Jorge Perez drives in 11 runs - Mighty Ducks roll over Rollers 21-1 in season opener

Jorge Perez of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks made his major league debut with a bang, going 4-4 and driving in 11 runs against division rival Las Vegas. Perez, the top pick in the Rule 5 draft, had a very strong spring training to earn a starting spot in the team's opening day lineup. Perez hit two homeruns, a 3 R HR in the bottom of the third and a grandslam in the bottom of the 6th. Anaheim scored 11 times in the 6th, and Hector Carrasco (1-0) threw 8 solid innings for the win. Boxscore

Opening Night Season 11 is here!!

Season 11 of World Mathewson got underway with 8 games tonight. Five of the 8 games were dominated by strong pitching, and here are the highlights...

Colorado 8, Los Angeles 0
Robert Howry (1-0) and Sammy Castillo combined for a 2 hit shutout of the LA Diamond Kings. The Colorado offense was powered by four homeruns.

Iowa City 1, Cincinnati 0
In a classic pitching duel, Cookie Ramirez faced off against Cincinnati's newly acquired ace Yogi Cooper. Cooper pitched 7 scoreless innings in a no-decision, while Ramirez pitched 8 shutout in a 1-0 score. The only extrabase hit: a double by pinch-hitter Eugene Maduro off of Earl Jacobsen.

Louisville 2, Richmond 6
Richmond's free agent acquisition, Brett Clark (1-0) gave up 2 solo shots in pitching 7 strong innings against the Turkeys.

Helena 5, Saint Louis 4
Despite strong starting pitching by both teams, the St. Louis bullpen blew a 2 run lead in the bottom of the 9th. Rookie catcher Greg Smith provided some late-inning heroics in hitting a walk-off 2-R homerun to win it for Helena.

Seattle 3, Oakland 1
Seattle's Pascual Roque (and Season 10 AL Rookie of the Year) made his sophomore season debut with a bold statement, throwing a 1-ER complete game in 121 pitches.

Trenton 4, Baltimore 2
The reigning world champions won behind ace Andrew Baxter (1-0) and Kirk Heiserman picked up his first save of the season. 17+ million dollar man Jumbo Syvilla took the loss for the Baltimore Blast.

Milwaukee 8, Cleveland 4
Although this one promised to be a pitching duel between Oscar Martin (1-0) and Louie Gonzalez (0-1), it was all Martin in this one. Cleveland score 4 unearned runs off of the Milwaukee ace. Bruce Marquis picked up a save, while Alexander Goss drew in 4 runs, capped by a 3-run HR.

Memphis 6, Texas 3
Dustan Stoops pitched well enough to win, but got a no decision in a Memphis win that saw HRs by three different of the Blues Boys. Tim Richardson picked up the first save of the season.


The Anaheim Mighty Ducks, known in season 10 as the Colorado Springs Fighting Falcons (yes, the name did need to be shortened), will go into season 11 as a significantly different team - and it's not just the name. Many of the veterans that filled the season 10 roster are gone; in their place is a partial youth movement that brings energy and attitude to this franchise. Analyzing each position gives us a better picture of this team and its outlook:

At the catcher spot are two veterans, Ben Boehringer and Carl Rivera, who last season combined for 29 HRs and 143 RBIs and played very good defense. The veterans anchor a young core, while their defense will help the pitching staff (especially the two youngsters in the rotation) mature. 1B will be manned by 25 year old Joel Richardson and Jeff Williams (who will also see plenty of action in the OF). Richardson is looking to appear in his first full season. He should be able to hit, and hit well, but his defense has a lot to be desired. Williams is coming off a season of 33 HRs and 104 RBIs (.381 OBA). Acquired via trade, 2B will be manned by newcomer Darond Cook who batted .301 (.359 OBA) last season in 156 ABs, after 10 seasons in Omaha. Cook is a former gold glove 2B that provides strong defense down the middle, and should be a consistent hitter as he appears fully recovered from the injury that plagued him last season. 3B is a position where the Ducks are looking for Willie Tatis to show that he still wants this job. Tatis struggled defensively last season after being claimed off waivers from El Paso, but he is looking to rebound. Veteran David Rosa and newcomer Rule 5 prospect Harry Feliz are on the bench to provide added security if Tatis falters again.

