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Old 01-06-2020, 11:16 PM   #141
The_Myth
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Oct. 9, 1985

Game one is tonight. NBC is broadcasting the series, with Vin Scully and Joe Garigiola on the mic. We’ve been in Los Angeles for over a day now, and we’re acclimated well. It’s a crisp 69 degrees as the sun begins to set over Chavez Ravine. It’ll be Charles Hudson vs. Orel Hershiser at Dodger Stadium. Our game one lineup:
1. LF - Von Hayes
2. RF - Terry Puhl
3. 3B - Paul Molitor
4. 1B - Mike Schmidt
5. C - Darren Daulton
6. 2B - Juan Samuel
7. CF - Tony Armas
8. SS - UL Washington
9. SP - Charles Hudson
The Dodgers lineup:
1. 2B - Steve Sax
2. RF - Franklin Stubbs
3. CF - Pedro Guerrero
4. LF - Sid Bream
5. 1B - Greg Brock
6. C - Mike Scioscia
7. SS - Dave Anderson
8. 3B - Tom Lombarski
9. SP - Orel Hershiser
And off we go.


Game 1985-NLCS1: Dodger Stadium - Dodgers 3, Phillies 1 / Dodgers lead 1-0

In what might be the narrative of the series, we keep with Los Angeles shot for shot in the starting rotation, but once we get to the bullpens, all bets are off. We score a run via a Darren Daulton RBI single (Terry Puhl had previously tripled), but in the eighth with the game tied at 1-1, Hudson allows two quick hits. He’s liften for Tug McGraw, in there to face lefties Greg Brock and Mike Scioscia. It doesn’t work: single, squib that results in a Daulton throwing error. That makes it 3-1, and that does it.

In the process, McGraw is hurt, and while it’s a day-to-day injury, hard to see him coming into a game now.

Oct. 10, 1985

Fernando is pitching tonight, so we put Glenn Wilson in right field and move Juan Samuel up to the two-hole. Scott Sanderson is on the hill.

Game 1985-NLCS2: Dodger Stadium - Dodgers 6, Phillies 0 / Dodgers lead 2-0

Fernando nearly makes history and turns us into a trivia answer. He no-hits us for eight innings. In the ninth, with one out, Von Hayes chops one on the infield that Valenzuela can’t get over to first in time. The crowd is heated, but we avoid being no-hit twice in one season by Fernando, and we avoid the second playoff no-hitter in history. That said, the Dodgers wax us. Sanderson may have come into the game hot, but he gives up 10 hits including a Pedro Guerrero home run. Donnie Moore is nothing more than a mop-up guy right now (2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 K, 1 BB).

We head back home needing a win. John Denny will pitch, and he’ll need to be big.

Meanwhile in the ALCS, the Blue Jays even the score with Seattle. In game one, down 4-1, Darnell Coles hit a big home run to fuel a three-run seventh. Seattle went on to win after a two-run eighth. But in game two, Jim Gott pitched well for Toronto, and Mike Sharperson drove in three to lead the Jays to a 6-3 win. The series heads to Seattle tomorrow night.

Oct. 11, 1985

Back home, and we need a lift. I meet with my front office team to go back over some strategy for - yup - next year.

I haven’t really been on the ground floor concerning planning for 1986, but that’s sort of by design. My intention to sign players with options in the 1984-85 offseason has led to a pretty decent roster already for next season. The only true free agents after this season are:
  • SS Dave Concepcion
  • LF Billy Sample
  • CF Tony Armas
  • RF Terry Puhl
  • RP Bill Campbell
  • RP Kent Tekulve

I don’t intend to bring back any of these players, at least I think. I’d rather phase in my young talent, from guys ready to play in the majors now (Jeff Stone, Chris James, Todd Worrell, John McLarnan, possibly Blaise Ilsley) to guys not far away at all (William Jester, Marvin Freeman, Luis Polonia, Gregg Jefferies). Maybe that strategy changes slightly as I go deeper, but for now, I aim for 1986 to be another minor transition year with much of the same personnel as this past season.

Oct. 12, 1985

Last night, Toronto took down Seattle, 7-3, in game three of the ALCS, scoring seven unanswered from the sixth inning onward. George Bell and Lloyd Moseby homered; for Moseby, it was his third dinger of the series.

For us, it’s game three at the Vet. John Denny vs. Danny Darwin.


Game 1985-NLCS3: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 8, Dodgers 5 / Dodgers lead 2-1

The offense comes alive against Darwin. Paul Molitor hits a first-inning home run, and Terry Puhl adds four hits. The turning point comes in the third - down 4-2, Puhl strikes an RBI double, and two batters later, Mike Schmidt connects with an RBI single. We go up 5-4 at that point, tjhen score two more in the fifth thanks to a Darren Daulton double. John Denny guts through six innings (4 ER, 8 H, 4 K, 1 BB), while Paul Assenmacher, Kent Tekulve, and Larry Andersen finish the proceedings.

Over in Seattle, Toronto goes up 3-1 with a 3-2 win. The Jays score three in the seventh to put them on the doorstep of their first American League pennant.

After the game we check in with Steve Carlton. He says he can go tomorrow night, though his abdominal is still a little sore. Charles Hudson, meanwhile, says he’ll be fine. It’s a quandary, for sure.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:07 AM   #142
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Oct. 13, 1985

Dick and pitching coach Juan Casado sit down with Lefty at noon. He claims he’s good to go, just a little sore. “I want to be out there for this,” he says. “I know I can help.”

Carlton’s been with the Phillies since 1972. He’s won a world championship and plenty of division titles. He has four Cy Young awards. This year he was good (11-8, 2.92 ERA, 122 K, 68 BB). He’s just 27 strikeouts from 4,000 over his incredible hall of fame career. He’s the guy. He’s our guy. We love him.

We chat with the other starting pitchers, just wanting their thoughts. Hudson: “I’d love to be out there, but if Lefty can go, give it to Lefty.”

By 2 p.m. we have our answer. We’re giving the ball to Lefty. He goes against Los Angeles’ Rick Honeycutt. A huge moment for a huge player. Meanwhile, hot-hitting Terry Puhl will start in right field despite the lefty on the mound.

Before the game, I put Chicago 17 on my in-office record player and listen deep to “Hard Habit to Break.” I take a nice sip of my whiskey. Go Lefty, go.

Game 1985-NLCS4: Veterans Stadium - Dodgers 7, Phillies 6 / Dodgers lead 3-1

I can’t blame Lefty for this. Both he and Rick Honeycutt allow four runs, with Carlton going five innings. He guts it out, for sure. But Bill Campbell? He’s the goat here, in what is another of those classic Phillies-Dodgers tilts of 1985. Same old story.

Campbell picks up the ball in the sixth, armed with a 6-4 lead, and proceeds to let it slip away. A couple singles, a triple, and a double over 1.1 innings gives the Dodgers a lead they wouldn’t squander. The basic issue: We have like 1.5 good relievers at any time. Paul Molitor goes 2-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBI. Sigh. A wasted loss in some respects, but maybe I should’ve seen this coming and ponied up for better pitching at the deadline? Or maybe not. Maybe the chips fall by design.

Oct. 14, 1985

As for the other game yesterday, the Toronto Blue Jays are going to the World Series for the first time ever. They beat the Mariners 2-0 in game five of the ALCS behind a solid Jimmy Key start. They await the winner of our series.

We go with Charles Hudson, and the Dodgers will counter with Orel Hershiser. So we’ll have to beat Orel and Fernando to win this series. I don’t know, but we’ll give it a go.

Game 1985-NLCS5: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 7, Dodgers 3 / Dodgers lead 3-2

We get to Hershiser and take the series back to Los Angeles.

Early on it fits the narrative, with the Dodgers coming back right after we score, then adding one to get up 2-1. But we tie it, then Hudson brings in two with an RBI single to give us the lead. He settles in from there, striking out seven and allowing five baserunners over 7.1 innings. Mike Schmidt drives in two and knocks out Hershiser with a fifth-inning home run that puts us up 5-2. Juan Samuel adds a homer of his own, and Larry Andersen finishes the game with a 1.2-inning run.

We leave the Vet and grab a red-eye to Los Angeles International.

Oct. 15, 1985

Last off day of the series, and we hear that the Dodgers’ Bill Russell - who hasn’t played at all this series - will retire at the end of the season. He had a good career, playing for LA since 1969 and being on all those teams that have played us in past postseason series, and was known mostly for his defense.

But I don’t want to hear any of that “Win it for Bill” crap, by the way.

Oct. 16, 1985

The boys look loose tonight, and they get a good pep talk from Robin Roberts, who visits us before the game. He thinks Scott Sanderson is going to have a big game. Well, we’ll need it.


Game 1985-NLCS6: Dodger Stadium - Dodgers 2, Phillies 0 / Dodgers win 4-2

It’s over. And in a fitting way, as Fernando Valenzuela, who has had our number all season, no-hitting us back in May and nearly doing it again in game two of this series, goes the distance with a two-hitter. He allows just three hits against us all series (and wins the MVP). It’s preposterous, and yet it’s something I have to accept. The Dodgers are headed to the World Series.

