joshcarolina is an Alexander original and longtime owner of the New York BREAK YOUR BACKERS. After missing the playoffs in season 1, the BREAK YOUR BACKERS made the playoffs 6 straight years, but lost every single series. New York's fortunes have taken a turn for the worse recently, as they finished under .500 for the first time in season 8 and look to be headed there again this year. It's easy to see why: after 6 years of paying high-priced veterans to get them to the playoffs, it's rebuilding time in New York.
Q: How do you feel about your team's performance this season so far?
Though I hate to jinx them, their bats are finally starting to pick up and that has been the downfall of the last 2 seasons. I made some moves to get younger and more powerful last year with the additions of Edwards Walters and Calvin Smart, who are young but have slightly improved stats this year. Also, I made a move to get Fred Thomas because I had the room in salary and needed a backup infielder with the aging Randy Murphy close to retiring, and he has ended up the starter. I hadn't planned on returning Bonk Alexander, but after no one wanted him in free agency before the season, I decided to go ahead and sign him since I had a huge hole in the outfield and wasn't being rewarded with that type A free agent draft pick. My record may not look great this year but I am only 4 games out of the last wild card spot and my bats are finally warming up and we are ready to make a run!
Q: Who on your team do you think is underachieving or overachieving?
Well, Dean Brown I have always considered an underachiever, based on his ratings compared to his stats, but he is still a solid option at SS. Lonnie Milton has been a bust for me so far in right field along with outfielder Curt McEnroe, which I have 9 million a year between the two. As for overachievers, Bob McKnight, once a powerhouse pitcher in the league, is still holding his own at the age of 38 and rated a 56; it was a great buy for 1.08 mil for the year. Randy Murphy has been quite a surprise too at 37 years of age, still batting close to .300 after he was given up on by St. Louis a couple seasons ago while being one of the world's best hitters in batting average. As for teams, I think Honolulu, with the transactions they have made in the past couple years, I thought they would be a lot better so they are the underachievers. And for team overachievers, I am going to go with the Helena Loggers. They have had quite a turnaround which has really shaken up the National League and made it a lot more level of a playing field in the NL.
Q: What are your team's biggest strengths and weaknesses, and how do you plan on fixing those weaknesses?
Definitely my strength is pitching, but that is declining, one more starter and I would have a top 5 pitching squad for many years to come. My bullpen has paid a price for getting younger, but I think it will all work out and we will be back in the playoffs before too long (if not this season). As for weaknesses, it would be lack of offense, which I sacrificed to get younger 2 or 3 seasons ago after not being able to advance past round 1 of the playoffs. I have some good young guys, I believe, that have developed nicely and should have some big careers here in New York; I'm just waiting for them to blossom. My outfield is my biggest concern and lack of offense from there. I think with the right guys here we can be a very strong competitor again, but not as good as division rival Rochester. I am bringing up David Valenzuela from AAA soon, so he should help, but besides that, my minors are full of minor league career guys, so that is another weakness, that I have no trade bait. I finally had a decent draft, my first one ever, so I did get a couple pitchers that possibly could see the bigs, but I have had to move them up a little fast due to injuries.
Q: How does the future of the BREAK YOUR BACKERS look? Are you still in win-now-at-all-costs mode or is the future bright?
I like to keep my team always competitive so I am always in a win-now mode, I have hit a bump by getting younger but I see my team definitely getting better if anything. I will drop some salary in the outfield in the offseason so hopefully thats when I will make my move and grab the couple players I need. The minors don't look promising but I am young enough to improve that in free agency, draft, and the international market, so I think I will have it figured out by the time this team is time to retire!
Q: Who do you pick to win it all this year, and why?
That's a great question, I like Rochester's talent, but they have trouble against Indy, so I am going to go a different direction and say a team from the American League will win this year and the Buffalo Blue will bring it home for the AL. They have been solid in ML and AAA the past couple years so I would say they are deep enough but it wouldn't surprise me to see Pawtucket or Colorado Springs be there either!