Monday, July 29, 2013

The Mets So Far

We started the season on a high note, looked like we were just gonna run away with things. Things got dicey quickly though, Leo Rodney and Ronny Gant both went down with those nagging injuries at the same time.  Might have been 3 to 4 days but it puts a huge burden on thing when most of the big boys are watching from the dugout. That wasn't bad enough as those two got resolved and back into the line up then Felipe Peralta hit the DL followed closely in the his footsteps was Brutus Mora. Mora's wasn't as long but still long enough to be out for the 15 day period.

I didn't plan on calling anybody up from AAA but with John McInerney committing 8 errors and 2 minus plays already, help was needed to shore up the defense at 2B. Compounding the problem, I didn't think about resetting the rest, defense and pinch hitting categories during the absences. That may have led to a six game slump but not sure.  Definitely didn't help. One thing for sure, the players can't bitch about not getting playing time as everybody except the recent call-up and the backup catcher have 60+ AB's.

Pitching has been relatively good as we lead the NL in that category. Hitting hasn't been robust but with all the DL problems not all that bad. Fielding, the normal mainstay of one of my teams, is one of the worst in the NL leading the way with 27 miscues. Most of those by one bumbling 2B and all the minus plays also. We are good with the plus plays and teams still think they can run against us but that really hasn't panned out all that well for them.

Trace Kennedy became the first casualty of the season after his unusual horrible outings disenfranchised him rather quickly. Dusty Ingram was signed just for that reason and was hurried up from AAA to take his place with good results so far.

The minor league teams started out rather slow this year but their records doesn't exactly reflect that. At AAA, they started with a 2-5 record as it looked abominable for a while until I looked at the lineup. That's what I get for hitting the recommended button in the management console then not looking to see what it did. AA is a surprise as I have nothing to crow about in the way of players but the coaches are making them be the best they can be.  Truthfully the same can be said about High A and Low A also.

The 30 Game Pretender Clause

So it is 30 games or so into the season already. Have the pretenders been put to bed and the real teams awoken? Strange things has been happening for sure.

NL North

The Cubs woke up after a slow start and have taken control. The Brewers are a shouldn't by winning good and losing bad. The Reds just can't get things going but are looking positive. The Pirates are having no luck, like a starter pitching 9 scoreless and hitless innings only to see the performance shattered in extra innings.

NL East

This division is a quagmire at the moment. The Mets have odoriferous offensive DL woes and a manager that forgot to reset the settings because of said issues. Finally calling on AAA to help solve the DL issue a little because John McInerney is stinking up the joint playing 2B. Phils started out hot but have retreated to the norm.  The Braves are on the warpath for a bit but haven't actually excited anyone. The Colonels move to Florida may be working but we are not sold on the idea this season. It is also confusing not seeing the team in the South.

NL South

Interesting things happening here as the pretenders went south. Mexico City got hot but got ballyhooed by the then slumping Mets and haven't recovered. That left an opening for the hot Cards who took advantage. The Astros are even making one of their patented moves in the wake of things. Ivan finally got his 400th win and is working on getting his 100th save and I do believe he will be the only pitcher with more than 200 wins and 100 saves to his credit. That is a great achievement for a relief pitcher.

NL West

These teams are mystifying to say the least. Winning a game at home is more than a relative struggle but put them on the road and they are death defying. What is going to happen here is any ones guess. Dodgers, D'Backs and Giants could wind up in a virtual tie the way things are going. The Padres all ordered NO-NO's but returned them when they found out it caused ED.

AL North

The Jays are playing great ball and the Tigers are playing like they were expected the last three seasons but didn't. The Expos were taken by surprise early but are on the move though winning at home is down right pathetic. The Twinkies are staying close but are well over-shadowed this season we think.

AL East

This division sorts itself out after All-Star break. Look for the Red Sox, Beetles and O's to have a share of first place at one point or another before the Sox pull away as usual. Meanwhile the Senators are stuck in committee one again.

AL South

Things have calmed down considerably with KC being a royal bitch. The Rangers are being mindful this season but seemingly get the job done with respect. Memphis is having a bit of a scheduling problem, 21 home games already.  They are having a tweeting good time as the newcomer figures things out in a most unusual world. The Heads are suppose to be Talking but is sounds more like jibberish.

