Sorry to have a late start on the Round ‘em Up this morning, but here’s what I have for you.
- Obviously, the release of Claudio Vargas is the big news of the day.
Tom Haudricourt talks about how the move was surprising, even to Carlos Villanueva. This move shows the team’s commitment to youth and talent. The “win-now” mode has realized that talent will win out over experience. I didn’t realize that Chris Narveson made such a push for a starting job. It now looks like he and Zach Jackson will be the first two pitchers that will be called up in the event of an injury. After Yovani Gallardo gets back on track, however, that list will change. I’m still shocked the Brewers couldn’t get anything for Vargas. Not even a Single-A player?
The Yost Infection gives a little insight on the Vargas release. It’s very funny. The Yost Infection is always good for a good read and a good laugh.
- Tom Verducci from SI.com has an NL Central preview. Not only does he have Chicago winning the division. He says that they will win the division by more games than any other division winner. Nothing like a slap in the face. Tom, like everyone else, thinks that the Crew does not have the pitching to win the division. My guess is that he counted Chris Capuano and Claudio Vargas into those pitching stats. Oh, and he probably has Derrick Turnbow blowing 20 games, instead of dominating 85% of the time. Standard SI bias, from what I’ve read this off-season.
- There has been much talk about J.J. Hardy and his bacterial infection. J.J. has been cleared to play Opening Day. Ned Yost thinks that he should be ready for March 31, but he’s still fairly weak after losing 10 pounds due to the illness. All in all, J.J. will be fine, and we’ve gotten to see Alcides Escobar more this spring. I personally enjoyed watching Alcides play more. He’s a genius with the glove.
- The Baseball Analysts believe in Rickie Weeks and have picked the Brewers to win over 85 games this season. Seems like a good choice to me.
- Dugout Central has 17 Bold Projections for the ’08 season. Shockingly, the first prediction is that Ben Sheets will be hurt, and Jeff Suppan is not a good pitcher. Seems like someone doesn’t like the Brewers too much.
- The Sports Bubbler has a preview of the NL Central bullpens. It’s nothing that new or shocking, but it does say that Chicago and Milwaukee have the best and deepest bullpens in the Central. There are not many bold predictions though.
- I understand that Doug Melvin does not like trading within the division, but it is very difficult to think that the St. Louis Cardinals couldn’t have had any interest in Claudio Vargas. After all, they did put six pitchers on the DL to start the season. That’s a rough way to start the season. Perhaps they couldn’t match up on a trade because the Cardinal’s farm system is depleted.