I would like to thank rbedwell, rugby1 , bkevin ,lagzilla ,wylie and snowedin for their contributions to this piece.
Sandberg won his 5th division championship last season then traded or released his entire team. I guess not winning in the playoffs pissed him off.So I caught up to Sandberg at his yoga class on University of Washington Campus.He was posed in the Knelling Camel position when I asked him . What the hell???? Sandberg Shot back. "Listen I'm trying to get a hold of my anger issues by alternative methods.I won 5 division crowns and not once did I make it to the World Series. So I got rid of everyone and picked up a bunch of scrubs on the Free agent market. I also picked up some draft picks and some young prospects .I'm going to build a Winner!!!" I excused myself while he contorted into another pose. Then looked into all those moves.
OUT; Pete Potvin ,Ivan Olivo ,Wallace Matthews ,Seth Rando ,J.J. Melhuse ,Apollo West ,J.T. Nichols ,Charlie Christensen
IN or PROMOTED; Steve Cortes ,Flash Alexander ,Bip Downs ,Bill Lowe ,Tex Walters ,Stephen Perry ,Ricardo Moreno ,Warren Glover ,Valerio Alvarez ,Steve Fordham ,Oscar Wanatabe ,Luis Rodriguez ,
SUMMARY; Holy Crap!!! Talk about a Fire Sale .Gone are Nichols,West ,Rando and many others .This team will not win their division and a wild card is out of the question.
thejnice plays in another tough division and Finished third. The crazy thing is he was only 2 games out.Needless to say Thejnice has a good team and with a little more luck he could have won it.So I caught up to him at Mamma Carpuchies house of Charms and Spells. He was looking at a display of good luck charms in the back of the store and i asked him what was going on. He said "Well Muldoon I have tried everything Dream catchers, Priests ,Imams ,rabbits feet and magic beans. But nothing seems to give me any luck down the stretch. So I'm looking in to this Eastern Europe witchcraft thing and this could be the key to my Division crown." Hmmm...kinda spooky .So i bolted out of there before I picked up a H1n1 Curse or something.I then looked into the Highlanders transactions and this is what I found.
OUT;Raymond Punto ,Will Watson ,Carl Wells ,Julius Douglas ,
IN or PROMOTED;Heinie Ramsey ,Will Watson ,Victor Cedeno ,Mule Bates
SUMMARY;Jnice resigned Cedano and Watson to keep his infield stout and brought up a young pitcher who should help out a decent pitching staff. This team didn't need a lot of changes and they should contend for the division .They will be helped by the Toyotas trading Spree.The Highlanders are my pick to win the Division.
Pat007ohmss had a great season except for the end.They missed the division crown by 1 game.I don't know how Pat feels about losing the close games and races.But it Frickin Kills me!! With that said I found Pat at the Milwaukee Institute for Mental Health.He was there for a little "ME TIME" wink,wink.He was sitting in the garden Weaving a basket so i sat down next to him and in a whisper i asked .How are you feeling?? He just stared strait ahead and in a soft voice stated. "Man we were so close........Umm....I think I'm better now................I want to go back to work .I want to kick the living shit out of them bastards that cheated me!!! It was MINE!!!! MINE I SAY!!!! MY PRECIOUS!!!!" just then two orderlies arrived and and shoved two Prozac down Pats throat and escorted him back to the hospital.With that I checked on the off season moves Pat made from his Padded Room.
OUT; Victor Sanchez ,Hector Abreu ,Frank May ,Tom Buckley ,Milton Oliver ,Harpo Westbrook
IN or PROMOTED;Ken Hardtke ,Wes Richardson ,Vic Romero ,R.J. Hutton ,Sean Haynes
SUMMARY; All kidding aside Pat and I are in a few leagues together and he is always on top of his game. But that close loss probably lit a fire under him. He made a trade for a good SS and let go Abreau and May to Free Agency.Picked up some draft picks to reload his farm system.and plugged the holes with F/A's and a R5 pick. I don't think he's a strong as last season but he will compete for the Division.
