Friday, February 29, 2008

2008 Previews: NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks
2007: 90-72 1st Place; lost in NLCS 0-4

The Diamondbacks had the best record in the NL last year led by Cy Young candidate Brandon Webb. This year a heathly Randy Johnson and former A's ace Dan Haren join him. That's a big three that not many teams in the majors can compete with. Arizona's downfall was an offense that was one of the worst in the NL. Not one member of the team hit above .300 last season, and only two hit more than 20 HRs (Chris Young and Eric Byrnes). The upside to this is that a majority of the team was playing in their first full season in the MLB. Looking at this years line-up only Byrnes and Orlando Hudson have played more than two full seasons. This team can only get better offensively as they mature. Even if there is some regression the pitching staff can still keep them in ballgames. Arizona is so confident in their bullpen that they even traded away the MLB leader in saves. It helps that the guy they got, Chad Qualls, is one of the best set-up men in the majors. Qualls will join Tony Pena and Juan Cruz in an excellent bullpen to set up newly appointed closer Brandon Lyon. The Diamondbacks should be in the running for the best team in the NL yet again this year.

Pivotal Player: Brandon Lyon. The DBacks made a gamble in that the bullpen makes the closer and not vice versa. Arizona will likely be involved in a number of close games. If Lyon can't cut it as a closer then Arizona chance might go down with him

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Trot Nixon. A veteran who has World Series experience, could teach the Baby Backs a thing or two

Colorado Rockies
2007: 90-73 2nd Place; Won Wild Card lost in World Series 0-4

The Rockies won 15 out of 16 of their final 16 games to get into the playoffs, then didn't lose a playoff game until they dropped 4 straight in the World Series. The NL's number one offense was the main reason behind that late season surge. That offense is unchanged and will be one of the top 3 in the NL. The key to Colorado's success will be the pitching staff not squandering the leads the offense gives them. Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook are good enough to do that.
New closer Manny Corpas earned the job this year by saving a number of those games on that year-end streak. Former closer Brian Fuentes will still be around in the set-up role. Other then those previously mentioned guys, the rest of the staff is a toss up. Keep in mind that this team is basically the same one that was 69-65 team when last September began. Barring some surprise pitching talent, the Rockies will be watching the playoff on TV.

Pivotal Players: Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales. These young starters need to produce. The other options at starters are Kip Wells and Mark Redman, which aren't good options at sea level, let alone in Denver's elevation

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Victor Zambrano. The main player the Mets received for Scott Kazmir, is still trying to make it back to the majors.

Los Angeles Dodgers
2007: 82-80 4th Place

Joe Torre is a smart man. If you're going to take over the reins of a team, it's best to take over a team with all the parts in place. The Dodger team he inherits has, top to bottom, one of the best staffs in the NL. Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, and Japanese import Hiroki Kuroda are as solid a foursome as any in the Majors. The Bullpen adds Torre favorite Scott Proctor to closer Takashi Saito, future closer Jonathan Broxton, Rudy Seanez, Joe Beimel and the loser of the 5 spot battle between Estaban Loaiza and Jason Schmidt. There's also prospect Clayton Kershaw who could be up to fill holes that arise during the season. The offense doesn't have a lot of power, ranking ahead of only the Washington Nationals in HRs last year. But they were 2nd in the NL in batting average. Adding Andruw Jones, and full seasons out of the young bats of James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Andy LaRoche will only help the offense. LaRoche for some reason is still battling with Nomar Garciaparra for the start at 3B. The sooner Torre realizes LaRoche is the better option the better the Dodgers will be.

Pivotal Player: Andruw Jones. Coming off the worst offensive season of his career, he needs to bounce back. The Dodgers already have one under-producing OF in Juan Pierre.

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Chan Ho Park. Was blown up for 7 runs on 6 hits in 4 innings in his only appearance in the Majors in 2007. Looking to make a comeback with the team that brought him into the league.

San Diego Padres
2007: 89-74 3rd Place

They were 3 outs away from the playoffs, then the All-Time Saves Leader Trevor Hoffman couldn't get save 525. The starting pitching is still there with Jake Peavy, Chris Young, and Greg Maddux. You don't become the All-time saves leader without being able to bounce back, so I expect Hoffman and the rest of the bullpen to be fine. They even have a low risk, huge reward player in the signing of Mark Prior. My question for the Padres is, how are you going to score runs? The offense is basically Adrian Gonzalez and Khalil Greene. The signings of Jim Edmonds and Tadahito Iguchi don't exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers. Especially in a deep division like the NL West. To complete San Diego might have to ship some of their extra bullpen arms for a outfielder who can hit.

