2013 Winter Report

By Dan Hausman, GM Reston Roundabouts

JLB

 

It is my pleasure to present the 2013 winter report. Thanks so much for playing in 2013!

This forum should give me everyoneÕs full attention. Therefore, I need to bring up an issue that has been on my mind for quite some time. JLB needs to do something with all of the extra cash in the league fund! We can certainly use the money in a practical way in the form of a stock option, cash dividend, or lavish league party. We can affect competition by awarding record breaking seasons, rivalry winners (think mini-Ōthe betĶ), or specific in-season accomplishments. Or we can think big and award money to the funniest post of the year (good start with the Alleycats off-season training regiments Joe), fund KeenanÕs new business venture, or invest our money with the 66ers and Heroes financial backers. The possibilities are endless. We need a serious discussion. Seriously!!

Before getting into the good stuff, I want to let you guys know how much fun it is to be a part of JLB. You guys are great owners and friends (really glad Mikey OÕBrien didnÕt get in) and it is a pleasure to be able to hang out with you guys and discuss endless nonsense related to JLB. I wake up and check my phone in hopes of seeing a post or an e-mail and check scores before going to bed (maybe you can learn something from me mac!). To me, JLB really is the American pastime. 

On to the report. Good luck in 2014!

 

Awards:

Arsenal didnÕt vote!!!! Anyway, IÕm not making a chart or anything. I included the ballots after each write-up. Enjoy!

 

 

MVP:  3B Miguel Cabrera, Clifton Clams

103 R, 44 HR, 137 RBI, 3 SB, .347 AVG

 

Miggy has established himself as the best player in JLB. (Accounting for positional scarcity) He was able to carry the Clams to a fourth place finish in 2013 and will be expected to put the Clams offense on his back again in 2014. He just beat at Goldie for a well deserved MVP award. Miguel will likely shift to 1B in 2015, but the potent bat of the 30 year old could allow him to walk away from the game holding some all-time JLB records.

 

Trout miggie mccutchen

Goldie / Davis / McCutchen
Mig
Chris Davis Mike Trout Adam Jones

Goldschmidt / Miggy / Matt Carpenter
1- Cabrera 2- Davis 3- Trout

 Cabrera, Goldschmidt, Davis

1) Chris Davis 2) Paul Goldschmidt 3) Andrew McCutchen!

Goldie (who saw that coming?  what a stupid good year) Cabrera (with side bet considerations, he'd get 1st on my ballot) McCutch

1.  Miguel Cabrera 2. Paul Goldschmidt 3.  Andrew McCutchen

 

 

Randy Johnson Award Winner:  SP Clayton Kershaw, Sterling Starfish

16 W, 232 K, 1.83 ERA, .92 WHIP

 

KershawÕs season even stands out compared to past Randy winners. He led an incredible pitching staff in 2013 and delivered exactly what the Starfish were hoping for in their big 2013 pre-season deal. Clayton will again anchor a talented Starfish rotation in 2014. It doesnÕt look like anyone in JLB has the ability to take this award from Clayton.

 

Kershaw darvish scherzer

Scherzer / Kershaw / Darvish

Kershaw

Kershaw Scherzer  Wainwright
Wainwright / Iwakuma / Uehara

1- Kershaw  2- Scherzer  3- Wainwright 

Scherzer, Darvish, Lee

1) Clayton Kershaw 2) Max Scherzer 3) Cliff Lee

Scherzer Kershaw Kimbrel

1.  Clayton Kershaw 2.  Max Scherzer 3.  Kenley Jansen

 

 

Rookie of the Year:  OF Mike Trout, Manassas Franchise

109 R, 27 HR, 97 RBI, 33 SB, .323 AVG

 

Trout is so incredible he got rookie of the year votes even when he didnÕt play in 2012. He is so incredible he will probably get rookie of the year votes in 2014. The Manassas franchise is banking on Mike Trout to carry the team to a JLB title. We will have to see if he can do so before testing the free agent waters. Expect Trout to sign the biggest JLB deal of all time when he hits free agency after the 2018 season as a 27 year old.

 

Trout segura Harvey

Trout / Harvey / Segura

Segura

Trout Harvey Machado

Segura / Marte / Trout

1- Trout 2- Harvey 3- Segura

Segura, Harvey, Trout

1) Mike Trout 2) Jean Segura 3) Starling Marte

Trout Segura Rosario

Trout / Harvey / Segura

 

 

 

Mike Durgala Award:  Dan Hausman, Reston Roundabouts

 

I am really lucky to have taken home this award and am not sure that I am deserving. I tried all off-season to deal Paul Goldschmidt and Pat Corbin for much less than they are now worth, got hosed in the deal for Kimbrel, and my best move was most likely the swap for Donaldson that no one could have predicted would have turned out so well. I barely even bid on my second best offensive performer, E5. It really shows just how much luck is necessary to win a JLB championship. At least I can tell you guys that I learned a lot this season, especially how to run an organization with a huge lead, that I will use as the league moves forward.

 

Hausman Maji lasken

Haus / Moss / Maji

Hausman

Reston Roundabounts Centreville 66ers Alexandria Alleycats

Lasken / Hausman /  Davis

1- Haus 2- Danny (For getting the 2nd best player in the league for nothing) 3- Carlton (Great start to the rebuild)

Hausman, Lasken, JD 

1) Dan Hausman 2) Ned Silly (outplayed him for T-2!) 3) J.D. Moss

You JD Ned

1.  Dan Hausman 2.  Jon Lasken 3.  Joe Gittens and Ricky Mixon

 

 

Team Reports:

1. Reston Roundabouts (103.5 Total – 46.5 Hitting, 57 Pitching)

A look back: The first Roundabouts championship since 2006 coincides with the takeover of the entire Reston market. The Roundabouts have finally managed to bridge the social gap between the elite North Restonintes, with their posh Town Center, and the townhouse dwelling South Restoners. The Roundabouts looked like a contender going into the 2013 season and, despite a somewhat slow start, took first place after a little over a month and just dominated the rest of the way. The season went so well that the Roundabouts were able to trade off veterans late in the season for future assets. It was really kind of boring. The Roundabouts can look to big seasons out of Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Max Scherzer, and Matt Moore along with an incredible bullpen as the main reasons for success. IÕm so fucking happy!!!

What the future holds: The Roundabouts started the off-season by dealing their depth in the pen and at third base to get a huge speed weapon at the top of their lineup, the one missing piece from 2013, in Jacoby Ellsbury and to stock the farm with some high upside talent. The Roundabouts are currently around 40 million under the luxury tax threshold and need only to find a 2B, SS, and 3rd OF in free agency along with some depth. Look to see bids for the big names at these positions as the Roundabouts hope to gear up for another potential title run.

 

2(tie). Centerville 66ers (88.5 Total - 47.5 Hitting, 41 Pitching)

A look back: A late season surge, including a slew of final week free agent pitching signings, allowed the 66ers to vault themselves into a tie for second place. While a finish in the money wasnÕt terribly surprising, the way the 66ers overcame disappointments to get there certainly was. If I told you before the 2013 season that Joey Votto would fail to reach 25 HR and 75 RBI, Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista would miss significant portions of the season, and CC Sabathia would pitch his way out of the rotation you would have to guess that the 66ers wouldnÕt make the playoffs. The finish really points to the overall strength of the 66ers core. Guys like Adrian Beltre, Andrew McCutchen, Stephen Strasburg, and Jordan Zimmermann had typical seasons and were all amongst the top players in the league. While what has been written thus far makes it appear as 66ers fans would have no qualms with the teamÕs finish, not all was rosy in Centerville in 2013. 66ers management squandered the chance for sole possession of second place by being too patient and focusing on value. A problem that the Centerville Times writers have been all over management about for years! The 66ers let young emerging outfielder Starling Marte simmer on the farm for months while the team sorted through aging DH options like Travis Hafner and Justin Morneau, settled for Kelly Johnson as a fill in middle infielder to awful results after the inevitable Jose Reyes injury, and firmly declared that they were not to be swept up by Puig-mania. The tie will surely sting this entire off-season as the 66ers think of how they could have eeked out another half-point to take second on their own.

