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Nationals Hoping For a Perfect Storm in 2009

It's been a long time since the Washington Nationals have been shown any real respect by the media, though to be fair, they really haven't deserved any.

Halfway through the team's inaugural season in Washington, the Nationals were atop the National League East with a 50-31 record.

Despite a Shaky 2008, Braves' Bullpen a Strength for 2009

After a 2007 campaign in which the Braves saw their bullpen compile the NL's second-best ERA (3.58), 2008 was a year that saw some of the 'pen's best arms (Gonzalez carried over from last year, Moylan, and Soriano) miss significant time due to injuries.

Add to this the futile rotation, and the team's second-tier arms (Acosta, when he was healthy, Ohman, who is gone for 2009 due to free agency, Boyer, and Bennett) saw extreme amounts of time that hurt their ability down the stretch (or what can be called the "stretch" for a 90-loss team)

Top Five Essential Players for the 2009 Tampa Bay Rays

All 25 players on a Major League Baseball team are important. However, some stand out more than others. They are the ones who are essential to a team's success. Here are my top five essential players for the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

5. Pat Burrell

Burrell was the Rays' top free agent pick up this season. He was brought in to add power to an already impressive lineup.

The Top Five Essential Players for the 2009 Atlanta Braves

On any Major League Baseball team, all 25 players are important. However, there are always players who are counted on a little more than others. Here are my top 5 essential players for the Atlanta Braves.

 

5. Garret Anderson

The Braves tried desperately to find an outfielder with power. They finally landed Garret Anderson after a long search. Anderson is a proven veteran who still has some talent left. However, he lacks the power that the Braves need.

Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer: A Community Projection

The pitchers have been covered—assuming the team will go with an 11-man staff and assuming the correct bullpen has been predicted. It's now time to move on to projecting the lineup and bench.

Instead of doing one at a time we're going to switch to two at a time to get done faster.

One more set will likely be posted before next week, and then three will likely go up within the next week to hopefully get these mostly done with time before the season.

Fukudome Slides into Second for the Cubs

Filed:March 12th, 2009

Kosuke Fukudome - File

Kosuke Fukudome (Cubbie Nation/File)

 

Manager Lou Piniella continued the Cubs' strong commitment to Kosuke Fukudome this week, by announcing that all is well, and Kosuke should expect to hit second in the lineup to start the season for Chicago.

Oh My God! That's Joe Nathan's Music!

I have a great idea that will never be implemented...ever. I want MLB closers to have professional wrestling entrances when they are called into the game. 

Imagine the fan fare as Enter Sandman blares through the new Yanks stadium and Mariano Rivera steps through a cloud of smoke.  Fireworks erupting around him and batters trembling. 

Furthermore, I want the closer's entrance to be secret. I want him to be warmed up in a private bullpen.  Then, as the middle reliever walks a batter, music fills the ballpark.

Orioles Pitching the Big Question Mark for Baltimore

Story from BaltimoreSportsReport.com

Thirty-seven pitchers ventured south to sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida to attend spring training with the Baltimore Orioles. So far the rotation seems to be missing three spots. Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara have filled the top two.

How the Detroit Tigers' Pain Could Be the San Francisco Giants' Gain

Last season, the Detroit Tigers finished 74-88, last in the AL Central, in large part due to their disastrous pitching. The Tigers' 4.90 team ERA in '08 was the fourth worst in the major leagues.

Detroit's hyped lineup was good, but it didn’t produce the galactic numbers that a lot of people expected. The Tigers may be facing some difficult financial decisions if their disappointing play continues. 

The Tigers were top three in player spending in 2008, along with the Yankees and Mets. They spent about $138 million. 

Fantasy Baseball: From Fan to Fantasyland

I am old school. I remember sitting in the bleachers in Ebbetts Field in the 1950s. My first game was, I think, the Dodgers against the Phillies in 1951. I was six. For the next six years, all I could think about was "The Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant."

Broken hearted at age 12, I went into baseball hibernation until 1962. Baseball was back and The New York Mets were born and I was re-born.

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