Monday, January 11, 2010

Philadelphia Phillies Season Outlook (Season 10)

Last season was a disappointing one in Philly, finishing last overall. Pitching stats were high, offense numbers were low. It was a transition year, to say it as positive as possible. Hopefully, season 9 marks the turning point for the Philly franchise, having never made the post season in World Major Leagues, nor ever even finished higher than third in the NL East. New direction was added, a plan was formed to keep advancing in that direction, and goals have been targeted at the end of that plan. Unfortunately, this season in itself does not promise a whole lot more than number nine.

It will be better...but small steps better, not the type of progression we were actually hoping for for this franchise. One of our short term goals, finishing .500, was supposed to be in sight this season, backed by some strong FA market activity. However, due to vacation plans and unanticipated lack of internet, those major signings were few and far between. Philly had their sights on two of the top Pitchers in this year's FA mad scramble, Kyle Powell and Victor Solano, which would have greatly improved this team. Looking back though, it's a double sided two edged sword bullet that was narrowly dodged, in terms of contracts. It was lucky in one sense to have avoided the slippery slope of Powell's contract, but unlucky to miss out on Solano who went for lower than expected. .500 is still in sight, but it might take a lot of good fortune to hit it this season.

The focus in Philly still remains on the long-term. Youth, depth and quality are the four buzz words that front office seems to fall back on after such set backs as this past FA period. A few decent Pitchers were signed, and some higher quality hitting will improve the team from last year, but not much was achieved in the long run. Two youthful pitchers, Todd Leon and Rafael Santiago, stand on that mound on the horizon, waiting to make their ML debut and impact on the franchise and the league. Most likely that will happen next season though, season 11. A budget that can attack the FA market could play a major role in that season ahead. For now, some fresh faces and a number one draft pick add some life to what will most likely be an event depleted season 10. There have been some rumors of trade, but wheeling is dealing is difficult when assets are low.

The goals for Philly are .500, 90 wins and a division title. Small steps though, small steps....for now.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Season 10 Predictions

jgnjr asked jonboynky and I who we thought the division favorites were for season 10, presumably because we were the World Series representatives from season 9, and I figured it might make a good blog post and (hopefully) something that the prior year's World Series participants are willing to do on a yearly basis. Also hopefully, something that Minnesota management will have to do in season 11 and beyond! ;-)

Without further ado, here are my picks for division favorites.

NL North
Milwaukee Brewers - The class of the NL North, the Brewers return an impressive staff bolstered by the big FA signing of Kyle Powell. When a 100-win team adds to its strength such as the Brewers have, it's tough to see them anywhere but the top of the division.

NL East
Washington D.C. Nationals - This will likely be a battle, and the Mets return seemingly intact after a division title last season. With no major losses and a couple of savvy veteran role player signings in FA - including the very experienced defensive wizard Jesus Moralez - the Mets could easily be the team to beat for the time being in the NL East. That said, the Nationals were solid last season and I think this may be Washington's year, and what fun is it to just predict repeat winners anyway?

NL South
St. Louis Cardinals - In what is likely the toughest division in the NL, the Cardinals have taken the somewhat unusual step of mixing things up via trade immediately following a title run. It remains to be seen how it will impact the franchise, but while the rest of the division is nipping at the Cardinals' heels, they've yet to make the move that would put them over the top to unseat St. Louis.

NL West
San Francisco Giants - Years of quality drafting and excellent international scouting have quietly turned SF into something of a powerhouse on the left coast. Not given much media coverage way out west, SF nevertheless is poised to repeat as division champs and make a deep postseason run.

AL West
Oakland Athletics - A regular season juggernaut, and with the franchise's core of talent locked up this season and beyond, there's no reason to expect Oakland to slip in season 10. After the incredible run of regular season success Oakland has had, however, it's fair to say that fans have become impatient and merely winning the division crown is not nearly as satisfying as it once was.

AL South
Nashville Sounds - In season 9, Nashville posted the best record ever by an AL South member, improving on the division's previous best by a remarkable nine games. Though Tampa also turned in a good effort to finish .500 - giving the division two teams at or above .500 for the first time since season 2 - Nashville has separated itself a bit from the pack and is the pick to beat in the division until proven otherwise.

AL East
Baltimore Orioles - With a relatively quiet off-season, it looks as though no one has been able to close the gap and catch Baltimore, who won the division in season 9 with a comfortable 18-game cushion.

AL North
Chicago White Sox - Ah, yes, the bloodbath that is to be the AL North. Defending division champion Detroit hasn't missed a step and should see the post-season again, but I couldn't just pick all of the season 9 AL division winners to repeat, and Chicago has made great strides signing two top FA bats - Turk Weaver and Taylor Mullin - and landing front-end pitcher Mike DeJean from Seattle for minor league prospects. These new additions should be enough to boost Chicago to the top of the division, though it'll be far from easy and Detroit remains a force to be reckoned with.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New For Season 10!!!

In an effort to bring the World Major Leagues Blog up to speed, a chat-room as been added to help facilitate trade discussions. You can find the link to the chat-room in the upper right-hand corner of the blog. Hopefully this will be the first of many additions to the blog this season (I say that every season, don't I?). Good luck in the long season ahead!!!