Pivotal Player: Kevin Kouzmanoff. The 3B of the future disappointed in his first year. He needs to put up big numbers at a power position to make the Padres a contender.

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Robert Fick. Jeff Weaver's BFF from his Tiger days gets another shot at the big leagues

San Fransisco Giants

2007: 71-91 5th Place

In my fantasy football league there's a guy who when you look at his team after the draft you think: "That's a good 2001." The San Fransisco Giants are the baseball version of that. Granted they have some young, exciting arms in Tim Lincecum and Noah Lowry; but they still have 5 (Winn, Aurillia, Durham, Roberts, and Visquel) of the guys I made fun of for being too old in last season's preview still on the team. The team is going to be bad, time to play the kids and see what they've got.

Pivotal Players: Tim Lincecum and Noah Lowry. If there is any hope of success for the Giants in the near future, these guys' seasons should be an indicator

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Scott Williamson. The Reds closer from 2003. Playing for his 5th team since then.

Final Standings:

This will be one of the hardest fought divisions in baseball with 4 legitimate contenders. I think they'll have 4 teams above .500 again this year. I don't think the Padres have enough bats to get them to the top. I also don't think the Rockies have another 20 win September in them. That leaves the Dodgers and Arizona, I give the Diamondbacks young bats' the edge over the Dodgers.

1) Arizona Diamondbacks
2) Los Angeles Dodgers
3) Colorado Rockies
4) San Diego Padres
5) San Fransisco Giants

Thursday, February 28, 2008

2008 Previews: NL Central

Chicago Cubs
2007: 85-77 1st Place; Lost in NLDS 0-3

In a story you'll hear mentioned every time the Cubs play on National TV, it's been 100 years since the last World Series victory for the Cubs. Gone from the outfield are Jacque Jones and Craig Monroe. In are Felix Pie and Kosuke Fukudome (quite possibly the dirtiest name in baseball since Rusty Kuntz ). Fukudome is comparable to Ichiro with a little lower average, but more power. He will do well in the leadoff spot for the Cubs. He should score a lot of runs this year with Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano and Derrick Lee following him to drive him in. In addition to Pie, praise has been given to Ryan Theriot. With David Eckstein out of the NL Central, it seems writers will have a new champion of, gritty gutty baseball. Translation, he's a little white guy that runs hard, but isn't that good. The young guy to watch will be catcher Geovany Soto who was the MVP of the Pacific Coast League this season, and is a likely Rookie of the Year candidate. The rotation looks pretty solid with all 5 starters from last year returning. Only Jason Marquis was the only starter with an ERA over 4. The real story of the spring will be who will be the closer. Ryan Dempster is back in middle relief and the job will go to Kerry Wood, Bob Howry, or Carlos Marmol. If Wood if he can show he can throw a high velocity fastball consistently, it will be his job to lose. Another situation to watch is Mark DeRosa. Acquired from the Braves to start at 2B, he has been sidelined with a heart arrhythmia. Could Soriano be moved back to his old position and leftfield filled with a Matt Murton/Daryle Ward platoon? Stay Tuned.

Pivotal Player: Kerry Wood. A healthy power arm makes any team better, especially coming from the back end of the bullpen

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Edward Campusano. The Tigers Rule 5 pick last year is back with the Cubs after an injury

Cincinnati Reds

2007: 72-90 5th Place

Dusty Baker is in town...Bases prepare to be unclogged! Seriously with Dusty encouraging him to swing away, Adam Dunn could break 200 strikeouts in a season. With Dusty in Cincy fans also have to fear a Ne!f! signing as well. But before I start making toothpick jokes, let's look at the Reds. To help the pitching staff, the Reds signed Josh Fogg and Jeremy Affeldt from Colorado, and traded for Edinson Volquez. To get Volquez they gave up Josh Hamliton. Which seems like a risk with a fragile Ken Griffey, but the Reds have one of the best outfield prospects in Jay Bruce ready to go if Griffey gets hurt. Also it will interesting to see if this is the year Homer Bailey can make to jump to full-time MLB pitcher after going 4-2 in 9 starts last year. The Reds have a pretty good 1-2 punch in Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, so any help from spots 3-5 would push the Reds into contention in a weak division. The only thing stopping them, is the bullpen. To bolster it Fransisco Cordero was brought in. The only problem, Gary Majewski and Todd Coffey are still in it.

