Jackson Jayhawks -
After six disappointing seasons the Jayhawks start the 28th year of Mike Squires World with real optimism. The owner has spent the off-season watching 'Moneyball' and implemented the first shoots of that frugal $ budget...oh, player salaries up $3m but there was a reason. Maybe it will work or the Jackson fans will probably think it was 'Major League' that had been viewed.
A shake-up in the coaching department. The Bench Coach position has been transferred to Jesus Duran who has spent five seasons with the franchise but all in the minors and no higher than AA.
The extra dollars mentioned above were needed to secure the services of a big hitting guy to steady the offense: 2nd Baseman Kane Riviera (ML ave . 283) signed FA papers and will be the regular bat at the clean-up position. The rest of the line-up...just hope they can put a few hits together!
The Jayhawks' pitching department is experienced: well, most have played through many of the disappointing seasons. D'Angelo Cruz is due a breakout year and is the #1 SP. Micky Simms the #2 is in for his fifth campaign in Jackson whilst #3 R A Moss is in for this fourth. Mark Nakano takes the #4 slot. With so many tight games the closer will be Albert Ramirez (only 26/35 success rate in S27).
It's time for the basement to be vacated. This is the start of the future.
Kansas City Googly Mooglies -
The Googly Mooglies took a step back in Season 27, done in by a subpar offense and a disastrous bullpen en route to a 93-loss season. But with a few additions to the relief corps plus a handful of anticipated promotions from the minor leagues, hopes were high that Kansas City would again contend in the National League South. Lefty Joseph Martin leads a revamped bullpen that also includes newcomers Billy Sherman and Tim Dodd. The lineup was expected to be bolstered by the additions of prospects Darby Sherman and Jim Rodgers. Top prospect Jordan George, a left-handed pitcher, was also expected to graduate to the majors sometime early in the season.
Hombres Azul -
Last year, the Hombres Azul had their lowest win total, and missed the playoffs for the first time since season 16. Management still believe the roster is talented enough to go back to the post-season without the need for a prolonged rebuild.
The focus this offseason was to replace SS Danys Sanchez who was traded away at the S27 trade deadline. The initial target was free agent Esteban Guerrero, but at the same time it became clear that other teams were offering more than MC thought he was worth – the agent for SS Tomas Marin pointed out that his client could be signed for a competitive front-loaded contract, allowing the club to also offer terms to RF Marcus Carter, Carter isn’t really needed this year, but is the long-term replacement for Ronnie Romero.
The Hombres Azul then sent Milt Gagne – the Squires all-time leader in wins - back to Baltimore along with RP Hal Alexander for 2B/OF Mickey Reid and RP Coco Reagan. The acquisition of Reid was fortuitous as his expected playing time has increased considerably after injury to CF/2B Jake Mills.
The team will miss franchise leader in hits, runs, RBI and lots of other things: Delino Manzanillo, and we wish him well in Richmond.
There’s not a great deal of talent waiting in the wings, but SP Anthony Bohanon looks like he’ll see the ML roster sooner rather than later.
Monterrey Border Jumpers