They get their runs via the longball - one each by Dave Anderson and Tom Lombarski. Yes, their worst hitters. It feels like a joke.

But hey, we won 75 games last season and then 98. We got to game six of the NLCS. I’d say this was a hell of a year. A hell of a year.

While the Dodgers celebrate, we have our own little powwow in the clubhouse. Yes, the boys are upset, but it isn’t the same sort of defeat. Mike Schmidt toasts to a great season: “You guys are the finest group of guys I’ve ever played with. Let’s get healed up quick, cause I can’t wait to get back out there next year.”

Juan Samuel turns on some music and dances to break the tension. He’s joined by Glenn Wilson and Paul Assenmacher. UL Washington hands out cigars to the boys. They’re in a decent mood, reflective and at ease. Again, it was a hell of a year.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:48 PM   #143
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Oct. 17, 1985

We fly back to Philadelphia, and Tugger has already filed his retirement papers. Big hugs all around. “You got a place in this organization,” I tell him.

“Nah,” Tug responds. “I wanna get into TV.”

Final statistics, with grades. First, the hitters:

Catcher

C - Darren Daulton - 511 PA, .222/.354/.390, 13 2B, 6 3B, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 68 R, 98 K, 86 BB, 17 SB, 11 CS, 0.8 ZR, 1.057 EFF, 30% RTO, 3.0 WAR

Grade: C+ / I can’t in good conscience give Daulton anything above this. Got on base a ton, and he really picked it up in the second half, but the production didn’t come all the way around. Defensively and as a game caller, he did well.

C - Tommy Thompson - 151 PA, .231/.294/.354, 8 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 9 R, 23 K, 12 BB, 1.7 ZR, .985 EFF, 42.9% RTO, 0.1 WAR

Grade: D+ / Garden-variety backup catcher who did throw out his share of baserunners; persona non grata late in the season.

[COLOR="darkred"]C - Mike LaValliere - 26 PA, .125/.192/.375, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 3 K, 2 BB, 0.0 WAR

Grade: INC / Too few appearances.

Outlook: Daulton remains my guy and will be the starter in 1986. I could give LaValliere the backup spot (next year is Thompson’s final option year), though he still has two option years remaining. I could also deal LaValliere. Not sure yet.

First Base

1B - Mike Schmidt - 673 PA, .322/.400/.559, 30 2B, 5 3B, 33 HR 136 RBI, 100 R, 81 K, 74 BB, 3 SB, 1 CS, 6.5 ZR, 1.052 EFF, 6.8 WAR

Grade: A+ / What a career arc Schmidt is having, starting as an all-or-nothing slugger, transitioning to an all-around hitting machine, and now coming into his veteran years as a patient, skilled marksman. A career low for strikeouts (in a full MLB season), plus nearly a career high in doubles. That, plus everything else he gives, makes him possibly the NL MVP.

Outlook: What else can you say? Schmidt returns in 1986 as the first baseman.

Second Base

2B - Juan Samuel - 668 PA, .248/.283/.410, 29 2B, 14 3B, 15 HR, 86 RBI, 90 R, 107 K, 26 BB, 64 SB, 17 CS, -10.7 ZR, .948 EFF, 1.4 WAR

Grade: C- / A real sophomore slump for Samuel, who actually cut down on strikeouts - something just seemed off with the swing. That said, he stole his usual booty of bases, and the defense was better! Seriously!

Outlook: Hoping for a rebound in 1986. Keith Miller is getting closer to knocking on the door, though, but I’d imagine Samuel’s trade value is a touch low right now. I’m in no hurry to make any moves.

Third Base

3B - Paul Molitor - 680 PA, .298/.363/.410, 31 2B, 5 3B, 9 HR, 76 RBI, 91 R, 98 K, 62 BB, 47 SB, 20 CS, 3.4 ZR, 1.015 EFF, 4.7 WAR

Grade: A- / I’m docking him for the slow start, but he picked it up in the second half to have a really good season.

Outlook: Well, I got Molitor through 1989 for a reason. We do also have Rick Schu at AAA Portland, but he seems a likely trade candidate or a possible bench bat.

Shortstop

SS - UL Washington - 534 PA, .265/.320/.367, 17 2B, 6 3B, 7 HR, 57 RBI, 61 R, 89 K, 40 BB, 27 SB, 8 CS, 3.7 ZR, 1.027 EFF, 2.7 WAR

Grade: B- / It would’ve been a stone-cold B if not for the lapses defensively (even though the metrics are for him, the 36 errors are a bit much). A decent bottom-order bat who kept the line moving.

SS - Dave Concepcion - 121 PA, .252/.300/.351, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 9 R, 14 K, 8 BB, 3 SB, 2 CS, -3.2 ZR, .889 EFF, -0.1 WAR

Grade: C- / I didn’t expect much from Davey, but he at least stayed on board through the postseason and turned in a decent offensive performance.

Outlook: I might just glance at the shortstop market, but I’m content staying with Washington until fast-moving Gregg Jefferies is ready for the majors (opening day 1987 is the likely target). If I need him, I could turn to Steve Jeltz, but if he reaches the majors, it’s his final option year.

Left Field

LF - Von Hayes - 726 PA, .318/.388/.494, 43 2B, 5 3B, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 115 R, 71 K, 78 BB, 45 SB, 31 CS, 4.6 ZR, 1.029 EFF, 6.3 WAR

Grade: A / A career season for Hayes, who even settled in defensively in left field.

LF - Billy Sample - 70 PA, .285/.357/.397, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 7 R, 3 K, 6 BB, 2 SB, 3 CS, -1.5 ZR, .930 EFF, 0.1 WAR

Grade: B / Kinda wish we used him more off the bench.

LF - Bruce Fields - 49 PA, .273/.304/.341, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 6 R, 10 K, 2 BB, 5 SB, 2 CS, 0.0 WAR

Grade: B- / Same here.

Outlook: Unless I decide Hayes has to move somewhere else to accommodate another player (a longshot I think), it’s all Von here. Sample is a goner, while Fields has two option years still. He could be a bench bat.

Center Field

CF - Dave Stegman - 450 PA, .202/.295/.318, 12 2B, 6 3B, 7 HR, 55 RBI, 39 R, 98 K, 53 BB, 3 SB, 1 CS, 1.7 ZR, 1.003 EFF, 0.2 WAR

Grade: D+ / The very definition of filler. Good enough defense in center, while his bat was maybe a shade over a hindrance in the first half, at least.

CF - Bill Lyons - 116 PA, .204/.322/.306, 7 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 17 R, 23 K, 16 BB, 7 SB, 0 CS, -0.9 ZR, .996 EFF, 0.3 WAR

Grade: D+ / He played a bunch of positions and stole some bags, but he wasn’t necessarily good at anything. A poor-ish utility player.

CF - Tony Armas - 115 PA, .245/.296/.462, 5 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 13 R, 22 K, 7 BB, -15.4 ZR, .915 EFF, -0.1 WAR

Grade: C- / Smacked a couple big hits, but ultimately he was a one-dimensional player. He did usurp Stegman, though, so that gets him the C-.

Outlook: Another spot where I can stay with filler (Stegman) until my high-rated prospect (Luis Polonia) reaches the majors (likely mid-to-late 1986). I’ll keep an eye out, however, for one-year slight upgrades, in case they’re out there; also, there’s a really, really good center fielder primed to hit the market this offseason. We’ll get there. Anyway, Stegman is not a starter on a championship team (evidenced by our benching him in September and October).

Right Field

RF - Glenn Wilson - 408 PA, .277/.321/.436, 19 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 48 R, 43 K, 25 BB, 5 SB, 0 CS, -0.5 ZR, 1.003 ZR, 1.7 WAR

Grade: C+ / On one hand, a fine first half that gave us reason to believe he would easily be an everyday force. On the other hand, a disappointing second half that pushed him to the bench by September. Still not sure where we land on him.

RF - Terry Puhl - 209 PA, .309/.330/.426, 12 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 27 R, 11 K, 7 BB, 7 SB, 3 CS, 0.2 ZR, .990 EFF, 1.0 WAR

Grade: B / A very necessary piece for the stretch run who tied together the offense. Not great defensively, but Wilson wasn’t really doing it, either.

RF - Jeff Stone - 94 PA, .250/.351/.362, 3 2B, 3 3B, 7 RBI, 10 R, 15 K, 4 BB, 8 SB, 2 CS, 0.4 WAR

Grade: B- / When he was on, he was on, and 0.4 WAR in 94 PA is good. Wish we gave him more chances, though.

Outlook: The tough position. The most likely scenario is a Wilson and Stone platoon to start 1986, but we could try to deal one of these guys. Or we could shift Stone to left field and Hayes to center, but that feels like moving backwards just to force a guy who we sort of probably believe in. Get back to me on this.

Now, the pitchers:

Staring Pitcher

SP - John Denny - 234.2 IP, 15-9, 2.68 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 145 K, 68 BB, 6.8 WAR

Grade: A / Honestly, Denny was a rock, especially late in the season. A few too many walks, but enormous down the stretch.

SP - Charles Hudson - 226.2 IP, 18-5, 2.30 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 140 K, 51 BB, 7.2 WAR

Grade: A / An awesome season for Charlie, who may just head into 1986 as the staff ace.

