Wednesday, October 30, 2013

AL EAST - Season #27 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -
Despite making the playoffs eight straight seasons, the Baltimore Renegades still have not won a World Series Championship. This off-season, Baltimore talked to nearly every team in the league and left no stone unturn in their quest to add ML talent to the roster. Baltimore was extremly busy, as they pulled off FIVE trades and signed FIFTEEN free agents (six of which were assigned to AAA). Baltimore even signed and traded two players (Wayne Ohman and Mickey Reid). When the dust had settled, the Renegades had turned over half of their Major League roster.

The team tried to sign the top five free agents on the market, but the cost for Pedro Espinosa Humberto Samuel, Wilson Rolls, and former Renegades Derek Henderson and Rickey Atchley soared above what the team was willing to pay. All five players received 5-year packages between $75 and $110 million dollars each. Instead, Baltimore settled on adding roll playing hitters and added arms to compete for rotation spots and also fortify their bullpen, which collapsed in the playoffs (again) last season.
The signing fifteen free agents added depth and allowed Baltimore to trade off last season's bullpen and add sorely-needed QUALTY starting pitching. They did use some of the unused free agency money to lock up glove glove CF- Mark Lee for another five seasons.
Baltimore was in first place from wire-to-wire last season but they again fell apart at crunch time in the playoffs. After two years of making trades to get younger, this off-season saw the roster get older and more experienced. The team led the league in almost every offensive catagory last season, but traded away four of those key young players to improve the starting pitching and bullpen.
The Renegades still have a decent core of productive ballplayers and Owner/GM Terry Swayne has done an excellent job of front-loading many of the team's long-term contracts. Financially, Baltimore is in great shape for the next five seasons and has the ability to sign just about anyone they want (or need). Many of the contending teams have over-spent in recent seasons and are (or will be) paying the price soon.

The Renegades line-up is still the strength of the team. The line-up includes returning players C-Al Matos, 1B-Craig Cook, SS-Craig Jackson, CF-Mark Lee, amd former 3B turned RF-Peter Carlson. Joining those five are former Renegades 1B/DH-Emmett Collins, 3B-Wilson Wise, and LF-Cory Thomas. Rounding out the offense will be newly acquired 2B and lead-off hitter Larry Kennedy.  The four-man bench is deep with C-Bernie Rosado, UT- Junior Estrada, 2B/CF-Terry Ramirez, C/1B/DH-Anthony Hiatt.
Baltimore will go with a 4-man rotation for much of the season. The starting rotation is balanced and deep. The rotation includes returning veteran right hander Lou Hendrickson and young lefty Tim Leiter and it includes newly acquired RHP- Jimmie Veras (another former Renegade) and LHP- Ben Bolton.

The bullpen will again be anchored by left-handed closer Darrin Roth, but the supporting cast has changed. The set up men are righties Louie Abreu and Pepe Flores along with lefties D.J. Webster (the only remaining jold over from last years team), Delino Guillon, and recently acquired Coco Reagan. Lastly, the team will go with two long men this season, as RHP-Bob Brand and LHP-Gordon Wilkinson will be spot starters when needed throughout the season. 

Top Rookie- C-Al Rijo (AAA)
Key Players Lost- RHP-Angel Estrella (trade), RHP-Nolan Everrett (trade), RHP-Calvin Forbes (trade), RHP-Miguel Matos (trade), RHP-Julian Ortiz (trade), LHP-Albert Rendondo (trade), 1B- Nate DeJean (trade), 1B-Oswaldo Padilla (trade), 2B- Pablo Durazo (trade), 3B/OF-Alan Graham (trade), LF-Benji Aguilera (trade), 1B/OF- Russell Collins (FA), and DH- Jim Morris (retired).
Key Players Acquired- RHP-Louie Abreu (FA), RHP- Bob Brand (FA), RHP- Pepe Flores (FA), RHP- Jimmie Veras (trade), LHP- Ben Bolton (trade), LHP- Delino Guillon (FA), LHP- Coco Reagan (trade), C/1B/DH- Anthony Hiatt (FA), 1B/DH- Emmett Collins (trade), 2B- Larry Kennedy (FA), 3B-Wilson Wise (trade), LF-Cory Thomas (trade).
Key Off-Season Transaction- Acquiring LHP-Ben Bolton and RHP-Jimmie Veras to bolster Baltimore's starting rotation. It took a lot of manuevering with free agent signings and trades, but the Renegades were able to acquire two stud starting pitchers in a free agent market heavy on only hitters and relievers.

Columbus Cheese N' Rice -


Dover Dingbats -

Indianapolis Arrows -