SS is a strong position for the Ducks with Angel Candelaria (.403 OBA last season in 467 ABs) as the main man here. BUT, a spot needs to be made for Rule 5 player Jorge Perez (5 HRs in preseason). Between Perez and Candelaria, one of them should see significant time in other infield positions. The OF right now has a platoon of Alex Cooke and Jeff Williams in LF, former gold glove winner Keith Durham (.378 OBA last season) in CF, and end of season 10 acquisition Dennis Chang (28 HRs 90 RBIs and no errors in the OF last season) in RF. The starting rotation is improved since last season, but still needs a few pieces. 24 year old Hector Carrasco (2-2 in 9 starts) and 25 year old Curtis Spence (cup of coffee last season) add youth to a rotation that also includes veterans Dennis Lyons, Louie Guzman & journeyman Gene Edwards (a combined 16-20 lasts season with little help from the defense). The bullpen is filled by veterans, except at the closer position, where Amp Rowand looks to step in as the team's full time closer, after saving 18 last year in the second half of the season.

With youth like Perez, Feliz, Carrasco, Spence & Richardson being added this season, and a lot of deadwood removed since last season, a .500 season is in sight for this franchise on its way to credibility. With a slew of minor league prospects like IF's Sean Hoover, Alfredo Garces & Rafael Soto on their way up within the next couple seasons, more hope is on its way. As long as management continues to upgrade the needs of this franchise, the Mighty Ducks will be here to stay.

Bison's chances take a hit (or two)

Flagstaff, AZ - The Iowa City Bison suffered two losses to the disabled list, as LF Vinny Funaki and IF Tyler Merrick were injured in Spring Training games. Funaki suffered a pulled oblique muscle and is expected to miss at least two weeks while rehabbing, and is expected to open the season in the DL. Funaki is a 3-time all star and 2-time silver slugger, but was placed on the disabled list for the fourth time in his 11 year career. Originally a 2B, the 32 yr old Funaki started a significant number of games in LF in Season 10 following a herniated disk that limited his infield range, and projected to be the Bison's regular LF this season. Funaki is a .321 career hitter and appeared in 154 games last season.

In an earlier spring training game, Funaki's projected replacement at 2B,
Tyler Merrick, suffered a torn ligament in his ankle while running out an infield hit. Bison team physician Dr Raul Falto indicated that Merrick will undergo surgery today to repair the ligament, and is expected to miss at least one month. Team GM Bill Zooba issued a statement "Although both of these injuries are significant to our team, we emphasize the concept of team and believe that the team will continue to compete until we get them back and healthy. At this point, we believe we have enough talent and depth in our organization to fill the temporary needs until Tyler and Vinny are healthy to come back to their jobs".

Following the injuries, the Bison made a few roster moves. 3B
Jason Whitehead was claimed off waivers from the Oakland Elephants. Whitehead is a Rule 5 draftee and must stay in the Major League roster or be returned to his original team, the Buffalo Blizzard. 2B Travis Biggio, who filled in admirable for the injured Vinaki during Season 9's playoff push, was added to the ML roster. Biggio, Whitehead, and fellow Rule 5 draftees Vic Saez and Billy Hunter are the most likely options to temporarily replace Merrick and Funaki in the lineup.

Rule 5: Winners, Losers... chain smokers and boozers

The Mathewson Season 11 Rule 5 Draft was complete, and early on, it appears that there were some clear winners, some losers, and well, as the country music song goes, some chain smokers and boozers. The Cleveland Lumberjacks lost 7 players in the draft, while the Colorado Crush lost 5. The majority of players drafted project to fill some limited roles for their new teams, but some notable exceptions are expected to carry significant roles.

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks took infielder
Jorge Perez with the first pick of the draft. Perez, a previous Colorado projects to be a solid infielder with a balanced set of tools and should play a significant role in Anaheim's rebuilding efforts.

The Baltimore Blast picked catcher Pablo Santos in the second pick of the draft. In 250+ at bats at the ML level in Season 10, Santos hit a decent .275 AVG/.353 OBP/.712 OPS, while catching in 74 games. The Blast were in desperate need of a catcher, and Santos clearly helps fill that void.

The Boston Minute Men claimed outfielder
Pedro James from the Colorado Crush. The 23 yr old James has been a 4 time All-Star in the Minor Leagues, and has shown great promise against right handed pitching and a great batting eye.

