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HBT Extra: Previewing the NL Central

Mar 21, 2013, 8:50 AM EDT

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Kay Adams and I take a quick tour of the NL Central and ask whether Aroldis Chapman can handle the rotation, whether the Cardinals can compensate for their losses, whether the Pirates can finally break .500, whether the Brewers are going to bounce back and whether the Cubs are gonna finally unload Alfonso Soriano.

Who I called “Al-phone-so Soriano” here, but I have an excuse as my cat was distracting me just off camera as we were taping this.

Media. Professional.

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  1. spudchukar - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    The Brewers won’t be able to upend the Pirates, much less the Reds or Cardinals.

    There are 6 very good teams in the NL vying for 5 play-off spots, two in each division. Sorry Arizona I don’t think you are one of them even though your team should finish above .500.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      The Pirates don’t deserve that kind of credit or optimism until they prove it.

      • steelpenbucs87 - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        Credit? Probably not.

        Optimism? Well I don’t like your word choice here friend. Get ready for a semantics bashing the likes of which you have never seen….

        They absolutely deserve optimism – first of all March is the TIME for optimism. Think about all of the teams that have emerged from no where to make waves across an MLB season. It seems like every year there’s a surprise team that makes a run for a playoff spot. Why not the Pirates?

        Secondly (and probably more towards what you were talking about) – what makes people think the Pirates have a chance of being an average to slightly above average baseball team? Well they have a nice young core of players who are still on an upward trajectory on the offensive side of things. Also they upgraded what was definitely their weakest position last year (at Catcher). The pitching staff, while unspectacular, is filled with guys who can keep their team in games, and has a decent bullpen (admittedly thought this is a down grade from last year).

        So, brewcrewfan54, the Pirates, their fans, and cat-distracted analysts all have a reason for optimism when it comes to this Buccos club.

  2. jm91rs - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    More Kay, less Craig next time please.

    • Old Gator - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      Unnecessary. Just put some beads on Craig.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    What is this…actual baseball discussion? Weird.

    • Old Gator - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      Tell you what – I’ll throw in a quick dump on the wretched ownerships of the Pirates and Cubs, just in the interest of fairness. This year will be a hundred and how many without a championship for the Cubbies? Will the Pirates actually achieve mediocrity at last?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM

        LOL I wasn’t even thinking about ole Jeffy this time. I was just looking at the first two articles, about PEDs and Pensions, and trying to figure out where all this actual baseball talk came from. But the guy who gets the biggest pass, bigger than both the Pirates and the Cubbies, in my opinion, is David Glass of the Royals. Even Joe Pos just wrote another of his yearly articles about his Royals, and once again, he fails to mention, let alone rip, Mr. Glass.

        Here’s a guy who, before he became majority owner in 2000 did the following:

        – Cut payroll from $41 million to $19 million his first year as Chairman of the Board after the death of Kauffman in 1993
        – Led the charge to use replacement players during the 1994-95 strike
        – Opposed any settlement with the players during the strike unless it included a salary cap

        So what does MLB do in 2000…they allow him to become the sole owner of the team for $96 million. Since then, he has run the team like a Walmart, which is where his background was.

        I’m not sure there has ever been a team that didn’t make the playoffs for 28 straight seasons in the history of Major League baseball…definitely not since Divisional Play began in 1969. I don’t feel like doing the research, but I’d be willing to bet that there aren’t many teams in ANY of the sports leagues(baseball, basketball, hockey, football) that missed the playoffs for 28 consecutive seasons.

        And yet…David Glass is not the Anti-Christ. He’s not ruining baseball. He barely gets a mention when discussing those stinking Royals.

      • Old Gator - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        Well for one thing, Kansas City has the jazz museum which features the actual white plastic saxophone that Bird played at the Massey Hall concert. There’s nothing comparable to that in Macondo, except maybe a few jowly old rhinoceros iguanas (one of whom is reported to have starred in Journey to the Center of the Earth with….Pat Boone!) in the sandpit out back. That does tend to ameliora

      • Old Gator - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        (may the shaitans damn this stupid keyboard of mine) te the deleterious effects of the Glass ownership on the body politic of the bi-state region. But if it’ll make you feel better, Glass is bad for baseball. Not as bad as Scrooge McLoria, mind you, not by a long shot. Running a team like Wal-Mart (funny pejorative metaphor coming from a conservative though, Chris) is bad enough, but when you throw garden variety managerial incompetence into the mix the results can make Limburger smell like mare’s tail.

        But since incompetence is ubiquitous and can no more be defended against than the Chelyabinsk meteorite, we need to recognize that the underlying problem is how baseball collectively lets cheapskate get away with it. If the luxury tax is a kind of payroll ceiling (albeit as porous as the Gaza-Egyptian border), as long as MLB refuses to institute a payroll floor owners like Glass (no relation, one assumes, to Franny and Zooey) and Scrooge McLoria will continue to flourish.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        This is very true OG. One thing the owners, who I normally support but in this issue, I do not, have hoodwinked people into believing as that the luxury tax is not a salary cap. It is. It is the only salary cap in the history of organized sports that did not come with a salary floor. Is it high? Yeah. But the fact remains that in every other sport that has a cap, there’s a floor. It’s only basic fairness. But the MLBPA continues to allow this “luxury tax”(salary cap nudge nudge cough cough) and doesn’t fight for a legitimate defined floor. Sure, they have their “owners must spend a certain % of shared money on payroll” nonsense. But really…what does that even mean? I can say I used all my shared money for the payroll and pocket the gate. How is that a floor?

        ps I’m no Republican…not with regards to today’s Republicans…I’m more of a Rand Paul-ican.

      • jwbiii - Mar 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        Remember when the Royals were regarded as a model franchise, much as the Rays are today? When their farm system regularly produced players like George Brett* and Frank White. When they made astute trades for useful players like Amos Otis, Hal McRae, and Charlie Leibrandt for next to nothing**? That was a long time ago.

        * Ok, they didn’t regularly produce players like George Brett, but their farm system was very productive.

        **No offense intended, Bob.

  4. Bar None - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    As a Cubs fan, I think I am going to miss the Astros for a couple years.

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