Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sorry for the delay...

... The wife has been hogging the computer for some mammoth report that she is preparing for school. I hope to have the Rule V draft done in the next day or two.

Zev

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Return

And One Piggy Will Rule Them All!

- form the desk of the Supreme Piggy

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Season Preview: River Cities

Mammoth Moves Make Marietta More Monumental.

As I sit here synching my new iPod (all team employees got one engraved with the team logo on them for the championship) I figure I can out do Mack in the season preview department.

Unlike people, like, say Mack, I entered this offseason with a nice, shiny, meaningful trophy commemorating my defeat of say, MACK, in the postseason. And it is shiny.

Not that Mack will ever see it at his place. But he can stop by the cabana sometime here on the Muskingum River and see it. He can't TOUCH it. But he can see. No touchee.

Deciding not to just coast into my repeat season I determined that there were places that I was, gee whiz, OVERstocked with talent. My minors has become fruitful and it was time to take some players who had become major contibutors out to have them shot.

If only our elected leaders would do the same to their contributors, right?

With Major League roles being claimed by SS John Hukill RF Patrick Valdes and others it was time to commit to them. Therefore certain highly contributing players were out.

Chet Edwards, for one, a very good player for River Cities for three seasons. He made two all star teams at two different positions, 3B and SS and won a title last year. But his position shift after the acquisition of Robert Fout prior to 2008 was the harbinger of doom for him. With Hukill killing the ball at four levels (combined 45 HR and 123 RBI from A all the way up to the majors) there was simply no room for Chet and his $6 million dollar salary.

And you guys should KNOW by now that I love draft picks. I dealt Edwards, UT Diaz, MR Davis, and SP Alonso to Denver for 4.5 star SP prospect Juan Villatoro as well as Denver's 1st and 2nd round picks. I went into the off season reasoning that, talented as Diaz, Alonso, and Davis were it was unlikely they'd break through in the upcoming season and therefore moving them made sense if the right offer came along. And here one was.

That same sim I dealt Starting pitchers Hai Ebert and Charles Olaughlin, again two players who have talent but will not be breaking through to the Majors with River Cities to Walla Walla, who was in need of SP help for a first and second round picks as well as some throw in because the game won't allow a trade without players on both sides.

At this point I've dealt six players, most of the major league or major league ready and acquired two firsts, two seconds, one not-quite-ready prospect and one guy I think I sent to clean the toilets in the visitors locker room.

As you can tell I determined that the draft class coming up wasn't particularly deep with talent so I attempted to front load my draft acquisition as much as possible. With those extra picks I acquired:

5 Star 1B Marzano
4 Star C Ward
3 Star SP Dones
2 Star SP Durand

My own first round pick went to

2.5 Star SP Higa

Also with 4.5 Star SP Villatoro I'm pretty happy with rebuilding my prospect base on the fly. After the Series my minors was rated (I seem to recall) seventh in the league. After all of my motions it ends up at #2. A gain of five places.

I knew going into the FA market I wouldn't be active. With players ready to call up from AAA I didn't see the need to pay anyone the big dollars they'd be demanding. I made some lowball offers to some possibly useful players on the off chance they'd make a snap decision but no luck. I spent the entire FA period polishing my trophy and cluck-clucking to myself about the prices going for mid-range players. Tsk-tsk, indeed.

So ready for the season I find I'm pretty happy with where I am. I find myself with a solid rotation of:

Wheeler
Okane
Orozco
Vaz
Starner

Should injury occur either Marez or Villatoro can come in and work it. So I've got two quality back ups. Should either of them develop unexpectedly I'll deal one of the existing starters for whatever it is I might want at the moment.

I need to call up one MR to complete the staff but I have several options there as well.

My offense is still in pretty good shape.

Baker stays at C this season or until Ward is ready.

Caufield stays at 1B. He's a little power-light but brings a .300+ AVG and high OBP to the table.
Palacio solidifies his hold on 2B with his high AVG and OBP routine. Useful and helpful.

Fout stays at 3B and will hopefully keep up his 40HR+ level of performance.