What the future holds: The 66ers are going to be in the thick of the title chase in 2014. The team is very talented and management is hoping they will be healthy this time around. The 66ers will return just about every piece of the 2013 team outside of closer, second base, and third outfielder. Full seasons of Puig, Marte, and Homer Bailey should more than make up for the expected losses. Plus, the 66ers have enough in the coffers to add a FA closer and second baseman. If the JLB talent isnÕt scary enough, the minor league roster boasts multiple top prospects. (IÕm sure we will see Ned post some sort of ranking if it looks favorable enough for the 66ers). If you are hoping that the team will fall off any time soon, donÕt hold your breath. The 66ers have loads of cheap proven talent that will be in Centerville for at least the next three years. This is not going to be an easy team to beat.

 

2(tie). Great Falls Grenades (88.5 Total - 42.5 Hitting, 46 Pitching)

A look back: J.D. Moss is revered as the strongest day-to-day manager in JLB. This year his skills vanished at the wrong time, costing him sole possession of second place. I am positive that JD can (and hopefully will) defend his decision making process. The simple fact of the matter is that the 66ers were able to finish 16.67 innings over the Grenades final tally, leading to a narrow 3 K lead and a two point standings swing. Had the Grenades matched the 66ers innings they could have only possibly lost a single point in WHIP, while certainly overtaking the 66ers in K, and thus taking second place! The Grenades publicly state that they wouldnÕt have been in the position to lose sole possession of second place had it not been for injuries or suspensions (finally!!) to almost every offensive starter save Shin-Soo Choo and Jay Bruce. However, names like Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Aramis Ramirez, and Ryan Braun donÕt exactly inspire confidence in health and/or not cheating at this point in their careers. Even with all of the injuries to the starters on offense, the Grenades were able to get just enough done by coaxing some good performances from the bench and stealing Jean Segura from the Starfish (offset a bit by Donaldson!!). A very very strong pen and good seasons from Cliff Lee, Mat Latos, Zack Greinke, and Rick Porcello contributed to a great season out of the Grenades arms. The 2013 season was surely a success. But, there is a sense that it could have been a little bit better.

What the future holds: The Grenades donÕt seem to know what they are doing this off-season. They traded for Doug Fister and Aramis Ramirez but traded away Joe Mauer and Zack Grienke. They have a few good prospects but havenÕt dealt them for talent or added more. I suspect that the Grenades are in a holding pattern where they are looking simply for value in deals as they gather more information about their ability to compete. In fact, I think the Grenades will enter the season on the fence with a mind to add in trades if things go well or dismantle mid-season if the season starts off poorly. 2014 truly is a transition year for the Grenades franchise. So, expect some free agent signings where management feels the player is being undervalued. Opposing managers surely canÕt overlook Moss as he returns some good pieces like Freddie Freeman, Jean Segura, Shin-Soo Choo, Cliff Lee, Mat Latos, and Kanley Jansen and has nearly 30 million to play with in free agency. The current roster doesnÕt seem to have the star-power necessary to carry the Grenades to a title, but Moss has shown the ability to compete without star-power in the past.

 

4. Clifton Clams (84 Total – 52 Hitting, 32 Pitching)

A look back: No one saw this unprecedented level of play back in the 2010 off-season. The Clams were able to go three-way tie for third, fifth, third, and fourth. Dynasty!! In all seriousness, Lasken was able to successfully compare the future of his own franchise with that of the Arsenal to win Ōthe bet.Ķ Well played. In typical Clam fashion, the offense did the heavy lifting while the pitching staff scraped by. Lasken again leveraged a huge season from Miguel Cabrera supported by smartly acquired free agent hitters to pace the league in offense. While some deride LaskenÕs free agent moves (Chris Young, A-Rod, and Josh Willingham give good reason), the totality of his signings surely comes out as very positive. Guys like David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, and CarGo2 put in a ton of good work for the Clams. The pitching side of the equation has not been as kind to Clams fans as the team continues to throw out low end JLB starters and closers. In fact, the Clams best starting pitcher, Homer Bailey, was traded for a questionable outfield prospect. In fact, the Clams moves really didnÕt make all that much sense!! Chris Davis for Trevor Bauer? Failing to add anyone to buoy the pitching staff? IÕm at the point where I just shake my head. Lasken is on a different level.