No real losers in this draft. While Cleveland lost the highest number of players, Colorado lost the most talent. However, the Colorado minor league system is very strong, and the players lost in the draft have a minimal impact on the depth of the system. In fact, looking at the number of quality players protected by the Crush that would've been eligible for the draft, Colorado could qualify as a winner in this year's draft.

Chain Smokers?
The Baltimore Blast claimed 10 players in this year's draft. In picks ranging from the #2 to the #290 in the draft, the Blast strategy was clearly aimed at numbers in restocking a franchise that lost a lot of talent under prior management in the last few seasons. It is not clear that these players will remain in the roster, but the Blast get the "chain-smoker" award.

The Iowa City Bison picked two very similar players in this year's draft:
Vic Saez and Billy Hunter. Both are defensive, speedy players who play 2B and CF with limited offensive capabilities, and it is not immediately clear what role both of these would play in the team if they stay with the franchise.

In the drafting binge of Rule 5 talent stocking, the Baltimore Blast took on
AJ West off of the El Paso Fighting Tacos... and his 5 million contract due in season 11. Although a talented player, West's otherwise modest contract will be a significant burden in a team looking to rebuild and leaving the Blast management in a post-draft hangover. The Blast are considering returning West to El Paso; after clearing waivers and not getting claimed by other teams, El Paso is still considering. Rumors say that the Blast are in negotiation with several teams regarding a possible trade that would bring younger prospects to Baltimore.

Season 11 TOP 125 PROSPECTS (by jmagliaro)

Top 125 Prospects – Season 11 (by jmagliaro)

A breakdown of what went into determining the ratings. First off, I took into account health and makeup because those 2 things could considerably hinder a prospect from reaching his projected numbers. For position players the ratings are based on defensive skills, health, makeup, contact, power, splits, batting eye, speed and baserunning. For starting pitchers ratings are based on health, makeup, stamina, control, splits, grounball/flyball and pitches. For relief pitchers ratings are based on health, makeup, durability, stamina, control, splits, groundball/flyball and pitches. I welcome any suggestions of how to make this more accurate.
(Note from zoobaseball; jmagliaro included attribute ratings on how the ranks were determined, but I omitted those in the posting until I can sort out the spacing posting/editing).