AL West

The Sky Sox were dismayed last year because of their less than tantalizing start and vowed not to let it happen this year, so far so good. The A's could be repeating last years reprisal, staying close til the stretch then flounder. The Angels said they should win 101 games but hasn't gelled yet, think they slipped the banana peel into the jello instead. VC are just scratching their heads as they are stuck in neutral, pass them a crescent wrench and a bobby pin.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

More IFA Money Spent

Oakland nabbed Victor Gomez for $6M.  he is a lefty so his stock was lower than normal along with the off-speed tendency. His right split may not be all that great but does have ML control and some pretty nice pitches.  Good price for a probable ML pitcher.

Grade: B

Knuck made his first foray into the market as he Pedro Castilla for $5M. He fancies himself as a SS and could actually ascertain to the position. Hitting isn't may not be great but does have a little pop and luck on his side. I like the signing but their could be hitch in the contract getting him a date with Sasha Gray.

Grade: B

Upon further review, I still stand by my grading of David Escobar. He might be a big bat but has no place on a ML roster. He can't play a position except DH and even then doesn't have the durability to last long in a lineup. Health is another huge issue and he is already on the PUP list. Now if he hits the DITR list things could change drastically otherwise a career minor league player could ensue. He could in fact play DH at the ML level in the future for 18 games if things fall right.

It is rumored that Mal purchased a Bake-A-Bone to make pancakes for the kids as the neighbor swears by it. We really know he liked the idea for himself as it had an unusual side effect, he trained the wife to sit up and beg.  Also purchased was a Polly Perfect to drive the wife's cat up the wall. That didn't work well as it drove the kids nuts and they shot it with a BB gun and buried it in the back yard.  He also tried out that new convenient convection hotplate but became the first burn victim after not reading the warning label "Pots and Pans get extremely hot".

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

IFA for Millions

Montreal made off with the signing of Kevin Yosida for $27.6M hard earned bucks.  He makes it hard to believe that he can play LF but we will wait but looks to have a knack at 1B. His trade mark however is hitting the ball over the fence which looks to be a rather easy accomplishment. If it is a decision to walk him, chances are good he will end up on second as he has the speed and showoff ability to swipe when no one is looking.

Grade: A+

Monday, July 22, 2013

The First 10

The first 10 are in the books already. How did things shape up so far and will we see a shake up.

NL North

Nobody is off to fast start. The Brewers vowed a 3-8 start share the lead at 5-5. The Reds are off to their normal slow start. The Cubs just hasn't found themselves. The Pirates cooled off after being thumped by the Cards. Cubs and Reds are suppose to rule this division, so things will change.

NL East

The Phillies are hot winning six in a row even after getting blistered by Atlanta to start things off.  The next series with the Mets will tell the tale as they have showed off an even fortitude.  The Braves looked hot to start but being swept by the Mets is doubting. The Marlins have dug themselves a deep hole fast, first year jitters in a new park. This was suppose to be a Mets-Braves division, do we have an early pretender.

NL South

Mexico City has a chip on their shoulder. It could be a run for the money between a heavy weight division that already shows off two challengers in Houston and St Louis. Knuck is struggling in Tampa Bay so far. How bad did that season 25 injury hurt Ivan as he limps to 400?

NL West

I warned the West about the Giants. Giants looked ready to roll until the Mets came to town. Giants-Dodgers on tap next, this should shape things up for sure. Meanwhile Bruce has the Padres chasing the goat with the Heinekens while Tyler is reffing the chase and oogling the naked chicks. (we think the goat will win)

AL North

The Jays may run away and hide from the rest of the division before the season is over. The Tigers and Twins are trying to keep up. Last years Golden Boys of Summer look to be in a sophomore slump already but the Expos will right themselves we think.

AL East

As predicted, the Red Sox and O's will be trading barbs all season long. Ahh, what the hell, the Red Sox always seem to pull away in the stretch so we will wait.  DC and Dover just can't find the magic.

AL South

KC is off to a fast start again like last years Little Darlings. The silence was broken this year as the Rangers wanted to trade, not sure we have heard the last of that. (just knew that was coming didn't ya) The RedBirds first year looks like a bit of reorganization to see whats what.  Little Rock is still stuck in neutral.

