This is tbuddens52's first season in World Alexander. After inheriting the sub-.500 Trenton Refurbished Pilots from old owner threester, tbuddens52 relocated to Charleston and renamed the team the Vampires. The move seems to have done the Vampires a world of good: after finishing only 80-82 last year, they are currently 64-46 and leading the wild card hunt in the AL. The Vampires' success can be contributed mainly to their pitching staff, 3rd in the major leagues in ERA, led by fellow $16-million-men Rodney Blauser and Cristian Gray.
Q: How are you feeling about your team's performance this year?
I'm very pleased with the Vampires so far. I expected to be in the thick of the playoff hunt all season, but to be almost 20 games over .500 has to be considered a small overachievement for my squad.
Q: Who do you feel on your team is underperforming or overperforming?
DH B.J. Frascatore is the team's MVP so far and the closest to "overperforming." For a $3M free agent, he's crushing, currently 4th in the AL in OPS. 3B Tony Park is a starter on the all-underperforming team. He got a big raise in arb and has gone out and posted an OPS over 100 points under his career average.
Q: What do you feel are your team's greatest strengths and weaknesses? Do you plan on making any further roster moves this year to help shore up those weaknesses?
Strength is definitely starting pitching. With Blauser, Gray, and Blalock, I feel very confident in a playoff series.
However, if one of them go down, my pen is very, very shaky and definitely a weak spot.
Q: Are you happy with Blauser and Gray's performances, given their large contracts? Or would you prefer that threester had never handed out those contracts, and you had better financial flexibility?
I'm happy so far. The contracts, while large, expire at the end of next year, when they will be 37 and 36 and probably hitting a wall. I figure I get the last few years of elite performance and then flexibility and hopefully some A/B compensation as they start to decline.
Q: What do you think of your team's long term future? Is the future bright or are you in a win-now-at-all-costs mode?
I'm geared for the next few years with the team as situated. There is some "younger" talent, but I'm in more of a win now mode for the next few seasons. By then the roster will be more mine than threester's and I can think about the future.
Q: Who do you pick to win it all this year?
I'm an AL East guy to the core. If it's not going to be the Vampires, I see Pawtucket over Rochester in the series.