SP - Scott Sanderson - 220.2 IP, 16-10, 3.18 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 142 K, 47 BB, 5.0 WAR

Grade: B+ / A great pickup, thank you very much. Reliable, held it down, and even turned it on late.

SP - Steve Carlton - 197.1 IP, 11-8, 2.92 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 122 K, 68 BB, 4.5 WAR

Grade: B / At this point I’m really happy Lefty continues to battle and give quality starts.

SP - Kevin Gross - 142.1 IP, 11-3, 1.83 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 92 K, 29 BB, 3.7 WAR

Grade: A / What a crummy injury for Gross, because he was having a near-Cy Young season.

SP - Joe Johnson - 57.1 IP, 1-5, 4.08 ERA, 5.03 FIP, 19 K, 20 BB, 0.1 WAR

Grade: C- / Charitable, maybe, but he gave us some gutsy innings down the stretch. Definition of a spot starter.

SP - Kelly Downs - 19 IP, 0-3, 7.11 ERA, 6.47 FIP, 13 K, 12 BB, -0.2 WAR

Grade: F / When is he going to put it together in the majors?

SP - Mike Maddux - 11.2 IP, 0-0, 1.54 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 8 K, 7 BB, 0.1 WAR

Grade: C+ / Not a lot of time out there, but some good, some bad.

Outlook: For now the rotation in 1986 is Denny, Hudson, Sanderson, Carlton, Gross. But Blaise Ilsley is going to threaten that order, while Johnson and Maddux should both get some spring looks. Downs is out probably through spring training. I’m not sure if I’ll be tempted to grab a starter in free agency - maybe late on a minor league deal, though.

Relievers

RP - Bill Campbell - 67.1 IP, 4-4, 23 SV, 4 HLD, 2.94 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 42 K, 11 BB, 1.8 WAR

Grade: B / Weird that he finished with an ERA under 3.00. Was removed from the closer and top setup roles this year, but I guess he was effective!

RP - Larry Andersen - 66 IP, 6-6, 11 SV, 10 HLD, 3.55 ERA, 2.26 FIP, 51 K, 20 BB, 2.4 WAR

Grade: A- / Got hurt by defense. Andersen was good, but he isn’t a closer. Still need that one.

RP - Donnie Moore - 50.1 IP, 6-2, 1 SV, 8 HLD, 4.65 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 44 K, 19 BB, 0.9 WAR

Grade: C / At times he was lights out, but at times he also stunk up the joint. Was a non-entity late in our run.

RP - Tug McGraw - 36.1 IP, 3-0, 3 HLD, 6.44 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 14 K, 25 BB, 0.1 WAR

Grade: D / The 4.24 FIP amazes me. But more power to Tug, I guess. Congrats on the career.

RP - Kent Tekulve - 33 IP, 4-3, 9 SV, 2 HLD, 3.55 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 11 K, 12 BB, 0.6 WAR

Grade: C+ / Mostly did his job after we acquired him, but man, he wasn’t at all a stud (in my favor, neither were any of the other arms we were looking at before the deadline).

RP - Paul Assenmacher - 31 IP, 0-2, 1 HLD, 3.48 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 31 K, 13 BB, 0.1 WAR

Grade: C+ / I liked Assenmacher’s performance this year, but he stacked up a few too many terrible outings.

RP - Don Carman - 29 IP, 1-2, 1 SV, 5 HLD, 4.97 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 23 K, 12 BB, 0.0 WAR

Grade: D+ / Couldn’t hold onto his spot and spent more time in Portland.

RP - Kenneth Walker - 22.2 IP, 2 SV, 6.75 ERA, 5.62 FIP, 19 K, 13 BB, -0.3 WAR

Grade: D- / So, so raw.

RP - Todd Worrell - 12 IP, 2-2, 9.00 ERA, 5.17 FIP, 8 K, 6 BB, -0.1 WAR

Grade: C- / Mostly pitched in mop-up situations, so it’s a bit unfair to tag him with anything below a C-.

RP - Chuck Cary - 4.2 IP, 3.86 ERA, 4.12 FIP 5 K, 1 BB, 0.0 WAR

Grade: INC / Not enough innings.

Outlook: Somehow Dick Howser made it work enough to get to game six of the NLCS. And now Campbell becomes a free agent, McGraw is retired, and Tekulve is also hitting the market. That means it’s a miscast Andersen, a mediocre Moore, and a bunch of young guys. I might grab a veteran, but honestly, I’m more inclined to run with Assenmacher, Carman, another young guy, and maybe a long man. We’ll see how I feel in November.

And as for coaching, Howser gets an A+ for turning this team into a first-division club with a snap of the fingers, pitching coach Juan Casado gets an B+ for getting the best out of his young starters (the ‘pen is another story), and hitting coach Dan Stone gets an A- for helming the league’s top offense, though the league in general had a down year at the plate. (Also, I am a little concerned that my youngest hitters struggled mightily this season, but it’s not enough to make any generalizations.)
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:23 PM   #144
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Oct. 18, 1985

It’s Friday. The whole front office is off while the World Series gets underway in Los Angeles. Most of my employees are taking quick vacations. I’m just hanging out at home, listening to A-Ha's Hunting High and Low. I love that "Take on Me," the No. 1 song in the country right now, but I'm an even bigger fan of "The Sun Always Shines on TV." Time to relax.


In the World Series, the Dodgers come back with a run in the ninth, then a run in the 10th, to win 7-6 over Toronto. Experts figured that the quicker you get to the Toronto bullpen, the better the chance Los Angeles has, and that’s what happened. It started a pitcher’s duel, but Lloyd Moseby homered to open scoring, followed quickly by a Sid Bream homer to tie it up at 2-2. Then Toronto took over, scoring four in the sixth and seventh to seize a 6-2 lead.

But we know the Dodgers. They came right back to make it 6-5, powered by a two-run Sid Bream homer. By then they were in the Blue Jays’ ‘pen, and it worked out. Jim Acker let in the tying run in the ninth via a Pedro Guerrero single. An inning later, Acker and Bob Forsch loaded the bases, and Steve Sax walked to win it. The Dodgers lead 1-0.

Oct. 19, 1985

In game two, the Dodgers didn’t waste time, scoring six runs off Toronto starter Jim Gott (the biggest hits were a Greg Brock double, a Franklin Stubbs triple and, naturally, an Orel Hershiser two-run single). The Jays chipped away with one-run innings, getting three hits from Lloyd Moseby and two each from Jesse Barfield and Willie Upshaw, but Hershiser was good enough over seven, and closer Tom Niedenfuer finished it from there. Dodgers win 6-4 and are up 2-0 heading to the first World Series game in Canada. The Jays need wins.

Oct. 20, 1985

Nothing today, and it feels great.

Oct. 21, 1985

The scene for game three at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium was wild, but it quickly dissipated as Pedro Guerrero slammed a two-run, first-inning homer against Jim Clancy. The Jays followed it right up with a Jesse Barfield homer and Willie Upshaw sacrifice fly, however, to tie it up at 2-2. But while the Dodgers inched out a couple more runs, the Jays couldn’t get it done against Fernando Valenzuela. He went the distance, striking out 10 and allowing two runs on eight hits and two walks. The Dodgers won 4-2, and are now one win from winning their sixth world championship.

Oct. 22, 1985

The Dodgers grabbed a quick 1-0 lead over Toronto in game four, but George Bell’s three-run, first-inning homer was the shot heard ‘round Canada, giving the Jays a big 3-1 lead.

But you know those Dodgers. They made it 3-2 immediately, thanks to a Tom Lombarski double (the guy was a negative player for the Cubs before a mid-season trade, by the way), then scored one each in the sixth and seventh to grab a 4-3 lead. Rick Honeycutt got through seven, then handed it off to Tom Niedenfuer, who closed the door on Toronto and the 1985 season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are 1985 world champions. A clean sweep of Toronto. Pedro Guerrero (.400/.500/.800, 2 HR, 4 RBI) took home series MVP honors.

Congratulations to the Dodgers, who I saw winning this thing months ago. They were just that good in the last few months.



1985 World Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers
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Old 01-23-2020, 12:03 AM   #145
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One of my favorite reads on here! Good luck next season.
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:28 AM   #146
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One of my favorite reads on here! Good luck next season.
I agree! Hope to hear more about the Phillies!
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The_Myth (01-27-2020)
Old 01-25-2020, 09:59 PM   #147
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Hope to Hear More

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I agree! Hope to hear more about the Phillies!
Yes, indeed, keep going. This is the only franchise report that I even read and follow, and I hope to hear more in the near future.
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:42 PM   #148
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Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:55 PM   #149
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Oct. 23, 1985

Alright, tons to talk about.

My score (from whomever) for the season was a 568, which is good. And on this Monday, I had my postmortem with owner Bill Giles. The headlines:

- He’s very happy with the overall performance. Still wants a championship by 1987, though. I hate that he’s demanding us to win two seven-game series.
- He’s glad our farm system has improved (apparently the progressive rankings have us at eighth, which is good), but he wants more home-grown talent on the roster. That’s a personal goal for 1986.
- For some reason he doesn’t consider Dick Howser an upgrade over Paul Owens. Whatever. Bias, I guess.

