Why hasn’t Kiko Calero been signed?

Just wondering. Since Kiko Calero had a
great 2009 season with the Florida Marlins, why hasn’t he
been scooped up yet? Yes he is 35 years old but was 2-2 with
a 1.95 ERA, 69 K in 60 IP and only allowed 36 hits and 1
homer!!! Is his price tag too high? Anyone with information
please let me know.Thanks!

Marlins aren’t small fish in a big pond anymore.

The Florida Marlins maybe a relatively young baseball team. But do not get the word,”young” confused with inexperienced. Dan Uggla is the oldest everyday player at 30. Hanley Ramirez the teams MVP is 26, John Baker and Jorge Cantu 28 and Cody Ross 29. Ricky Nolasco is their oldest starting pitcher at 27. The core has been together going into their fifth season and 2010 is the year they expect to take the next step…making the playoffs.

This team is a formidable home run hitting team with four solid run producers in Ramirez, Cantu, Uggla and Ross. They were second in the National league in hitting as well(.268). But the question will be their pitching and maybe even more, their defense.

They had solid starting pitching from 1 and 2 in the rotation in ’09 with Josh Johnson going 15-5 3.23 era in 209 IP and Ricky Nolasco 13-9, 195 K in 185 IP(though his era was a high 5.06). A healthy full-season from Anibel Sanchez would be greatly appreciated, but has a history of shoulder issues. But, when Sanchez is healthy he can be dominant. In nine starts after last years all-star break he had a 2.68 era. The other two spots are open for grabs but i suspect it will come down to Sean West, Chris Volstad and Rick VandenHurk. Their will be a spring training competition for bullpen spots except for Leo Nunez as their closer. He saved 26 of 33 last year after inheriting the job from Matt Lindstrom. Derrick Turnbow, Jose Veras as well as some others will compete for the set-up roll. Renyel Pinto as well as many others will try to fill the voids.

The defense was only better than the Diamondbacks and the Nationals last year, so that should be a focus this spring. Errors always lead to longer innings, more pitches and extra opportunities for the opposing team to score and for the Marlins to make the playoffs this year, this has to improve all the way around. They gave up the most stolen bases, turned the least amount of double-plays and had the lowest amount of assists.

Expectations are higher this year and they were in it late last year. I do believe this year it will come down to the final week, but may just fall short of the wildcard.

Prediction: Tied-Third Place in NL East(84-78).

Solid Rotation and bullpen, but questionable lineup

2010 for the Atlanta Braves can be a promising season. With a full season from Tim Hudson and a return of Derek Lowe, Jair Jurjjens, Tommy Hanson and Kenshin Kawakami their rotation is solid. The bullpen of Takashi Saito, Erik O’Flaherty, Peter Moylan, Jesse Chavez and Billy Wagner to close games out is also very solid. Their pitching will keep games close and present other teams matchup problems in the latter innings.

Their lineup has some questionmarks however. Nate McLouth batting leadoff with an OBP of .352 must get on base more. He did have laser surgery to correct his vision in the off season, so maybe he’ll become that guy they need to get on base. Chipper Jones can still contribute with the bat…when he’s on the field. You know their will be stretches this season that he will be nursing some injury and I dont know if the Braves can afford his absences. The projected cleanup hitter, Troy Glaus also missed practically the entire ’09 season and the Braves are hoping he’ll return to the 30+ home run hitter he has been along with switching from third base to first. Otherwise the bottom half of their lineup is quite good with Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar, Matt Diaz. Rookie Jayson Heyward is expected to make the team and play rightfield and bat eighth,as the Braves say bye-bye to Ryan Church who has never been the same following two concussions in a small period of time in 2008 with the Mets.

If Jones and Glaus remain healthy…look out! This team will be a force to reckon with. A solid full season from Hudson, a strong finish from Lowe and no sophomore jinx for Hanson will help this team contend to the end.

Projected Finish: 2nd Place NL East (88-74)**** National League Wild Card****

Nats not satisfied with .500 ?