What the future holds: Disbelief as Lasken places again? This is a team that has typically beat everyoneÕs projections and will have to do so again to compete in 2014. We know that Miguel Cabrera will be back and will be expected to carry the offensive load along with CarGo2. But, is there enough behind the two to dominate offense again? There are a ton of question marks with the guys that are supposed to be good for the Clams next season including OrtizÕs age, Evereth CabreraÕs 2013 season possibly being a complete fluke, and victorinoÕs ability to hit for average. Throw in average at best contributors at C, 2B, OF3, and DH and you really start to wonder if the Clams blueprint for success will hold up. The pitching staff isnÕt expected to build on its average performance as the Clams will continue to throw out a bunch of JLB 3s and 4s supported by low quality relief pitchers. The ability to make one 7 million dollar signing is not likely to change the short-term outlook. At least the Clams will get out of some bad contracts following the 2014 season. Combined this with a little interest in the farm system (the Clams traded for minor leaguers this year and even got a good one!!!) and perhaps the Clams will be able to defy expectations in both the short and long term.

 

5. Alexandria Alleycats (81.5 Total – 44.5 Hitting, 37 Pitching)

A look back: Alleycats fans were extremely excited going into the 2013 season, and not just because the team was finally catering to the emerging Hispanic population in Alexandria. The CatsÕ came tantalizingly close to the playoffs in 2012 and made some key additions to help them get over the hump in the off-season. Management dealt four high upside pieces from their minors for 3 team controlled years of super-stud CarGo, opened up the checkbook for Jon Broxton and Carlos Beltran, and re-signed almost every one of their own free agents, including ace pitcher Adam Wainwright and once great first baseman Adirian Gonzalez. With two months to go it appeared as if the moves would pay off and that 2013 would be the year that the Alleycats would finally break though and secure their first playoff appearance in franchise history. Sadly, the good work that the team did to put itself in a commanding second place position was for naught as injuries and suspensions to their top players (CarGo, Wright, Cruz, Colon (what??)) led to a late season collapse. The continued star level play of homegrown products Kipnis and Sale and the relatively minor late additions of Pence, Cuddyer, and Lackey were just not enough to hold off the Clams, 66ers and Grenades. The collapse has left the fans and management despondent as the 2014 off-season has begun. Management was so disgusted with the outcome of the season that they have stated that they need a two month leave of absence to get their heads back on straight before taking a look into their roster. It is only fair that management gets to take 2 months in the off-season if the team is going to take off August and September.

What the future holds: The Alleycats have two conceivable paths. Deal their three underpaid stars, Kipnis, CarGo, and Sale, to kickstart a long rebuild or continue to push towards a playoff appearance. If past history is any indication, the CatsÕ will look to add talent. As they should; the team looks to be in a better spot than it ever has as just about every key piece of 2013Õs squad returns and the CatsÕ will have nearly 15 million to play with in free agency before they hit cap. The Cats have two real stars atop the rotation in Sale and Wainwright, elite bats in Kipnis and CarGo, and solid options at nearly every other position with pretty decent depth. However, it does not appear that much help will come from a pretty bland farm system or in the form of a trade acquisition. It is doubtful that any impact player can be had by dangling minor leaguers unless the squad offers up former 2nd round AD pick and potential future JLB all-star Addison Russell. (He is off-limits!!! I have tried) There is not much roster surplus outside of the productive young catcher combination of Sal Perez and Jon Lucroy and that has already been used to acquire a potentially average SS option. Roster holes are significant and include reliable SP options behind Sale and Wainwright, a big bat for DH, and a guy or two in the pen. 15 million should be enough to aggressively address the holes in free agency with mid-tier options. It is definitely possible that this course of action will be enough. With a couple of teams that finished ahead of them looking vulnerable and the teams behind them needing even more improvement than the CatsÕ, 2014 may finally be the CatsÕ time to reach the playoffs.

