Sunday, June 28, 2009

Available Franchises--Season 10

The always-competitive Jersey League is recruiting for season 10, and we have several very good teams opening up:

Portland Beavers
(AL West, 91-71)
The Beavers have been well run for 9 years by two different owners: wlarson (Year 1-7) and lefty 32 (Year 8-9). The team has finished below .500 only twice and made the playoffs 6 times, including a #5 seed in year 9. The new owner will have a big decision as stud SP Perry Ruth will be a free agent after finishing up a 4 x $11M contract. The team has just $4.6M in salary committed next year so the new owner has tons of flexibility. The minor leagues are deep and healthy, though not loaded with oodles of high-end talent.

Vancouver Titans (AL West, 75-87)
The squad won the division in years 1-4 but has fallen on tough times in a tough division, finishing 4th the last two years. The team should pick about #12 next year. The team picked 10th in season 9 and picked very projectable high school catcher Robb Dixon. The minors have some talent, including two high school pitchers took in rounds 1 & 2 in season 8 who just finished HiA. The Titans spent $18M in training last year which should help develop these guys. The team has $30M committed for salary in season 10, including some real talent such as $6.75M for 6-time all-star RF Louie Hiro and $6.25M for 3B Don Morandini.

San Antonio Stars (NL South, 77-85)
The team has been solidly run, with 7 of 9 winning records but no playoff appearances since year 3. There is some real talent on the mound including young Junior Santiago and veteran George Reagan. Reagan is a great pitcher, and a consistent 230 IP horse, but be warned that he's owed $20M in year 10, 11, and 12. In addition to those two arms, the team also has all-star closer Jon Price, owed $6.3M next year. The team has a total of $57M committed in salary for year 10. The minor leagues are deep, and the team has consistently signed all of its draft picks and is typically active in the IFA market.

Pawtucket T's (AL North, 75-87)
In the "franchise rankings" this team is the #2 team in the AL (!), but the disappointing tonym2583 seemed to quit playing during the second half and the team faltered. It has been a historically successful team, with 4 playoff appearances and was a 94-game winner in year 8. The team has a spectacular #1 pitcher in young all-star Albert Vargas, who should compete for Cy Youngs for many years. The team has $49M on the books for next year, including $9M for Albert Pineda and $7M for 1B Henry Brownson. Young Ken Jennings hit 38 HRs last year. The minor leagues seem well stocked, all key draft picks have been signed recently and back in season 7 the team signed 3 first rounders.

Chicago wind boys (AL East, 74-88)
With a quality owner, the wind boys are ripe for a turnaround! The team has had one winning season in 9 years and after a tough year, should pick 9th in next year's draft. The new owner has a big decision right away which should help decide the direction of the franchise: #1SP Karim DaSilva is a free agent. The team has a light $28M in committed salary for next year, including $6.5M to Silver Slugger LF Esteban Marquez, $6M to SP Banana Baxter, and $5.8M to slugger Brady Bowie. Despite the questionable management, the team has signed its draft picks, including this year's #1, young SP Don Sweeney, and year 8 #1 2B Andy Comer. Year 6 #1 pick Achilles Ramirez was a September call up this year and projects to 86 OVR. Prospect Cory Hayes, a very projectable ML closer, is another example of a good minor league system.

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