Tuesday, February 4, 2014

AL EAST - Season #28 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -
The more things change...the more they stay the same.  Countless trades have made the cast change, but the Baltimore Renegades have continued their winning ways...at least when it comes to the REGULAR SEASON.  Despite making the playoffs nine straight seasons, the Baltimore Renegades still have not won a World Series Championship. This off-season, Baltimore made  another batch of trades to try and get younger, add speed at the top of the batting order, and revamp their  bullpen.  When the dust had settled, the Renegades had turned over half of their Major League roster...again.

Baltimore won 109 games last season but lost in the ALCS to the Columbus Cheese and Rice in an Epic 17-inning game 7.  The loss took a lot out of the organization and the front office "Voweled to do whatever it takes" to win this season.  The Renegades have never liked having players making more than $15M annually, but they made a big trade to bring back 3B-Derek Henderson this off-season.  

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 C-Al Matos, 1B-Craig Cook, 2B-Terry Ramirez, 3B-Derek Henderson, SS-Peter Carlson, LF-Cory Thomas, CF- Mark Lee , RF-Wiki Rivas, and DH-Emmitt Collins.   The five-man bench is flexible with C-Bernie Rosado, UT- Flip Riske, UT-Jose Guzman, 1B-OF-Scot Simontacchi, and 1B/DH-Nolan Krivda.  

Baltimore's strong rotation is anchored by RHP-Octavio Valezuela and LHP-Ben Bolton. RHP's Walt Osborne, Rashun Gonzalez, and  lefty Tim Leiter round out the rotation.

The bullpen will again be anchored by left-handed closer Darrin Roth. He briefly lost his closer role last season to Coco Reagan but regained it with Reagan's trade. The set up men are righties Fram Maurer and JT LeCure along with lefties Hal Alexander and D.J. Webster.  Lastly, the team will go with RHP-Milt Gagne.  The future Hall Of Famer was acquired an emergency starter and swing man  until LHP-Johan Heredia is ready to join the ML pitching rotation. 

Top Rookie- LHP-Johan Heredia (AAA)
Key Players Lost- RHP-Herb Leary (trade), RHP-Wandy Urbina (trade), RHP-Jimmie Veras (trade), LHP-CoCo Reagan (trade), 2B-Larry Kennedy (trade), 3B-Wilson Wise (trade), and SS-Danys Sanchez (trade).

Key Players Acquired- RHP-JT LeCure (trade), RHP-Milt Gagne (trade), LHP-Hal Alexander (trade), LHP- Johan Heredia (trade), LHP- Tim Leiter (trade), 3B-Derek Henderson (trade), OF-Wiki Rivas (trade), and DH/1B-Nolan Krivda (trade).

Key Off-Season Transaction- Re-acquiring (for the fourth time) 3B-Derek Henderson.  Henderson's speed and power combination was missing atop Baltimore's line-up last season.  His $20M per year price tag is expensive, but it shows the fans of Baltimore that the Renegades want to win at all cost.


Charlotte Knights -

Columbus Cheese N' Rice -

Dover Dingbats -