 

6. Sterling Starfish (70.5 Total – 19 Hitting, 51.5 Pitching)

A look back: This was a horrendous season and c-mac knows it. Basically, it was a failure on all accounts. Lowlights include a misguided trade of a couple of the most valuable prospects in the league in Bogarets and Buxton for a 19m per year Kershaw, free agency consisting only of signing 28 million annual average value contracts for declining stars Verlander and Kinsler while failing to address huge holes at third and first, giving away Jean Segura along with 2.5m for nothing, and an eventual UMC fine! Mac squandered a great pitching performance from the Starfish in 2013 and will have to do much better in the future.

What the future holds: Fans have to be getting excited after the 2013 ineptitude displayed by the management team. C-mac has recognized the enormous holes at third base and first base and has dipped into his excess pitching depth and his elite minor league system to acquire Crush and 2013 breakout star Josh Donaldson to plug the holes. It is going to be very interesting to see what Mac does with his 77m excess of cash. (By the way, we really need to institute a 100% tax once you hit 115m in payroll or something) This is a very good team that just needs a good season from management to compete for a JLB title. I really just donÕt want to give away what I would do because I am legitimately scared.

 

7. Herndon Heroes (70 Total - 27.5 Hitting, 42.5 Pitching)

A look back: Lifelong Heroes fans are getting restless. The team finished in the middle of the pack for the fifth consecutive season. The 2013 off-season consisted of a bunch of mid-level signings while rivals loaded up in prospect for proven vet trades and by signing big deals for stars. Even with the lack of noteworthy pre-season activity, the Heroes were able to garner a lot of 2014 value as the season progressed. They acquired Chris Davis in what looks like a lopsided trade, drafted Danny Salazar, and signed Hisashi Iwakuma and Justin Masterson. The staff actually performed quite well, with Anibal Sanchez, Alex Cobb, Ed Mujica, Joaquin Benoit, and Jose Veres all putting in additional good work behind Iwakuma and Masterson. Sadly, the offense didnÕt do much as solid to excellent contributions from Buster Posey, Chris Davis, Matt Carpenter, Evan Longoria, and Hanley Ramirez were diminished by getting absolutely nothing from an injured Mike Stanton and a crew of horrendous DH and OF options. Although the season looks pretty disappointing on first glance, there really is a silver lining. There is plenty of room for improvement by going from awful to adequate at a few positions.

What the future holds: The Heroes have a chance to vault themselves into contention if they can make some savvy moves this off-season. They started by dealing Chris Davis for Yu Darvish and Brandon Moss. While some have questioned the move, I think that the Heroes locked in their competitive advantage at SP while potentially selling high on Crush. At worst it looks like a wash to me. The Heroes have 40 million to spend in order to shore up SS, OF2, OF3, DH and the RP position. They should have enough money to land two big bats and mid-level fixes at the other spots. Combine the free cash with a decent minor league system and you can start to see why the Heroes fanbase is optimistic. If the Heroes can avoid another Dan Haren disaster they can put themselves in position to compete for years to come.

 

8. Arlington Arsenal (67.5 Total – 43.5 Hitting, 24 Pitching)

A look back: A top-heavy Arsenal roster looked to be a title contender heading into 2013. Arsenal management aggressively added Prince Fielder, Pablo Sandoval, and Hideki Kuroda in free agency and Adam Jones, Jered Weaver (but gave up Craig Kimbrel to get the two), and Matt Cain in trades. These additions were a boost to a star studded team that already had Robinson Cano, Matt Kemp, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Santana, Gio Gonzalez, and R.A. Dickey. The team looked very good on paper, but there is a reason we play the games. The Arsenal received uncharacteristically poor contributions from their top starting pitchers, punted the back end of their pen, and had a solid overall offensive effort where a dominant one was needed. When the Arsenal season began to turn for the worse, ownership sat on their hands. The only acquisitions the team made all season were to add Tommy Hanson and Bruce Chen. Those acquisitions show the effort level from management. I feel that all fans of the Arsenal, and enemies of Jon Lasken as well, deserve an explanation. The last four years have been a disaster for the Arsenal. All that the franchise could muster was a single fourth place finish in 2010, while their arch-rival, the Clams, placed in each of the last three seasons (Lasken would call this a dynasty!!) to walk away with bragging rights and some amount of money that no one (especially not Greenie) cares about. Finally, Ōthe betĶ ends, and we can see how the Arsenal management will approach roster construction with only a JLB championship as a goal.  