My new goals are:
  • 1986: Improve my team bullpen ERA. Well, going the young route might hurt this, but we’ll see what the market brings.
  • 1987: Win the championship. Again, sigh.
  • 1987: Sign Steve Carlton to an extension. Heh. I get it: We want him to finish his career a Phillie.
  • 1987: Bring in a manager with a better reputation. Oh good lord.
  • 1987: Build a top-five minor league system. On our way, it seems.
  • 1988: Bring more of your drafted players to your team. Also on our way, it seems.
  • 1991: Build a team that can bring a championship home. Well, I feel like we did that, but sure.

So, hmmm. The manager thing is annoying, but my goal isn’t to just please my boss, so that’s that. Nevertheless, we're on track.

Meanwhile, our fan loyalty is now “great,” while our team focus is “win now!” (well that really runs counter to Giles’ hopes to bring drafted players on board). Our payroll is $10,014,299, fourth in baseball, and our budget for 1986 is about $22 million. After personnel salaries and such, we’ll have about $9 million with which to work. That’s a considerable amount of room with which to work, but this is a big year for arbitration-eligible talent (Kevin Gross, Charles Hudson, and to a lesser extent, Glenn Wilson and the returning Dave Stegman, who tried to get a big payday last year but to no avail).

My minor league affiliates have changed again. The Peninsula Pilots are no longer, while we gain another rookie league team in the Utica Blue Sox. Essentially, I’ll have to make some cuts at the higher levels and fill out the Utica roster with upcoming draft picks.

Coaches I didn’t re-sign are out of here, including Chris Thomas, former Reading manager, who didn’t want to be hitting coach in Portland. And I wasn’t bringing him back otherwise. C’est la vie.

Around the league, Oakland fired manager Alan Merkle, who got just 23 games to close 1985 with Oakland and actually did OK with them (10-13). The players took the dismissal pretty hard. More surprisingly, Dick Williams is out in San Diego. A two-time world champion with Oakland, and the guy who led Montreal in their best years, Williams turned San Diego around late in 1985 to finish with an 88-74 record. I really thought he’d get a chance to see through their revival, but no dice, I guess.

Either way, teams wanting a new skipper will be targeting him, for sure.

Some great news: Kent Tekulve has been awarded Type-A free agent status, making him a no doubter for offering salary arbitration ($500,000). Not as easy a choice: Tony Armas, who is a Type-B but would get $600,000 if he accepts arbitration.

Finally, actual business: I have to either execute or void option years for UL Washington and Scott Sanderson. Easy decisions here:
  • UL Washington’s team option executed for 1986
  • Scott Sanderson’s team option executed for 1986

Oct. 24, 1985

Time to begin filling the front office and coaching ranks. My top choice for assistant general manager is former Astros GM Omar Garcia, a 32-year-old who is still learning the ins and outs of the league and didn’t get a fair shake in Houston (one year, for God’s sake). He also thinks like me (speed, defense). He’s coming in for an interview tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I have my postmortem with Dick Howser. Plenty of praise for him. One thing he tells me: “My biggest suggestion for you is don’t shrink if you see an opportunity to get a lot better. You’ve done great so far with that, so I hope you keep that mindset.”

He’ll be someone I chat with regularly concerning our moves this offseason.

Oct. 25, 1985

A trade! And a big one! The Red Sox send Bruce Hurst to Seattle for 1B Alvin Davis and prospect Tom Krause. Hurst is the kind of cost-controlled, young starter that can really help the Mariners get over the hump, while Davis makes sense for a retooling Red Sox squad. The M’s must also feel good about Darnell Coles taking over at first base.

The interview with Omar Garcia goes well, and now we await 41-year-old Jerry Meyer, who was a single-A general manager who loves making deals. He’s a big speed guy (running, not drugs).

Oct. 26, 1985

First, the assistant GM search: The Jerry Meyer interview showed he was inexperienced, but I liked his energy. My final two interview candidates, coming in today, are wild-card 35-year-old Justin Helman (he loves speed and defense, but he’s extremely unproven) and 48-year-old scout John Weekly (also unproven).

After two days of meetings about our arbitration-eligible players, we decide to pursue a long-term deal with Charles Hudson and to go for one-year deals with Kevin Gross, Glenn Wilson, and Dave Stegman. With Gross it’s about consistency over a season. As for the hitters, we’re still uncertain about our short-term futures in center field and right field, and we could still look at other options. But getting agreements on one-year deals with Wilson and Stegman won’t hurt our ability to move any of them, if we wanted to; also, at least we’ll have contracts in place at both of those positions for 1986.

So, first, we go to Gross. He’s 24 and good (lifetime 29-19, 3.10 ERA, 299 K, 121 BB in 440.2 IP) but not an ace. He made $68,800 last year. To compare, Pittsburgh’s Jose DeLeon, also 24, is lifetime 36-24, 2.81 ERA, 532 K, 211 BB in 550.1 IP. He made $73,600 last year. Essentially, if Gross doesn’t get hurt in August, he has comparable rate stats to DeLeon, with likely fewer strikeouts. He and DeLeon should be close to one another financially, and I expect DeLeon's salary to jump to nearly $200K for 1986.

As further comparison, let’s look closer at Hurst, now in Seattle. His lifetime numbers: 867.1 IP, 45-48, 4.15 ERA, 575 K, 247 BB. He’s signed through 1988 and made $256K last season. And that season would be comparable to Gross in 1987, more likely. Gross is worth more than Hurst at the same times in their careers. So … I’m thinking something slightly less than $256K right now is about right. I go $200K for 1986, submitting that as my baseline.

Moving to Stegman. He made $90,000 last year and was worth 0.2 WAR. He declined sharply in the second half, forcing me to play Tony Armas every day. I feel like $150K is as high as I want to go here, so I’ll submit $120K as my baseline.

Next, Glenn Wilson. He made $73,600 last year and was good in the first half before fading. His final value: 1.6 WAR, nearly an everyday player. That tells me he can double up his salary in 1986, bringing him to $150K. That’ll be my baseline for him.

Onto free-agents-to-be. I definitely want to extend salary arbitration to Kent Tekulve. At worst he’s my veteran middle reliever for $500K with a chance to pitch late in games. At best he gets me a first round pick in 1987.

Then there’s Tony Armas. If he accepts arbitration it’s $600K on my payroll. And when I think about it, I’ll probably have room to absorb that, meaning, if I really had to release him, I shouldn’t balk. Meaning, why not, right? If I get the supplemental pick, awesome. If not, I can always just move on. Both will get arbitration offers.

Finally, I decide to not attempt to re-sign minor league free agents (C Mike Martin, SP Kyle Money, SP/RP Rip Rollins, RF Willie Darkis). None of these guys could even stick as starters and/or regulars.

Oh! Charles Hudson. I invite him and a plus-one, as well as his agent and a plus-one, to Sunday’s Eagles game at Veterans Stadium. We have a suite to watch the 3-4 Eagles host the Buffalo Bills. I hope to make significant gains in extension talks.

I go over our team’s agreed-upon framework for a potential Hudson extension. Background: Mike Schmidt and Von Hayes (depending on Schmidt’s option) are on board through 1988, while Paul Molitor can get to 1989. Meanwhile, Hudson (623.1 IP, 39-26, 2.89 ERA, 384 K, 169 BB, or, better than Hurst, and on par with DeLeon, though without the Ks) is a Super Two candidate, meaning he is under our control through 1989, though he’s likely to be worth $750K or more by then. And that’s if he stays on an average path (our projections have him at $315K in 1986, $357K in 1987, $525K in 1988, $767K in 1989).

So we’d love to keep Hudson through 1990 for fewer than our arbitration projections, meaning he’d be under expected value. Thus, the framework:
  • 1986 - $250K
  • 1987 - $250K
  • 1988 - $315K
  • 1989 - $400K
  • 1990 - $500K

I add some bonuses and decide against options. We hope he’ll be interested.
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:47 AM   #150
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Oct. 27, 1985

By 11:30 a.m., I’m at the Vet, chatting with executives and preparing for Charles Hudson’s arrival. He gets there at five minutes to one and brings his wife, pregnant with their first child. The vibe is good. As for the game, the Eagles go down 17-0. That’s the score in the fourth quarter, and while we’re laughing and having a good time, we’re also a bit peeved. But then the Birds engineer a comeback: a Ron Jaworski rushing touchdown, an interception return, and then Jaworski to Mike Quick for the win with less than two minutes to play. A 21-17 final. Awesome game, and fun to watch rookie defender Reggie White.

Oh, and Hudson and his agent thought our offer was strong. They’ll discuss it. Sweet.

Oct. 28, 1985

I head to New York for the annual general managers’ meeting with commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Nothing out of the ordinary this year, except he says the league’s mandatory drug testing is going smoothly. Weird, I haven’t heard of any of our guys being tested - not that I like that, to begin with.