Zmoty is back for his Third season and is still in a rebuild .As I look at his farm system he has some very tasty Prospects.I went to the team head quarters in Balmy Madison Wisconsin and asked Zee. whats Up??? "Zee smiled and replied. " Boy I have three dudes in AAA almost ready for the Bigs and a couple in AA that are season or two out.Give this team two maybe three years and i will make this a four team fight for the division." After that uplifting speech I looked at the transactions.
OUT;Cesar Hernandez ,Brent Ryan ,Jeremi Hill ,Max Offerman ,Lyle Loewer ,Gerald Cheng
IN or PROMOTED;Junior Machado ,Eric Tucker ,Alberto Fuentes ,Gabby Flanagan ,Tarrik Francis ,Diego Gandarillas ,Lloyd Perry
Summary; Zmoty has Signed a big time Free agent in Francis and is poised to start bring up some of that young talent.Right now he has filled the holes with Free agents. And resigned Tucker, Fuentes and Flanagan to short contracts so they won't be in the way of his future stars.This season the Dairy heirs will be a .500 club but lookout next year and beyond. They will be solid nice job Z.
I know you've heard me say this before but I'm gonna say it again.Ralph can build a team better than most owners and I kind of mimicked his philosophy(but without the same results).He is now in his 5th season of a Rebuild and any season now the Crabbers will make their move.I caught up to Ralph at The Rancho de Gordita in downtown San Juan. And he had this to say:
"Even in this steroid-free era, the Crabbers will knock a ton of balls out of the park, especially at home in Hiram Bithorn Stadium, aka La Plataforma de Lanzamiento (The Launching Pad). Built for power, the team will roll out bangers like Willie Mercado, Pablo Samuel, Glen Hughes, Vince Tipton, Steven Tartabull, Erubiel Espinosa, and Henry Dodd. The team should also be excellent defensively, but will only go as far as its young pitching takes it. San Juan will rely on a pair of rookies, Che Cho and Hi Shea (so those names a dozen times, really fast! ;-), to lead an otherwise weak staff. Last year's star IFA, Enrique Pimentel, may get a mid-season call-up if the team is still in contention and needs bullpen help. In the long run, the Crabbers have a lot of young talent and should be a contender for a long time, but will that happen in season 9, or will it need to wait another season or two?"
Summary; This young team will improve that is certain.But will they grow by leaps and bounds? That my fellow Wrigleyittes is the 64,000 Dollar question.My guess is no. But i believe this team is one year away from breaking out and into the playoffs.They may read this and use it as motivation then Ralph will owe me a bottle of Bourbon.
Rugby1 after winning his first World Series Brought in the moving vans and moved his team to Beautiful Syracuse.I caught up to Rugby while he was moving into his new Digs.Rugby,I said. What do you think of your team this year and can they repeat. He replied. "After receiving outrageous demands of increases to the stadium rental, lower concession revenue and no parking money from the Burlington chamber of commerce the Moose boarded the Midnight Express and headed west to Syracuse.We were able to save money on uniforms by keeping the Moose name so only the Logo on the hats had to change.We return all the key players from last season's championship team and with several players from our AAA team from last year we feel the offense and defense will be improved.The key newcomer is 20 year old Polin Pineiro (RF) who played his way into the starting lineup with a great spring training. Piniero, Tsuyoshi Hujimoto, Vic Chavez and Carlos Maduro form a potent offensive nucleus.The pitching staff led by Timo Mahoney and Dan Evers should continue to be strong. The Moose should be favored to win their division. If we can come close to last season's playoff run another championship is not out of the question." I left and started to look at his off-season moves.
OUT;Billy Watson ,Patrick Newfield ,Ryne Lake ,Glen Marte ,Rafael Lira
IN or Promoted;Bill Murphy ,Polin Pineiro
Summary;The Moose are pretty much the same team and it will be interesting to see if the new stadium helps or hurts.One thing for sure with the neutral stadium in Syracuse.The moose will improve their offensive numbers.They still are the favorites to win this Division.