1 George Crandall, SP (New Britain, HiA) Rank: 9.8
Pascual Martin, CF (Memphis, AA) Rank 9.6
Adam Phillips, SP (Colorado, AAA) Rank 9.6
Howard Robinson, 3B (Cincinnati, AA) Rank 9.5
Del Henley, SS (Anaheim, HiA) Rank 9.5
Tomas Gonzales , SP (Helena, AA) Rank 9.5
Dennis Satou, SP (Salem, AAA) Rank 9.5
Steven Reith, SP (Oakland, HiA) Rank 9.5
Shea Brooks , CF (Chicago, AA) Rank 9.4
Albert Bell , 2B (Chicago, AA) Rank 9.4
Joshua Gaston ,SP (Portland ,LoA ) Rank 9.4
Vic Cordero, SP (Portland, AAA) Rank 9.3
Tyler Merrick , SS (Iowa, AAA) Rank 9.3
Octavio Guerrero, SP (Richmond, HiA) Rank 9.3
Albert Moraga, CF (Norfolk, HiA) Rank 9.3
Ken Easley, RF (Memphis, AA) Rank 9.3
Fernando Rodriguez, LF (Trenton, AAA) Rank 9.3
Mike Jameson, RF (Baltimore, LoA) Rank 9.2
Cozy Ponson, SP (El Paso, AAA) Rank 9.2
Pedro Uribe, SP (Chicago, AA) Rank 9.2
Johnny Roth, SP (Colorado, AAA) Rank 9.2
Joaquin Vega, RF (Helena, AAA) Rank 9.2
Hugh Stargell, LF (Columbus, AA) Rank 9.2
24 Chris Tobin, 1B (Columbus, AA) Rank 9.2
Carlos Rosado, SP (Columbus, AAA) Rank 9.2
Ivan Henriquez, SP (Seattle, AAA) Rank 9.1
27 Brendan Lee, CF (Helena, LoA) Rank 9.1
28 Bob Willis, SP (Las Vegas, HiA) Rank 9.1
Sidney Gardner, 3B (Cincinnati, AAA) Rank 9.1
30 Kevin Jenkins, SP (Norfolk, LoA) Rank 9.1
Charlie Chambers, SP (Las Vegas, AAA) Rank 9.0
Yeico Julio, SP (Cleveland, HiA) Rank 9.0
O.T. Ferrara, SP (Iowa, AAA) Rank 9.0
34 Shaggy Spencer, SP (Charlotte, RL) Rank 9.0
35 Mariano Gonzalez, DH (Colorado, AAA) Rank 9.0
36 Jumbo Becker, 2B (Helena, LoA) Rank 9.0
37 Sammy Ugueto, SP (Portland, AA) Rank 9.0
38 Trevor Bellhorn, LF (Trenton, AAA) Rank 8.9
39 Douglas Thompson, SP (New Orleans, AA) Rank 8.9
40 Bono Hardy, 2B (Helena, AAA) Rank 8.9
41 Carlos James, SP (Louisville, AA) Rank 8.9
42 Pedro Pulido, SP (New Britain, HiA) Rank 8.9
43 Edgar Martin, SP (Cincinnati, AAA) Rank 8.9
44 Anthony Christenson, LF (San Antonio, AAA) Rank 8.9
45 Kelly McPherson, SP (New Britain, HiA) Rank 8.8
46 David DeLeon, CL (Kansas City, HiA) Rank 8.8
47 Yorvit Beltran, RF (New Britain, AA) Rank 8.8
48 Pedro Gonzalez, SS (Helena, HiA) Rank 8.8
49 Derick Romero, SP (Colorado, AAA) Rank 8.8
50 Brian Jordan, 2B (Salem, AAA) Rank 8.8
51 Stan Middlebrook , SP (Salem, ML) Rank 8.8*
52 Cam Kelley, 2B (Salem, HiA) Rank 8.8
53 Valerio Reyes, SS (Boston, AAA) Rank 8.7
54 Patrick Bonilla, SP (Boston, AAA) Rank 8.7
55 Howie Martin, SS (Kansas City, HiA) Rank 8.7
56 Dolf Spencer, CL (Texas, LoA) Rank 8.7
57 Jerrod Payton, LF (Norfolk, AA) Rank 8.7
58 Flash Barr, SP (Buffalo, AAA ) Rank 8.7
59 Richie Johnson, 2B (Richmond, AAA) Rank 8.7
60 Damon Rivera, 2B (Norfolk, AAA ) Rank 8.7
61 Hick Delahanty, LF (Salem, AA) Rank 8.6
62 Guy Zaun, CL (San Antonio ,RL) Rank 8.6
63 Cookie Bravo, 1B (Cincinnati, AAA) Rank 8.6
64 Bey Franco, SP (Texas, HiA) Rank 8.6
65 Craig Gates CL (Memphis, LoA) Rank 8.6
66 Rob Cox, CF (New Britain, AA) Rank 8.6
67 Quinton Hansen, CL (Chicago, HiA) Rank 8.5
68 Ivan Pescado, LF (Chicago, HiA) Rank 8.5
69 Hector Riley, CL (Norfolk, HiA ) Rank 8.5
70 Albert Vallarta, SS (Texas, RL) Rank 8.5
71 Ken Clark, SP (Detroit, RL) Rank 8.5
72 Edgar Sanchez, CL (Colorado, AAA) Rank 8.5
73 Pedro James, RF (Boston, ML) Rank 8.5 - RULE 5 DRAFTEE
74 Pedro James, 2B (Trenton, AAA) Rank 8.5
75 Clayton Reagan, 2B (Salem, AAA) Rank 8.4
76 Hank Puffer, 2B (Salem, HiA) Rank 8.4

