A lost season for the Angels has folks in Anaheim scratching their heads. John Smoltz's injury buries Bobby Thigpen's name for another year. The Royals' run evokes memories of George Brett and company. Sandy Alomar...you can probably guess what Chris will write about Sandy Alomar. Witticisms, Kahrlisms and roster schmisms in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
The White Sox may finally commit to Willie Harris. The Reds are playing all the wrong players. The Miguel Cabrera era begins in Florida. The Twins' handling of Johan Santana is a crime. News, notes, and Kahrlisms in the latest edition of Transaction Analysis.
This will probably be the first article--and perhaps the only one all year--where the location of the Expos means next to nothing. As far as team health goes, there's very little in the way of park effect. I'll assume that the MLBPA will watch closely to make sure that there are adequate facilities in San Juan, and honestly, it's not like San Juan is some third world country like most articles make it sound.
The Expos must deal with a limited player budget, backbreaking travel schedule and the loss of a meaningful home-field advantage in 2003. They could shift the odds back in their favor with a healthy season.
One of the biggest questions this off-season has been what Major League Baseball will do with the Montreal Expos.
One of the biggest questions this off-season has been what Major League Baseball will do with the Montreal Expos. With owner/saboteur Jeff Loria jumping ship to take over the Marlins in last winter's game of musical chairs, the Expos became wards of MLB, with the other 29 teams taking over control of the Expos franchise in the expectation that the franchise would die as part of Bud Selig's ill-conceived contraction scheme.
Omar Minaya was named GM of the Expos, and to MLB's credit he was allowed to make moves as he saw fit to try to improve the Expos, with one restriction: payroll could not be increased. Minaya managed to add a couple of significant players (and salaries) by insisting that salaries balance in the deals that he made (which is why Lee Stevenswas part of the package going to Cleveland forBartolo Colon and why Carl Pavano and Graeme Lloyd went to Florida in the trade to acquire Cliff Floyd). The Expos fell short in 2002, but at the very least it was an interesting summer in Montreal where the team was trying to win.
The 2002 season is over, and now MLB has to figure out what to do with the Expos in 2003. Minaya is back as GM, and the team is slated to play a significant number of "home" games in Puerto Rico. But the big question is how much will the Expos payroll be in 2003? Rumors have the brain trust of MLB, in its infinite wisdom, pegging the Expos' payroll in 2003 at $40M, pretty much the same as it was in 2002. To determine what kind of position that puts Minaya in, lets take a look at what the payroll for the Expos roster projects to be in 2003.
Losing David Justice isn't good news, considering I'm not a big Scott Hatteberg guy, but I am a believer when it comes to Eric Byrnes, so I guess I'm happy. Outfield defense is always going to be an issue for a unit that has Terrence Long in center field and either Justice or Jeremy Giambi in a corner. While I'm not arguing for Byrnes to play every day, he does give the A's a hitter who puts hard-hit balls into play, who can cover an outfield corner well, and basically give the bottom of the lineup someone who can help score some of the other more walk-inclined hitters batting higher up.
The Mets weren't supposed to get past the Giants, and everyone sort of had the Braves set as the default option to always keep the western world safe from a subway series. Praise be to the power of the unexpected, as two teams built to win this year managed to upset the favorites and tackle each other in the NLCS.
Four years ago, the Cardinals had their hands around the Braves' collective
neck and let the series slip away. Don't think that Tony LaRussa has
forgotten. Darryl Kile wasn't with St. Louis in 1996, but he has his
own motivation for revenge: he gave up just two hits and drove in a run
against Greg Maddux in the opener of the 1997 NL Division Series,
but his Astros lost the game, 2-1; the Braves went on to sweep the series.
With home-field advantage and a rested rotation ready for the Tomahawk
Twentyfive, the Cardinals have everything they could want to exorcise the
demons of 1996 and let them move on plague the Braves instead.