Boehnerm always fields a good team, but despite their above average records.The Tripods have come up short in the Division and W/C races.I caught up to boehnerm at Bubbles House of Bounce in South Trenton.I found him bellied up to the Center Trampoline while a under dressed Babe bounced up and down.I sat down next to him,and asked him. What is it going to take to get these Tripods in the Playoffs?? He Replied "I pretty much have the same team but with another year of experience." Just then a second cutie bounced her way onto the Trampoline.Boehnerm continued. "I did trade a Pitcher and a Catcher to Tampa for some youngsters. But I'm a patient man and this is our year .I guarantee it." He then let out a whoop and jumped up on the Tramp with the lovelies and i left him their bouncing and bouncing with Glee. Here are the moves boehnerm made.
OUT;Adam Smith ,Tomas Ibarra ,Alfredo Blanco ,Sean Pellow ,Edgar Ordonez
IN or PROMOTED; NONE
The Tripods will try again this year to make the playoffs.They are weaker than the Moose but with some luck or bad luck for others they may make it.my guess is they are a couple players from Contending.
Bkevin has taken over a team that desperately needs a long time owner.And bkevin has a good track record in that respect.We know what its like taking over a team that has endured many different philosophies.Bkevin was busy at hiring a new coaching staff so he released this statement.
"i think the CBs will surprise a few people this season. several new high profile acquisitions including Sammy Estrada Rich Ward and Nigel Hasegawa will give the fans some offense to watch.the pitching may be a bit suspect but if we can outscore everyone, who cares? this wont be the 50 win team from last season. probably wont be a playoff team either, but tolodeodeans are patient."
OUT;Wally Lawrence ,J.T. Mlicki ,Norm Torre ,Armando Ortega ,Harry Saberhagen ,Tommy Nixon
IN or PROMOTED;Rich Ward ,Cody Sherman ,Nigel Hasegawa ,Sammy Estrada ,Rafael Lira ,Woody Piersoll ,Ronnie Jones ,Albert Renteria
SUMMARY;bkevin is being modest.He cleaned house and brought in a ton of talent.If they mesh we could have one of the biggest surprises in Wrigleyville.I think they will be shouting Hallelujah!!!!in Toledo.
Jmas410 won his 6th division crown in Wrigleyville.That was the good news ,the bad news is he won it with a record of 77-85.OUCH!! This is the weakest division and probably will be again this year(So I thought). I caught up to Jmas at the Salty Dog Saloon in beautiful Tampa. he was downing some shots of Sauza and I asked him about his team?? He replied "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.The constelations were aligned just right and we found ourselves as division Champs!!" With that he licked the salt off his hand and downed a Tequilla. He Continued "We were involved in a couple of huge trades and the stars are poised to break the .500 mark this year.We don't want to press our luck." with that jmas started dancing on the bar and I left before his clothing left his body.Here are the stars off Season moves.
OUT;Billy Quantrill ,Josh Sefcik ,Kevin Suzuki ,Luis Rodriguez
IN or Promoted; Mark Liniak ,Neil Pierce ,Clyde Little ,Luke Harris ,Marty Evans ,J.T. Nichols ,Apollo West ,Gill Kline ,Gerald Cheng ,Edgar Ordonez ,Sean Pellow ,Joseph Hyun ,Clyde Ratliff
Summary; Can you say GO FOR IT!!! Jmas emptied his farm system and picked up some of the Biggest names in Wrigleyville. Holy Crap talk about trades, he was invoved in the biggest ones.There are way to many to list in this small space and i could go on for hours .This team will be a juggernaught if they play like thier ratings.No longer will this division be the weakest.A huge power shift Indeed!!
The fans in Jacksonville are restless. Thats right, Rubber Manatee sales have plumeted with yet another losing season. So Sandleaguer has hired the PR firm Of Dewey ,Cheatum and Howe to bring the fans back to the ballpark. They will bring back the Rubber Manatee Races that were popular the last couple of years. And They also will start Mammal Mammary Mondays. The Manatees will post a picture of a Mammal's Mammary in the Local Newspapaer. If you can guess The Mammal Mammary you will get two free tickets to any Monday home game. I recieved this press release from Sand. " I am in year 5 of my rebuild. And if the great fans of Jacksonville will be patient. We will deliver a winning Manatee Team." Here are the moves he made this off season.
