Playing in the NL North is always tough and the Cubs were 1 game away from tying for the division last season but went 3-7 down the strech in typical Cub fashion. Bad news is that David Davis has moved on in FA to a different team after taking home the NL MVP for 4 straight seasons with the Cubs during his time in Chicago. Good news is that he went down with an injury early in season 7 so we've proven that we can still stay competitive without him. Not having John Jung to patrol center field and losing him to the Cincinnati Reds will be a blow to the team this season. We've brought in Sawyer Miller to replace Jung, a downgrade both offensively and defensively but really the only option we saw in FA this season, but only inked him to a two year contract so we have some flexibility with him and the CF position. Jeff Carter was brought over to help with the starting rotation and David Rojas was signed to provide relief in the bullpen. Rojas is definately towards the end of his career but should privde some innings to give Cookie Alfonzo some rest. Denny Andrews will held line the starting rotation along with Walker Bryant. Andrews was shopped during the offseason as Cubs management likes to do with their top players (ex. David Davis) but nothing caught their interest. Sam Schwartz, Timo Pinto and Carlos Henriquez will held line the offense once again. Depending on how the season progresses they'll either help win the division in a Cub's uniform or be on the trading block before the deadline. With 2 true 1st round picks, 2 supplemental round picks, and 2 2nd round picks (along with 2 3rd round picks) the Cubs are hoping to stockpile some young talent in this year's draft. The Cubs probably didn't do enough in the offseason to match last season's record but we didn't see much that we liked. Instead we'll try for the wildcard and have a lot of flexibility financial in 2 seasons to make some majors moves again.
After spending a total of $76M in the off-season, the Reds did make some improvements to their team.
2B John Jung (.328/.381/.497; 22HR, 81RBI) joins a strong returning offensive cast. Talented CF Travis Evans (.287/.338/.425, 32SB) will lead off while RF Raymond Harris (.261/.321/.470; 27HR, 81RBI) looks to bounce back from a subpar season to contribute to the offense. Enigmatic LF Archie Coco (.264/.343/.532; 29HR, 84RBI) looks to have a great contract year. 37-year old 1B Robert Rogers (.285/.367/.430; 20 HR, 73 RBI) will be relied upon as the veteran presence in the lineup. SS Hi Jensen (.252/.310/.380; 13HR, 45RBI; .961 Fldg%) looks to improve both offensively and defensively. New 3B Art Redding (.263/.319/.313; 6 HR, 38 RBI) looks to be a solid contributor. Starting C Frank Hunter (.277/.356/.399; 15HR, 53RBI) returns. C Gary Bonds (.327/.398/.485; 3HR, 8RBI), 3B Steve Gil (.310/.380/.452; 16HR, 73RBI) and LF Merv Dorsey (.319/.368/.509; 18HR, 81RBI) join 1B Larry Browning (.322/.408/.587; 32 HR, 110RBI in AAA) to add some pop and versatility to the bench.
Brought in some new pitchers, brought back some new guys. Focused on groundball pitchers in order to limit the exposure of a subpar pitching staff. The best returning pitcher is Brian Wilson (12-8, 3.40ERA, 1.26WHIP, 188.0IP). The rotation will consist of Wilson, Darryle Lowe (5-9, 25S, 5.24ERA, 1.61WHIP, 115.0IP), Wes Hermsen (9-11, 4.28ERA, 1.33WHIP, 157.2IP), Tim Sefcik (6-2, 3.22ERA, 1.31WHIP, 131.1IP), and Scott Brede (2-9, 4.03ERA, 1.30WHIP, 129.2IP). Some notable additions to the bullpen are Fausto Lopez (8-3, 3.28ERA, 1.19WHIP, 118.0IP), Rob Wilkinson, Lew Bridges, Terrence Franklin, and Paulie Singleton. Oscar Heving and Craig Bulger will be the obligatory rookies out of the ‘pen.
I don’t want to talk about this aspect as we are sacrificing defense for offense in CF, at SS, and 3B.
I’m not real sure what to expect out of this team. The offense was 5th in OPS in S7, but scored 671 runs which was good enough for 11th offensively. Adding Jung, Redding, Dorsey, Bonds, and Browning should improve the offense beyond that level. We play in a division with the top 2 run producing offenses in the NL, so whether we improved enough to outslug those guys is a real question. We had the worst pitching staff, who gave up the 2nd most home runs. We made some incremental improvements and our minor leagues are dry, so what we’ve got is what we’ll have. I don’t look for a huge improvement this season, but I do believe .500 is acceptable and achievable.
Los Angeles Dodgers
We decided to not overreact to more postseason failure. Added some different bench players and hope we have the right chemistry. If we do not win it this year the GM and coach will be fired!
First off, boy, do we play in one murderers row of a division, so that will be a test just in that.
But as a team, we have a solid and well balanced offense. Which will be led by Alex Gomez and supported top to bottom with quality everyday players and significant roleplayers. I feel we have a quality bullpen and a starting staff that, though not having a true "Ace" has what I consider to be 4 good number twos and a qulity 3.
This season is going to be a real test for me as a manager. I've never had a team with this much talent assembled and it is going to be interesting to see if I can fill out lineup cards and manage the nitty gritty well enough to make this team succeed.
And My GM skills will be tested two, with 6 draft picks in the first 54 picks, but limited prospect funds.
All in all, I'm looking forward to a fun and challenging season.
New Orleans Jazz
The new management in New Orleans took over a franchise that has yet to finish above 3rd place in its entire history, and only once has had a winning record. The goal was to change the culture within this franchise. In order to do that our goals were both long term and short term. In the short term, shed large contracts with older players while improving the competitiveness of the team. This team is coming off of 3 straight 100 loss seasons. That's not acceptable. A number of players were brought in to help the team this year, and in the future. Players like Roger Brown, Alex Haney and Kid Rolling. While this year's squad certainly won't be in the playoff hunt, we're confident that the team's record will improve and the team will be in a good spot when the number of prospects that are on the verge of being ML ready begin to make their debuts over the next season or two. Our expectations for this season is 70 wins. We expect our squad to be at .500 in Season 10 and ready to contend in the playoffs in Season 11.
New York Mets
Key players Sellers(c);Candelaria(3B)Fuentes(1B)
Key losses Bush(cp)
Hoping deep pitching staff can keep games close and young bullpen can fill Bush void....key for the future 4 picks in the 1st round this year
After a disappointing year last year the Phillies hope that the addition of prospect SP Sam Phelps will bring some depth to the starting rotation. A full season of Heathcliff Haney behind the plate should make for a deeper lineup.The Phillies are still in a bit of a rebuilding mode but will look to make a little noise within their division. The team will once again be relying on Sullivan and Bailey for big years at the plate.
SF finally found respectability last season as new comers Jeff Phelps,Tomas Ortiz, and Max Samuel led us to 84 wins. We had never reached 70 wins previously. I'm hoping to continue the improvement as prospects Neil Foster and Jeff Choo should provide some help.