AL West

I can't remember the last time a team started 10-0 like the Sky Sox. This division is a bit of a head scratcher so far. The A's were in Seattle last year and started like a house afire also before reality set in. This year I am not so sure as the reality could be real. The Angels are shell shocked but Colorado Springs started off this way last year and look what happened could it be a bit of a repeat scenario?  I thought VC had a shot above mediocrity but now I am not so sure, it is a rookie season so there are some bugs to work out.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Holy Crap Batman IFA Market

Alex Olivares became the richest IFA ever  with a $32M paycheck from the Houston Astros. Moving into second on the real expensive list is Renyel Manuel of Cincy who got $30M a few years back.  So what did that kind of money but?  Well there are several ways to look at it, quality pitching has been real hard to come by for quite a few seasons now. Comparatively speaking though, well over priced. The first thing that strikes me is his age which causes me to mark a  demerit right off the bat.  Control can get better but not of expectations I think. Splits are already very good which had  good market appeal.  Pitches are decent and can get better with time but I am not sure they will be all that great.  Off-speed and probably neutral in the GB/FB category. Would he go as the #1 pick in the draft, depends but definitely the top 5.

Grade: A-

While the bidding war was going on, Dover signed Luis Mesa for $2.9M. Seems real cheap doesn't it, at least down to Earth.  Well, he is no pitcher and a poor excuse of a 1B if you ask me but could make his living as a DH I think. Does have a good eye, contact and power, hopefully the splits will be better.

Grade: C

David Escobar made headlines after signing a contract with St. Louis for $2.8M. What can he do besides hit the long ball? Absolutely, positively nothing! To a NL team none the less.

Grade: F+

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Opening Day Part 2

Humiliation games of the Day: KC blasts Little Rock 14-3 and Chicago blows Pittsburgh 11-1.
Making it look close game of the Day: Baltimore puts up 7 runs in second while Dover score 5 runs late in a 12-7 finish.
Fish Fry in New York: Mets grill Marlins 10-3.
Knucklebones Return Marred: Cards down Rays 8-7 in 13 with a questionable call at the plate..
Miller Shiell hits two run walk off as Giants slip by the D'Backs in the 10th 3-1.

Detroit outlasts Minnesota 4-2.
Colorado Springs upends bhansell63's debut with 6-3 win over Vancouver.

Tandem Pitching

I have tried tandem pitching and I have never succeeded in being able to have success with it. First off the two starters need to get to the 7th or 8th inning throwing 60 pitches or less each because there are only three rest days between starts. Secondly it takes 8 pitchers to fill out the starting tandem roster. Third part comes from the pen as you only have 5 available and one is probably the closer. The other four need to be set up as tandem also, two available and two at rest. Those four need to be long relievers also at least.

Here is why it always failed with me. For some reason one of the opening starters doesn't get out of the first inning or doesn't make it through the second, that hurts the pen. One of the starting tandems gets injured, puts a quick kink in things. An injury to the pen isn't helpful but maybe not as devastating. Long extra inning games seem to happen in bunches, quick end to the pen and no way to rest them except to bust the tandems.

I have tried it with 14 pitchers on staff and that hurts the offense in more ways than one. A backup catcher and only two spare players that need to play just about every position and hit well are hard to come by.

Opening Day

High Light game of the day goes to the Dodgers vs Padres: Jim Griffin hits a lead off homer in the top of the fifth to provide the only scoring as Jacob Nixon goes for the complete game shut out victory.

Frustrating game of the day goes to the Rangers vs Redbirds: Texas pounded out 16 hits but could only score 3 runs in the 13 inning marathon. R.J. Bellhorn (most unlikely) scattered 10 hits in 8 innings of work but only gave up 1 run. The worst is even yet to come as the Redbirds score the winning run in the bottom of the 13th on 3 walks and 1 hit.

Real star of the game: Kirk Donnels, almost single-handedly, leads Oakland to a 3-2 nail biting win over the Angels.

Toronto speaks AL North dominance as they down Montreal 7-1.

Philly snookers Atlanta 5-4.

Cincy still have problems early at home losing 5-2 to the Brewers.

Houston tries tandem pitching, Reagan Mathews shows them how to pitch in a Mexico City 5-3 win.

