Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dukes' Dominance

The Duluth-Superior Dukes find themselves in quite a quandary. A rough season or two may be in their future.

After seasons of 112-50 in 2006-07 and 106-56 in 2007-2008, the Dukes were picked as preseason favorites to come out of the Silver League to challenge the Plainsfield team. The Dukes did win the Copper division but with only a 95-67 record.

Consider the years their players have had in the “real” major leagues.

We aren’t talking just run of the mill players but high dollar contract players saw a lot of time on the disabled list.

Take a look.

Tim Hudson, $12.1M, pitched only 142 innings. Not all that bad one might say. The problem….of the four remaining starters totaling a little more than $28M, he has the most innings pitched.

Chris Young, $1.2M, was signed to a U1 contract this year mainly because he is so injury prone, a broken nose, strained arm. He amassed a total of 102 innings.

Brad Penny, $10M, he had to have pitched hurt all year. Penny pitched only 95 innings and his stats were horrible. 6.27 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP, striking out only 51 batters in those 95 innings.

And then there is Erik Bedard, the one my real favorite team (Seattle Mariners) just had to trade for. His contract is $4.8M and I am going to get a whopping 81 innings out of him. He did strike out 72 batters though, so hopefully I will get quality there.

Rafael Soriano was hurt most of the season too. Soriano was a huge part of the Duke bullpen this last year. One of the strong areas the Dukes have is their bullpen. “I knew if we had the lead after 6 innings and we turned it over to the bullpen, I knew we had the win,” manager Mike Swanson said. Soriano totaled 14 innings last year for the Braves.

My injury bug does not stop there though. My offense was hit as well too.

Rafael Furcal was able to get in 163 plate appearances before his season was done. My cost: $10.8M. He did hit well before the injury. His batting average is equal to that of his Dukes teammate (well teammate for now) .357.

Another Duke to get injured was Mike Cuddyer. Cuddyer was released from his contract with the Dukes because of the shortage of money. Cuddyer was able to get 274 PA’s last year but not enough to warrant a long term contract from the Dukes.

Other players that saw reduced playing time was Juan Pierre $10.5M. In his limited 397 PA’s he was able to steal 40 bases and still was unable to become a fulltime outfielder for the Dodgers.

Tadahito Iguchi saw a reduction in playing time as well, which forced the Dukes to release him.
The Dukes have only 20 players under contract before the free agency period and have only $2.7M to spend.

Players like Justin Morneau, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez may have to be traded to keep this team afloat.

0 Swings of the bat: