Andy LaRoche - Matt Bandi, MVN/Flickr.com
Baseball Analysts' Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) series has reached the NL Central: "Thanks to the Cubs dominance and the surprise Cardinals and Astros, the NL Central was one of baseball's best divisions in 2008. Here is how they appear to be shaping up this off-season." Doumit, McLouth and both LaRoche bros. are listed as strengths -- "championship caliber regulars."
At FanGraphs, Matthew Carruth reviews the Pirates' 2008 season. His 2009 outlook: "The Pirates have some promise in their system, but much like the Giants, any hope of contention in the near future is going to hinge on their young group of starters fulfilling their promise. A hope that looks especially dimmer after a bleak 2008."
Also at FanGraphs, Marc Hulet highlights yesterday's Ramon Hernandez-Ryan Freel trade. The Orioles will now allow Matt Wieters to win the starting catcher's job out of spring training. "There are not many players -- let alone catchers -- with Wieters' combination of power, ability to hit for average, understanding of the strike zone, leadership and defensive prowess." Sure would look nice wearing black and gold.
Pittsburgh Lumber Co.'s Matt Bandi takes a look at the news that the Pirates are in negotiations with Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit and Paul Maholm over long-term contracts. Remember that you can find more relevant content and even contribute your own thoughts in MVN's Pirates community.
In our Twitter stream today, we made note of reports related to the Jack Wilson trade market. The Twins and Cubs may be discussing Mark DeRosa, and the Orioles have signed Cesar Izturis.
Earlier at Pirate Revolution:
Podcast No. 1: Sifting through Meetings Chatter, Wilson Rumors and Rule 5 Draft.
- Maldonado Sparks Caracas' Comeback
- Dominican Season Ends With a Bang; Hernandez Gets Save #5
- Dock Ellis, RIP: The Edges
- Pirates close to extension with Doumit
- Saturday's Winter Leagues
- Belisario Gets a Save; Canadian Pitcher Signed
- Dock Ellis Dead at Age 63
- Pirates Amassing a History of White Flag Hurlers
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