OUT;Javier Lopez ,Willie Baez ,Benito Gardel ,Gerald Truman ,Geronimo Perez ,Mark Yamaguchi ,Erubiel Espinosa
IN or Promoted;Kirk Davidson ,Malcolm Hernandez ,Quinton Sauer ,Evan Swann ,Jacque Martin ,Ramon Lo ,Stu Stewart ,Stan Fassero
SUMMARY; Boy Sand sure improved his Pitching staff and Added some pop to the offense. But Sand can still use a big time SS that can hit and a CF with better range may help the pitching staff out. With that said the manatees are a young and dangerous team.If they can sneak into the playoffs they could go on a Moose like run.My guess is they will be above .500 just shy of a W/C.
You'll be happy to know that Lagzilla has moved out of his FEMA Trailer and purchased a Double wide and 40 acres.Now that he's "moving on up" to a DEEELUX trailer.He hopes his team will move up in the standings.I found lagzilla at the winter meetings and i asked him what he thinks about the upcoming season? He replied.
"Slight upswing for the -Waders. Better Bullpen, uptick in power and stronger SP wil add about 10 more wins. Ummm...That's hovering around .500. This will not be released in the Press package."
OUT;Solly Gwynn ,Mark Vining ,Rigo Jimenez ,Wilton Martin
IN or PROMOTED;J.J. Melhuse ,Rick Rose ,Aramis Flores ,Derek Francona ,Alexander Duckworth ,Matt Myers
Summary; All kidding aside New orleans may vie for a Wild Card this season.I think they are a couple players short of being a division Champ.
Wylie wrote a great preview and i'm not going to mess it up .So heres Wylie!!!
The Chimps moved the franchise from Wichita to Charlotte in the hopes that the move from the extreme pitcher friendly park to the more neutral park would help the offense, while not hurting the pitching too much. The team is built around pitching and defense, with hopefully enough offense to get the job done.
C - Nicholas Meluskey: Melusky came over in a midseason trade last year. he solidified the catching position, with .295/.330/.429 numbers, while establishing a comfortable working relationship with the pitching staff.
1B - Pablo Vega: Vega had s serious power drop last season, even though his average stayed basically the same. He came to spring training in great shape this year, and has his sights set on comeback player of the year.
2B - Hughie Leon: Leon moved from CF to 2B at the end of last season. His D was somewhat shaky at 2nd, but after working in winter league on his 2B fundamentals, he should be very sound on D while producing decent nu8mbers with the stick.
3B - Placido Cruz - In another move made to improve the defense, Cruz moved from short to 3rd towards the end of last season. His offense keeps improving, and he should win at least 1 GG at 3rd before he's done.
SS - Luis Mota and Pete Torres: Mato and Torres should split time at short. Mato is a wizard with the leather, but has a very weak bat. Torres has a much more productive bat, and while he's not quite as adept as Mato deensively, he can more than hold his own.
LF - Andrew Woodward: A late free agent signing, the Chimps look for Woodward to be at least average if not better both on d and at the plate
CF - Geronimo Candelaria: Candelaria has been a consistent .280/.350/.450 producer at bat and is abopve avaerage defensively
RF - Albert Brito - Brito is only 23, yet his bat is already dangerous nad his D is improving.
Pitching Staff: The Chimps boast a solid, if not spectacular staff.
The top 3 starters, Evan Thomson, Charles Fox and Ricardo Hernandez have all been consistently good and have all had moments of greatness. The Chimps are hoping for a minimum of 50 wins from the 3 of them. The fourth and fifth spot are probably goiing to be filled by young Dwight Webster, who pitched respectably after a late season callup last year, and Dan Dalrymple. Dalrymple has been rumored to be on the trade block evvery year for the last few seasons, yet by the end of the year he's in the starting rotation and pitching well.
