This is probably the first of its kind ever on this site. After all, this is a blog, and we as authors, are free to write about whatever it is we please.
I figured to mix things up from my usual predictions, banter, and analysis and try something new. (The NL 2009 preview WILL be done before this week is up!).
Anyways, I have played this game a good amount recently and one thing has always been the same. I have enjoyed making decent to awful teams good by playing GM and acquiring players I like that can put together a winning ball club for years to come.
For the record, fair trades ARE ON so this will not be the best 25 players in baseball all on the same team. Also, I do work with a budget, so I am not the NY Yankees and can just outbid everyone.
I have always enjoyed this and have done so ever since good old Play Station days. I always do a season/franchise with my home town Sox, and after that I usually look for a team that has a decent budget and a little talent that can be made into a winner, maybe even the year I take over.
If you're asking, YES I have MLB Front Office Manager. For someone who envisions being Theo Epstein, I mess around with budgets and payroll and look at saber-metrics more than I do my own homework.
The team I have picked is the Toronto Blue Jays. This team is probably a 70-75 win team, which fits the criteria of "decent team."
Also, the Jays have a pretty good budget since they have All Stars such as Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, and Roy Halladay. Also, with young guys such as Dustin McGowan, Adam Lind, and Travis Synder, this team had some potential.
However, there was also a good amount of players I simply did not want on my roster. I made three or four trades and made three or four signings in Free Agency, and all of a sudden my team is a force to be messed with in the AL East.
Before I get to the transactions, my plan is to provide an update with how this team does during a weeks worth of games. I will try to write a new column a week, but that will not always be possible. Consider this a preview to MLB '09 The Show's preview of the Blue Jays.
First off, this team lacked a big time slugger. Yeah, Vernon Wells isn't bad and same with Alex Rios but there really is not a lot of fear from opposing pitchers. Also, since my lineup is predominately right handed, it could use a left handed power bat.
To solve this, I acquired Adam Dunn. He was a FA when the game started because he signed so late. He has a ton of power and a high OBP, I can live with the strikeouts.
Secondly, and no offense to the player, but I have never liked Scott Rolen. He just seems to pack it in too early and just doesn't feel like playing hurt. To remove him, I traded for Garrett Atkins.
Atkins makes a lot less money in this game, plus he is years younger than Rolen. Atkins does play hurt, and he can produce better numbers than Rolen can.
Next, shortstop was just an ugly combination. Instead of having automatic outs with the John McDonald/Marco Scutaro combination, I sent McDonald and his overpaid salary, as well as a prospect, to KC for fellow shortstop Mike Aviles and a low rookie who will probably never see the light of day on the active roster.
Aviles, 27, is 3MM less than McDonald and is still on the upside of his career. He could be a stud, again, easy call.
That pretty much sums up the offensive acquisitions. I beefed up the farm system by going through the FA's and looking for those no name young players who have very good potential. If you play MLB '09 The Show, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. To conclude the offense, I will leave you with my lineup against RHP and LHP, both with the DH.
A. Lind/ T. Synder RF (both platoon against RHP and LHP)
The big changes on this team came from the pitching aspect. No kidding, about half of the players on the 40-man roster were either unknowns (and I know a lot more than the average person does about baseball), or simply should be stuck in Triple-A.
Everyone knows about Brandon League, B. J. Ryan, and Roy Halladay. After that, one word comes to mind...EWWWWW.
To fix this problem I had to sit down and think. Since Dunn had a high price tag, finding young talent as well as low price tags was top priority. Besides Halladay and Dustin McGowan (love how everyone is healthy in video games to start off), the starting rotation needed work.
To help with this, lefty Oliver Perez was signed to a multi-year deal. He can be a very good number two and is also very young, only 26. Now that he was a big $$ signing, it was time to find a young guy who will be here for a long time.
To fit that mold, I sent off a couple players, one being Jesse Litsch, to Arizona for the young and explosive Max Scherzer. He’s a very young player, throws gas, and will be cheap for a few years. Now I have a rotation of Halladay, Perez, McGowan, David Purcey, and finally Scherzer.
So far, so good.
Now for the bullpen. I pretty much blew up and completely started over. I kept Brandon League, because he is young and throws flames. Sold. That is what I wanted to do. Have young flame throwers who have experience.
First off, I acquired Juan Cruz. A former D-Back who also was a FA. I signed him to a two year deal and he will immediately make the 'pen better.
Also a FA and young stud, but injury prone, was Chad Cordero. Remember him? He was willing to play for peanuts or some giga bites (video game humor...). He was signed to be the set-up man to B.J. Ryan. I like this because in case Ryan stinks or gets injured, there is another reliever who has closing experience.
Also, this could be a great move if he pitches well.
I also made two minor acquisitions. Ryan Madson and Manny Corpas. I have always liked Corpas and personally think the Rockies are stupid for having Huston Street close. This guy is young, has playoff experience, and throws gas. Awesome. Madson is a very good set up man and could probably close if needed.
On this team, him and Corpas will be middle relief. Last man in the 'pen is lefty Scott Downs. Every team needs a lefty, eh?
The rotation and 'pen shape out like this:
Chad Cordero (SU)
B. J. Ryan (CL)
Call me a nerd, but I like this team. I like the way this team is for not just this year, but 2010, 2011, and 2012. Again, I figured I'd share this for the lone fact that I have yet to see one of these, and figured for all you gamers out there, it would be something new to read.
I look forward to hearing feedback as well as what you gamers do out there. No need to call me a GEEK, because I already know I am, as my lovely girlfriend calls me one all the time.