77 Pascual James, 1B (New Orleans, LoA) Rank 8.4

78 Courtney Ratliff, CF (Cleveland, AA) Rank 8.4
79 Al Park, CF (Colorado, AA) Rank 8.4
80 Hideo Martin, SS (Trenton, AAA) Rank 8.3
81 Enrique Macias, CF (Baltimore, HiA) Rank 8.3
82 Bailey Darensbourg, 2B (El Paso , LoA) Rank 8.3
83 Bump Newhouser, 2B (Boston, RL) Rank 8.3
84 Harry Butler, 2B (Baltimore, HiA) Rank 8.3
85 Luis Baerga, LF (Charlotte, RL) Rank 8.3
86 Howard Stockton, 1B (Seattle, AAA) Rank 8.3
87 Tony Miranda, SS (Oakland, HiA) Rank 8.3
88 J.R. Holt, SP (Los Angeles, RL) Rank 8.3
89 Henry Jenkins, CL (Oakland, AA) Rank 8.2
90 Esteban Rodriguez, RP (Iowa, AAA) Rank 8.2
91 Hootie Glynn, SP (Los Angeles, RL) Rank 8.2
92 Joshua Lewis, 2B (Colorado, AAA) Rank 8.2
93 Brendan Pierce, 3B (Trenton, AAA) Rank 8.2
94 Sammy Rivera, SP (Cleveland, AA) Rank 8.1
95 Cooper Harper, SS (Salem, HiA) Rank 8.1
Jorge Perez, 3B (Anaheim, ML) Rank 8.1 - RULE 5 DRAFTEE
97 Rex Vaughn, LF (Buffalo, AAA) Rank 8.1
98 Steve Griffiths, RF (Trenton, HiA) Rank 8.1
99 Sandy Blake, RF (Texas, AAA) Rank 8.1
100 Chris Mcquillan, SP (New Orleans, AA) Rank 8.1
101 Joe Rolle, CF (Los Angeles, AA) Rank 8.1
102 Harry Encarnacion, 3B (Portland, AAA) Rank 8.0
103 Andres Melo, CL (Seattle, AAA) Rank 8.0
104 Mike Haywood, SP (El Paso, AAA) Rank 8.0
105 Will Jones, LF (New Britain, AAA ) Rank 8.0
106 Juan Colon, DH (St. Louis, AAA) Rank 8.0
107 Chad Scheinder, LF (Anaheim, AA) Rank 8.0
108 Hector Morris, 2B (Memphis, RL) Rank 7.9
109 Heath Wood, 2B (Detroit, AA) Rank 7.9
110 Derrek Silva, C (Portland, AA) Rank 7.9
111 Harry Harding, SP (Columbus, AAA) Rank 7.9
112 Jose Bennett, C (Buffalo, AA) Rank 7.9
113 Sal Priest, CF (Norfolk, AAA) Rank 7.8
114 Rube Murphy, RP (Iowa, AAA) Rank 7.8
115 McKay Reagan, CL (Memphis, AA) Rank 7.8
116 Steve Reed, CF (El Paso, AA) Rank 7.7
Jason Whitehead, 3B (Iowa City, ML) Rank 7.7 - RULE 5 DRAFTEE

118 Paul Smith, 2B (Helena, HiA) Rank 7.6

119 Artie Stuart, SP (New Orleans, HiA) Rank 7.6
120 Albert Cairo, C (Salem, AAA) Rank 7.6
121 Kevin Sikorski, C (New Britain, HiA) Rank 7.5
122 Albert Borbon, C (Seattle, RL ) Rank 7.3
123 Andrew Harris, SP (Seattle, AAA) Rank 7.1
124 Greg Smith ,C (Helena, AAA) Rank 7.0
125 Buddy Taylor, C (Detroit, HiA ) Rank 6.8

Aging bison look to stay ahead of the herd

The season 11 Iowa City Bison look very much like an older version of the Season 10 bison. After two seasons on top of the NL East, management has done very few changes in the offseason. The team is drastically different from the Season 6 team that moved into Iowa City after playing several seasons between Columbus and New York.

Pitching remains the team's strength, with 31 yr old Cookie Ramirez returning as the staff ace for the 11th consecutive season, having won his first Cy Young award in Season 10. The rest of the rotation is rounded up by 35 yr old Brandon Freeman, Rick Cobb, Ismael Alvarado and Darrin Lloyd, although Jose Amaro and Pedro Saenz will challenge Lloyd for a spot in the rotation during spring training. The bullpen lacks a clearly defined closer; Brett Halter is likely to get the majority of the save opportunities, but Robert Owens may be ready to step into the role.

