Milwaukee Blue Ribbons -
Outlook: The fans were growing restless with losing, so weary with heinous drubbings of the local nine, a front-office overwhelmed by the preview regime’s largess and its pleas of “wait ‘til next year” that even the mid-game sausage races felt monotonous. When adults racing around the warning track in cartoon costumes of chorizo and bratwurst fail to excite the masses, then change is needed -- and fast.
The Blue Ribbons, sensing the waning fan interest and wanting to capitalize on an ebbing division, rapidly accelerated their rebuilding plan. They cashed in money and prospects to make four major upgrades to the roster—two veteran starting pitchers, a franchise shortstop and a star reliever—to catalyze a more incremental growth toward contention.
Milwaukee returns a dynamic offense headlined by former No. 1 overall pick and AL Rookie of the Year Nap Slaughter and now should have the pitching to make a run at its first AL North title since Season 22, back when money was lavished on free agents like it grew on trees. Out from under those colossally bad contracts and starting to reap the rewards of its revamped farm system, the Blue Ribbons are expecting to play meaningful games in September once again.
Best returning players: CF Nap Slaughter, LF Julian Aquino, RF Jason Kydd, 3B Dennis Herzog DH Carlos DeRojas, SP Roosevelt Montana, SP J.D. Randall, RP Shannon Springer
Key Players Lost: RP Marvin Brown (trade), SS Chico Lind (Trade) and prospects SP Johan Heredia (trade), SP Vinny Hasegawa
Key Players Acquired: SS Pedro Espinosa (trade), SP Willie Harville (FA), SP Jimmie Veras (trade), RP Alex Mangual (FA)
Top Rookie: 2B Hank Brown
Best off season move: The whole slew of acquisitions, taken in tandem, were necessary to turn this franchise around.
Buffalo Ice Dogs -
Detroit Wolverines -
Syracuse Snow Blowers -