Captain’s Corner – Atlantic City
Nestled in an Ocean side high rise for the day the boys from Brooklyn & beyond went at it in full force with the usual plethora of trades – all aimed at catching the front-running Hebrewers- no mean feat given a 12 ½ point bulge. At least 6 other teams entered the day w/ at least the goal of giving Jeff a run for the gold. When you look at it w/ ½ a season left a 12 point margin is probably closer to 6-7 points given the tightness of so many categories. The Zombs, Blanc, Amigos provided the fodder for the day with only the Kabooms woefully excluded because of personal schedules. Methinks the day would’ve been quite different had they been present – with the likes of Pierre, Chipper, Lidge likely trade bait.
Hebs. – basically held serve w/ only the acquisition of the marginally productive B. Giles. Pre-meeting rape for Clemens should solidify some already heady pitching, unless Weaver is a complete bust. Rolen a game, Hattiesburg a very pleasant surprise. Will probably need Ethier ,Valentin to have productive 2nd halves and a return to form for Myers on the woeful Phillies to hang on to the top……. Because a coupla of teams will be coming, namely Surge, Fish, perhaps the Machine with Farsiders, Altantics & Senators lurking – the latter 3 with less chance than the others.
Surge went nuts and, a week later, more than replaced all-star Utley. There are no real holes on offense and pitching should show decent gains as well. I honestly think Walter will catch Jeff and win the whole thing. (You read it first here) UNLESS, Abreu, Vidro and Lee wind up in AL stripes – 2 out of 3 of those possibilities should be the only things stopping him. Went for the brass and should get it.
Fish – Soriano repeating his first half in the NL. It is that simple on offense. Pitching isn’t overly impressive even w/ addition of Willis. Maddux is fading, Lieber pitches for Phillies, Williams is 40 & Accardo is unproven. Only really subtraction was Garciappara, a big one at that which they’ll rue especially if they don’t get a 1,2,3 rd place check. 4th place isn’t worth Nomar.
Machine – big bat in Holliday was major gain, offset somewhat I believe by the mistake of trading Capuano, a real keeper. Has a solid team overall especially if Howard continues, Hermedia starts to put up some power numbers & Bay steps it up. Don’t you love Uggla – this year’s DONKEY, hands down? and Backe’s return to form in Houston will help. Not enough for a big check but should see some $.
Atlantics – came for some big potential bats and left with Jones & Burrell (a gamble, at best). Pitching numbers will suffer however with loss of Arroyo and Wright (NL MVP) can’t do more in the 2nd half than he did in the first. I see ‘em finishing 5ish Zambrano & Marquis are not enough. Wainright cracking StL rotation might help. But they’ve sort of done it w/ mirrors so far and maybe the karma can continue.
Farsiders – worked the room, need to give a bat (see Ramirez, the only guy folks were pressing for) for a front line p. Almost got it done w/ Senators but left with a good team in tact, just not a top 1 or 2 level. Too many pitching holes to overcome , even if bats hold up. Could use continued production by Martin, a nice keeper & the maturation of Abercrombie after years of minor league promise. There’s time for a deal with one of the contiguous contenders so all is not lost…. Yet.
Senators – Still the wild card they were in April capable of finishing anywhere from 1st – 6th, as they have shown all year. Cameron & Giles are an upgrade in runs scored & steals, two competitive categories. Grabbed a closer (at least for this year) in Dempster to replace the displaced Coffey and greatly upgraded catching in Barrett. J. Jones over Nady as well so did well on trade day. Jennings also a nice pick up over Ponson. (Never thought I’d say that about a Rockies pitcher). What they really need is what they haven’t had all year – Edmonds, Griffey, Casey & Kent all to stay healthy for 2 months. Rollins a big disappointment. Look like a money team, but barely.
Zombs, Kabooms, Blanc. and Amigos all rebuilding with Zombs coming away with the most potential at the best prices. Maybe even have a chance for a run along w/ Kabooms. Can’t figure the Zombs trade of Huff especially since they got him for a steal, unless they were hell bent on seeing Surge surge.
All in all no deal was a small one, all pretty well calculated and all doing exactly what everyone came to town to do. Injuries & July 31 deadline will decide the money teams this year – just as it should be. CAP.