did management make enough moves to bring home the crown and go into the off season as a champion? The minimum I expect is the division crown.

Team song: I love New York


C - Rob Webster : One of the best backstops in this world. Unfortunately his durability limits him to about 115 starts.
Bip Phelps is just as capable defensively, just not as good in the pitch calling department.

1B - Leo Rodney proved himself competent last season and management is expecting a great season from him. Domingo Jose will be his backup.

2B - Emil Flores has won 3 GG in RF in Salem. The coaching staff thinks he can do the job here as well as 3B. J-Mac was a bit of a disappointment fielding wise last year.

3B - Chun-Lim Satou had a great season last year. Coaches are hoping that he can step up his game a bit more.

SS - Guy Oquist is penciled in.

RF - John McInerney is going to be moved form 2B to play this spot unless his arm starts to be a problem.

CF - Clarence Valentin gets to roam the wide expanses.

LF - Domingo Jose and Dan Radke will share the duty fro awhile.

Utility - Tomas Trevino and
Carlos Mesa can play many positions well.

Pitching Staff:

R.J. Bellhorn is hoping to improve upon last season.
Wesley Ray replaces the FA hole created by Cervantes. Management hopes he gives us his best as they gave up a lot in the trade for him.
Danys Candelaria was signed from the Free Agent Market to be a Long Reliever. However he is a probable candidate in the starting rotation right now.
George Atkins seems fully recovered finally from his injury two seasons ago. The coaching staff hopes he can return to form.
Harry Rodriguez actually pitched great as a starter last season but had a dismal record to show for it. This season we hope luck befalls him.
Anderson Henley may have been a flash in the pan last season. We are very hopeful that it wasn't!

Clinton Cedeno gets the nod as Long reliever and sometimes starter.
J.D. Kennedy, Al Limon and Ted Maxwell will get the long setup position.
Wayne Hampton and Don Zhou get the short setup routine.
Dom Tabaka needs 38 more saves to hit the 400 mark for his career.

More FA's Sign

Fernando Cerda was paid big bucks by the Cubs with a guaranteed 1st year of $14.5M and 3 more at $11.5. Not a prolific long ball hitter but hard to keep him off the base paths and has the speed to steal. His defense at 2B is not great maybe a little sub par actually. Who knows who the Cubs were fighting with for his services.

J.C. Welch was picked up rather cheaply by the Rangers with a 3 year deal for $5M. Did the Rangers make a ploy against Cerda to get Welch on the fly? He can solidify the infield at the hot corner while producing at the plate. Expect his SB efforts to be greatly enhanced also.

Emil Flores was getting a little worried as his agent had him seemingly overpriced but as his demand dropped the Mets became interested. Taking more or less of a big pay cut, he did end up with a tidy $26M 4 year deal however. The question remains whether his hitting will improve in the Big Apple.

Fausto Alomar took it in the shorts as many shied away from the lefty. The Angels saw a bargain as they offered a
3 year deal at $4.9M. Can he sustain his unique ability in another pitchers park?

Galahad Mercedes signed with busy Texas with a 3 year deal for $5.2M. This big guy has pitched well the last few years for a lefty. Hopefully this stint in Texas turns out better than the last.

Joseph Wang, another colorful lefty joined the Old Timers Association in Philly. Signing a 3 year deal for $17.6M sits well the Philly faithful.

Lorenzo Astacio was captured by Arizona in a war with unknown enemies. Agreeing to a 4 year deal for over $25M is a lot of wampum for a short reliever that is not considered a closer.

Luis Cervantes, yes he made my list for a reason, was picked up on the highway by Little Rock with a squeamish sum of $4.3M for two seasons. The Mets were hoping to pick him up dirt cheap once again though he may have turned his nose up at their paltry offer regardless.

Mark Wang and Sidney Garcia were taken by Atlanta, though no one knows it yet.

Who we think is going to sign for big bucks yet?

The left handed power hitting LF in Omar Garrido has yet to be signed. His demands hasn't dropped so a bidding war must be going on.

The no one wants us group?

The underachieving Paul Keeler is getting a bit antsy.

Cy Bruske has a very long face as his services seem to be in the tank.

Abdul Riggs is still waiting by the phone with tears running down his cheeks. Probably one of the best starting utility men in the business, well OF and 2B at least.

Bob Montgomery is wondering what he did to get black listed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Big Payday

Cesar Hernandez signed with the Tampa Bay Rays under a structured 4 year deal. His first year entitlements includes a guaranteed $6M signing bonus to go with his $8M salary. Linda Loo was foaming at the mouth amongst other places after hearing the news. Seems like a trip to the Batter Box is in order to see DJ's sister.