Pivotal Player: Ken Griffey. On the verge of 600 career HRs. The Reds need his Hall of Fame bat in the line-up to be successful

Non Roster Invitee of Note: Kent Mercker. You know you're bullpen's in trouble when a 40 year old non-roster invitee might be a good option.

Houston Astros
2007: 73-89 4th Place

First Miguel Tejada's name comes up in the Mitchell Report, then Hunter Pence forgets where a glass door is. Not a good past month for the Astros. After Roy Oswalt there's more bad news in Houston's rotation, not one guy with a sub 4.5 ERA or 10 wins. And other than Jose Valverde, there isn't a reliable arm in the bullpen. They still have lance Berkman and Carlos Lee, but not much else. Craig Biggio got out at the right time, it's going to be a long year in Houston

Pivotal Player: Roy Oswalt. If Houston stands any chance, he's going to have to put up Cy Young winner numbers to help the team complete

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Brian Moehler. Somehow this guy survived playing for the Tigers from 1996 to 2001, and still has a chance to pitch in the Majors

Milwaukee Brewers
2007: 83-79 2nd Place

The Brewers return a majority of the team that nearly clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 1982. Prince Fielder also reported to camp a newly declared vegetarian. I give it about one or two well hit balls landing on the warning track before he goes back to pounding cheeseburgers again. The two major pieces gone are Geoff Jenkins and Fransisco Cordero. Replacing them are Mike Cameron (when he returns from a 25 game PED suspension) and Eric Gagne. Cameron is a bit of an upgrade from Jenkins if only for his glove. Gagne is a bit of a large risk than Cordero. The Brewers are hoping they signed the Gagne that pitched for the Rangers, not the one that bombed for the Red Sox. Another interesting move is placing NL ROY Ryan Braun in LF and moving CF Bill Hall back to 3B to make room for Cameron. As Long as Braun keeps hitting the crap out of the ball I don't think any fielding problems will come into play. Plus Braun did have 26 errors at 3rd last year, so maybe the move to the outfield will help out the fielding percentage. As for pitching staff, if Chris Capuano can come back healthy it would be a huge boost. Otherwise they might need help from hard-throwing prospect Manny Parra.

Pivotal Player: Eric Gagne. The bullpen will be the deciding factor on whether the Brewers finish 1st or 3rd. Gagne is the most important arm in the bullpen.

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Laynce Nix. The former Ranger CF might make the team if Tony Gwynn Jr. struggles

Pittsburgh Pirates
2007: 68-94 6th Place

The Bucs are fielding the exact same team at 2007's. The one thing the team has going for them is a bunch of good young arms in starters Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, Zach Duke, and Paul Maholm. If these guys all take a step up the Pirates could flirt with 80 wins.

Pivotal Player: Tom Gorzelanny. A big year for him, and he bears mentioning among the elite arms in the NL

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Doug Mientkiewicz. Never has one man milked so much out of the final out of a World Series.

St. Louis Cardinals
2007: 78-84 3rd Place

If I were an opposing team, every time the Cards take the field I'd have Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" blaring from the speakers. Scott Spiezio's drunken escapades and subsequent cut, are just another issue drawing attention to Tony LaRussa's track record as Cards manager. But I'm a vindictive and mean-spirited person, so most teams would take the high road...except maybe Philly. The big move of the off-season was trading oft-injured Scott Rolen, for always-injured Troy Glaus. I guess LaRussa's trying to bring back the drugstore clubhouse atmosphere of his late 80's Oakland teams, by bringing in another guy with PED ties in Glaus. That's Glaus, Ankiel, Franklin, and non-roster invitees Juan Gonzalez and Ron Villone if you're keeping score. No wonder LaRussa wanted Barry Bonds. All cheap shots aside, other than Adam Wainwright, there is not one quality starting pitcher on the roster. Yes, Kip Wells is gone, but he's been replaced with Joel Pineiro. The similarites between "Pinerio" and "Pinata" are not lost on opposing batters. The team does have power with Albert Pujols and Chris Duncan. But it's not enough to complete, even in a weak division.

Pivotal Players: Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder. They need to return healthy and back to pre-injury form, otherwise Tony LaRussa could be looking for a job by October.

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Juan Gonzalez. As mentioned previously, he is attempting a comeback...just to quit on his third different team.