Jayson Stark writes a column about Mike Schmidt and a potential third NL MVP award. He’d be the third National Leaguer to ever win three MVPs (the first two being Stan Musial and Roy Campanella), with other three-timers including Joe Dimaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Jimmie Foxx. Concludes Stark: “If this isn’t a hall of famer, nobody after him can ever stand at that Cooperstown dais.” Hear, hear.

Stark lets us know his ballots:

AL MVP ballot (top-three):
  1. Jesse Barfield - TOR - .310/.383/.588, 45 HR, 137 RBI, 10.1 WAR
  2. Wade Boggs - BOS - .344/.438/.489, 12 HR, 94 RBI, 8.8 WAR
  3. Kirby Puckett - MIN - .324/.346/.495, 22 HR, 91 RBI, 7.6 WAR

And the NL MVP ballot:
  1. Mike Schmidt - PHI - .322/.400/.559, 33 HR, 136 RBI, 6.7 WAR
  2. Eric Davis - CIN - .260/.343/.480, 35 HR, 81 SB, 7.9 WAR
  3. Willie McGee - STL - .345/.385/.490, 10 HR, 39 SB, 7.1 WAR

For Cy Young, he likes Roger Clemens (20-6, 2.85 ERA, 253 K, 59 BB, 8.8 WAR) in the American League, and Orel Hershiser (22-6, 1.83 ERA, 181 K, 47 BB) in the National League.

Oct. 29, 1985

Today begins massive draft prep, as the 1985 Draft is three days away, Friday. We pick 25th, then 38th. Then not again until 73rd. We don’t have to hit on these, but we really want to ensure we’re getting value out of just three picks in the first 93. We decide we’re preferring advanced college players. Likely available talent (that fits) where we’re picking at 25 include RF Warren Newson, SP Todd Stottlemyre, 2B Luis Alicea, C Joe Girardi, and SP Kevin Tapani.

Meanwhile, Toronto - your American League champion - has seven out of the first 46 picks, including five consecutive supplemental selections. They can really take risks.

Oct. 30, 1985

Time to chat with agents regarding deals for our arb-eligible players. We approach Kevin Gross about one year and $180K. No dice. We come back on $200K, and he’ll think about it.
  • SP - Kevin Gross - $200,000 (considering)

Next is Glenn Wilson, and we decide to start at $115K. He decides to think about it.
  • RF - Glenn Wilson - $115,000 (considering)

Finally, Dave Stegman, who we went to arbitration with last year (we won). Hoping not to do that this year, so we start at $110K. And … nope.

We come back with $120K, our baseline arbitration offer … he’ll think about it. Wow. Didn’t expect that.
  • CF - Dave Stegman - $120,000 (considering)

Oct. 31, 1985

Halloween is here, and so is Charles Hudson. He and his agent agree to the extension.

SIGNED

Charles Hudson - 5 years, $1.715 million

He’s on board until age 31. If he falls apart before then, it’s not a huge blemish. At the least, I feel like we have a No. 3 or 4 starter through the late 1980s. At best, he’s an ace. We’ll see how it goes.

Meantime, we emerge from our draft planning with a big board. Our strategy this year is to focus on college bats and arms with an eye at developing talent at the infield corners, especially. (We’re looking a few years into the future.) But as always, we want up-the-middle talent (shortstops and second basemen, center fielders, catchers), and enough good pitching with a few potential breakouts.

Last year’s pool felt very shallow, with maybe 25-30 players really worth intense scouting. This year it’s a much deeper group. There’s a clear No. 1, then an obvious second tier that probably leads us to the eighth or ninth pick, then an enormous third level that either has established college talent that should be contributing within two to three years, or very promising high school projects; we’re seeing about 30-40 in this tier. As we’re 25, 38, and 73, we would love to get three of these players, but we’ll see how it works out. Also, lots of catchers among those first three tiers, so we shouldn’t be surprised if our board gives us one. (It’s a good time to think about future backstops, anyway, with Darren Daulton developing, little behind Mike LaValliere, and our guys still arguably question marks.)

As per our franchise philosophy, we like pitchers with good stuff over control and hitters if they can run and play defense. If you’re a non-power hitter, put the ball in play (avoid strikeouts), and if you are a power hitter, have it in spades with a good eye.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:40 PM   #151
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Nice season and a good read! And I'm like you, I like pitchers with a high "stuff" rating, and I believe defense has always been underrated in baseball, both in real life, and in this game.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:41 AM   #152
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Here’s the annual treat. The No. 1 in this draft is our No. 1 on the board. He’s clear. (Think of him as another color entirely, one that means "certain MLB all-star.") The next five are among that six- or seven-deep second tier, and after that is our ranking of basically the entire third tier (with a couple second-tier guys that we don’t like, and some guys beyond the expected top 50 that we love, sprinkled in):

[Key: Blue = Certain MLB starter/reliable pitcher / Green = Likely MLB starter/reliable pitcher / Magenta = Likely MLB contributor / Orange = Uncertain MLB future / Red = Unlikely MLB future]
  1. Gary Sheffield - SS - HS - Five-tool stud who grew up learning alongside uncle Dwight Gooden. A natural. / $1.1M
  2. Moises Alou - LF/RF - HS - Speaking of pedigree - comes from baseball family. Five-tool potential. / Slot
  3. Bernie Williams - RF/LF/CF - HS - A long way from finished, but potential is a five-tool stud. Speed is there. / Slot
  4. Mark Grace - 1B - Probably the closest in the class to the majors. Has gap power and puts the ball in play. Lefty hitter. Middle-of-order possible. / $850K
  5. Curt Schilling - SP - HS - Throws several pitches and loves flashing it. Working on control. Fastball-splitter guy. At worst a closer; at best a top-line starter. / $400K
  6. Bo Jackson - LF/RF - A unicorn. College football star with speed and power. Defense and Ks need to improve, but he’s already a name. / Slot
  7. Darryl Hamilton - CF - Our kind of guy with speed, defense at a premium position, and the ability to put bat on ball. / Slot
  8. Brian Deak - C - HS - Great eye and good defense with plus power, and just 18. A leader, too. Lots to like here. / Slot
  9. Greg Swindell - SP - Close to the majors. Control could be exceptional. Fastball and slider are plus. / $460K
  10. Todd Zeile - C/3B - A leader who can already hit home runs. At worst a three-true-type major leaguer. At best several all-star appearances. / $800K
  11. Carlos Baerga - 2B/3B - HS - Leadoff quality hitter who’s a few years away from making an impact. Plus speed.
  12. Phil Clark - C/3B/RF - HS - Plus speed at catcher, and plus defense, along with the ability to put the ball in play. Unique among his kind. / $280K
  13. Greg Vaughn - 1B/RF - Has power, an eye, and speed, but has a long swing. Also isn’t the best in the field. / $430K
  14. Jeff King - 1B - Plus raw power and above-average eye, with good defense. Could become a multi-year all-star. / $750K
  15. Todd Stottlemyre - SP - Plus fastball, near-plus curve, average slider. Needs to work on control. / Slot
  16. Lee Stevens - 1B/RF - HS - Has 30/30 potential and close to plus defense at first base. Young. / Slot
  17. Pat Lennon - CF - HS - At age 17 he has plus-plus speed, plus eye, average raw and gap power. And he plays multiple premiere positions. We’re high on the kid. / Slot
  18. Mark Leonard - 1B/RF - Developed college bat who’s probably suited for first base. 20/20 guy with .350 OBP potential. / Slot
  19. Chris Hoiles - C - Good defensive catcher who has speed, plus already-developed hit tool. Power to come. / $900K
  20. Matt Williams - 3B - HS - Not too far off, but needs to be more patient. Power is there. / $750K
  21. Sammy Sosa - RF - HS - Raw power and speed for days, but everything else is a project. Mediocre in the field with one position. A gamble. / $650K
  22. Juan Gonzalez - RF - HS - Another project. Loves to lift. His power is there, so one can project huge totals, but everything else is up in the air. / $480K
  23. Warren Newson - LF/RF - Already an elite eye at the plate (though he will swing and miss a ton), so he should shoot up the ranks. Power is coming. / $400K
  24. Kevin Maas - 1B - Speed and gap power. At age 21 he’ll need to develop quickly, but promise is strong. / Slot
  25. Pat Hengten - SP - HS - Plenty to dream on with a fastball, curveball, changeup combo that’s already good. Behind on movement. / Slot
  26. Jim Leyritz - C - Deserves decent placement but we’re not a fan. Has most everything already and will be 22 soon. Good defender. Toughness isn’t there, though. / $700K
  27. John Mitchell - SP - Just about ready for the majors, but he seems like an obvious back-end guy with average fastball, slider, curve. / $360K
  28. Erik Hanson - SP - Close to finished, but could be a back-end guy at best. / Slot
  29. Leo Gomez - 3B - HS - Has power and an eye, is average at third base. A starter, most likely. / Slot
  30. Gary Cooper - LF/1B/3B - Gap power and patience are on the way. Plus speed, and above-average defense at first and left. A lesser version of Maas. / Slot
  31. Dean Palmer - 3B/1B - HS - Raw power could be outstanding, but everything else is a big project. Going to be 17. Could be a real future play. / Slot
  32. Mark Whiten - CF/RF - HS - Could be a five-tool guy who’d make an all-star team one day. Premiere jets and good defense. / Slot
  33. Hal Morris - 1B - I’d rather a power-hitting first baseman than a guy who could hit .300-.320, but that’s worth something. Little speed, though, which worries me. / $320K
  34. Tim McIntosh - C - Fringe first-division starter. Good raw power while everything else is nearly filled out. Plus defense. / $380K
  35. Junior Felix - CF - HS - 80 speed and good defense in center. Needs to work on bat skills. / $300K
  36. Paul Sorrento - RF - HS - Power and an eye. Defense is working, as are bat skills. / $260K
  37. Tom Gordon - SP - HS - Throws a plus curve and working fastball, cutter, slider. Could be a mid-rotation stalwart. / Slot
  38. Scott Markley - CF - Going to be 22, so he’ll jump quick. Good defense, has an eye and can hit it. Plus-plus speed. A fourth outfielder by 1987. / Slot
  39. Sean Berry - 3B - HS - Only one position. Should have nearly five tools when it’s over, but he’s a couple years out. Line drive guy with patience. / Slot
  40. John Smoltz - SP - High schooler should go to college, as he’s still a long way with an average fastball and sub-average slider. / $390K
  41. Pete Incaviglia - LF - College home run king has huge power, obviously, but he wants to skip minors. We’d rather not deal with that. / $410K

