Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Montreal Expos Season 37 preview

Season 36:  66-96

OK, first year of the rebuild in the books.  This offseason saw the continued out-migration of 30-something vets (Mitch Mirabelli, Jose Gongora, and Mitch Lee); more promotions of prospects (C Shep Moylan and OF Felipe Flores); and a few budget-conscious FA signings (IF Edwin Coy, SP Jerome Speaker, and SP Henry Sanders).

The offense will rely on vets Wesley Duffy (1B - .269/21/91), Vin Almonte (LF - .279/20/78) and Orlando Figueroa (RF  - .264/20/73).  The rest of the lineup is mostly defensively-oriented, if not outright defensive specialists (CF Derrick Lucas).  They scored a better-than-league-average 679 runs with a similar crew last year and should be able to match that.

The staff is older but less predictable.  They went with an unconventional 3-man rotation (mostly) last year, with Matty James, the departed Lee, and Leon Ross all getting 45+ starts.  Even though James pitched well (3.20 ERA in 205 IP) and the prime relievers did their parts (Snider - 3.43 ERA in 107 IP and White - 3.81 in 101 IP), the whole thing didn't work out that well - 4.38 ERA (14th in NL).  The Speaker and Sanders signings seem to signal a return to a 5-man rotation.

Clearly this is rebuild Year 2.  They have total payroll down to $68MM - should be able to compete for a good IFA as well as land a good draft pick at #6.  All while maintaining a good competitive profile.  

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