What the future holds: The future looks very cloudy for Arsenal fans. The team has only enough cash in the coffers to fill out the returning roster, one that lost the high upsides of Kemp and Sandoval, with near minimum salary signings. It is hard to predict a huge climb in the standings next season without some key additions, which will be difficult to pull off without any big time prospects and no money to speak of. The team could sell, but theyÕre not likely to receive enough high end prospects for it to really be worth it for a team that has such a high payroll already. The team could stand pat and hope the pitching staff plays a lot better, although how likely do pitchers that have begun to fail come back, and that some guys on offense absolutely go off. I hope what another owner said to me does not come true for the fans sake. That, Ōthe Arsenal continue to putter along aimlessly.Ķ It looks like the Arsenal have at least got off their collective asses and attempted to address roster holes by dealing Ellsbury, a SB luxury, to fill four positions. We are all hoping for a post-bet resurgence from the Arsenal. And also maybe some funny message board posts and pictures of babies from el gato grande, ŌThe Big Cat.Ķ

 

9. Manassas Franchise (50.5 Total – 27.5 Hitting, 23 Pitching)

A look back: We learned that Trout is really really good. Wow! The Manassas franchise was around average at C, 1B, and 3B, and was truly dreadful everywhere else, and still managed a nearly average offense on the back of Trout. The pitching staff also saw some improvement this year as Mike Minor, Andrew Cashner, Chris Tillman, and Clay Buccholz showed that they can throw meaningful innings for a contender. Although the players showed us something, can we say the same for ownership? They acquired Bubba Starling, Aaron Hicks, a few other underwhelming prospects, and cash as big pieces of their dump deals, signed Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman in free agency to significant deals and traded some good assets for a potentially broken Starlin Castro. It is actually a pleasure to do business with these guys at least. Maybe they learned some lessons that they can put to good use in the future.

What the future holds: The future is now! Trout!!! The Mick & Jay duo have made their intentions clear that they are looking to compete for the title in 2014. They have dipped into their prospects stash and have upped their payroll in order to acquire some household JLB names such as Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, and Zack Greinke. Add rookie of the year candidates Jurickson Profar and Jose Fernandez and the return of the Trout and you see a possible contender, with a downside of being the most improved team. It is going to be interesting to see if the Manassas franchise is going to make it all the way to the playoffs this year or if they shot their load a little early. It is surely an interesting team, IÕm just not quite convinced they are ready to step up and challenge the established powerhouses this year.

 

10. Fairfax Firemen (32.5 Total – 15.5 Hitting, 17 Pitching)

A look back: The Firemen were finally able to get out of the cellar in 2013 after back to back years down there. But at what cost? The Firemen brought up young stars Matt Harvey and Manny Machado before Rule 5 eligibility and had to dip into free agency and the trade market to get veterans like Cole Hamels, Brian McCann, and Andre Either at market price. Perhaps the penalties for fielding a bad team are really working or perhaps Keenan and the Firemen fans desperately needed to erase memories of the Vance Worley- Geovany Soto battery. At least the Firemen got to add more to their stable of young Latinos in the MLD draft. The Firemen chose Jorge Soler, Adalberto Mondesi, Jairo Beras, Franklin Barreto, Luis Torrens, Luiz Gohara, Jose Castillo, Jose Mujica, Gabriel Guerrero, and Amed Rosario. Not a single white or black player. And somehow they didnÕt get Puig! In all seriousness, the Firemen were actually able to make some moves in the right direction this year. Harvey and Machado played very well before succumbing to injury, the AD draft netted the fourth best prospect from the 13th pick, and Keenan was able to flip McCann into the cost-controlled slugger Dom Brown. And they finished in tenth!!

What the future holds: It is going to take a lot more going right to get to the level of respectability in 2014. The outfield and top SP look pretty good. But, every other position looks average at best for 2014 and potentially cringe-worthy in some spots. Unless the Firemen add substantially to their 40 million payroll, look for another ugly season in Fairfax. Keenan has realized that perhaps a longer rebuild is in order and has put some veterans on the block. The problem is that the veterans donÕt have too much excess value and the players with tons of value are building blocks for a 2015 or 2016 foray into contention. The Firemen are in a bit of a difficult spot and I think the only way out of it is to look to build value any way possible. This may not be what Firemen fans want to hear, but it is going to take  a whole lot of patience and time.

