Monday, February 7, 2011

S19 Blast Preview

Pawtucket Blast

S18 record: 87-75
Finish: Second place, NL North
2010 final payroll: $ 99 million
Estimated 2011 opening day payroll: $87 million

Offseason action:

LF Benny Moreno has always seemed to perform as a part-time player, but has never gotten a shot at full-time work. He's not a star but for cheap he's a good bench hitter to have. He wants over 4M a season. Until his value comes into check he's not coming back to Pawtucket and received his walking papers. . SS Don Wagner has spent the last 2 seasons in the minors, but could be someone's defensive SS for the right price. Brought back at a deep discount for season 19 is Carlos Feliz who struggled to find his average last season, batting a lowly .247 on the year and only seem to struggle harder in Pawtucket where he batted less than .220. His power was not in question where he still batted 30 homeruns in fewer than 500 at bats. Less than 5M for a 1 year deal is a solid price for his skills. Gary Whiteside was also retained. Going into his 22nd year of professional baseball, old man Whiteside played like the shadow of himself in season 18 and has not pitched effectively since season 16, yet he's back for another 2.2M. In the same vein former 14 game winner Hal Olson was released instead of being offered arbitration. Someone might get a solid back end starter for cheap.

Waiver Claim C Yorvit Cortes still has a good bat and could be a salvageable catcher on the right team. At $4M he might be a bit overpriced but the Blast just got a Victor Martinez type bat with great bat control. Cortez will hit around .300 with 20 bombs and 80 rbi in almost any lineup he can get regular at bats. To make room the team designated 3B J.P. Melendez for assignment and he was quickly picked up by Santa Fe

Reality check

Valerio Guillen
Age: 29B/T: S/L
Born: Colon, CU
Position(s): RF/1B/LF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

RF Valerio Guillen is who drives this team. When he's hot the offense rolls. The rest of the outfield is a combination of LFers Heinie Rauch and Matt Chouinard, who are basically the same players and CF speedster Hector Kendall who has struggled severely at the plate. 3B Arthur Worthington has been a consistent 20/20 threat, but really needs to be pushed upward to a 30/30 threat for this team to be a threat to get into the playoffs. 1B Albert Oquist's injury plagued season cost him most of last season, and maybe his job for this season. With the newly signed Jorge Johnson now in a Blast uniform, Oquist will have heavy competition in the Spring for playing time. Johnson is a pure power hitter who is known in the minors for his high homerun totals and even higher Strike out totals. Shortstop Fergie Hunt will continue to learn on the job. His bat is solid enough to warrant a few missteps in the field, but he is far from irreplaceable it he does falter to bad. Charlie Crawford is ready to fill in for his defensive whoa , but will not be able to offer as much at the plate. On the farm both SS Javier Ortiz and CF Hiram Nakamura look to be at least a season away from ML action. LF Quentin Lawrence might be ready to make the jump sometime this season. He has been a solid base stealing in half time action in season 18. His base running seems to be holding him back in the minors

Pawtucket has found their mediocre pitching rotation has done quite well in their starts. The top 3 guns Cliff Moore, Andres Amaral and Stevie May would be at the end of almost every veteran team's roster. With Ace SP Kiki Arroyo out for at least another 60 days the team is struggling to get through the start of the season. Even when Arroyo does come back it is questionable to what level he returns. At 20M a season you have to hope for a full recovery. The rest of the ration might be a battle between Floyd Ball and David Tavarez. The bullpen has their big gun 27 year old closer J.P. Ordonez returning to continue his late inning dominance. He will be again setup by talented Stephen Blackmon who in his rookie season looked almost unhittable. Whiteside and Ken Hutton will act as the 1st line of relief, both could prove to be very hittable and costly for the middle of the Blast's pitching attack. Pawtucket will look to bring in a few Free agent relievers or look to bring up AAA reliever Joey Bryant, who has control issues.
Summing it up with Quote:

"I have talked to the owner and he assured me will will be trading the whole team away before the all-star break" - Jolbert Mesa Bench Coach

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