FEATURE
Building the Perfect Beast
An Exercise in Madness (Part 1)
by RORY NOBLE

Another OOTP league? Sure. Why not? I mean, it’s not like I am motivated in the middle of the winter to start working on all the projects around the house. My free time is better used making tediously long draft lists and spending hours in front of the computer trying to figure out why my 4.5-star starting pitcher is 2-15 with a 5.67 ERA or why my 22-year-old stud CF decided to retire from AA at age 22.

I signed up for yet another rebuild job, this time in the True Neutral Baseball League. The TNBL is different than any other league I have been in as it has a level playing field with regards to stadiums and finances. No more trying to build a team to, at the very least, try and win the majority of home games based on your particular home field while hoping to win enough on the road to make the playoffs. Refreshing idea, to say the least.

My initial thoughts as I looked over the team were “Wow! Has anyone done anything to better this team over the past few seasons?” With a combined 218-266 record over the past three seasons, I’m guessing not too much. The minor league system is very weak and the ML squad is a mess with a handful of decent players and too many guys who should probably never see a ML game unless they buy a ticket or turn on the TV. And those minor league teams based on Disney stuff? WTF? Man-card revoked, dude. Man. Card. Revoked!

Coming into the team during the off-season is a good thing. It gives me time to get acquainted with the team, search for helpful FA’s, and also chat with some of the other GM’s. Trade talks have yielded a couple of moves so far, which I am very pleased with.

I was able to move a very good pitching prospect to another team and receive two high second round picks in this year’s draft. He was in turn able to flip that player to another team for a mid-round pick in the first round to snag a player he wanted. Win-win-win! The other move brought ML pitcher Lee Penfield to Indianapolis in return for a pitching prospect Ta-hye Chon. This move gives me a solid pen arm who can also start in emergencies. There are a couple more ongoing conversations that may bring a few more pieces to the Tincaps before the season begins as well.

I’ve snagged a few FA’s to add some offense as well. Catchers Luis Juarez and Boyle will for a platoon behind the plate while 1B Mike Nash and RF Carlos Saldivar bring a couple more left-handed hitters to town.

Overall, I’m enjoying the league and the beginning of the rebuild process. Spring training is coming up and I’m hopeful that the team won’t stink up the place too badly.