Final Standings:

Cincinnati will make it interesting early, but falter down the stretch. In the end it boils down to a two horse race between the Cubs and Brewers, the only teams in the division to finish over .500. A stronger bullpen gives the advantage to the Cubs for the second straight year.

1) Chicago Cubs
2) Milwaukee Brewers
3) Cincinnati Reds
4) St. Louis Cardinals
5) Pittsburgh Pirates
6) Houston Astros

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2008 Previews: NL East

Today marked the first spring traning game against major league competition for the Tigers. So in honor of that I thought I would start my season previews for the MLB, starting with the NL East. Here we go!

Atlanta Braves
2007: 84-78 3rd place

My new hometown team, returns almost totally intact from last year's team. The loss of Edgar Renteria is negated by Yunel Escobar, who put up nearly identical stats as Renteria. Andruw Jones is replaced by Mark Kotsay. The offensive production was about the same for both last year, but Kotsay's glove is a downgrade. Add to that Kotsay's back injury that caused him to miss over 100 games last year. Kotsay might not have to man centerfield long if any of the Braves outfield prospects like Brandon Jones or Jordan Schafer have a great spring. CF is really the only weak spot on the field for the Braves. The infield corners have big bats in Chipper Jones (who seems to hit .300 with 25 HR and 95 RBI every year) and a full season with Mark Teixeria. Add to this Jeff Francouer and Brian McCann, one of the best catchers in baseball, and you
have a line-up that could be a top 3 in the NL in runs scored. On the Pitching side of things, Tom Glavine is back bringing his 303 career wins with him. Glavine joins John Smoltz and Tim Hudson, coming off his best year as a Brave, at the top of the rotation. This top 3 has won over 600 games in their careers. Chuck James makes a good fourth as he has won 11 in his first 2 seasons as a started. The number 5 spot will be a competition between and healthy(?) Mike Hampton, Jo-Jo Reyes, or former Tiger prospect Jair Jurrjens. Hey speaking of former Tiger prospects...there's Omar Infante! As for the bullpen, the back end in in good shape with Mike Gonzales to set-up and Rafael Soriano to close. The pitchers that lose out on the 5th spot could join Pete Moylan and Ron Mahay to help out the middle relief section of the bullpen.

Pivotal Players: Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Both are over 40 and injuries to either could force a trial by fire of the Braves pitching prospects

Non-roster Invitee of note: Javy Lopez. With no real experience behind McCann, Lopez could make it as a back-up.

Florida Marlins
2007: 71-91 5th Place

The other big news out of South Florida this offseason was that the Marlins would be getting a new stadium. The bad news that is if Jeffery Loria is still in charge, by the time the new stadium opens it gates in 2011 many of the future stars on the 2008 with be in other teams uniforms when they play in it. The offense will focus around the trio of Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, and Josh Willingham. Filling the huge hole (not a fat joke I swear) left by Miguel Cabrera is former Angels blue-chip prospect Dallas McPherson. McPherson voted was the top player in the Minors by the Sporting News in 2004, but injuries and Chone Figgins limited him to only 101 games in the Majors since 2005. The Marlins also brought in Luis Gonzales (who is roughly twice the age of Cameron Maybin) maybe as a mentor to the young team, or simply to drive up the average age. As for the pitching staff...did I mention how young this team is? The only way to gain experience is to play, and this pitching staff will be learning a great deal this year

Pivotal Player: Andrew Miller. Cameron Maybin is expected to develop into a 5 tool player and his shaky debut can be overlooked, Miller on the other hand started off in the Tigers rotation in May and ended the season in A ball after giving up 17 runs in his last three starts. He needs to return to the top pick form for the trade to look close to even for the Marlins

Non Roster Invitee of note: Jorge Cantu. Once a bright spot on a dismal Tampa Bay team, after being cut mid-season last year, will have to fight to make it back to the majors.