The team lost two significant position players in the offseason: 2B/CF Jimmie Henley (who signed a deal with the Chicago Billy Goats as a free agent) and OF Joe Eyre. Their speed on the bases and stellar defense, will likely be replace by a pair of Rule 5 draftees: Billy Hunter and Vic Saez. Failing to land a free agent, the team looks likely to rely heavily on aging sluggers 36yr old RF Mike Burrell, LF Vinny Funaki, 36yr old C Joel McNamara and 34yr old 3B Kenny Perez. The younger core of the offense is provided by 1B/LF Norberto Fernandez and CF Aaron Bailey, while the defensive gold glove platoon of Tony Tatis and Willie Lopez returns for a third season. Bo Wells returns on a limited role as part time 1B, occasional catcher and pinch-hitter extraordinaire. Likely to make the team as starting 2B is highly touted prospect Tyler Merrick, a shortstop in his minor league career.

The team is a combination of aging free agent and trade acquisitions, and some home-grown talent, but the fate of the Bison likely rests on the skills of some aging players and how well the bench players can fill in to keep them fresh. In a division where Buffalo, Cincinnati and Norfolk have significantly improved, the Bison herd will likely find themselves fighting to avoid extermination.

The Flatlanders are ready for the new season!

(Analysis contributed by bobcat_grad)
COLUMBUS, OH - It's been a long trek for the Flatlanders since taking over a troubled franchise six seasons ago Columbus organization seem poised to take the next step.When the former Chicago Cruisers was purchased by the Columbus ownership group, the team had just wrapped up a miserable 65 win season despite $97 million dollar payroll. Much of that money was wrapped up in aging players with very little talent in the farm system. The new general manager, Bob Catgrad, made the decision to cut the player payroll and invest heavily in scouting, pursuing international players and the annual amateur draft. Catgrad said, "Initially, we didn't have much to work with. We knew it was going to be a rough couple of years, so we just dug in a weathered the storm."

Catgrad made some significant trades in his first two seasons as the Flatlanders GM, shedding salary and brining in young prospects.
Randy Bailey and perrenial MVP candidate Tony Devereaux were brought into the organization while the big contracts were sent packing. Recognizing the amount of talent around the globe, the Flatlanders made investments in players like current left-fielder Denny Lo early on, but the core of the current roster was built through the domestic draft. Current ace of the staff, Jackie Little, was the first pick in the draft made by Catgrad and has turned into an anchor for the young Flatlander staff. Rick Boswell emerged as a good offensive second basemen last year, pushing veteran Mike Webb out of the lineup, and starts this season penciled in as the starter. The young phenom, Marty Boyer, made the leap at age 19 from Rookie league to the majors and is coming off a 29 save season posting a 2.08 ERA. At only 22 years of age, the Flatlanders look to have their closer situation settled for the next decade. The investment in youth and building from within began to pay off two seasons ago when the Flatlanders won 91 games, made a late run at the wild card, but ended up losing in the second round to division rival Portland. Last year, the team fell short of the postseason by one game and the front office felt the lack of veteran leadership may have hampered the team's performance. A late trade by Catgrad tried to address this need, but the addition of Howie Buckley did not turn out well as Buckley hit .239 and with an OPS of .712 for the Flatlanders, well off his career numbers of .293 and .918. "Who would have expected Howie to struggle so much here?" said Catgrad. "I don't think he did, and I certainly didn't."

Looking to improve his club's chances this year, Catgrad has already made the first big move of the offseason by trading some of the young prospects he's stockpiled for two proven players.
Harry Moya and Tony Delgado come over from Salem, and will be counted on to shore up right field and the starting rotation. The Flatlanders are reportedly also shopping for a center fielder, opting to not tender Ozzie Howell an offer. Catgrad is looking forward to spring training, saying "I feel confident with the moves we've made that this team can contend for our division this year. Portland has set a high bar for us, but we are going to do our best to reach it."

Blockbuster deal between Salem Volcanoes and Columbus Flatlanders

In the first major deal of the offseason, the Salem Volcanoes and the Columbus Flatlanders agree in principle to a trade that would send slugger Harry Moya and Starting pitcher Tony Delgado to the Flatlanders in exchange for prospects SP Dennys Satou, IF Bryan Ross and 3B Rico Ortiz. The move solidifies the Columbus rotation by adding an experienced veteran while adding the powerful Moya to an already feared lineup. Salem sheds salary and makes a clear movement towards a younger core. In addition, as part of the deal, Salem included defensive catcher Charles Wan and $3 million to cover the salaries of the departing veterans. Moya will be moving from 3B to RF for the Flatlanders.

