Thursday, February 12, 2015

AL EAST - Season #32 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -
The Baltimore Renegades DID make it to the World Series last season but after leading 3 games to 2...they lost to the Colorado Maize N' Blue.  That makes TWELVE straight seasons of playoffs appearnces without a World Series ring.  The team had solid perfomances from three key starting pitchers last season.  Henderson Riggs (20-8, 3.41 ), Jin Ho Uehara (15-7, 4.15) and veteran Octiavio Valenzulea (14-3, 3.24) all pitched extremely well during the regular season and throughout the playoffs.  The Renegade's philosophy has changed this off-season; as, the team is going with pitching and defense this year instead of a stacked line-up.  Baltimore still has a decent core of productive ballplayers, but the shift in thinking means they won't have to score 11-12 runs every single game...they should be able to win the low scoring games now too. 

Owner/GM Terry Swayne has decided NOT to front load long-term contracts any more and the team is going to spend the money available to go after free agents until the farm system can develope players again.  
The revamped Renegades line-up projects as followed...
(1) Jin Nishioka LF
(2) Derek Tanner 2B
(3) Lyle Beck 3B
(4) Artie Bukvich DH
(5) Oswaldo Padilla 1B
(6) Jose Velez RF
(7) Al Matos C

(8) Joaquin Cordero CF
(9) Juan Guzman SS

The five-man bench is flexible with C-Bernie Rosado, C-Eugene McCracken, 1B/OF- Robert Bland, SS/UT-Peter Stowers, and 2B/OF-Stewart Hall.

Baltimore's revamped rotation is led by RHP- Harry Newman.  The free agent broke the bank and signed a 5 year $110M contract with Baltimore during the offseason.  Last season's top two starters LHP-Henderson Riggs and RHP- Jin Ho Uehara return to make a formidable top three for Baltimore.  LHP-Tom Cota, last year's late season acquisition will be the #4 man, and newly acquired Jimmie Veras, a former Renegade, returns to be the #5 man in the rotation.  Another former Renegade, RHP-Rashun Gonzalez, will be the spot starter and long man out of the bullpen this season.

CoCo Reagan was traded to Las Vegas, so Raymond Tanner will be the closer this season. Both set-up men return, as lefty Hal Alexander and righty Albert Ramirez will remain the bridge to get to Tanner.  LHP-Freddie Kim and RHP-Colby Barker round out the bullpen.

Top Rookie- NONE
Key Players Lost- RHP-Oswaldo Cueto (trade), RHP-Juan Duran (trade), RHP-Midre Encarnacion (trade), RHP-Octavio Valenzuela (FA), LHP- Pablo Taveras (trade), LHP-Coco Reagan (trade), C-Ignacio Rondon (FA), 3B-Peter Carlson (trade).

Key Players Acquired- RHP-Colby Barker (FA), RHP-Oswaldo Cueto (trade), RHP-Rashun Gonzalez (trade), RHP-Harry Newman (FA), RHP-Raymond Tanner (trade), RHP-Jimmy Veras (trade), LHP- Freddie Kim (FA), C-Eugene McCracken (FA), 1B-Robert Bland (trade), 1B-Oswaldo Padilla (trade), SS-Juan Guzman (FA).
Key Off-Season Transaction- The signing of Harry Newman, as it finally gives Baltimore the young ACE it has been looking for. 


Toledo Tauntauns -
Toledo is a team that finds itself at a crossroads. Burdened with several contracts that will prove difficult to move and tedious to carry, including over $15 million currently sitting in AAA, the Tauntauns must act with caution this season. There are several young players to build around, but only a couple on their way to the Big League roster. Ortiz, Cho, Perdomo, and Ethier return to lead the offense. Eugene Hayes and Ian Trammell will add to the offense as long as they remain with the team. Avisail Guerra adds speed, but his glove is a bit of a question mark at 2B. Jayson Wilson will be the team’s main DH.

Kid Parker and James Lamb will share the title of staff Ace, although, we use that term loosely here in Toledo. The rest of the rotation will consist of Cristobal Sanches, Olmedo Valverde, and second year man Ralph Corbin. Jamie Bennigson and his massive contract will be the first out of the bullpen, and the highly desired, but unavailable, Esteban Trinidad will close things out. Barry Morton and Jim “Wild Thing” Snyder , along with 3 Rule 5 pickups , Spruill, Mills and Lopez, will help bridge the gap between the two.

Spring Training standout Eddie Abernathy could be starting in RF by the All Star Break. Banished vets Vincenzo Strickland and Turk O’Leary will both be trying to claw their way back the Majors as well.

With 44.2 Million tied up in 6 contracts, 3 of those in AAA, the purse strings are tight in Toledo. The Tauntauns get some relief next season as two of the contracts end, and Trammell and Strickland can be bought out by mutual option, reducing the cost to 24.875 Million. Declining Guerrero’s option saved the club 7.5 Million this season.

Out: CF Edge McMillon, SS Esteban Guerrero, C Byron Barmes
In: P Ewell Mills, P Larry Spruill, P Jose Lopez
On the way: RF Eddie Abernathy

Hartford #TeamCutters -

Charlotte Tar Heels -