Did the Gamblers make the right moves in the off season to shore up the problems from last season? To start with you have to analyze last years team and what went wrong.
1. Hitting - The Gamblers were one of the most feared teams in the AL, finishing in the top half of almost every major category in the AL. So the problem doesn't seem to lie there. The only thing that stands out was the fact they couldn't hit at home, but that is to be expected as it is not much of a ground ball hitters park.
2. Pitching - Overall it shows the staff was better than teams that finished ahead of them. But it also shows a problem area, they didn't pitch well at home and for somewhat of a pitchers park doesn't bode well.
3. Fielding - Ah hah, found the culprit. The worst fielding team in the AL. So who was the culprit(s). Well, almost half of the errors happened at SS, two of the culprits have gone on to other teams now. Two defensive minded SS with somewhat decent hitting capabilities have been called up to solve this problem . Second on the list was 3B, ok, so he was young, spring training should have helped but alas it didn't. So an alternate plan was put in place and that may solve the problem. Was the SS problem the cause of the pitching woes? Deeper investigation shows that it may have cost the team 6 or 7 wins easily.
Early Gambler thinking was to pick up two young setup men and a good utility player for Hartman or at least one and two utility. But the league didn't think much of that approach. After that failed, I decided to go a different route. Yes, I was approached with about 6 or 7 trade inquiries after the failed attempt that I turned down. But I had already decided an alternate approach and took him off the market.
Carlos Aguilar was a problem, he wanted way too much money in arbitration, but I didn't have anyone to really replace him as Abdullah Huff failed to pull his weight last year even in AAA. But no one signed him as a FA and was available cheap at the start of spring training. Problem solved, then Huff has a great spring (grrrr). Not sure what to think about that.
Rob Rehfield and Bob Delaney were picked up to solve the pitching problems, especially in the pen. That did cause a fire storm from the demoted Cole Rhodes.
Will Gerald Thompson have another adventure some season? He did have a not so good start, but did get it together late in the season. Juan Mendoza's injury didn't help the cause last year either. The trade pick up of Dave Stewart solved the problem at the closer position last year.
Will those moves propel the Gamblers back to glory this season? Will we have to bring up the not ready for prime-time Curtis Sewell and his health issues or John Fujiwara to take a spot?Or will the "in dog house" Bum Brea find his way back.
The Gamblers have already hit the IFA market for a future relief standout in Geronimo Bennett. May have spent a little too much for his services as the IFA scouting market has a bit of a drinking problem but it wasn't that far skewed. But other teams are fighting over what appears to be a belligerent blue chipper. He will probably be the only player the Gamblers pick up in the market this season unless a decent cheap career minor league prospect comes along in a prize position.
Did the Gamblers solve their problems? Will it be a glory season or back to the drawing board? I guess it will be like the rest of the 31 hopefuls, "Wait and See". Good luck everyone.