Monday, December 29, 2008

The Superstar Equation

. Monday, December 29, 2008
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Superstar... it is a word that evokes passion. It channels a certain mystique. It provides pride in the team you love.
Superstar is something that every team needs. The thing that many teams are willing to overpay for be it in the form of young prospects or a mountain of cash.

One thing is certain. To be a truly great franchise you need to have that signature player that can excite the fans. To entice the sports world and to build a revenue stream.

The question however is just how important a factor the superstar truly is to team success. We have seen many cases of a team giving it's all to sign a alleged superstar and then never be any better than they were before. From Alex Rodriguez and his then record 252 million dollar deal, to Mike Hampton signing for 180 million to Miguel Tejada going to the Orioles.

One player can make a difference and that difference can be huge but the thing that most fail to see and this is especially true in HBD. Is that you cannot build a true dynasty on a lone Superstar. You can have the best player in the world your in but if the team you set around him is full of holes you will never succeed.

There is no doubt that having a superstar is key. But the craze in which owners are willing to sacrifice an entire draft for the sake of a stud international free agent or forking over 20 million a season for that great hitter is indeed a flawed theory.

A HOF hitter may play in all 162 games but the salary to effect ratio will never pan out if you only have a great player on a poor team. More to the point if you a team with a great hitter vs a great pitching staff regardless of situation with enough exposure to the hitter the staff will win out. For a hitter success is going 1/3 every time out. 3 at bats vs a potential of 7-8-9 innings of possible 7 hit 4 earned run ball.

A closer can be elite but will only close out 40-50 games to preserve the win. A superstar can make an average to above average team great. A superstar cannot however take a porous team from obscurity to greatness.

Much like when Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman so to does a HBD superstar need to be surrounded by pieces that compliment, augment and enhance his natural abilities.

You should always build a great team with a superstar and not build your team around one.
If you fail to heed this advice you will doom your franchise to failure. No amount of money, nor huge bonus, nor key ratings will save you should you do it the wrong way.

Quality in quantity is more important than simple quality in one lone player. So you can sign that 40 million dollar international free agent. You can bring in that huge Arod type signing. But you will always be behind the team that bring in 4-5 quality guys each draft, makes savvy trades for youngsters and builds from within to make a true team.

A superstar is worth it's weight in gold. But their far from priceless.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Examining Free Agency

. Friday, December 26, 2008
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The Wright world free agency period has come and gone. We the current economic misfortunes play a part in the cash flow of some teams. We saw just 2 contracts of 30 million or more.
The per year average and bonuses on contracts also plummeted. The highest Bonus given was just 3 million while the highest per year average was 10.3 million. The long term contracts that free agents expected did not come either. There was just 1 contract of 5 years given out. It appears that the market beared out lower salaries and 2-3 contracts this season to give the economy to recover.
Only time will tell if the free angency splurge will return to Wright or if this is the start of a less crazied free agency period and less money for the players and their agents.

There were still very good players out there and they will make impacts on their new teams. But the pressure of fiscal responsiblity and rumored pressure from Wright world officials seems to have halted the expenditures of many.

Compensation Pick Signings
Stephen Singleton
Signed with Portland 3 years and 25 million.
Surprisingly exits Pawtucket to join a very good Portland franchise. The top offensive player available via free agency & a key signing for the Rainmakers.

Kevin Lennon
Signed with Tampa Bay 3 years and 23 million.
Quite possibly the best free agent pitcher on the market makes Tampa Bay his new home this season.

Marcus Williams
Signed with Toronto 4 years and 41.2 million.
He wasn't the best player available but he might have the biggest impact as he adds to a already deep Toronto rotation.

Max Mayne
Signed with Boise 3 years 15.9 million.
Just a monster masher who can put points on the board. Has had only 1 season under 20 homeruns and 75 RBI. Very productive hitter.

Keith Adams
Signed with Richmond 4 years 31.2 million.
A solid and durable starter. Very reliable meat and potatoes type that gets it done.

Bubbles Powell
Signed with San Antonio 1 year 3.8 million.
One of the best relievers available on the market and a bargain for San Antonio.

Bob Roberts
Signed with Richmond 3 years 15 million.
A true gamer type pitcher. He does what is needed to keep you in the game. Whether he is starting or coming out of the pen.

Winston Greene
Signed with Florida 3 years 15.6 million.
The long time Cincinnati Marauder leaves for Florida. One of the best defensive 2B in the game.
Solid addition for the Villans.

Patrick Buchanan
Signed with Durham 3 years 19 million.
Doesn't have the greatest stuff in the world but you put the ball in his hand and he can get you some W's. Atlanta will miss him this season.