And a few more names we’re interested in down the draft:
  • Jerome Walton - RF/1B - Plus-plus speed. A leadoff quality hitter. / Slot
  • Pat Austin - 2B - HS - 80 speed, puts the ball in play. Average defense at second base, but there’s time. / Unknown
  • Bill Bean - CF - Well-developed with solid eye and smarts. Good center fielder, good speed. / Slot
  • Wayne Rosenthal - RP - Has a killer curve and fastball, but lacks control. / Slot
  • Bernie Walker - CF - Another fast one. Has an eye and plus defense in center. / Slot
  • Clay Parker - SP - Developed and is likely a spot starter type. Maybe a plus slider. Would give a shot. / Slot
  • Ricky Bones - SP - HS - Should be a middle reliever or maybe a back-end guy with average-ish everything; control is solid. / Slot
  • Gregory Harris - SP - Changeup and fastball are already average or better. Needs better movement, control. / Slot
  • Ced Landrum - CF - 80 speed. Age 22, so he has to shoot up quickly. / Slot
  • Larry Mims - 2B/LF/CF/SS - Another elite speed guy. Can play three to four positions. Lunchpail guy. / Slot
  • Bill Cunningham - SP - Plus fastball and above-average slider, changeup. Control is bad. Hmmm. / Slot
  • Tim Fortugno - RP - 80 stuff and throws up to 98. Lacks control, of course. / Slot
  • Paul McClellan - SP - HS - Has plus stuff (as well as a plus curve), and a near-plus fastball. Years away, though, with poor control. But he works hard. / Slot
  • Dennis Studeman - RP - HS - Slider-fastball kid who’s a born leader. Only 17, but he has major leaguer written all over him. Probably goes to college. / Unknown
  • Michael Alvarez - LF/CF - HS - Huge project at age 19. Has speed and put-in-play ability, but that’s it, and needs to play tons of center field. / Slot
  • Park Pittman - SP - Could have an elite changeup, and his fastball and curve already play. Again, control issues. Bullpen in two years is possible. Fragile. / Slot
  • Joseph Hollinshed - CF - HS - Best character in the draft, but lousy hitter right now. We’ll grab him late if he’s out there. / Unknown

We rest up at a nearby hotel, because tomorrow is a long day.

Last edited by The_Myth; 02-07-2020 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:27 AM   #153
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Nov. 1, 1985

First up, the Gold Glove winners have been announced, and Mike Schmidt grabs one for his play at first base. What an honor for Mike, who changed positions and simply turned it on without missing a beat.

Next order of business: After the interviews, it’s clear Omar Garcia is our favorite assistant general manager candidate. I offer him $35,000 per year for two years. Then I tell him to give me answer by Monday.

And now, time for the 1985-86 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft!

The order to start: Oakland, Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston, Cleveland. We have Pick No. 25 in the first round. Again, most of the league thinks Gary Sheffield will go to Oakland. Then the most likely names to go, but not in any known order, include Moises Alou, Chris Hoiles, Mark Grace, Bernie Williams, Curt Schilling, Todd Zeile, and Matt Williams. There could be surprises, and from what we’re hearing, there will be surprises.

We would flip if Bo Jackson or Darryl Hamilton fall to us. Greg Vaughn is also a stretch but possible. We feel it’s likely it’ll be Phil Clark, who is our top pick available, but as we’re thinking about college bats, we may skip him and choose Jeff King. When it comes to having pick No. 25, we’re not so strict about following the board. But the big idea is that we’d love three of our top 40. Anything more is outstanding, while anything less simply means some teams had the same idea.

Our team is in place. We have cases of New Coke in the refrigerator, and on ice, some vintage 1962 champagne, in case Bo Jackson falls in our lap (Jackson was born in 1962).

Here we go:

Round 1

1. Oakland - SS Gary Sheffield
2. Atlanta - C Todd Zeile
3. San Francisco - C Chris Hoiles
4. Houston - RF Bernie Williams
5. Cleveland - 3B Matt Williams
6. Texas - RF Moises Alou
7. Chicago Cubs - RF Sammy Sosa

We were told Sosa could jump into the top-10. He’s a big project but there’s a lot to love, and Chicago is in it for the long haul, it seems. At this point, anything can happen, and we’re hoping for the best.

8. Chicago White Sox - 1B Mark Grace
9. Pittsburgh - C Jim Leyritz
10. Minnesota - RF Greg Vaughn

We weren’t expecting Minnesota to get Vaughn at No. 10. Now we’re thinking there’s no way other outfielders like him (Jackson, Hamilton, especially) fall to us.

11. Baltimore - RF Juan Gonzalez

Also surprising, but not as much as Sosa going at No. 7. Essentially, Sosa and Gonzalez were thought of us as very similar, and getting picked around the 17-20 range.

12. California - SP Greg Swindell

Swindell is the first pitcher to go, and we’re all a little surprised Curt Schilling hasn’t yet been selected. Maybe character issues?

13. Cincinnati - SP Curt Schilling

That ends that. Now we’re solidly in tier three (sans Jackson ...).

14. San Francisco (from Kansas City) - C Brian Deak
15. Toronto (from St. Louis) - SP Kevin Brown
16. Cleveland (from New York Yankees) - SP John Smoltz
17. Detroit (from Milwaukee) - CF Darryl Hamilton

Shoot.

18. New York Mets - SP John Mitchell
19. San Diego - LF Bo Jackson

Shoot shoot. We figured if not San Diego, then Seattle would probably poach him. Carlos Baerga, Phil Clark, and Jeff King remain our top names out there.

20. Seattle - LF Pete Incaviglia
21. Boston - 1B Hal Morris
22. Kansas City (from Montreal) - SP Erik Hanson
23. Montreal (from Detroit) - SP Todd Stottlemyre
24. Los Angeles (from Detroit) - SP Kevin Tapani

We’re up.

Between the three atop our board, if we’re talking philosophy, it’s King with a bullet. But the thought of a Baerga-Jefferies infield by 1989 is fun, and Clark could be a catcher or corner outfielder, all depending on that bat (which is mostly a project). That said, we have a mandate to get guys to the majors quickly, so King would fit that timeline better. Then again, as a first baseman, his place on a roster may be unavailable until 1988 or ‘89. So what’s the point, then? Also, Warren Newson is available, and he wouldn’t be a stretch for us. And he fits positionally, if we’re talking a quick rise.

OK, Baerga would take slot, so we'd rather gamble with him down draft. So now it’s King (maybe $7,000 over slot) or Clark (just at slot), or maybe Newson (more than $120K over slot). I like Newson, but not that much, and Clark seems more like us forcing our favorite narrative (speed!). Let’s go back to what we said originally: King with a bullet. Let’s not overthink this.

25. Philadelphia - 1B Jeff King

We take King and applaud. No champagne, as that was only for Bo (“or something amazing,” a lead scout says). Okay, good enough. I wish I didn’t feel “good enough,” but we’re confident King will produce.

26. Los Angeles - RF Warren Newson

Ha.

27. Detroit (from Toronto) - 3B Leo Gomez

Onto the supplemental round, where we pick 11th:

Supplemental Round

28. Oakland - C Tim McIntosh
29. San Francisco - C Ed Taubensee
30. California - 2B Luis Alicea
31. Houston - C Hector Villanueva
32. Milwaukee - C Chad Kreuter
33. Cleveland - C Tom Lampkin
34. St. Louis - C Joe Girardi
35. Seattle - 2B Geronimo Pena
36. Los Angeles - CF Mark Whiten
37. Detroit - CF Pat Lennon

Both Baerga and Clark remain. We can go over slot a little for Clark or stay at slot for Baerga. In the end, we decide we should go with the guy we like most. Again, no overthinking: It’s Baerga.

38. Philadelphia - 2B/3B/SS Carlos Baerga

We’re happy with this result, plus, we got two of our top 14 in the first 38 picks. Champagne? Not quite, but more New Coke for us!