Seattle: Will the Lightning Strike, or Strike out?

After a disappointing end to season 10, management has vowed to take an aggresive but different approach to improving their team. Unlike recent years, when the team has focused heavily in the acquisition of pitching, the new Lightning GM announced today that his team will focus on hitting and improving on base percentage. "We are looking to improve our offense while building on our existing strengths", adding that the team will "pursue trades rather than significantly add to the payroll by overspending in the free agent market". No details on likely deals were revealed.

Last year, the team traded away emerging star Endy Horton in return for pitching. Season 10 AL Rookie of the Year Pascual Roque returns for his sophomore season as the team's ace, anchoring a young pitching staff that is likely to include rookies Ivan Henriquez, Andrew Harris, and Willie Rivera. It is not yet clear what role Woody Mullin will play for the Lightning, after missing most of last season while recovering on the disabled list. Uncertainty also surrounds the role of former All Star closer Joe Gibbons, on whom the team holds a mutual option that has not been exercised. Even if he returns, Gibbons is likely to lose his role as closer if prospect Andres Melo is ready for the job.

In addition to Roque, other brightspots return from Season 10. Gold Glove award winner C Carlton Wilkinson and LF Jin-Chi Dong are secure in their spots. This should be an exciting season for the Seattle Lightning.

Who are the Detroit Shuffle?

The city of Detroit got a first glimpse at their new team, when the team unveiled their new uniforms and introduced their players at a press conference. The face of the franchise, 2-time all star 2B James Banks was the highlight of the event. Banks was called up during season 2 as a 20 yr old rookie, and has averaged 152 games per season, appearing in 1372 games in 9 full seasons (152 average per season), holding a career BA/OBA of .314/.380, scoring 100 or more runs 5 times (3 more times over 90 runs) and driving in 100 or more runs 6 times. Prominently absent was Howard Coco, who filed for free agency after hitting 47 HRs in season 10 for this franchise. Detroit's GM promised the fans that the team will have a fresh look, saying "we are entering a new era for this franchise and are looking forward to an active and productive offseason".

Franchises Relocating for Season 11

Management from several franchises informed the league commisioner that they would be relocating prior to the new season. Due to factors such as the sale of teams to new owners, decreasing fan base and a slumping economy, several franchises announced the moves today.

Saint Louis Redbirds move to Chicago and become the Billy Goats.
Driving a stake through the heart of the St. Louis fans, management decided to move the team to the rival city across state lines. The sale of St. Louis-based Anheuser Busch to InBev resulted in a significant reduction in corporate sponsorship of the St. Louis franchise, and team management seized the financial opportunity created by the departure of the Chicago franchise last season. Local St. Louis businessmen have united in an effort to bring back a franchise to the city.

Burlington Beavers become the Baltimore Blast
After a disappointing season, the owners of the Burlington Beavers sold to team to an investor from Baltimore, who announced that the team will relocate and become the Baltimore Blast. Reaction across the Baltimore harbor was extremely positive, and Camden Yards crews started working non-stop to prepare their field for opening day.

Scranton Barons become the Detroit Shuffle
In an effort to energize the city of Detroit, baseball is back in the motor city. A former majority owner of the franchise from its days in Chicago, bought out Dr J Kennedy and relocated the team to Detroit. Ownership had intended to return the franchise to Chicago, but the relocation of the St. Louis franchise forced them to accept a generous deal from the city of Detroit. Detroit welcomed the team with open arms and ownership promises to field a team to make the city proud.

Omaha Blackshirts to become the Salem Volcanoes
After a long tradition as the Omaha Blackshirts, Kneeneighbor Inc. announced today that the franchise was sold to the Caracarn Mgmt Group and the team is being relocated to Salem, where they will be known as the Salem Volcanoes. The Omaha fanbase had eroded after missing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Chicago Cubs become Saint Louis Kamikaze
In rounding out a series of franchise moves, the former NL North Chicago Cubs franchise was wooed to Saint Louis by a team of local entepreneurs. In the strangest of moves, the fanbase of Chicago and Saint Louis will find themselves rooting for the players considered arch-rivals last season.

Colorado Springs Fighting Falcons become the Anaheim Ducks
The franchise that saw three ownership teams during season 10 finally relocated to southern California, where the fanbase should provide some much needed stability. In addition, a great rivalry has already started with the concurrent relocation of a franchise to neighboring Los Angeles.

