Need to figure out the rotation and bring in 1more effective reliever to relieve the bullpens load. One more outfield to compete with the standbys would also look good.
Free Agent pitchers to be Albert Telford and Hal Buchanan both have had long successful careers. It will be interesting to see if either will be given the opportunity to continue them with this franchise. Both have some gas in the tank, but gave poor performances in S18 and seemed to struggle to find a role in the changed Helena strategy. FA 2B Jaret Nathan will not be so lucky avoiding the ax in Helena.
4 arbitration cases are up for review. None of the 4, C Albie Ortiz (R), LF Javier Leon (R), 2B Kevin Kwon (R), and SS Sven Groom (L) have seen Ml action since S15. Helena seems to have turned its back on these guys and most likely will give them the heave ho in the preseason. Teams might have some interest in the defensive minded Ortiz and Groom if they can be had cheap. None of them will be game changers where ever they go or if they stay. Seattle has active early in the trade market, shipping off Shea Harper (to DUR), SP Virgil Diaz(to ATL) and SS Sven Groom (to ATL)
The Fainting Goats Offense has a great middle of the lineup. With Sluggers Carlos Hernandez (33hr 106RBI), Garret Hall (46hr 116) Timothy Sutton (46HR 136RBI) and J.P. Santiago (17hr 75RBI) composing almost half the lineup, The Fainting Goats should be able to drive in runs pretty easily. Alas they struggle to find consistency with the other 5 positions, 3B Eddie Wilson and SS Efrain Meacham could be platooned at 3B this season as both bring the same type of play to the table. Neither will be much of a threat at the plate, but will be a consistent hand at 3B. This will free up SS Al Mendoza to take over fulltime duties at SS and provide a consistent glove man for the center of the infield. Mendoza has not shown much at the plate, but they can afford to play him every day for his defense. Another option might be Welington Lopez who was sent to AAA after a horrendous start in S18. He should be able to rebound and fight for the starting job. In the very least he could be a key utility guy. Or some speed off the bench. Signed through S21 they will need to have a plan for him either way. RF Barry Black will be under the microscope this preseason. Batting a paltry .245 last season, he will be under increased scrutiny to provide a more consistent bat or be raising the pine in S19. Having a similar player in Don Sele, who offers another tool (speed) will make it likely Helena will bring in another bat to push Black.
The rotation formerly featured all-star Virgil Diaz who posted a 20-9 record in S18 for a team which finished 20 games under .500. His pitching was a saving point of Helena's season and the reason many fans never gave up hope of the Heels. The New Fainting Goats rotation will be working without his skills. Rookie Tony Maradona showed flashes of what he could be, but he still struggles with finding his zone and makes rookie mistakes. Those mistakes should be minimized in S19 and we could be store for a huge improvement. Jaret Redman should be given another shot to hold down the #3 spot. After a down year where he had an 8-17 record and a 6.07ERA, He was sentenced to the pen to work on his mechanics. He should get a fresh start this season. The other 2 spots will be open for competition. Competing will be current starter Jon Campbell, Tom Stahoviak.
The Pen will feature HOF-to-be Pedro Seguignol who should make the transision this season to relief. His arm can no longer be stretched into even 5 innings anymore, but he is far from useless and could be elite closer or a super reliever. For 11M a season Helena will find a use. Recently Added free agent Kiki Soto was also added to the corp as a former Cy Young All star now trying to hold on as a 40 year old reliever. Relievers Kenny Foster, and former closer Joel Byrne looked solid in relief and should find things easier this season, if they can keep from being overworked like in S18. Closer Orlando Frias signed a 37.5M contract in season 17, he wants to win and is the type of player you like at the end of the game. Prospect Bo Rothschild looks to turn heads this spring. Watch for him to try to get noticed after 2 seasons in LoA. Felipe Perez and Hector Quevedo will look to hold on to any job in S19. Spring training will hold their fates.
Summing up with a quote:
"Man our pitching staff is unstoppable, if it was season 13, HOLY RETRO!" - Virgil Diaz right before his trade to Atlanta.