New York Mets
2007: 88-74 2nd Place

The Mets had a great season last year with the exception of a bad 3 weeks. The problem was the bad three weeks were the last 3 of the season. Going 6-13 to finish the season and missing out of the playoffs calls for change. And did change ever happen. The Mets now have Johan Santana. Santana had an "off year" if you look at his W-L record. But if you look closer in only 2 of his 13 losses did he give up more than 4 earned runs. His ERA was still under 3.50 and he still struck out 200+. He also comes to a team that was 3rd in the NL in runs scored, as opposed to Minnesota which was 12th in the AL. Most of the offense comes from 3B David Wright who would more than likely been the NL MVP had the Mets not faltered down the stretch. Wright is flanked by Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado to anchor the offense. The pitching staff behind Johan is a mix of young (John Maine, Oliver Perez, Mike Pelfrey) and old(Pedro, Orlando Hernandez). The loss of Glavine can easily be quelled by a healthy Pedro Martinez. But if/when he gets hurt the Mets have arms ready to pick up the slack. Middle relief could be an issue, as other than Aaron Heilman I don't really see a bunch of reliable arms. If it is a problem look to Omar Minaya to make moves to fix the situation. The Mets open a new ballpark next year and they won't be happy unless they win some pennants this year to hang

Pivotal Player: Carlos Delgado. Injury problems slowed him last year. It was the first year in the Majors since playing full-time where he did not have over 90 RBI and 25 HRs. An improved output from him will be key to the Mets success

Non-roster Invitee of note: Fernando Tatis. Hit 2 grand slams in one inning in 1999. Out of baseball since 2006, may in fact be Dominican Brady Anderson

Philadelphia Phillies

2007: 89-73 1st Place; Lost in NLDS 0-3

Jimmy Rollins said last spring training the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East. A Mets collapse proved him right, and more than likely swayed MVP votes his way. The 20-20-20-20 season may have helped as well. This year they try to actually win a playoff game. They lost CF Aaron Rowand, who must have hit that centerfield wall super-hard last season, as he has signed with the Giants. He will be replaced by Shane Victorino who moves over from RF. To replace his home runs, they signed Geoff Jenkins. The Jenkins signing strikes me as odd, since they already have a player in LF that pretty much does what Jenkins does in Pat Burrell. And by what he does I mean hit a home run or strikeout. To Burrell's credit he can draw a walk, as he had over 100 BB last year. Pretty good for a .256 hitter. The holes at 3B and the bullpen were addressed by the signing of Pedro Feliz, and the trade for Brad Lidge. So the Phillies still have holes at 3B and the bullpen. Lidge might benefit from a change of scenery, in any other city than Philly. One blown save and he'll need body armor to protect the rain of D batteries coming at him in the bullpen. Feliz has an OBP of .297 which ranked 28th out of NL 3B's. Frankly Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms are better options and money spent on Feliz could have gone for some pitching. As pitching goes, there's Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick and not much else. Brett Myers is in the rotation now, but might have to go back as the closer if Brad Lidge stays hurt or returns to head-case status. Adam Eaton and Jamie Moyer round out the back of the rotation with ERAs over 5 last year. In that tiny park they have, the quality of the pitching will decide how far the Phillies go.

Pivotal Player: Brad Lidge. If he can keep his mind and body healthy, it will keep the pitching staff from having to reorganize and turn all those runs the Phillies score into wins.

Non-roster Invitee of note: Kris Benson. If his arm is back, it would be a major boost to the starting rotation.

Washington Nationals
2007: 73-89 4th place

The Nationals won a surprising 73 games last year, thanks in part to a career year from Dmitri Young. This year they hope the part of the player with a troubled past turning it around is played by Elijah Dukes. He joins former Met OF prodigy Lastings Milledge in the outfield with free swinger Wily Mo Pena. The also signed embattled Paul LoDuca to complete with two former Brewers (Johnny Estrada and Chad Moeller) behind the plate. They all look to try to help 3B Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman played in all 162 games and led the team in almost all offensive categories. Zimmerman needs the help the Nats were dead last in runs scored in the MLB last year. As for pitchers, last year they had a staff ravaged by injuries. 7 pitchers started 10+ games, and that doesn't include Opening Day starter John Patterson. He only had 7 starts in a injury shortened season. The young arms of Jason Bergmann, Shawn Hill, and Matt Chico should be a little better this year. The bullpen has one very good closer in Chad Cordero. The question is will the new bats be enough to give him a lead to keep safe.

Pivotal Player: Elijah Dukes. He's received another change in a new city. He could really help the team, or be a clubhouse distraction

Non-Roster Invitee of Note: Bret Boone. No not Aaron Boone, who is under contract to the Nats. His older brother Bret. Last played in 2005. Retired during Spring Training in 2006. Yeah, that Bret Boone

Final Standings:

The Marlins are young and will lose, a lot. The Nationals just don't have enough talent to complete in a brutal division. The Braves, with a full season of Teixeria, have enough offense to complete with the Phillies and the Mets. It will come down to pitching. The Braves have enough to put them ahead of the Phillies, but not the Mets

1) NY Mets
2) Atlanta Braves
3) Philadelphia Phillies
4) Washington Nationals
5) Florida Marlins

Monday, February 25, 2008

Worky-Work Busy Bee

Outside endeavors have caused major postis-interruptus, but I hope to start my MLB season previews sometime this week. Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

What About Barry?

