Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tigers & Crusaders News

Hough: The new (old) Tiger.
Both my Mid-West Baseball League team (Traverse City Crusaders), and my Mid-West Winter League team (Traverse City Tigers) made trades this week. The funny thing is that both teams are heading in opposite directions from each other. My Tigers were clinging onto a 4-game lead in the American League West, entering Wednesday morning (March 12th), found out Cedar Park Bears won their series against the Stockton Wings, 5-1. Meaning that the Bears trail the Tigers at the moment by 2 1/2 games, I have a series with third place Detroit Stars -- and then I go on the road for a battle of first with Cedar Park. Should be an interesting 10 days coming up.

My Tigers were in need of a second baseman, plus I felt more comfortable if I landed an arm into the mix as well, an innings-eater of sorts. I really didn't want to trade Scott Terry, after he pitched a no-hitter for me this season against Mexico City -- since that start, I think I may have started him once & used him primarily in the bullpen since I landed Dave LaPoint in that trade a little ways back. I traded Terry with Edwin Nunez, who was not a factor for me this season in a trade with the Valdosta Bombers. I noticed Valdosta was hovering around 3rd & 4th with a .500 record or so, and saw that they had an abundance of second basemen, so I sent a message to their GM & now the Tigers have brought in Marty Barrett, who was just playing for this franchise last season as the Old Mill Legends (So he knows most of the fellas, really well) and I acquired the old vet Charlie Hough (already 40 in 1988), he will keep a steady spot in the rotation eating many innings for me. Add that with keepers Greg Maddux & Jose Rijo, I at least got a solid three.

In this league, you have to cut your roster down to a certain amount of players, for me, I am on pace for a record where I will only be able to keep 19 of my players. Of course, it's safe to say, Maddux, Rijo & now Hough are three of those players.

I have all my players on my roster in an excel program where I have the next 10 years mapped in their MLB careers, so it gives me a heads up when a player is approaching the time, I say buh-bye, or know when I need to start looking for more guys at certain positions, the Hough deal will give me a little more time to work on a suitable rotation -- I think I'm bringing back Eric King, who is a rotation pitcher for the next two years at least for about 150 innings each, then there is Luis Aquino who bounces back & forth from starter to the pen the next couple years. I brought in Marty Barrett to take the load off Johnny Ray, I now can give Ray a little rest, he's been worked a lot -- now if I can get a 3B to back up Paul Molitor from time to time, I would be golden! Molitor is still batting .321 despite being tired for awhile now, he already has 52 RBI through 392 AB's, he had 60 ribbies in his real-life 609 AB's in 1988. All his other numbers are right on par, a little lower right now with his OBP & OPS, but that could change with rest. Having Barrett also gives me the option to play Ray out in right, and give one of my outfielders a rest.

Now onto the MWBL side of things, the Tigers may be moving up, but the Crusaders are falling down. The Crusaders just got clobbered by the Pittsburgh Lumber Company, 5 games-to-1. After the series, the Tijuana Bottle Rockets' GM was inquiring about Eric Chavez. He wanted a little more depth at third, and I was basically using Chavez to split time with Carlos Pena. He offered a 6th Round DP, and a player -- the only thing is I needed to make sure I brought back coverage in my first base area, so I countered with acquiring Casey Kotchman & the 6th Round pick in exchange for Chavez. Kotchman is at the end of his rope, but he is also a 930 PR guy for this 2014 MWBL season. 930 PR guys are basically fringe players you can play full-time to cover areas for teams, they are really useful in leagues with 20+ teams, and we have 28 teams in this league. I am also in a rebuilding year, and I do acknowledge that the 6th Round pick alone was good enough to make the deal for Chavez.

Crusaders look forward to a long 2014 season.

The Waiver Draft also did a full-season sim to see where teams will pick, and I ended up with the potential for the 5th worse record in the entire league, which after trading Miguel Cabrera & Matt Holliday, is kind of where I figured the team anyways, in the 60 wins range. This won't be the last of my trading, I have other good pieces on the block, including Brian McCann, Marlon Byrd & Joaquin Benoit -- which can bring in some picks & maybe prospects, and other players, before 2014 is all said & done. I'm still going to try & win as best as I can, need to keep my manager skills up, but I still have a little ways to fall down (and unload) before moving back up. Really looking forward to this season, and seeing what draft picks I can land & make my adjustments for the 2015 MWBL Draft.

To tell you the truth, I have never been in a rebuilding process like this, especially with stiff competition (27 other teams!) in which I at least have 20 teams above me. Some people would look at that as a horrible situation, but to tell you the truth I am loving it. Love the fact, that I am making this team to be my baby, and when I start to climb in time, it's only going to be more rewarding. Looking back at all the moves that would maybe make us champions one day.

I felt rebuilding was the way to go, it did not make sense to have Miguel Cabrera standing in a dumpster pit or junkyard, with Matt Holliday. Can't wait to see what's in store for the Crusaders next.

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