Boston ignites in 8th for come back win over Washington 7-5.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

First IFA of Season 28

The first IFA of Season 28,  Deven Osoria, grabbed a paycheck of $8.6M form Mexico City.  The mature youngster is a fireballer that could surprise people with some decent abilities that could prop up the middle to end of a rotation or go some distance in the pen. Many were turned off by his age and possible frailty to go the big bucks.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Season 28 Mets

The fans were amazed we stole the show so easily in the East last season then went all the way to the NLCS. This season we want it all and know we will need to beat the Cubs in the end, but first we gotta stop our division rivals. From a management standpoint it has been a trying season already. Having to replace Omar Ordonez, Miguel Otanez, and Bob Olson should have been an easy task. Actually it wasn't all that hard, just took a lot of time finding the right player needed then wondering if they were ever gonna sign.

I can never figure out who is gonna be a Type B sometimes, I figured Ordonez would be a B, but no, Benito Ozuna was and he wasn't even good enough to be on my ML roster for the most part, not even as a backup. Otanez was an accident being on the team in the first place, in my opinion he hit well  but played a pretty bad 3B while he was the starter. Olson I thought would make a good 5th starter or solidify the pen, he did neither. Otanez is in Philly while Olson takes his dog show to Little Rock and Ordonez is hoping someone picks him up for mere pennies on the dollar.

Pepper Murton was run out of New York because he couldn't stop the stealing show other teams were putting on against us. Other than that he was a fine catcher and now makes his home in Toronto.

 Clarence Valentin also became a casualty when he showed up for Spring Training  barely walking because of arthritis in both knees, just a year removed from winning the GG at 2B. Spent most of the year in AAA but we were kind enough to let him finish his career with us at the ML level.

So meet the ML Mets for Season 28

Hitting Coach - Hector Levrault returns for his 5th season.
First Base -  Billy Kaufman is lucky to have a job.
Third Base - Phil Hitchcock returns for his 9th season, may retire afterwards.
Pitching - Livan Macias quickly took the job when the Kid wanted more money(?).
Pen - Dan Melton decided it was the right job after no other offers came his way and returns for his 2nd season.
Bench - Jerry Dawkins returns for his 2nd year.
Fielding - Jason Reynolds returns for his 5th straight season and 8th total.

Projected Starters:
C - Rich Kennedy and  Felipe Izquierdo, they may not hit very well but they stop the stealing show and handle the pitchers quite nicely.
1B - Leo Rodney starts his 7th season.
2B - John McInerney starts his 12th full season.
3B - Brutus Mora  was our pick to play the "Hot Corner", he was very hesitant as he wanted to play SS somewhere.
SS - Ronn Penny starts his 3rd full season.
LF - Ronny Gant is starting his 2nd season in New York and loves it here.
CF - Felipe Peralta starts his 2nd full season here.
RF - Marc Redman starts his 5th full season.

CF/2B/SS/3B - Carl Browning has had a rough time sticking at the ML level but we like him a lot because he is a Jack-of-all-Trades.
CF/2B/SS/3B - Jimmie Valentin is also a Jack-of-all-Trades but hasn't had much of a chance to prove himself as of yet.
COF/1B - Osvaldo Reynoso made a hit with management at his try-out day that coaches are being pushed to make him a starter somehow.


Harry Rodriguez surprises everyone that he is the #1 starter, pitches very very well but usually gets shafted.
Fausto Castillo only Met starter with a winning record last year.
Rich Faulk was kind of disappointing in our eyes last year but didn't pitch badly.
Dean Boone had a rough start and was released to the pen until he got it together, was the best starter after All-Star break.
Ubaldo Rijo is nicknamed the "Big Dynamo". Most teams snicker when he pitches but find him tough as nails.