A preview of the upcoming 2010 baseball season…(Originally written 2/15/10) With pitchers and catchers reporting in two days, the Washington Nationals are hoping to wipe the taste of back-to-back 100 loss seasons from their mouth in 2010. With the additions of Jason Marquis, “Pudge”Rodriguez, Adam Kennedy, Brian Bruney, Matt Capps and now Chien-Ming Wang, the Nats are hoping for a change in luck.

Wang wont be ready until June, But Marquis and John Lannan will head a rotation of young and inexperienced starters. Will phenom Steve Strasburg be a part of the team opening day?The recent minor league signing of Miguel Batista who can also pitch in relief and the return of second year starter Craig Stammen are expected to provide some quality innings. The Nats are awaiting Jordan Zimmerman to recover from off season arm surgery and isnt expected to return until late summer. Otherwise, they’ll use other stop gap measures such as Scott Olsen and other economical fixes to stay afloat. Bruney and Capps will compete for the closer role.

The lineup has some pop and speed but all too often do not get it done when it matters most. With Nyjer Morgan leading the way in centerfield, Kennedy and Christian Guzman will try to get on base for Josh Willingham and the dangerous bats of Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman.

The defense should improve with Morgan patrolling center for his first”full” season and a healthy Guzman and Kennedy up the middle in the infield. Pitchers will also pitch with more confidence, especially when ahead in the count having Rodriguez behind the plate.

Marquis mentioned that the organization shouldn’t be satisfied with only 81 wins this year, which is the right attitude coming into any season. I believe the Nats are on the right path to becoming an annually solid team with new ownership that cares about building the franchise and developing the farm system.

81 wins does represent mediocrity in a 162 game marathon season, but would be a 22 win improvement for the Nationals. However, with the Phillies, Braves, Marlins and Mets sharing their division…81 wins may just be out of reach this year.

Predicted finish: Fifth Place NL East (73-89)

2010…What does it bring for Mets fans?

With pitchers and catchers reporting to Port St. Lucie in 33 and 1/2 hours, what does the upcoming season bring for Mets fans? Should there be a sense of optimism? They didn’t add a starting pitcher to their mediocre at best rotation headed by all-star Johan Santana who is coming off elbow surgery. The Mets slogan for this season is, “We Believe in Comebacks”. This is apparent in their trust in a rotation that also includes, Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Oliver Perez and a 5th spot to be determined in spring training. Pelfrey is coming off a 200 innings pitched season and a 5.03 era, while Maine and Perez are coming off injury-plagued seasons.

The offense which was depleted by injuries last year, has added Jason Bay for his big bat. But will be without the services of Carlos Beltran for atleast the first month and are putting their faith in Daniel Murphy to hit much better and hopefully play solid first base. They believe the David Wright of last year was an aberration and are hoping a return to form. Jose Reyes will be coming off leg surgery and appears to be ready to go as well as Jeff Francoeur and Luis Castillo. The Mets(at the moment) are going with Omir Santos and Henry Blanco as their catchers. These two are not everyday catchers but Omir at times did show he can get some big hits when it matters.

The relief pitching besides Frankie Rodriguez as their closer, remains suspect. They say goodbye to Brian Stokes and added Kelvim Escobar and Japanese import Ryota Igarashi to set up K-rod. They’ll depend on Pedro Feliciano to continue his job as the left-handed specialist along with Hisanori Takahashi.

The bench includes Gary Mathews Jr., Alex Cora, Fernando Tatis and Angel Pagan who will be starting in center until Beltran returns. Mike Jacobs was recently signed to a minor league deal which would provide some left -handed power off the bench.

Of course the Mets believe in Comebacks because they need the fans to believe that their one significant signing this off season was enough to get  them to the playoffs this year. I dont think it was. However, i can see if all the stars are in alignment just right and the Mets “comeback” from their injuries and play intelligent baseball…that they will contend for a wild-card spot. But, can all these things go right? It would be the antethesis of last season! Cross your fingers Mets Fans!

Predicted Finish: Tie-3rd Place(84-78)