Jed Hart
Signed with Jacksonville 1 year $2,775,000
Hart leaves Durham for Jacksonville. The swingman can eat alot of innings and do enough to keep you in a game.

Impact Signings W/o Compensation.
Don Fujiwara 2 years 12 million
Ray Hairston 2 years 6.2 million
Darrell Long 3 years 17.8 million
Greg Hill 2 years 8.8 million
Paul Walter 2 years 3 million
Bill Barry 2 years 15.2 million
Richard Sierra 3 years 13.8 million
Del Matos 2 years 5 million
Pascual Guerrero 3 year 18.6 million
Sammy Olmeda 2 years 5.2 million
Andy Barker 2 years 3.8 million
Dante Cheng 2 years 4.2 million
Norm Curtis 5 years 26 million
Walter House 2 years 4.5 million

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Season 10 Ownership Opportunites

. Wednesday, December 10, 2008
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American League
North
Formerly Vancouver Muffdivers 93-69 2nd Place 2 games back

Major League Foundation:
Alex Renteria is a flat out stud capable of MVP numbers every season. Don Fujiwara is a perfect compliment to the bat of Renteria. Stephen Singleton Is yet another offensive veteran weapon for this club to form a trio capable of 40-100 each.
The staff is led by cagey vet Homer Rizzo but after him your looking at a core of 28 or younger with the likes of. Ruben Soto, Robert Salmon as well as youngster Fernando Wilfredo(76/81) who can thrive as either a setup man or a closer.
Minor League Building Block:
Has some solid players in recent draftees like Ahmad Bailey(65/78) A potential #2 type SP. Jordan Ray(56/73) A very adept pitcher with #2-#3 potential or dynamic as a LR/SUA type role player.

Outlook:
A team built to win now with a great offensive set of players and some good pitchers. Capable of winning the division and more with the right tweaks.

Formerly Cleveland Redlegs 43-119 4th place and 52 games back.

Major League Foundation:
When you look at this franchise you have to start with none other than Alex Manto. The supreme hitter is just beginning to hit his stride and will make the allstar team for many years to come. After him on offense you have hitters like Pascual Guerrero,Valerio Reyes & Harry Stargell.

Minor League Building Block:
Shep Reagan(71/80) Leads the charge as the top prospect in the system. A complete 2 way player with gold glove potential at 2B or CF. After him lies Hal Lamb(61/81) a SP prospect with good potential to be a #2-#3 type, Todd Dresden(60/77) a future elite closer,Mel Grace(72/76) a potential stud slugger with polish. With the likes of Deivi Martin(70/75),Fred Hunter(72/77) & Joe Ward(53/77) on the back end the minors while needing work are in good condition.
Outlook:
The franchise has some very solid pieces at the major league level for their offense. The pitching staff needs an overhaul but this is a team that can contend in 2-3 seasons if the path chosen is to rebuild. With the right owner, this team could surprise in season 10. Armed with a top 5 pick this franchise could go the way of the Tampa Bay Rays with the right selection.

South
Formerly Memphis RedBirds 42-120 4th place 59 games back - TAKEN
Major League Foundation:
The hitters leave alot to be desired but Pitching wise the standouts are Esteban Elcano & Brandon Leach.
Minor League Building Block:
Brian Ransom(82/92) is a sure fire future allstar OF with 5 tool potential. He will be a franchise player for many years to come. Theodore Wilson(65/88) the recent #1 overall pick,Eduardo Jacquez(68/83) is a close 2nd who reminds of the Oakland A's version of Jason Giambi. Behind those 3 you have the likes of Robert Isringhausen(61/75)Jackson Stoops(63/81),Quinn Jenner(39/71),Ed McDowell(55/72),Vicente Ramirez(75/80),Luis De La Vega(66/78),Hiram Prince(80/87),Ariel Carrasco(65/82),Sarma Roberts(68/76) and too many others to name.
Outlook:
The minors are stacked and the only way to describe it would be "Prospect heaven" however the ML team needs some serious work put into it by a dedicated owner. Some prospects in the minors are ML ready now and should have already been in the show so that could help bridge the gap.