In other news, Joey Tracy is worried that he won't get a chance to hit Home Run number 750 as his phone has been dead silent in the off season so so far.

Free Agent Signings

I had a large list of targets this year so I could write about the top signings. Well it is a pretty bleak market in most aspects.

Wilfredo Oliva: I really thought he would go for more in my estimation.The Cubs got him cheap at 7.9M for 5 years.

Harry Torcato: Scarfed up by Little Rock with a 2 year deal for 5.8M.

Larry Hinske: Grabbed by Boston in a 2 year deal for $5.6M.

Paul Pecina: Snagged by Milwaukee in a 3 year deal for 5.6M.

Danys Candelaria: Yanked the chain of the Mets for a 4 year deal at 5.8M.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Coach Longevity

dilo - 22
northerngaul - 22
josepaco - 21
dpj0122 - 21
VegasBombers - 21
SLOBS - 21
cmchristians - 19
sjr456 - 19
**firesign34 - 18
***boydndahood - 17
*edham55 - 17
*yoker70 - 16
chase39 - 15
*aireball3 - 15
wholck - 15
thomas36is - 15
jsholmes - 14
davisbrian - 14
dhyatt1080 - 14
sdhizzle - 12
mal247 - 11
dakar - 10
hatton98 - 10
pfontaine - 9
tylermathias - 9
kpmarti - 6
wrecks - 5
robertbaron - 5
***luckystrike - 4
sjpratt - 4
molineknight - 1
claighton3 - 1

* Different organizations and break
** Different organizations
*** Different IDs

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hanging Up the Old Cleats

Normally we don't mention much about who retires as we know it is forthcoming sooner or later. However this season is just a bit different as several probable future Hall of Famers are in the class. This class includes:

Javier Santayana: 21 seasons (although one was lost to injury) mostly in the majors and only played for Toronto which upon itself is an unheard of feat. Over 2900 hits and 698 stolen bases to his credit.

Yamil Pulido: The Great One has hung them up. 7 Cy Young awards to go with his 4 WS Rings amassing 281 wins. Lets not forget his post season record of 25-8.

Orlando Ozuna: May not have been a household name but was awarded 2 Cy Youngs in the AL along with his 247 wins.

Albert Johnson: What can con say about AJ, 5 MVP's, 0ver 3400 hits with over 2000 runs and RBIs and lifetime batting average of .346. The only thing more popular were his two cousins, DJ and his sister.

Bruce Kinney: Maybe not great but did pitch on the Big Red Machine and has 4 WS Rings to prove it. 185 wins is nothing to smirk about. Staying in the game as a coach starting out for the Toronto RL team

Friday, December 16, 2011

Season 22 Starts

Low and behold we couldn't get one then two arrive at the same time. Welcome molineknight the new skipper for the St. Louis Hawks and claighton3 at the helm of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both show to be newbies, though we all started somewhere and I started in this world also. One thing to note for newbies is that this game can be very overwhelming to start so don't be afraid to ask questions. Also the ever present HELP tab is available. Also the Help Manual under Admin Office is available.

As wholck said some of my old posts about the beginning of the season are in the May 2008 section of the blog. I looked them over and are still relevant even with all the changes. Matter of fact there are several blogs posts in 2008 that are still very relevant. I haven't really wrote much about playing the game but more of what is going on around our World.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roll Over

Things the Mets would like to see at rollover. Of course we are only looking at the youngsters.

Leo Rodney: His range increasing would be a boon for sure. Six points would be great in that area but chances are maybe 2 or 3 would be likely. Power would be next on the list, 3 or more would be great. He really doesn't have much growth anywhere other than those two areas that we can see but can improve a point overall. Spring training could only help in glove and maybe a contact point.

Well, he did improve but not like we had hoped. One point in Range, two in Durability and Power, beggars can't be choosey.

John McInerney: The only thing that can help him is a point or two of range also. Under the circumstances it may be needed for him to retain his 2B position.

Nothing, nada, zilch. So unhappy with that news.

Carlos Mesa: His health is weak and no help in that regards that we can see. Durability can go up along with his power, both would be good but not enough to make a big impact. Scouting says he could improve up to 10 points overall yet but I don't see much more than 3 happening.

Big improvements, the best is the single point in Range but six in Durability and four in power. Might be a big push to put him at 2B.

Guy Oquist: Range is a must and be defensively helpful. More in durability will help also. Power increasing is kind of a who cares issue but would help with his overall. Improving his splits during spring training would help more than anything else I think.