Benny Calero has been a clutch pitcher since coming to the Mets.
Ted Maxwell has had his ups and downs. Last year started out as a joke on us I think.
Brian Grim surprised everyone with his capabilities.
Trace Kennedy gets the job done somehow.
Bobby Forbes and William Galloway are trouble makers for the most part and may find themselves back in AAA if there not careful.
George Atkins returns to his old stomping grounds to maybe finish his career. We are not sure if he is to be in the pen or the 5th starter as of yet.
Sherm Brock fell into the Closers role last year when Maxwell failed. Finished with 23 Saves in 24 Chances, just don't ask how many chances he failed to

The pressure is on these guys to perform well as we hired some thugs just in case this year. As Al Limon and Dusty Ingram were hired for instant breakdown support.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

HOF Dilima

Here we are at HOF voting time once again. Getting players in is one of the toughest things there is to accomplish. This year is no exception for that matter as I am stuck. Here is the best potential candidates that I think are most deserving. It's a long list and I can only vote for 5...uggggh


Junior Bocachica

Nomar Cloud

Lee Coleman 

Luis Cruz

David Guardado

Bey Lynch

Javier Santayana

Charlie Stone


Kent Heredia

Orlando Ozuna 

Vinny Post

Paulie Sanders

Ken Shumpert 

Pascual Solano

My votes so far are:
Ozuna,  Solano, Shumpert, Coleman and Santayana

The Swami Speaks

Here we go again with our fearless predictions. I have my aluminum hat on to reduce incidental brainwave malfunctions and the sleuthing fur ball has her tail ready by mention of throngs. So away we go. It could be a tad early to start but the Rule 5 draft is a joke and only has a few so called backups for help.

NL North

Cubs still garner the first place votes.
Reds come in a close second this year and a Wild Card once again.
Pirates are good enough for third.
Brewers could end up in third and will be young and enthusiastic.

NL East

The Mets won last year with solid all-around play even with patchwork at the end of the season. They catch the tail wag for first by a hair. You know, every time I put the Mets in first the Braves win, go figure.

The Braves made some off-season acquisitions to strengthen the pen. Was it enough? Everything hinges on Tyreace French if you ask me.

Louisville had enough of the chicken jokes and moved to Florida. They are good but we think the pitching still needs help.

The Phillies continue to get better but the rebuild continues.

NL South

All out civil war has been declared! Mexico City waited til the Marlins floundered last year. Houston played well but not well enough. St Louis was a late newcomer to the fray but never wavered.  This year the Marlins are the Rays in Tampa Bay with a new owner. Now for the suggested outcome of the blood bath. EGADS!

Astros get the nod to win the division, surprised? Hey, it ends up a coin flip on a three way tie.

Mexico City and Tampa Bay both end up losers. Ask Mal how it feels to have a 94 win team and not make the playoffs.

St Louis ends up 5 games back and cries, whether there is any crying in baseball or not.

NL West

The Dodgers got off to a great start last year then rolled over and played dead. Arizona had a change in their schedule that may have helped their stance last year while the Giants just didn't have enough gas in their tank. Meanwhile the Padres were listening to the Dead Kennedys. Another nail biter to the end I am afraid.

Giants surprises the pack and winds up in first place.
The Dodgers are a close second at 1 game back.
The D'Backs get a simplified yawn and join the Padres to get drunk.

In the end:
1. Cubs once again with Suzuki leading the charge.
2. Astros
3. Mets
4. Giants
5. Reds
6. Dodgers/Rays/Diablos/Braves .....could be a heart breaker.

AL North

Somewhat of a surprise last year as the Expos rose from obscurity. What a difference a year makes.

Toronto Blue Jays all the way. Yup, you heard it first right here.

Expos in second and a probable Wild Card.

Twinkies will be back on the market to no avail here.

Detroit disappoints one more time.

AL East

The cry goes up "Will someone please STOP Boston!"

It may not have fallen on deaf ears this year. Okay, I am being stupid again.

Baltimore steals first place.

Boston hopelessly falls to second and a Wild Card to the chagrin of others.

Dover who lacks the pitching joins the Padres and D'Backs in a drunken fracus.

Washington holds down the cellar yet again.

AL South

Kansas City was a Royal pain as predicted last year and Texas being bad azz as per usual.  There is a different air this year however or is there.

Kansas City all the way to the second seed even.

Texas may hang on for a Wild Card.

Little Rock will show up for every game.

Memphis is in a big learning curve.

AL West

Anaheim had to fight off that crew from Colorado last yer for the title then got punched in the face by a bunch of Texas outlaws. This year we see the Mariners traveled south to Oakland in a surprising move and a new owner that moved Helena to Vancouver. Speaking of which, this could get down right ugly here also.

