Sunday, March 8, 2009

Playoff Push?

It is the day after All-Star break. Some teams assess their talent and short comings during the break to realign their team for a playoff push. Looking at their AAA hopefuls for ML help to replace under performers or better position the bench. Although some wait til roster expansion to bring up AAA hopefuls, but that may or may not allow them a playoff roster spot. Some teams that are out of the race decide to trade pricey vets for prospects before the trade deadline that is fast approaching. Many of these are scooped up by playoff hopefuls. Some teams scour other teams looking for talent that could be involved in a trade deal to push them over the top.

I can us my team (Columbus Dragons) as an example as I made a big realignment, before and during the break. Will it help is anybody's guess. Hod Acquilino was aquired by trade for Mo Junge, this was actually a nothing trade test as we traded players who were under performing to see if they would play better in a different environment, we are both hoping but not holding our breath. Max Romero, who was a Rule 5 pickup, was released though I debated that a long time before I did. If he had showed some improvement he would have stayed. Carson Wood was designated as he has had a rather bad season and wouldn't have been with the team next year anyway. Wally Riggs as you know was brought up as a defensive measure at 2B which has worked quite well so far. Victor Sivilla was also brought up for defensive purposes as Hipolito Bennett was having a terrible time in the field at SS even in a backup role. Dee Leach was brought up as a power bat versus right handed batters while the organization has given up on Guy Brown who just doesn't perform up to his ratings IMO. Jim Donnelly and Tito Nakajima were brought up to fill the pitching holes.

Why do this? Plain and simple, was only 5 games out of first place in the division with a critical series with the division leader on the horizon. If I am going to make a push, it has to be this series and I need to win three of the four games at least, though a sweep would be great. I found myself tied for first after inter-league play and couldn't beat anyone afterward, even teams I should have. Several of those were caused by mental lapses in the field or couldn't hold leads late. Lack of hitting didn't help either as it was sporadic at best.

Who else has a chance where the next 10 games could be a deciding factor for many?

NL North:
Milwaukee Cervezeros has a decent lead at the moment while the Augusta A's try to keep pace and catch up.

NL East:
Syracuse Symbiotes has a slim lead but is still tightly packed as it has been all season and anyone could make a big push to take the crown.

NL South:
Florida Storm has the lead at the moment but the Monterrey Rayados and Atlanta Southern Boys are both in the rear view mirror.

NL West:
Cheyenne Sandors has jumped out to a tenuous 5 game lead and hoping they won't collapse like last year. The Arizona High Heat and Honolulu Warriors are there to pick up the pieces if they do. As it looks now, all three could see the playoffs this year.

AL North:
Toronto FivTs suddenly jumped out in front and has a comfortable lead. The Minnesota Mudcats, under new management, tries to catch back up.

AL East:
Boston Liberty has control of a very lackluster division at the moment. However it is not impossible or inconceivable that one of the other three could catch fire and change the scenery.

AL South:
Charleston RiverDogs has a two game lead over their nemesis at the moment. Will that hold up as it is the Nashville Hillbillies breathing down their neck. With the Austin Black Socks two-stepping their way into the fray, things could get interesting.

AL West:
Las Vegas Aces seem to have control of the division but could something go terribly wrong before the end of the season.