The Ducks look to have a strong year. We almost broke out championship drought in ’22, and we look to keep the momentum.
The Pitching Staff
Pitching wise we lost one of our starters that came on late, in true MLB like fashion. We acquired two arms at the deadline, and one decided to return to his previous team in Free Agency. These things happen, South Oakland (Spring Hill) isn’t for everyone. Another deadline acquisition is currently rehabbing a shoulder issue, and we hope to have him back sometime during the season.
We return possible Ducks all time innings leader Randy Patton. Randy had a great year last year. As our only regular returning starter, he racked up innings early, while he was backed up by the Emerging JZ. These two locked it down until our acquisitions were made. The icing on the starting pitcher cake is the return of Billy and Brandon, after their ‘one-year contracts’ with the Jays expired, they decided to Return to the friendly confines of Spring hill. Our bullpen returns Liam, Sorosky, JZ, Wild thing, and the youngster of the group, Luke.
The *probably not*
Looking at our pitching staff we may be able to spread out innings, which is something that has never actually happened since I took over. I like to believe that we will be able to keep a healthy and rested pitching staff through the season, but let’s be realistic, that never works out.
NABA AA will still have to deal with me behind the plate, until the guys, or more likely my knees, tell me that its time to move on to some other position. I have at least one, if not three guys who can catch this year as well, so technically…. Actually never mind, technically nothing. Barring double headers, I am hoping to catch every game this year.
We are deep at first base, and with an average team age of somewhere in the mid-thirties, we should be. With Flip, Brandt, and 55 the rest of us should not have to put that oven mitt on. The rest of us being, Jimmy, Gwin, Lombardi, and myself.
Liam and Dimas keep second base pretty locked down both in the field and at the plate. These two got us through the season last year, and hopefully it works out again. I would prefer to not put someone like myself at second base again this year.
Kenny will lock down the hot corner for us. I am excited to see him diving around and making plays again this year. We have multiple guys who can back him up at the hot corner, whether it be myself, Lombo, JZ, or one of our many ‘Utility’ guys.
Great question…. I put a call into Correa’s agent, but payment by cold IC light after the game was not enough to sway him from that Twins contact, his loss. To start the year, we will have shortstop by committee, and hopefully that isn’t our status for the whole season.
Swaugdawg is returning to lock down centerfield, Ben and Lombo are healthy, being our veteran leaders out there. Jimmy and Dwill will get innings as well as we rotate through. JZ, who may be the first player other than myself mentioned three times, is also in the mix for some outfield work.
TJ is one of the best hitters in the league. Good luck dealing with his bat. He also could platoon at first or in the outfield, and he even got some innings on the mound last year, fingers crossed that neither of us pitch this year, and Dimas too, actually.
Overall I think we are in a good spot, to have 22 guys registered by this time of the year is something that I have previously dreamt of. We have two people starting the season on the IL, Tony and Casen, hopefully neither injury is season or career ending. We do have a few unknowns, especially at shortstop, but hopefully that will figure itself out. After last year, having what felt like 150 unknowns I’ll take it. Going into my seventh season wearing the Green and Gold I am hopeful that I will have to find a place to put the League trophy. This bunch deserves a championship after the heartbreak last year, and I am hopeful we rectify that loss. Maybe I am bullish because we don’t have as many questions as last year, but then again, maybe I am spot on in thinking we should be one of the favorites. Only time will tell.