Monday, March 30, 2009

NL Central Preview on Sport Central with David Kaplan

Doug Melvin, the Brewers GM was up first:
  • Trevor Hoffman is going to start on the DL.
  • The Brewers like their ball club.
  • They think the experience from last year will help the team.
  • The veterans like Hoffman, Kendall, and Suppan will help the younger guys.
  • The expectations are high for the Brewers.
  • Last year was stressful for Melvin.
  • There was a lot of pressure on a lot of people last year.
  • The Brewers want to get back to the postseason.
  • Doug points out that if you put a lot of money into pitching, there is a lot of risk because of the injury factor.
  • The Crew were willing to take that gamble with CC but not for anyone else.
  • Kap thinks that MLB needs a salary cap in the game. Melvin agrees with that and points out that all the other sports have a salary cap and they have half their teams make the playoffs. If there is no salary cap, he thinks more teams should make the playoffs.
  • The Brewers give it their best shot and go with player development and scouting.
  • Doug says that there he likes finding players in your organization.
  • The strength of the Brewers is the fact that they have a player that can go out there and play 150 games at every position.
  • His biggest concern in the bullpen. He would like to be deeper in the pen.
  • He thinks the team has 5 legitimate starting pitchers.

Thom Brennaman talked with Kap about the Reds:

  • Thom says that the players are ready to get the regular season going.
  • The Reds did increase their payroll from last year by about $8 million dollars.
  • The Reds added Willy Taveras from the Rockies, and Ramon Hernandez from Baltimore as a the catcher.
  • Tommy likes the mix the Reds have.
  • The defense is very much improve from last year for them.
  • The pitching has a chance to be very good according to Brennaman.
  • The Cubs were without question the best team in the regular season in the NL last year, and they made lots of moves to try to make that next big steps.
  • Thommy says that on paper the Cubs are the best team in the division.
  • Brennaman like what Duncan and La Russa gave going with the pitchers in St. Louis.
  • Thom doens't think know if the rotation will be a strong as last year for the Cubs.
  • Kap and Thom got a little of topic and started talking about college b-ball for awhile.
  • Brennaman says that the World Series is a very hard thing to get to.
  • There have been 20 years since the Reds went to the World Series.
  • Thom says that the D'backs had a better team in 2002 than the did in '01 but they had lots of injuries down the stretch.
  • He thinks the Cubs have the best team in the league on paper, but it doesn't mean they will go to the World Series.
  • "The Cubs have clearly put themselves in that crowd with the Dodgers, Angels, and Red Sox."
  • Thom misses his times with Ron Santo (he worked with him for 4 years on WGN Radio). He said that one word that cannot be over-used when describing Ronny is a warrior.
  • They talked about the time that Ron asked Thom what Harry Caray's grandson's name was and Brennaman lied and said that it was Harold. It was actually Josh and Ron went and said "Hey Harold, how are you?" to Josh.
  • They told some funny stories about Ron's hairpiece.
  • Thom says that his dad got wrapped up in the moment last year and reports that Marty loves Chicago.

Ed Wade, the GM for the Astros was up next on Sports Central:

  • Mike Hampton has been very healthy all spring long and will be in the rotation.
  • The team made a few changes, but not many.
  • Wade is not surprised that many teams did not make a lot of moves this winter because of the economy.
  • The entire game had to keep the economy in mind this offseason.
  • The Astros are hoping that the Opening Day game doesn't get moved to Miller Park.
  • The Stros understand that the Cubs are the team to beat and the Brewers will be strong again.

Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington was the last guest on the show:

  • It has been a long Spring Training, but the Pirates have used it to look at a lot of the prospects.
  • The strength of the Pirates is that they have some young hitters that broke out last year.
  • The need is to continue to get better to catch up to the other teams in the division.
  • Baseball is not immune to the struggles with the economy.
  • The big concern with the economy is the long term impact.
  • If you give a player a long expensive contract, the team is taking the risk that the player could get hurt or play bad and the team is still out the money. The risk is all on the club's side according to Neal.
  • The Pirates don't have unlimited resources.
  • Huntington is not surprised that the Cubs overhauled the roster this off season.
  • The Pirates team has to take a chance on a young players that they get in a trade.
  • They have to develop their talent in their system.
  • Pittsburgh will never be able to go out and get big name free agents because of their market.
  • Neal thinks a salary cap would help the game but it is not a necessity.
  • The Pirates are trying to find ways to get better.

It should be an interesting division! And I don't care who wins it......

as long as it's the Cubs!

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