The bullpen should be solid. It is led by Gene Eaton, Daniel Forbes and Duke Krivda. All 3 can and have closed games and have over 500 ML saves between them.
Summary;Wylie's quest for his second playoff appearance is well on its way.He definatly has a game plan.Looking at his preview i agree moving his team to a neutral park is the best way to guage your team.I cannot stand the extreme parks.You never know what your gonna get when you bring in a new player.Look for wylie to contend for the division crown and if he falls short he could wrest a w/c from the South.
Snowedin has been a force in the league for the last three seasons.Having to settle for wild card berths hasn't set well with him.But playing in the Division of Death you have to take what you can get.The Ectoplasm were bounced out of the playoffs by the Kickapoos for the second consecutive year. I caught up with Snowedin at his beautiful new digs in sunny Tuscon and he had this to say.
"We are very excited about the move to Tuscon. After evaluating many cities,we decided to choose a town with a ballpark that plays to our team's strength...BIG BATS! Tuscon Electric Stadium should allow us to put up some big numbers this year with the power of Tyrone Beck, Vic Velazquez, Dale Gordon,Carlos Santos, and Mark Phillips. Our pitching is just ok. Although we have a few solid starters and decent relief, in this ballpark, the Groundball/Flyball ratios are a little low. We are banking on our offense winning a lot of games for us!!"
Summary; I look for Tuscon to be a wild card team again.And with their potent bats they will have impressive offensive numbers at their new Stadium.But in the playoffs its my humble opinion that Pitching Wins.So how they get past the Kickapoos formidable rotation is the big question.But hey if the Moose can do it why not The Ghost's?
My team took a step back last season in the Division of Death. This year i'm in a Rebuild mode. My team is aging as we speak and the farm system is weak.I look to shore up both those concerns by sacraficing a winning season and restock my minors.These are my off season moves.
OUT;Walt Hill ,Marino Merced ,Richie Howell ,David Rigdon ,
IN or PROMOTED;Dennis Burke ,
SUMMARY; My team will finish below .500 and pick up a decent draft pick next year.
Sonneboy made his first Playoff appearence last season then lost in the first round.But hey at least they made it.Playing in the DD doesn't help his seeding. And they look to improve on last years success.I caught up to sonneboy at team headquarters and asked him about his team? he said " I have to find a way to beat them Kickapoos. I let some high priced Free agents go. And look to bring up some youngsters to take their place.But someone needs to break up them Kickapoos. I wonder if the Monopoly laws apply? " I shook his hand and went to check on his moves.
OUT;Daniel Forbes ,David Otanez ,Bip Downs
IN or PROMOTED;Brendan Bonilla ,Jimmie Guerrero ,
SUMMARY; Sonne let a Couple of Blue Chip Free Agents go hoping to pick up some 1st round picks.But alls he got were two 2nd rounders and two 1st round comps.Bad luck i know how he feels.But all is not lost he did bring up young fireballer Jimmie Guerrero and he will help fill the loss.Anahiem will battle for the last wild card berth.
Heres a shock!!! The Kickapoos missed the World Series. Yup they were defeated in the NLCS by the World Camp Moose.Mark Will come back strong this season , you can be sure.I caught up to the Commish at the Wrigleyville League Headquarters in Chicago. And i asked him .What now??? He replied . " My Kickapoos are favored every year and this year is no different. I just need a little luck in the playoffs .I did bring in Seth Rando who is one of the best hitting pitchers in the league." Just then the phone rang. It was sandberg with another trade offer. With that I went on my way and looked at the S.F. Transactions.
OUT;Luis Rodriguez ,Pete Torres ,Louie Mendoza ,Diego Gandarillas ,Mark Liniak ,Steve Fordham ,Oscar Wanatabe ,Kirk Davidson ,Lloyd Perry ,Willie Gonzales ,Juan Parra
IN or Promoted; Seth Rando ,Trenidad Walls
SUMMARY;The Kickapoos get stronger every year thanks to Marks trading savy.So again they will win the Division of Death. But can they win it all Hmmm....... The playoffs are unpredictable but they are the favorites.