Hukill takes over full time at SS. He should be considered the leading ROY candidate if he can consolidate his gains of last year.

Shaun Guinn stays in LF with his workmanlike play. Not spectacular but good enough around the edges. I can think of MANY teams who wouldn't mind having him around.

CF shows some change as I'm calling up Anton Suarez to share time with Gary Giles. Anton brings a lot of potential to the position and can't gain anything more in AAA after a .309/.340/.474 season there last year.

RF brings Patrick Valdes to the table full time with his high AVG/explosive power routine.

It's a solid front eight each day.

And with Verdugo backing up both C and 1B, Spalding (my only offensive sink) backing up all three IF positions, and Welch doing RF and LF back up my big problem will be finding out whether I need to bring more than 22 players to the park on most days. Ho hum.

In addition, I managed to bring down the average age of my Major League players from 4th to 8th over this off season. I think I'm well-primed for a repeat performance as Cecil Cup champs.

Y'all might as well give up now. There's no competing with the paddlewheelers on the Ohio.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Season Preview: Seattle Monarchs

Well, it was a big off-season for the Monarchs as a dramatic youth movement was made. Most notably, three fifths of last year's rotation (Garcia, Daye, and Icenhour) were shipped away. All three were good or great pitchers but they were all on the wrong side of 30 and all carried high salaries. Garcia was one of the few 5 star starting pitchers, but is 36 and his contract expires at the end of the year. After last year's disappointing end to the season, I felt like I needed to get younger and build what would hopefully be an overwhelming team in a couple of years.

To that end, I targeted two of the best pitching propsects, Diehl and Shipp, and acquired them in a trade. I also grabbed McGreevey and Sedillo from Michael. Along with Frau, who I got mid-season last year, and Hester, who may become as good as any pitcher in the game (not named Nelligan) I have a pretty good stable of young, talented starting pitching. Four of my five starters for Opening Day (Hester, McGreevey, Frau, and Sedillo) are all pitching for the minimum. Only Peter Bird is left as a veteran starter. I suspect Diehl will be ready to come up mid season or at the start of next year, so there will be a decision to be made there.

I also swapped the aging OBP machine Klopp in the Garcia game, targeting one of the top young outfielders, Sean Arant. Klopp was one of my favorite players, but he was also 34 and I wasn't sure how much longer his bat will last. Assuming (hoping) I can resign Arant to a long term deal, I have one outfield position set for the foreseeable future. Between Maclin, Machen, and uberprospect Cedeno, I should be able to find solid bookends for years to come. I also have Mudge at first, a great platoon at catcher between Blassingame and Herbert, and a good young second baseman in Armendariz. Willer and Raglin are aging on the left side of the infield, but I hope that another 5 star prospect in AAA, Alustiza, will fill one of those spots in the years to come.

With the money saved by my youth movement, I added Rawlins and two big guns to the bullpen, Deschamps and Contreras, in free agency. Rawlins wasn't a primary target going into free agency, but he apparently wanted to come to Seattle enough to turn down deals with much more money and more years. Having him sign a two year deal for less than $12M per year has pure upside. Either he plays out his contract, or I trade him for something tasty in return. It was a no lose situation. I fell in love with Deschamps last year, given his plus endurance for a reliever and his five-star ratings. Contreras was a fall back plan after Zev swiped Morales. All in all though, free agency been berry, berry good to me.

In the end, I expected when I started the offseason to have a significant setback this season but great hope for the future. However, seeing the final roster, I don't think there will be much of a dropoff this year. My starting pitchers won't be as good as they have been, but my offense, bullpen, and bench are all better. I expect to win over 100 games again and be back in the Cecil Cup. But, given the young talent I've stockpiled, if you plan to knock me off the top of Adams Division, you better strike this year. Otherwise, you may not see the playoffs for some time.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Well I'm pretty excited about the season for the first time in a while. After finally hitting rock bottom and getting my payroll under control last season, my 9 year rebuilding plan is finally on the upswing part, woohoo!