Anaheim should take first again.

Colorado Springs should be second.

Vancouver surprises Oakland and might just shock the rest also.

Oakland has a promising year shot to hell.

1. Kansas City
2. Anaheim
3. Toronto
4. Baltimore
5. Colorado
6. Boston/Texas/Vancouver

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

FA Market

Denny Boyd became a happy camper with the money he got from the Cubs. Is good at getting a team out of bad situations and the Cubs are banking on that.

Kirt Blasingame also chimed in with the Cubs. Cubs are really hoping for a better season than last years disappointment. Not sure he should be classified as a Type A myself.

Mel White got a 3 year deal in Vancouver and maybe more than he was worth.  He is pretty good at closing time, semisonic or not.

Victor Beltran made a tidy profit from Boston.  He was good at cleaning up Ivan's messes last year, in Boston it will be a different story as there may be too many messes to clean.

Tomas Ramirez is another that is laughing all the way to the bank.  Yes he is a GG CF and that was his appeal but hitting may not be so appealing in Detroit.

Moises Valdes as a Type A might have been a joke and playing COF might even be a bigger one and his salary even bigger. One thing for sure is he can get on base and  that one little tidbit maybe be a boon in the Stick.

Rafael Pulido may have been the steal in the FA market which makes the Braves fans hopeful. He was on my radar but I was expecting a bigger salary than what he got. Closer or Ivan type setup, such a decision.

Brandon Miles  makes his way to Cincy where he might fit in as a cheap signing.

Alex Ramirez made a lifetime deposit at the bank as the most sought after Type B. I bailed at $7M per as I didn't think he was worth it myself. He is a proven commodity but was it the the Texas offense or him? At least in LA he has a fighting chance.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

FA Market Showdown

A flurry of Free Agent signings have our way come, so who were the winners and losers.

Quinton Payton found a new home in Boston with a nice fat check for 5 years. Can the well endowed ($12.5M) QPie doll keep his rockets in the stadium and off the Green Monster? PF Flyer will take the blame if it doesn't work out.

Mal decided to put a few stones in the socks of Jim Matthews to keep him hoppin. The aging vet signed a four year deal for $7.5M. We bet heavily there is a Team Option for the 4th.

Mal further put his balls on the chopping block by signing Benji Franco to a 5 year deal worth $11.3M.

 George Atkins went home to where it all began as he signed a $5.8M 3 year with Team Option deal which was comparatively cheap with the Mets.

The Giants went high handed with Michel Delgado as he netted a tidy little sum near $48M for 5 years. Not sure about this one for a SS poser but should be able to hit in Candlestick.

Pepper Murton was sure winner as he signed a 3 year deal for $3.2M. Run out of New York for not being able to throw out runners but can handle the high profile staff in Toronto.

Artie Betemit made his way to the gold mines in Anaheim as he signed a near $40M deal for 5 years.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Season 28

Welcome to Season 28 of the greatest league in I think. Welcome back knucklebones. A warm welcome to bhansell63 who takes over a team with a lot of promise. And no we aren't going to forget mrbrickey, he shows to be a noob, so lets teach him how to play the game right and help him out. This isn't an easy game to learn by any stretch and we will answer questions if you ask. The answer could be as confusing as the question sometimes but it will be honest.

Do you realize this is my 10th season since taking over the downtrodden Mets? Seems like yesterday. 5 second place finishes, two division crowns with 3 playoff appearances in that time. Not bad after 10 straight 4th place finishes.

What a playoff mess last season, Mets were the only team after round 1 not to get swept.  Then the Cubs score 17 runs in games 2 and 3 and barely win the the World Series. Going back and looking at the preseason predictions, if I had stuck to my guns I would have gotten all 6 right in the AL, never rule out Texas with Silent Ed at the helm and I really liked Montreal from the beginning. The NL turned into a bit of a shambles as I wouldn't pick the Mets to win the East and the bickering that went on out West was magical. Florida won in spite of Ivan the Terrible.

Speaking of Ivan, the watch will be on for his 400th win and maybe his 100th save. Lets not forget Dom Tabaka, though I would like too, who needs 13 more saves to cross the 600 save barrier.