Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Open Franchises--Season 12

The Jersey League is now beginning recruiting for Season 12 and the following franchises are expected to be open:

Syracuse Comics (91-71, AL North): The odd disappearance of edwipper opens up one of the Jersey League's marquee franchises. edwizziper was an original owner that led the team through its first 10 1/2 years, then disappeared off the face of the WiS earth during season 11. Simmy still led the team to its 5th division crown, only to fall in the playoffs. All 5 minor league teams finished above .550. The team has $45M in salary committed for next year, none to players who will be older than 32. There are some nice prospects in the minors, pre-roll there is one projected with an 80+ OVR and 11 in the 70s. No rebuilding necessary here folks, take this team and inherit an instant contender.

Rochester Desparados (45-117, NL East): The league will be thrilled to be rid of bosh4mvp, who couldn't be bothered to sign enough players for his rosters. But, bosh leaves an absolutely fantastic rebuilding opportunity, and the NUMBER ONE DRAFT PICK. The holdover contracts aren't too bad, with $39M committed to 8 players, so the new owner can pour money into scouting, coaching, and training. The minors already have multiple very high-end prospects including the season 11 #1 overall pick Carlos Urbina who projects to the mid-90s. The franchise had a history of success--won the division title in 6 of the first 7 seasons--and now its ripe for a turnaround, and any HD owner worth his salt can return Rochester to its former glory.

Cleveland Indians (83-79, AL North): Sad to see ajb_101 go, who ran a solid teamm but he leaves a nice franchise for the next guy. The team just missed the playoffs due to an unexplainable final week swoon and was led by 3 all-stars including #1 starter Albert Vargas, 2B Miguel Diaz, and SS Bo Branson. Salary committments for next year are reasonable, 9 players (including Branson) for $44M. There are a couple high-end prospects in the minors, including an 80+ projected SS drafted #17 overall this year, and the #12 pick from year 10, a slugging catcher (78 OVR projection) who played at HiA this year. The organization is deep in the lower minors and reached the playoffs at Rookie, LowA, and HiA, and took the RL World Series title.

Tampa Bay Crowns (82-80, AL South): The Crowns are turning over after a nice 3-year run by deaconsoule. This is a historically well-run team, making the playoffs in 8 of 11 years and finishing under .500 just once. The foundation of this squad is Blaine Prince, an outstanding #1 starter who is under contract for a very reasonable $7.5M for three more years. There is some younger talent too, including 2B Robert Buchanan. Salary for next year already committed is 9 players (including Price) for $40M, and the other big contract is for slugging 1B/LF type Brett Barnes. Tampa probably doesn't have the deepest prospects, but I really like this year's first rounder SP Chance Ross.

Vancouver Asteroids (53-109, AL West): Grab the #2 overall draft pick here. The last owner built a powerful ML team full of veteran talent but then didn't follow up during the season and ended up without any money or healthy pitchers for the second half. The ML squad has far more talent than the win total suggests and probably was a playoff team with better management. There are some big contracts here, including 12 players signed for next year at $82M. The big one is Perry Ruth, still a very good pitcher but not worth the $18.6M he's owed the next two years. Chip Huson, an outstanding 3B is owed $14.9M the next 3 years. The new owner will have a choice to try to build on the veterans to make a run at a playoff spot or to trade off players and rebuild with that big draft pick.

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