A point here and there but nothing to write about really.

Dan Radke: Other than a couple durability points he just doesn't have much to improve upon. Most of his points a relegated to splits and glove.

Was just enough to make a one point overall adjustment.

R.J. Bellhorn: Stamina is about the only thing left and a few points here would help a bit. Everything else that is improvable is in the hands of the pitching coach and that isn't much.

Got a couple points to help his cause.

Anderson Henley: Not much to say about this guy. Has some improvement left but we aren't expecting much. We aren't exactly counting on a repeat performance of last season either.

Nothing here.

Harry Rodriguez: Another youngster that is about maxed out also. We feel that he is a better pitcher than his record indicates BTW.

His increases were a bit odd if you ask me.

Ted Maxwell: Although there isn't much improvement to be had a couple points here and there could really help. The injury to begin the season took its toll and time to really get back. A good spring and just maybe he could be strong enough for the starting rotation.

Still a bit behind the eight ball from his injury.

Marc Redman: He became a special case calling him up at the end of the season. His defense sure could use the rollover boost for sure. He shows a lot of promise as a lead off hitter but didn't exactly impress us in his short visit.

Something is better than nothing.

Lonny Moreno: Has a ML future but needs a good rollover especially in durability along with fielding help.

Had a decent rollover but not great.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pirates Do It!

The Pirate dream finally comes to fruition with a 4-1 World Series. Their first title with an unbelievable season in their second try. In season 16, if you remember, they were the best team in baseball that year and lost the World Series to Boston in 7. It was almost a surreal repeat match up had Boston beat Las Vegas in the ALCS. Congrats Chase!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Manager of the Year

It should be that time to vote on Manager of the Year. It could very well be a tough decision. Remember send your votes via TC to SJR!!!

NL - A lot to choose form for sure

dilo - Led the Brewers to their first division title sine season 2.
chase39 - Held the Pirates together and a Wold Series engagement.
boydndahood - Wrestled the division title away from Florida.
sdhizzle - 8 straight playoff appearances.
jsholmes - Winningest team this season.
wholck - 5 straight division titles, 6 straight playoff appearances.

tylermathias - First time team has been above .500 since season 9.
firesign34 - First time team has been above .500 since season 2.
hypnotoad - Took over franchise and almost put them playoff bound.


dakar - Winningest team in AL this season.
SLOBS - Surprising World Series agenda.
wrecks - Led team to first ever division title.
cmchristians - Surprise ending for a playoff spot.
pfontaine - 8 straight playoff appearances.
thomas36is - Kept team in playoffs avoiding a total meltdown.

edham55 - Speaking of surprise endings but ended up short on tie-breakers.

Finally, We Are Here

The final series of the season has come upon us. What should have come down to a rather uneven bout in the World Series suddenly changed. The Pittsburgh Pirates sudden euthanasism (umm youthanism is more like it) upsetting the seemingly one-siddedness in the NL has brought an unknown aspect into the series.

And what of the Las Vegas Slobs? They tout the oldest player in this years series with Dan Hitchcock. Can he have a Billy Chapel performance to hang onto his youthfulness (umm usefulness) one more time? Of course the Slobs only have 6 players that have 10 or more years experience. The Pirates have 10 if your counting.

Did experience trump youth in the NL? In the AL it would seem rather likely also except for the fact Boston had the more experienced team. While Boston didn't put up much of a fight the Pirates had their backs against the wall down 3-0. Was the youthful Salem team over confident they would win easily, look out next year as they will want to prove a point.

The Pirates could have the advantage overcoming Milwaukee, Houston and Salem in their unexpected playoff run. Las Vegas had to overcome their division nemesis Helena before wrecking Tampa Bay and Boston. The odds in this series is: pickum
For those wanting to know, extra doctors, ambulance crews and healthcare maintenance teams have been summoned to keep players and equipment functioning at peak performance during the series.

Here ya go for this years big vote! What is the best baseball movie of all time? Here is a list of some of the best in my opinion, not in any order though For Love of the Game is my personal favorite. Send vote via TC of firesign34.

1. For Love of the Game
2. Major League
3. Bull Durham
4. Field Of Dreams
5. Eight Men Out
6. Mr Baseball
7. The Rookie
8. The Final Season
9. The Stratton Story
10. Damn Yankees
11. A League of Their Own
12. The Scout
13. The Pride of the Yankees
14. The Pride of St Louis
15. Fever Pitch
16. The Kid From Left Field
17. The Natural