They’re not holes, yet. But before they become holes, big holes, my plan entering the draft was to pre-plug the holes I expect to have opened in the next year or two. Actually this is the theme of my draft every year, though sometimes I sidestep it a bit to acquire what I believe to be the best talent available at the time no matter how he would fit on my roster.


Alex Rodriguez. He’s up for free agency at the end of this season. That is hole #1 I must prepare for. I’ll have the opportunity to bid for his services again, and have the advantage of being able to apply our “Hometown” Discount. But there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to keep him. I’ve already stocked two potential replacement for A-Rod at shortstop in Tony Giarratano (.266/.334/.373 for double-A Erie) and Matt Bush (.221/.279/.276 for single-A Fort Wayne), but neither is making advances in the minors. So I need more. Hence the drafting of Ronny Cedeno (.355/.403/.518 for triple-A Iowa and .300/.356/.375 in 80 AB for the Cubs), Asdrubal Cabrera (.295/.362/.436 combined in minors) and Evan Longoria (.320/.368/.421 as All-American 1st team for Long Beach St.). I had considered Yuniesky Betancourt but decided that since he has stiff competition from 3 or 4 others (Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Lopez, Adam Jones & Matt Tuiasosopo) for Seattle’s SS position it would be wiser to draft Cedeno who’s battling only Neifi Perez for SS with the Cubs. Plus Perez is now 33 and the Cubs seem to like his versatility to play 2B and 3B as well.


My other first round pick was Paul Maholm (1-1, 3.53 for triple-A Indy and 3-1, 2.18 for the Pirates). Currently he’s listed as the #4 starter in Pittsburgh’s rotation and my hope is that he’ll be the #4 starter in my own rotation. Chris Carpenter and Jon Garland are my top 2 but those that follow, Kyle Lohse, Nate Robertson, Jimmy Gobble and Jae Seo will be up for either arbitration or free agency. Not being sure of what will happen there it was obvious to me that the lower end of my rotation was hole #2. I still have Randy Wolf (praying for a comeback with Texas) and three “min’s” so there’s additional possibilities there beyond Maholm. Another one or two would be welcome, though.


Blaine Boyer (4-2, 3.11 for Atlanta) was simply drafted to add depth to my relief staff this year and J.P.Arencibia (.322/.379/.534 as 1st-team All-American at C for Tennessee) was drafted as the possible backup to Jeff Mathis. One or both of Ramon Hernandez and Brian Schneider will likely be gone within a year or two.


All in all I think I took appropriate steps to plug what most likely will be my biggest upcoming holes, hopefully ensuring my team’s continual rise towards the top and a Brassworld championship.


Tom Fish

San Bernardino Stampede