 

11. Falls Church Foxes (26 Total – 12 Hitting, 14 Pitching)

A look back: What did the Foxes fans say? A large portion of fans were certainly dismayed by ownershipÕs off-season moves to dismantle a playoff caliber team. Luckily, the first year of the Foxes second major rebuild has gone exceedingly well and most enlightened Foxes fans have put their full faith in Carlton Davis. In total, the Foxes dealt 13 seasons of favorable contracts of stars Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Jay Bruce, and Joe Mauer along with some supporting pieces for 6 years of control of Byron Buxton, Xander Bogarets, Matt Adams, Kevin Gausman, Shelby Miller, Billy Hamilton, Taijuan Walker, Trevor Rosenthal, a few supporting pieces, and the dumping of Mark TexieriaÕs albatross contract. A good haul in 2013 looks even better after a year of seeing the prospects develop. Honestly, I donÕt think the Foxes could have broken the top 3 last season had they kept their stars and they certainly wouldnÕt have got the same level of prospects had they waited to unload. The greatest failures for the 2013 Foxes season was that the Spacemen managed to out-stink them for the #1 AD pick, highly coveted Carlos Rodon, the Halladay contract, and the failure to unload Drew Storen. Not too shabby. Overall, the season has to be considered a success in context.

What the future holds: A million e-mails from Carlton Davis. An 11th place team canÕt stop him, a newborn child canÕt stop him, it looks like nothing can stop him. It is going to be very difficult for the Foxes to bide their time as the young core develops and they build cash reserves up until a push for serious talent acquisition in 2016. The only pieces to deal are David Robertson and some bit players. We will likely see the Foxes look to add some minor pieces in FA in order to avoid serious standings point penalties. Other than that, expect a quite off-season and a poor product on the field in Falls Church.

 

12. Springfield Spacemen (17 Total – 12 Hitting, 5 Pitching)

A look back: A brutal first season was to be expected in Springfield and the Spacemen did not disappoint. Sadly, the fans expressed their disinterest at the ticket gates as Springfield drew the second fewest number of fans of all time. A historically bad pitching staff shuffled starters in and out of the rotation all season. When Lance Lynn and Bud Norris are your must see starters, you canÕt really blame the fans for not showing up. Offensively the Spacemen did a bit better with a bunch of veterans like Adam Lind, Mike Cuddyer, Alexi Ramirez, and Torii Hunter showing they might have a little more left in the tank. Overall, the season was about acquiring future value and letting bad Robot-era contracts run out. On that count, the Spacemen were moderately successful. They were able to sign or acquire veterans cheaply and then flip them. Unfortunately, the Spacemen focused on cash and were not able to add any impact talent or high picks in their trades. Additionally, the SpacemenÕs focus on cash led to a failure to use their free roster spots to take chances on signing emerging cost controlled young talent mid-season. Thankfully for Springfield, the minor league system enjoyed solid developmental gains by many of the top prospects, offering a glimmer of hope for the future.

What the future holds: The Spacemen must have the lowest amount of payroll committed to the future of all time (14m in 2014). While I would like to see them go all out and try to sign a competitive team just for the sake of it being a very interesting experiment, it appears as if the ownership group will spend at least one more season with the same M.O. as 2013. Look for an off-season of acquiring cheap veterans and an in-season focus on building cash reserves and developing young talent. Also, expect polite negotiations and half-hearted attempts at doing their duties as the newest guys in the league.

 

Predictions:

JD did such a great job last year that I know I wonÕt be able to match. So, here are the top 10 free agent signings as I believe they will happen. I will just give what I think the equivalent one year contract will be worth without HTD.

17.8m – Hanley Ramirez

16.2m – Felix Hernandez

15.1m – Troy Tulowitzki

12.2m - Ryan Braun

10.5m - Anibal Sanchez

8.6m - Matt Kemp

7.8m - Dustin Pedroia

7m - Glen Perkins

7m - Matt Holliday

5.8m – Hunter Pence