39. Toronto - C Kirt Manwaring
40. California - CF Junior Felix
41. Detroit - 2B Trent Hubbard
42. Toronto - SP Rick Reed
43. Toronto - RF Paul Sorrento
44. Toronto - C Phil Clark
45. Toronto - 1B Lee Stevens
46. Toronto - 1B Reggie Jefferson

The Jays finish the supplemental round with five straight picks, including Clark.

Now we’ll shorten things up. In Round 2, we watch as Mark Leonard, Tom Gordon, Kevin Maas, and Sean Berry move on. As does old friend John Marzano, to the Mets.

But guess what: Three of our board picks are still out there in Pat Hentgen, Gary Cooper, and Scott Markley. Hentgen was our No. 25, while Cooper was No. 29 and Markley No. 37. And we feel somewhat confident we can get all of them still, since Cooper is slated to go over the next few picks, Markley is about 30 spots away, and Hentgen could even be 100 spots away. That would mean champagne. So we go with conventional thinking and select Cooper first.

73. Philadelphia - LF/1B/3B Gary Cooper

Shoot. Pittsburgh drafts Pat Hentgen in the third round. We totally miscalculated that one.

103. Philadelphia - CF/RF Scott Markley

No champagne. We’re all a bit miffed. Not a bad draft, but maybe we’re not as smart as we lead on.

In the fourth round, Pat Austin is available. He’ll be tough to sign (he’s not letting on what he wants), but what the hell, let’s take a risk:

129. Philadelphia - 2B Pat Austin

Fifth round. It’s pitchers Gregory Harris or Ricky Bones. We think we could get Bones down draft, so we go with Harris.

155. Philadelphia - SP Gregory Harris

And onward we go with the rest of our picks:
  • C/3B Scott Hemond
  • SP Bill Cunningham
  • CF/2B/3B/SS/RF Edgar Naveda
  • SP Ricky Bones
  • 2B/LF/CF/SS Larry Mims
  • RP Chuck Higson
  • SP Paul McClellan
  • LF Michael Alvarez
  • CF/RF Randall Luciani
  • RP Randall Shiflett
  • LF/1B/3B Jack Peel
  • 2B/RF/3B Cesar Bernhardt
  • SP Doug Henry
  • SP Park Pittman
  • CF Joseph Hollinshed
  • SP/RP Doug Little
  • SP Rob Hernandez
  • C Saul Barretto
  • RP Keith Felden
  • 3B/1B Darryl Robinson
  • SP Walt Williams
  • 1B Jason Woods
  • 2B Edward Draine
  • 3B/1B/2B/LF Lindsay Foster
  • LF Darren Watkins

That takes us to Round 30. There are 49 rounds this year (!), though we now have two rookie-league teams, so a good lot of this is filler. Some cuts will be made. I won’t name all the draftees here, as the chances of anyone beyond the 30th round to make it past A-ball are slim.

At any rate, we did a good job grabbing depth, especially among college players, and we nabbed four of our top 40. I hope we don’t regret missing Hentgen, but overall, still in a good mood. No champagne this year, though.
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Old 02-16-2020, 07:04 PM   #154
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Nov. 2, 1985

The Rolaids Relief Men of the Year have been announced:
  • American League - Ernie Camacho - CLE/BAL - 64 IP, 2.11 ERA, 19 SV, 23 K, 44 BB
  • National League - Tom Niedenfuer - LA - 79 IP, 1.37 ERA, 40 SV, 80 K, 23 BB

Niedenfuer is much deserving of the award, while Kent Tekulve finished in fourth and Larry Andersen finished in sixth. But Camacho? With 44 walks and 23 strikeouts? Seriously? Whoosh.

Moving on, it’s time to begin negotiations with draft picks.
  • 1 - Jeff King: His demand is $270K and slot was $263K. We’re happy offering him what he wants here.
  • S - Carlos Baerga: His demand is $206K, which was slot for the pick. Again, we’ll meet demand.
  • 2 - Gary Cooper: He wants far less ($82K) than slot ($159K), and we’re happy meeting his demand.
  • 3 - Scott Markley: His demand is $54K and slot is $80K. Again, easy to meet him.
  • 5 - Gregory Harris: He wants $31K and slot is $40K, but he’s also easy to sign. We’ll start at $25K.

Down draft, my 20th, 25th, 30th, 38th, and 49th round picks are all “impossible” to sign, while my 27th round pick wants $380K, and my 29th round pick seeks $650K. None of these players are very good, with maybe the exception of the 27th rounder, 6-foot, 6-inch slugger Jason Woods. I’m not sure he’s worth more than what I’m giving King, but we’ll debate it.

Then there’s my fourth-round pick Pat Austin, who won’t disclose what he wants. As of right now, we’re saving $111,000, mostly by going under slot. Add that to Austin’s slot ($57K), and we’re talking $168,000 as a starting offer that would keep our draft budget on par with total slot. Now, we don’t mind going over that, even by a couple hundred thousand, as we’ve reserved $2.756 million for the draft.

We have until Dec. 1 to finish these deals. We decide to wait out the first couple picks, hoping we’ll have that $168K to work with. Then we’ll decide what we’ll want to do with the guys demanding big paydays.

Nov. 3, 1985

First thing this Sunday morning: Omar Garcia has agreed to be my assistant general manager. Awesome. He’ll start Wednesday so he can get onboarded and then involved in our free agency plans.

Then, a round of calls over the morning, all good:
  • SIGNED: Glenn Wilson - 1 year, $115,000
  • SIGNED: Dave Stegman - 1 year, $120,000
  • SIGNED: Kevin Gross - 1 year, $200,000

Everyone is in good spirits, as we avoid arbitration completely this offseason.

Finally, Sliver Sluggers! And we have a couple!
  1. 1B - Mike Schmidt
  2. 3B - Paul Molitor
  3. LF - Von Hayes

Outstanding. Other NL winners include Terry Kennedy (SD), Ryne Sandberg (CHC), Tom Foley (CIN), Willie McGee (STL), Chili Davis (SF), and Ron Darling (NYM).

In the AL, winners were Mike Brown (CAL), Kent Hrbek (MIN), Mike Greenwell (BOS), Howard Johnson (DET), Tony Fernandez (TOR), Kirk Gibson (DET), Kirby Puckett (MIN), Jesse Barfield (TOR), and George Bell (TOR).

Sandberg and Bell were Phillies prospects at one time …

Nov. 4, 1985

Rookie of the Year winners:
  • AL - Mike Greenwell - BOS - 2B - .292/.355/.508, 31 HR, 91 RBI
  • NL - Franklin Stubbs - LA - RF - .271/.344/.452, 23 HR, 83 RBI, 25 SB

Congratulations to the winners.

Nov. 5, 1985

Manager of the Year winners:
  • AL - Bobby Cox - TOR
  • NL - Tommy Lasorda - LA

Really?! Lasorda just beat out the dregs of the NL West to win another division title, while Dick Howser jumps leagues and takes a 75-win team to the postseason and doesn’t win. I smell a rat.

Very upset with the voters. Honestly, they picked the wrong guy.

Nov. 6, 1985

Assistant general manager Omar Garcia reports for duty. We give him a tour, then we have a candid conversation about team direction and what we should do this offseason. He thinks we shouldn’t be afraid to shake things up if possibilities fall into our sphere, and I agree, but with a few reservations. I feel this should be more of a transitionary season, but we’ll talk more about that soon.

Cy Young time:
  • AL - Roger Clemens - BOS
  • NL - Orel Hershiser - LA

So far, the Dodgers are sweeping the individual awards. Our Charles Hudson finished in fifth behind Hershiser, Dwight Gooden, Fernando Valenzuela, and Bryn Smith of Montreal.

The one we’re all watching for is tomorrow. Also, tomorrow starts our deep prep for free agency.

Nov. 7, 1985


1980
1981
1985

Congratulations to Mike Schmidt, who joins the elite ranks of players who’ve won three Most Valuable Player awards. He is your 1985 National League MVP. Take a bow, Mike.

The results:
  • Mike Schmidt - PHI - 297 points (16/26 first place votes)
  • Ryne Sandberg - CHC - 237 (5/26)
  • Orel Hershiser - LA - 196 (5/26)
  • Von Hayes - PHI - 146
  • Willie McGee - STL - 145
  • Chili Davis - SF - 127
  • Dwight Gooden - NYM - 122
  • Fernando Valenzuela - LA - 74
  • Eric Davis - CIN - 70
  • Tim Raines - MTL - 32
  • Leon Durham - CHC - 24
  • Darryl Strawberry - NYM - 17
  • Charles Hudson - PHI - 14
  • Gerald Perry - ATL - 12
  • Bryn Smith - MTL - 6
  • Danny Darwin - LAD - 5
  • Bob Horner - ATL - 3
  • Ozzie Smith - STL - 3
  • Tony Gwynn - SD - 2
  • John Candelaria - PIT - 1
  • Franklin Stubbs - LAD - 1

So it was close between Schmidty and Sandberg. Also, Von in fourth place! Plus, Charles Hudson finishes 13th! Surprised Paul Molitor didn’t chart here, but que sera, sera. Anyway, so proud of Mike. We plan a big dinner celebration Friday night - Giles and his wife, Mike and his wife Donna, Dick and his wife Nancy, and me and … well, I’ll find someone.

