S18 record: 99-63
Finish: First place, NL South
2010 final payroll: $88 million
Estimated 2011 opening day payroll: $85 million
After a successful season in Relief, Memphis made the difficult decision on Bing Milligan and released him. Though he showed production in all 5 of his seasons in Memphis, the Amon-Ra wanted to save money. Instead the team went after and signed veteran closer Mitch Matthews to take his place in the pen. Matthews could put up comparable HOF numbers to other Long tooth relievers.
3B Eugene Walker is in his big year of his contract at 18.5M for this swan song , he is hardly value, but he was paid for what he brought in the first 4 years of his contract with this money. He will be splitting time at the hot corner with Jimmy Christiansen. The big battle might be at 2B where starter Wilfredo Cabeza will be challenge for time by Dave Nicholson. Nicholson saw limited action in season 18, but he might bring the complete package to the table something the one dimensional Cabeza lacks at the plate. LF Rafael Bolivar might also provide better offense and is capable of moving from LF to 2B if needed to add a bigger bat. The resident monster bat belongs to 1B Kimera Newman who is capable of blasting 40HR if he can get some power behind him in the order to protect him better. Having CF James Jefferies batting ahead of him for the full season will help some, but Jefferies is only in his 2nd season and is still growing into his role. SS Gerardo Arroyo is a defensive stopper, but is offensively challenged. When he does get on base he is a threat, but he is at best a .240 hitter with limited power who could win a gold glove. What Memphis needs is to add one more big bat to balance the order, even if that bat serves as a pinch hitter for the season. For a while Memphis has been able to get away with a superior defense and good speed and things have worked out well, but as others in the division develop into hitter monsters this might start to crack.
Osvaldo Azocar is a true ace, the only thing holding him back is his lack of strikeout punch. He is crafty and a guy any team would be pleased to have, Mike Fitzgerald is a perfect #2 guy not extremely dominant in his pitching, but he does everything right. As a result he was unhittable in season 18 earning a well-deserved Cy Young and all-star accolades for the 1st time. Albert Hernandez and Albert Montanez just plain gets guys out, they puts a lot of balls in play, but with Memphis's defense backing them up they have no problems controlling the game. When Daniel Smith is the weak link of the rotation, you probably don't have to worry much about the starting rotation.
The Pen added Mitch Matthews to offer Juan Cabrera some veteran assistance. Cabrera struggled in Season 18 to find his rhythm , with Matthews now in the fold the Amon-Ra will not have to lean so heavily on him.
Summing it up with A Quote: " really how hard can it be to teach a professional team how to catch a ball. stop a line drive, cut off a throw. I taught my dog to catch, reaaly!" - 1st year field coach Douglas Street who has never coached before