My pitching staff is much improved with last years ace now my 4th best starter. I have three better relievers than last year and one more when Abarca gets healthy. And if we can teach Dalton Davis to stop throwing like a girl, it'll actually be pretty solid.

Chet Davis solidifies the infield(even if it did require reshuffling my infield so nobody is in their best position) and gives me a true leadoff man for my speed loving team.

Didn't pick up the outfield help I wanted for Shunk(stupid Free agents who won't talk to me, or take crappier offers can go to hell)

I know I'm not a challenge to the big boys yet, But I have my sights on 75 wins if I don't get hurt again(I'm still pissed at Brooklyn for breaking Quesada's back a couple years ago, and turning him from a great catcher to an average one, damn you Zev!) and get a few more butts in the seats.

I'm happy to get this season started, and my march toward mediocrity underway.

Thanksgiving away

I'm away Thurs - Sat. I'd appreciate the holding off of Spring training during that period.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Signings! Rule 5! Spring Training!

Yeah! Free Agency is finished. The last remaining major league contracts were signed today. They were:

Denver inked 1B Logan Sletten to a two year deal worth $450,000 per year. Logan spent 2008 with New York, hitting .252 in bench duty.

The Zephyrs also picked up reliever Michael Jones, who has been with Houston since the league's inception. Jones gets a two year pact worth $850,000 per year. Last year, he appeared in 76 games for Houston, compiling a 6-3 record, with 6 saves and a 4.29 ERA.

Hickory signed SP David Milam to a three-year deal worth $350,000 per year. Milam last saw action in the majors in 2006, when he posted an 8-15 record for Walla Walla. In 2008, he was 9-7 for Walla Walla's AAA team.

Long-time minor league catcher Bill Arend leaves Brighton Beach (Brooklyn's A ball team) and gets a one year deal with Hickory for $320,000. Arend hit .295 last year with 13 home runs and 46 RBI in 92 games.

The Rule 5 draft will be held on Monday night. Spring Training will be held on Thursday night. After that, we go on to the 2009 campaign.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.

Zev

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

OK, I got the message....

The next sim will be the last one for free agency.

Zev

OK, I got the message....

The next sim will be the last one for free agency.

Zev

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another sim run. No signings

No signings this sim.

Zev

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

One More Signing

CF George Rawlins found a new home in Seattle today, signing a 2 year deal worth $11.65 million per year. The 33 year old center fielder spent last year with River Cities and Walla Walla, hitting .329 with 27 dingers and 106 RBI. He also made his second All-Star appearence and won his first Cecil Cup with River Cities.

Next sim will be tomorrow or Thursday night.

Zev

Monday, November 06, 2006

Trade: Seattle and South Bay

Sorry, no elaborate fake news item announcing the trade.

Probably because we hadn't made a trade in an entire week of game time and were starting to go into withdrawal, Michael and I made another trade that's reflected in the most recent sim. Seattle sent relievers Edward Beliveau and Adam Beall to South Bay in exchange for South Bay's third round draft pick in 2010 and career minor league reliever William Dade. Basically, I sent two guys from my "Dirt Cheap to Good Homes" post from October 4 to Michael, thereby filling his advertisement for a LOOGY (see his post dated October 26).

It's a simple case of supply meeting demand.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Three More Signings!

Three more signings!

LF Freddie Ceballos landed in Houston today, signing a three year deal that will pay him $695,000 per year. Freddie spent last season with Hickory's AAA team, hitting .318 and stealing 23 bases. Freddie has two Cecil Cups with Stockholm/Florida in 2004 and 2006.

Another former member of the 2006 Florida championship team landed with a new home as well. MR Jose Abarca, signed a 3 year deal with Denver for $2.5 million per year. Jose spent 2008 with South Bay's AAA team, appearing in 68 games with a 4.54 ERA.

Lastly, 1B Juan Mendoza, late of Walla Walla, has signed with the New York Gothams for one year at a $300,000 salary. Last year, the former All-Star hit .224 with one home run and 10 RBI in limited duty.

I'm going to try to get the next sim in tomorrow night.

Zev

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