Meanwhile in the Junior Circuit, Toronto’s Jesse Barfield won in more of a landslide over teammate George Bell, Minnesota’s Kent Hrbek, Chicago’s Harold Baines, Boston’s Wade Boggs, and another teammate, Rance Mulliniks.
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:57 PM   #155
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Great news on Schmitty!! Fans are going to want nothing less than a ring next season! The pressure will be on!
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Old 02-20-2020, 01:01 AM   #156
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Nov. 8, 1985

This morning, Schmidty arrives at the office to a standing ovation. He accepts some gifts on our behalf, then sits down to a press conference on his MVP award.

“I don’t think I necessarily set out to win the Most Valuable Player award, but certainly my goal every season is to be the best player I can be. Someone who can contribute at a high level to a contending team, one with real-world, championship aspirations. So in that sense, this season was right up there with ‘80 and ‘81 and ‘83. I’m proud of my performance, sure, but mostly I’m proud at the performance of my teammates. I thought we were outstanding in many facets, and I’m looking forward to getting right back at it this spring.”

After the press conference, Bill Giles takes Mike out for a relaxing steak lunch. Meantime, the front office team gets down to business talking philosophy and strategy for 1986. My initial thought is to stand relatively pat and try to develop some of the guys on the fringes of regular play (Jeff Stone, Chris James, Paul Assenmacher, Todd Worrell), while getting younger guys (Gregg Jefferies, Luis Polonia, Blaise Ilsley) ready for the show. But I want to know what the team thinks.

In the middle of our meeting, I get a call from St. Louis general manager John Rich. He wants Von Hayes, plus Todd Worrell back, and he’s willing to give me Willie McGee.

Whoa. Talk about a blockbuster. Hayes and McGee are at similar points in their careers, but their games are slightly different. Hayes is more well-rounded offensively, patient at the plate with pop and a good stroke. McGee relies more on his ability to put the ball in play and speed. He’s essentially a fully evolved Paul Molitor that hits from both sides of the plate. Defensively, Hayes can stick it in left, but McGee is very good in center.

Getting McGee would mean an outfield of, say, Jeff Stone, McGee, and Glenn Wilson. That’s probably better than Hayes, Dave Stegman, and Wilson.

But I feel as if Hayes’ package will develop better than McGee’s, mostly because the former’s eye is much stronger.

Either way, I tell John Rich I would think about a one-for-one, to which he balks. I can’t see giving up a player along with Hayes in a deal like this. So I then tell him to come back to me when he’s serious.

Nov. 9, 1985

Jeff King is in! So is Scott Markley. Meanwhile, we’re hearing that it might take more than $500,000 to snag Pat Austin. That gives us more pause, but now we’re empowered to negotiate with Jason Woods. After talking with him and his agent, we decide to take a gamble on him at the $380,000 asking price. We’ll come back to Austin.

Nov. 10, 1985

And more good news: Gregory Harris has signed on for the lowball offer of $25,000. Kid just wants to play.

Spent the day watching the Eagles blow a 17-0 lead to Atlanta, but then beat them in overtime on a thrilling 99-yard pass from Ron Jaworski to Mike Quick. That’ll energize you.

Nov. 11, 1985

Back in the office, and serious offseason prep is underway.

Here are the top-10 free agents, 1985-86
  • Rickey Henderson - CF/LF - age 26, 79/79
  • Mike Scott - SP - age 30, 59/59
  • Tim Wallach - 3B - age 28, 59/59
  • Jeff Reardon - RP - age 30, 59/59
  • John Tudor - SP - age 31, 55/55
  • Bert Blyleven - SP - age 34, 53/53
  • Terry Kennedy - C - age 29, 52/52
  • Bill Campbell - RP - age 37, 60/60
  • Kent Tekulve - RP - age 38, 63/63
  • Rick Reuschel - RP - age 36, 66/66

This is a weak, weak class with an obvious No. 1, a small second tier of two to three guys who could really help a squad, then a lot of familiar names, from former Phillies to guys we’ve targeted in the past.

Again, that big name is Henderson, who’s still in the absolute prime of his career and is entering free agency for the first time. Here are his career numbers so far:

4,308 PA, .291/.394/.408, 1060 H, 679 R, 146 2B, 32 3B, 71 HR, 357 RBI, 476 K, 608 BB, 568 SB, 150 CS, 34.6 WAR

Also, Henderson is already tied for 17th all-time in stolen bases. He's 26.

We should be in the Henderson market, at least in the early going. I tell the team it may be best to come up with a number, a yearly salary figure that we can hit with a Rickey Henderson. If he wants more and the market moves toward our number, we don’t have to cross that threshold, but while he’s in our range, we should be in the conversation.

Dave Stegman is our starting center fielder, and he hit .202/.295/.318 last season and was replaced in September. Behind him in Portland is Randy Salava, who hit .278/.338/.432 with slightly above average defense last season. He’s no sure thing, and at age 26, he’s not someone for whom we’d take a risk. Same goes for Jim Eisenreich, who hit .213/.258/.289 last season.

Luis Polonia is in AA Reading, and some say he could be ready for the big leagues as early as opening day, though I’m not so sure. He hit .282/.333/.372 in 324 AA plate appearances, slowing down in the final few months. He also played slightly below-average defensively in Reading, and we need good center field defense. Again, not so sure, and would like to see the soon-to-be 22-year-old get a few more reps in AA before we even think about a major league future.

So, yeah, we’re blank (besides Stegman) for now, and more likely for all of 1986. Is Polonia even a certainty for 1987? No. So why not be in on Henderson and play Polonia accordingly? (He could play right field, though considering his skillset he’s more likely to be dealt if we sign Rickey.) Anyway, we’ll be in on Henderson, coming up with a soft cap and hard cap for the kind of contract we’d want to give out. (Something to think about: Rickey is a Type-A free agent, so we’d lose a first-round pick; that said, we may gain one if Kent Tekulve signs elsewhere.)

If Rickey doesn’t work, we might want a one-year center field replacement. Maybe defensive whiz Chet Lemon (63/63), if he takes a one- or two-year deal. Otherwise, the field is uninteresting there. We could also look at trade possibilities.

Of other importance are bench and bullpen. Like last year, we still like Juan Beniquez, who hit .305/.346/.409 for Kansas City but in a starting role at first base. He wouldn’t have that luxury here. I also love (in the Dave Concepcion seat), the idea of old-man Bobby Grich (age 37, .260/.344/.391, 15 HR last season) playing most infield positions off the bench, though I could also just grin and bear the idea of Steve Jeltz or Steve Kiefer out there.

As for the ‘pen, there are quite a few names available. I could try to get back Willie Hernandez on a discount, as he put up a 5.36 ERA with Detroit last year (despite 40 strikeouts in 45.1 innings). More expensive would be Jeff Reardon, who has the all-time single-season save record with 48 in 1984. He could be my replacement while I try out Assenmacher, Worrell, and the like, though I don’t want to go multi-year with him. More plausible is Bobby Castillo, who put up a 5.40 ERA last year in Boston, with 23 strikeouts in 28.1 innings. I could also convert a starter to a reliever, and the trade market is a possibility here.

As for starters, the best option is Mike Scott (also a Type-A free agent), who put up a 3.30 ERA with 210 strikeouts last year. I’ll pursue if his market is slow to go. Not sure who I’d send to the bullpen in that case (maybe Scott Sanderson or Steve Carlton?), but it’s interesting to think about it.

Anyway, this feels like a year to let the market figure itself out while showing early interest in a name or two.

Nov. 12, 1985

Today we identified a few relief pitchers we’d like to offer minor league contracts to, primarily to fill our lower-level farm rosters.

And we finish discussing what to do about fourth-round pick Pat Austin, deciding to go big and take a real shot at a possible stud. We submit an offer of $650,000. It’s well above what we’re giving to any prospect, but we figure we have the room and we like Austin a lot. He was essentially our 42nd player on the board, and we got him around pick No. 140.

Nov. 13, 1985

Calls today from Carlos Baerga and Jason Woods accepting our offers. They’re on board. Just waiting for Gary Cooper and Pat Austin.

Tomorrow is arbitration day, and we’re clear there. We do have to watch both Kent Tekulve and Tony Armas, who are considering whether or not to take our one-year arb offers. If they don’t, we could get draft picks in 1986-87.

Nov. 14, 1985

Alrighty. It’s arb day. Business as usual in the office, as we meet once more to go over our offseason plan as it stands, once everything begins in two days. We decide to wait a week before meeting with Rickey Henderson’s people. Essentially, we’re waiting a week for everything.

Nothing else going on. Taking staff out for a nice dinner tonight, and tomorrow is cleanup day in the office. Not a lot of work aside from taking calls and planning our attack.

Nov. 15, 1985

Dinner was nice last night - fun stories. As for today, Gary Cooper is on board, so now it’s just about Pat Austin for the 1985-86 draft class. Spent most of the day cleaning and preparing for the free agent market to open.
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