Sliding the wrong way, They seem to be in a holding patern of mediocrity
Over 100M payroll has the perk of buying a few extra wins, if they lead after the 8th good night.
Milwaukee Blue Stockings
Improved defense and the young pitching staff continues to develop, slowly they become more relevant in the division.
Improvement is there, but depth is not a few rookies and up and comers should add a nice spark for the future, but take their lumps in s16.
OFFSEASON MOVES: KEY SUBTRACTIONS: RELEASED: UTIL Stephen Allen- light hitting util guy, SP Patrick Greenwood- Never pitched well in Cinci, 1B Damon Miller older than dirt hit machine, P Freddy Hurst- middle of the road, RP Karl Fryman- days are gone, LF Alex Benitez- his time has passed, FA LOSS: RP Jose Bolivar- AAA guy who filled in during the dark season 15, RP Roy Murphy- at one time he was good, C Rudy Shouse, backup catcher no more. TRADED AWAY: C Brent Sheets- best offensive catcher for many seasons, Key ADDS: PROMOTED: SS Hector Fernandez – 1 year out of the Dominican Republic and he's here to stay. FA ADDS: SP Max Milliard- Serviceable starter, RP Robin Wilson- solid bullpen presence, RP David Ramos- TRADED FOR: SS Junior Moreno- 2B Tony Funaki- Great defensive option, C Eddie Duncan- solid backup or might be the starter. SS Aaron Fox- should be a stable force at SS; SP Albert Maurer- should be a front line starter, RF Alex Leon- Starter in RF... RULE 5: SP Stan Nation- will struggle against Righties.
Summary: Abandoned last season, the team still is feeling the effects, but is on the right road. Gone is super catcher Brent Sheets, but so is a lot of useless space eating players. In their place comes a stable force in the middle of the field in Aaron Fox, a few other starting pitchers to add depth to a starting rotation which features top gun Clarence Patrick, The Lineup is more defensively savvy than a year ago, but might struggle to pound out a lot of runs from the heart of its lineup. Leon and Fernandez are going to be asked to do a lot with a thin supporting cast at the plate. Look for the team to move closer to .500 this season, but to have building blocks for the future in place for seasons to come.
Milwaukee Blue Stockings
OFFSEASON MOVES Key Adds: FA ADD: CF Wade Prince- plus all around player PROMOTED: C Darryl Gregg- DH playing part-time catcher, LF Moe Tucker –power bat, SS Felipe Flores- could use more seasoning to be the defensive star he is, RP Andres Brogna – could be Matt O'Malley's replacement as closer, TRADED FOR: 2B Matty Cela- rule 5 guy with good power Subtractions: RELEASED: SS Sven Groom- Defensive stopper, 2B Jose Alonso- Offensive hitter, C Kennie Hogan- Solid backup option, UTIL Darrell Richardson – Bench player at this point, FA LOSS: UTIl D.T. Hutch- still solid bat to give, WAIVED: 1B Lorenzo Estrada- solid 1B
Summary: The starting pitching took some lumps last season and with it went Hideo Tamura to division rival Columbus, The pitching should again show sparks of promise, but are still to green to be leaned on very heavy to control games. With this in mind, the stockings went after improving their defense with Prince and adding some offensive firepower with Gregg and tucker, Brogna is a very interesting player to watch and could be Matt O'Malley's replacement as closer. They are almost mirror images of each other. The pen should keep late games close which is important for a team whose bats have a history of disappearing in clutch situations. Overall the Team upgraded the defense which is a plus in the NL, but still has some waiting to do until the prospects truly shine.
103.6M (104M) 91M.
OFFSEASON MOVES SUBTRACTIONS: FA LEFT: Sp Ricky Shaw- still could be a good option for the bottom of the rotation, SP Steven Latham- a solid spot starter if you really need one, 2B Derrek Forbes- he has good speed, SP Sherm Taylor-long reliever at this point in his career.
TRADED: SP Hideo Tamura-top line starter, SS Aaron Fox- stable force at SS
Key Adds: FA SIGNED: SP Brandon Roosevelt- good upgrade starter for a rotation, SP Gary Whiteside- cheap option to round out the rotation, C Charlie Marion- above average option at catcher, TRADED FOR: 3B Gil Rhodes- above average hitter solid defensive presence, SP Hugh Richardson-weak against lefties, but otherwise good, CF Felix Kim- defense and speed earn him a spot anywhere, SS Junior Moreno- average everywhere,
Summary: Pitching should be able to do its thing similarly to last season, but Tamura's loss does knock the lineup down a notch or two. Hitting behind league MVP Bo Glanville should holds own again. Adding Fox will not only add needed defense up the middle, but also a solid bat. Outside of Tamura the team really lost no one of incredible value, but added depth at a number of positions and an upgrade at SS, C and CF. Look for them to be the team to catch in the NL North again.
OFFSEASON MOVES: SUBTRACTIONS: FA LEFT: SS
Wade Prince- good bat, better 3B, 1B Dmitri Miller-still has a big bat, SP Jimmie Eusebio- middle of rotation fireballer, RELEASED: LF Emil Reynoso- all or nothing swinger, C Ricardo Rios- Solid hitting part-time DH Key Adds: FA SIGNED: 1B Marquis Ashley –looking for redemption after 1 season in NY, 2B Harry Vosberg – no longer good enough for 2B could be a solid OF'er.
Summary: I loved the Balboa's rotation not less than 3 seasons ago and thought this was the next best thing, They never lived up to that potential. Be it because of injury or training or whatever outside of Parrish I'm not sure who you lean on in a pinch in this rotation. Parrish is even a shadow of what he could have been because of a major shoulder injury. The Offense should be good enough to at least make the games into a fair slugfest. Valerio Guillen, J.P. Melendez, and Arthur Worthington should do a great job in the center of a strong lineup. If they do a good job of keeping it close CL J.P. Ordonez should be able to finish the game without question.