1.     It’s About Time

Apparently it took a massive effort by fellow baseball bloggers to finally convince voters that Bert Blyleven was worthy of the Hall of Fame, something this blogger has endorsed for at least five years. It’s a shame that it took so long.

Congratulations also goes out to Roberto Alomar who was first on my Baseball Bloggers ballot. He was the best all around second baseman in his era. It was disappointing to see that John Franco did not get the necessary 5% to stay on the ballot. He is the all time leader in games for a pitcher, has a lifetime ERA of 2.89 and  424 saves which is more than current Hall of Famers Bruce Sutter, Rich Gossage, Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley. So at first blush he should have gotten more votes.

Hall of Fame Pitcher Bert Blyleven

2.     Thank You Trevor

Trevor Hoffman spent only two years in Milwaukee but even in that short span of time I came to admire the player and the person and wished I could’ve seen him pitch here when he was in his prime. The excruciatingly loud “Hells Bells” that greeted his entrance onto the field was electrifying.

This week Hoffman announced his retirement and leaves as the game’s all-time saves leader with 601 and games finished with 856. In 1997 and 2005 while with the Padres, he was runner-up for the Cy Young Award a rare feat for a relief pitcher.

It will be a special day in 2016 when Hoffman enters the Hall in his first year of eligibility.

Thank You Trevor (Trevor Hoffman Photo by Icom SMI)

3.     The Rays Complicate the NL Central

Even though the Cubs deny it, the trade for Matt Garza was in response to Milwaukee getting Zach Greinke. They already had a decent rotation in Zambrano, Wells, Dempster, Silva and Gorzalanny. Now look for one of them to be traded.

So why did the Rays end up trading him in the first place? Their robust farm system keeps reaping top-notch talent. The trades moves promising Jeremy Hellickson into a rotation that includes David Price, James Shields, Wade Davis and big Jeff Niemann all of whom are home-grown.

This move by the Cubs has given the NL Central one of the best team-by-team rotations. It can be argued that only the NL West is at least as good.

Here is guest commentary from opposite perspectives on the trade from Lauren my daughter who is a baseball devotee and a Brewers fan, and her friend, Don, alas a Cubs fan.

The craziness continues! This year’s motto for the NL Central = “Every man for himself”. Seriously, who the heck is going to win this thing?!? The Cards, Cubs, Brewers, and Reds are going to just beat up on each other all season long! Look at the potential starting rotations:

Cardinals: Carpenter, Wainwright, Garcia, Westbrook, Lohse

Cubs: Dempster, Garza, Zambrano, Wells, Silva/Gorzelanny

Brewers: Greinke, Gallardo, Marcum, Wolf, Narveson (should be Cappy, but I’m not going there…) id. She forgot about Mark Rogers

Reds: Vasquez, Cueto, Arroyo, Leake, and Bailey/Chapman.

Yikes! Seriously, how do you pick?!? And really-when was the last time the NL Central was considered a strong pitching division (outside of the Cards)?  It should be a very interesting, fun, yet extremely stressful season.

And no, I agree that the Rays probably won’t miss Crawford that much, though I think losing him AND Pena will be a serious blow to their offense. I hope not; few things bring me greater joy than a Red Sux-free October.

34 days and counting…


Here’s the best part… we have control of him for 3 years (opposed to 2 for Greinke)!  I see it as more of a move for 2012 and 2013.  Why?  Well, after 2011, Fukodome and possibly Aramis Ramirez come off the books, as well as Carlos Pena’s $10 million (that’s $5 million for every .100 points of batting average for those of you keeping score at home!).  The only “bad” contracts that will be left on the books will be Soriano and Zambrano.  This frees up lots of cash.  Not sure if it’s Prince Fielder cash or not… (or dare I imagine – Albert Pujols cash), but there will be payroll to play with for holes at 1B and 3B.

Granted, this will help to compete in 2011, at least a little bit.  Hopefully Wells will recover after a pretty horrible sophomore slump.  Not sure what we’ll get out of Silva.  After his strong start last year, he spent much of the second half injured.  I really like Gorzelanny, especially since Greg Maddux took him under his wing.  I guess it’s always nice to have pitching depth.  I remember when our season depended on 35 starts and 200+ inning each from Mark Prior and Kerry Wood…

As for the rest of the NL Central?  The Cardinals – as usual, great starting pitching, but their defense is very suspect this year, especially with that outfield.  Reds are still a good team largely intact from last year, I imagine they’ll only get better.  The Brewers all of a sudden have a great front 3 in the rotation, and hopefully Wolf won’t become Suppan 2.0.   I never liked how inconsistent Narveson was.  Not to mention, their offense is still going to be the same “all or nothing” we’ve grown accustomed to.  I agree with Lauren – these teams are going to spend all summer beating each other up.  Should make for an interesting race!  I still think the Cubs will probably finish 4th… but I have no idea where to put the others.  Probably Reds, Brewers, Cardinals, and Cubs.  Brewers are my pick for Wild Card, which is unfortunate, because that means they are the lucky contestant to get swept by the Phillies in the first round.  But you never know!  Gotta play, the World Series isn’t won on paper!


Even the Pirates will be improved with the addition of Kevin Correia joining Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, James McDonald and Jeff Karstens.

Only the Astros failed to make any major rotation changes.

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