Friday, November 5, 2010

Baseball Teams Wasting No Time Prepping for 2011

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-Digger's Daily-

San Francisco Giants became World Series Champs last week. This week, teams and players set their sights on 2011.

Clubs have tough re-negotiation sessions coming up highlighted by New York's soon to be publicized discussions with captain Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. The Steinbrenner kids fired the first shot warning it's business first time. It's unlikely either will have any difficulty re-signing. No one wants to rock the boat. However, it's doubtful multi-year deals will be offered.

Cliff Lee has been the most publicized of free agents. Texas is interested in resigning their star hurler. It remains to be seen how this team, recovering from bankruptcy, proceeds. Did New York fans ruin Yankees chances of signing Lee? Reports claim New Yorker's at their worst displayed pathetic behavior from beer tossing to name calling.

Starting pitchers will be the most coveted free agent prizes. To date, the list is thin. Lee is the top dog. Jon Garland, Carl Pavano, Hiroki Kuroda and Adam Harang represent the second tier.

Top of the class position players feature Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre, Adam Dunn, Vlad Guerrero, Paul Konerko, Derek Lee, Benji Molina, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Pena. Plenty of other big names and solid reserves awaiting suitors (Jim Thome, Ty Wigginton, Miguel Tejada, Johnny Peralta).

How quickly teams begin chasing free agents is anyone's guess. Remember last year's free agent class took a long time receiving offers largely due to U.S. economic concerns. Those concerns are greater these days. However, with such a thin crop of pitchers expect teams to get busy early. Lee can write his own ticket. Where he lands is the question. Texas? New York? Boston? Atlanta? Tampa Bay? Time will tell.

Sandy Alderson is in as New York Mets new GM. He has much work to do after Omar Minaya's turbulent leadership and notorious reputation for poor signings. Which direction will New York go? Job number one is signing a new manager. This club needs a leader in the dugout. Mets haven't had an effective decision maker in years. The Carl Crawfords of the baseball world represent the type of players New York needs to chase. Power hitters will fail in CitiField. Double and triple speedsters will shine. Reyes and Crawford? Go hard after Orlando Hudson and this team sets up a great top 3 for cleanup hitter Wright. Pitching and speed is the only formula for the Mets. Anything else is a waste of time and energy.

A serious synopsis soon to follow with team by team needs and player recommendations within the coming days.

R.I.P. One of baseball's top managers passed away this week. Sparky Anderson. My all time favorite manager guided one of the most celebrated teams nicknamed "The Big Red Machine." 1970's Cincinnati Reds baseball featured Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, George Foster and Pete Rose. 1975-76 teams were considered one of the best of all time. Anderson also won the World Series guiding the 1984 Detroit Tigers. Sparky completed his 26 year career having managed 4030 games, recording 2194 wins, 1834 losses (.545) and 3 World Series titles.


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