Doug Davis is getting some work in today in a minor league game, while every one else rests. I think I'll go to my good friends the bullet points to guide us through the rest of today's news:
Wily Mo Pena was traded for Bronson Arroyo. That means there's one more credible pitcher in our division...and it definitely makes the Reds a better team right now. I'm not saying it's a smart trade for them--it probably isn't--but they weren't using Wily Mo, and they need the pitching. They could make a solid run at .500 if Griffey and Dunn stay healthy. As for the Sox, one suspects further moves are in the offing (always, with the Sox). They could deal one more starter and Pena creates a bit of a logjam in the outfield.
- While the Reds staff just got better, the projected Cards staff got worse. Sidney Ponson has apparently won the battle for 5th starter, consigning the promising Anthony Reyes to triple-A. I can't say I object--if Ponson stays healthy and below-average, that could cost the Cardinals a few wins over the course of the season. Of course, the odds of the Cardinals not needing a sixth starter are miniscule, especially with Sir Sidney in the rotation--we'll see Anthony, probably before the all-star break.
- More pitching: Ned has said he'll announce his plans for the starting rotation "after the off day." I'm assuming he means tomorrow. To me, the solution is obvious. We don't need a "fifth starter" until April 17th. Ben Sheets should be ready by then. Go with Davis-Cappy-Ohka-Bush until then, and ease Sheets back in. With more off days, the fifth starter only has to make one more start in April, so if Ben is still shaky, or if he falls behind schedule, we go to Rick Helling twice in the first month. Simple, right?
- Patrick at DRays Bay has a neat feature that let me to discover that Russell Branyan is having a great spring...and he may not make the roster. With Rocco Baldelli coming back from injury, that may move Aubrey Huff from DH to 3B, and the team is more likely to carry Ty Wigginton and/or Nick Green for their versatility. Another bummer for 3T0. I wouldn't mind having him right now--with Gabe Gross struggling, we may go into the season without a solid bench lefty bat, except on days when Koskie or Fielder doesn't start.
Here's an interesting article in the Huntsville paper about the process of filling up AA and AAA teams, with names like Luis Lopez, Jermaine Clark, Jean Boscan, and Ronald Acuna.
- If anyone was interesting in the progress of my minor league play-by-play data project, you'll be glad to know I'm getting there. The program is virtually done--all that's left is inputting a staggering (10,000+ games) worth of data. Then the real fun will begin--we'll have complete situational stats and splits for every 2005 minor leaguer. Excited yet? Yeah, me too.
I was looking forward to a Korea-Dominican World Baseball Classic final, but I still look forward to watching Japan beat the you-know-what out of Cuba tonight. If you haven't watched any WBC games yet, better late than never--it'll be great baseball.