Tucson Taser's become the Los Angeles Diamond Kings
Los Angeles returns to the Mathewson world after a short absence, with the relocation of the Tucson Taser's. The new Diamond Kings look to follow the tradition of baseball started during season 1, when a Los Angeles franchise (based in the American League) was crowned as the first World Series champion.

World Mathewson Season 10 World Series

Season 10 is now complete. Congratulations to the Trenton Fire of the American League for winning the World Series in 7 games. The Buffalo Blizzard had an incredible postseason, but came up short in Game 7 of the World Series.

World Series Highlights
Game 1 - Buffalo 7, Trenton 5
Trenton jumped to an early 3-0 lead off of starter JP Granados, but Trenton All-Star pitcher (and Cy Young Award winner) Andrew Baxter couldn't hold the lead, giving up 4 HR in 7 innings. Former all-star SS Rey Shigetoshi hita 3-R HR to give Buffalo the lead in the 5th, followed by a 2 R insurance HR by MVP Parker McIntire in the 7th. Horacio Guardado hit 2HRs in the game for the Blizzard, and 36 yr old Don Gonzales, signed as a free agent in the offseason, pitched the 9th to pick up the save.

Game 2 -Buffalo 5, Trenton 11
Despite back to back HRs by Parker McIntire and Horacio Guardado for an early Blizzard lead, it was all Trenton in this one, who tied the series 1-1. Blizzard starter Benito Manzanillo, another prominent offseason free agent acquisition, was chased after 4 1/3 with 8 H, 6 runs (4 Earned) and 2 walks. Trenton Fire Starter Stewart Pose improved his offseason record to 3-0 despite a shaky performance (6 IP, 6H, 4ER, 3 HRs). Buffalo suffered from poor defense, including 3 errors and one passed ball.

Game 3 - Trenton 0, Buffalo 4
The series moved to the NL and the icy Buffalo Blizzard home stadium, where the Fire were cooled in 7 shutout innings by starter Jorge Lee, giving Buffalo a 2-1 series lead. Horacio Guardado provided all the offense, hitting 2 HR's off of the Fire's Max Nunez, who threw a complete game in the losing cause.

Game 4 - Trenton 9, Buffalo 0
The Fire melted the Blizzard's hopes early on, with Game 1 starter and pitching ace Andrew Baxter coming back on short rest to shut down the powerful Buffalo offense. The Blizzard managed a total of 3 hits -all singles - while the Fire managed to hit 13, including homers by slumping CF Freddie Stokes and a pinch hit HR by DH Emmett Halter. Russell Leonard and leadoff man Jesus Pineda got 3 hits each for the Trenton Fire in tying the series at 2 a piece.

Game 5 - Trenton 0, Buffalo 3
Buffalo starter JP Granados redeemed himself from his game 1 woes, pitching 8 shutout innings despite allowing 10 hits to the Fire offense. Don Gonzales picked up his second save of the World Series, giving Buffalo a 3-2 series lead before moving back to the American League for the final 2 games.

Game 6 - Trenton 6, Buffalo 4
The Trenton Fire jumped to a decisive lead in the first, once again chasing Benito Manzanillo, who only lasted 2/3 of an inning this time (2/3 IP, 6H, 5 ER, 1HBP). Elston Brunson pitched well in relief of Manzanillo, keeping the Blizzard in the game. Despite attempting a comeback in the 5th, the Blizzard came up short against the pitching by Trenton's Max Nunez, Norberto Gonzalez and Kirk Heiserman. Heiserman pitched a perfect 9th for the save. The series gets tied 3-3 and on to Game 7.

Game 7 - Trenton 7, Buffalo 4
Starters Jorge Lee and Andrew Baxter came back on limited rest to face off in game 7 of the series. Despite a close game, in which Buffalo had a 4-2 lead by the 6th inning, Trenton exploded for 5runs in the 7th inning to take a lead they never gave up. The inning's highlight came on a 3-run blast by Russell Leonard off of reliever Carlos Gil. Gil, a crucial setup man for the Blizzard, had missed the previous games with an ingrown toenail. Closer Kirk Heiserman pitched 2 innings to get the save and sealed the Trenton Fire's first World Series win.