National League

East
Formerly Iowa City Acorns 74-88 T-2nd place 18 games back. - TAKEN
Major League Foundation:
An extremely youthful bunch of guys. Adrian O'Neill(75/83) is arguably the franchise player with his best uyears well ahead of him. Rounding out the offense is slugging 1B Bip Fleming(74/82), Macbeth Wagner(66/70) & Otis Reese.
Minor League Building Block:
This franchise has some very nice prospects on the farm. Raul Ortiz(55/83) is a future stud hitter who projects as DH/C type, one thing is for sure...he'll bring the wood. If Ortiz isn't your cup of tea then former #1 pick Dicky Kreuter(77/87) should do the trick. A potential allstar OF who can be a anchor to the lineup. After them you have even more with the likes of Jeff Green(63/75),Angel Olivares(68/72),Tony Chen(65/76) &Eli Jacquez(60/74).
Outlook:
This is a very young team with lots of pieces to tinker and toy with. Either to contend now or in the future, it will depend upon the owner. Lack of pitching is a problem at the ML level that needs to be addressed to have a chance to compete year in and year out.

West
Los Angeles Dodgers 94-68 T-2nd place 7 games back
Major League Foundation:
4 time allstar OF Geraldo Alvarado is the franchise player. Donaldo Lucano & Cooper Carter provide protection in the lineup for him.
Miguel Colome who might be the best pitcher in all of Wright world is also the best pitcher on the staff. followed up by Carter Stull, Steven Keeler,Joseph Martin,Kyle Alston & Bernie Sierra for one of the best pitching staffs and bullpen tandems in the NL.
Minor League Building Block:
Rafael Ozuna(69/81) is arguably their top prospect or atleast their best pitching one. Harold Vernon(58/70) provides the organization with depth along with the following pitchers Felix Culver(65/79),Russell Griffey(54/77) & Randy Hearn(64/73).
The position prospects are solid in Bubba Blanton(65/75) & Jimmy Pearson(65/74)
Outlook:
A very good ML foundation with some prospects in the minors. Built to contend right now in a tough NL. With a few tweaks this team can make a big time playoff run, WS title? anything is possible in the playoffs.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Dynasty Is Made

. Tuesday, December 9, 2008
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After a tough back and for seven game series. The Atlanta Fairfax have risen from ashes to claim their second Wright world championship.

In a series that pitted two teams with a brewing rivalry against one another again. Last season saw Toronto break the hearts of the Fairfax by denying them a WS and claiming it for themselves. This season saw payback for the Fairfax after seeing everything from 9 run blowouts to 1 run pitching duels.

So hats off to the champs as they now hold the distinction of being the only true dynasty in Wright world. Being the only team to capture more than one title.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

The Terrific Two

. Friday, December 5, 2008
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After nearly 3 months of speculation. Who's gonna win? Who is the favorite? Soon we will have a clear cut answer.

You have two teams that were once again head and shoulders above the rest. For the second straight season the world series will feature a showdown between the Atlanta Fairfax and the Toronto Trail of Tears.

Last season saw a very primed and ready Toronto squad capture their first WS title with a gut wrenching 4-3 series win.

This season Atlanta been on the road to redemption. Seeking to prove that last year was merely a fluke and that they are still the kings of the AL.

For Toronto this series will be about cementing a legacy as the first team to win multiple titles.
They seek to prove dominance and to claim to ultimate respect. The kind no one can take away.

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls strap yourselves in for the biggest thrill ride in all of HBD.
Because this series is about one word...P.R.I.D.E
Proven
Respect
In
Dynasty
Efficiency

To build, to know and to win it all.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

The Final 4

. Monday, December 1, 2008
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32 teams began this journey. A journey of hope, one of discovery and one of desire.
The hope that one could rise above the rest to become something more. To discover the will to make all the right moves. The desire to prove one's self as the best.

This is why we play the game, to win. Yes 32 teams began the journey but now only 4 remain.

ALCS - 7 Game Series
#3 Dover Demons v #5 Atlanta Fairfax
The Demons make their first playoff appearance a memorable one. Pulling off a sweep on a very game Vancouver squad and then holding off a prime Texas team with WS hopes.
The season 5 WS champs return to the ALCS for the 2nd straight year. After sweeping Salem and a shocking sweep over Chicago the Fairfax hope they are primed for a 2nd WS title.

NLCS - 7 Games Series
#1 Toronto Trail of Tears v #3 Cincinnati Marauders
Toronto is the epitome of consistency. Making the playoffs 7 out of 9 seasons, making 2 WS trips and being the reigning WS champs. Ace pitcher Cookie Nunez looks to further his revenge on Cincy for letting him walk last season.
Cincinnati is making it's first trip to the playoffs in 3 seasons. Appearing in their very first NLCS this is the farthest this team has ever been. The question now is not only do they have the ability to win vs a game Toronto team but can they win it all if they do?

Questions will be raised, questions will be answered, excuses gone out the window.
It's game time boys and the final 4 are out for blood.

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