While spring training is just around the corner, we're still in the last gasps of baseball's offseason. That can mean only one thing, wild speculation! With people such as Sammy Sosa, David Wells, Bartolo Colon, Shawn Green and Mike Piazza still unsigned. I thought I'd take a look at where the biggest name (and head) of the list might end up...Barry Bonds

This is not intended to be a post about the character of Barry, or what he may (and more than likely did) put into his body. Bottom line is that Barry was a very good baseball player that may have used steroids to make him the home run champ. He still hits very well, and is someone to fear in the batter’s box. A player like this could be very helpful to a team on the fringe of being a contender. I am not writing this to defend or attack Barry. That’s another post for another time. This is just about a big name veteran player and where he could end up

We now return you to our regularly scheduled post…

Barry’s knees are torn to shreds, and that will take him out of the running (no pun interned) for a lot of the NL teams, who can't give up a roster spot for a guy that basically amounts to a professional pinch-hitter at this point of his career. But in the AL, Barry could survive. Barry says he wants to play for a winner, but the top 4 in the AL already have an everyday DH (Sheffield, Hafner, Ortiz, and Giambi). Still Barry is very close to 3000 hits and becoming the MLB leader in runs and extras base hits. So one would think he might sacrifice a winner to get playing time to achieve those goals. Maybe even help a second tier team make a pennant run. Well, where can he go? Here are some options.

The Serious ones:

Seattle Mariners:
Yesterday they finalized a deal to get Eric Bedard. Bedard is Canadian for Johan Santana. With Felix Hernandez, that gives the M's rotation one of the best 1-2 combos in the league, if they both stay healthy. The spent a ton of money on Jose Vidro to be the DH. That money got them 6 HRs and 59 RBI in 147 games. Bonds hit 28 HRs with 148 less plate appearances.

Texas Rangers:
They gave Sammy Sosa a chance, why not Barry? Sosa was not re-signed because he did not want to take a reduced role. The Rangers have two very promising young catchers in Gerald Laird and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (my spell check exploded after typing that one in). But you can only play one at a time. Last year there was talk of Guillening Jarrod into a first baseman. The offseason acquisitions of Ben Broussard and Chris Shelton (who was just designated for assignment) seem to show the Rangers wanting to keep Salty behind the plate. That would lead me to believe that Laird and Jarrod would be shuffling between the catcher spot and DH. If I were newly hired Ranger president Nolan Ryan, I’d seriously think about trading one of those catchers for a quality pitcher, and filling the DH slot with Bonds.

Oakland A's:
The past two offseasons have seen GM Billy Beane bring in Frank Thomas and Mike Piazza. Thomas had a revival at the plate and turned in into big money in Toronto. Piazza was hurt for half the year and is now unemployed. Location wise this would make sense, seeing as the Barry would not have to pack to play across the bay. One hurdle to this is that the A's are in "rebuilding mode" after trading Dan Haren and Nick Swisher in the offseason. One of the reasons Bonds was not re-signed by the Giants is because they franchise was focusing on a "youth movement" just like the A's. Beane has shown in the past that he will be willing to sign anyone, as long as he can get them at a value, but would Bonds ego allow him to be signed for less then market value to play for a non-contender. That depends on how desperate he is to play

The Not-So-Serious Ones:

Tampa Bay Devil Rays:
Having shipped out Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes in the offseason, the Rays have a hole in the depth chart at Jerk-Ass. Plus he could join the likes of Wade Boggs and Fred McGriff who hit milestones (3000 hits for Boggs and 400 HRs for McGriff) in a Tampa uniform. Carlos Pena hit 46 HR for Tampa last year, maybe there's something in that Dome air?

Kansas City Royals:
Why not? They might actually sell out games based on people coming to the park to boo him.

Chicago White Sox:
This wouldn't last long as Ozzie would have Bonds practicing bunts on the first day.

St Louis Cardinals:
With Ryan Franklin, Troy Glaus, Rick Ankiel, and now Juan Gonzalez on the roster, Bonds would fit right in (allegedly).

Sunday, February 03, 2008