Itís that time of year again. The weather is getting warmer; the days longer. It's baseball season.
By now, I am sure most of you have picked up your favorite baseball game and are thinking about starting your franchise. I will be setting up my Franchise in The Show. So now, how do you prepare for it?
This year, for me anyway, will be no different. First I choose my hometown team, the Cleveland Indians. Last year the Indians surprised a lot of people by finishing 80-82, which was good enough for second place in the AL Central. Granted thatís not the greatest record, itís much better than was expected.
As far as Franchise options, I keep most of the settings to off, except CPU trades. I also like to let the CPU control travel and banking.
This year, the Indians have a problem: Prince Fielder. Before the Tigers acquired Fielder most baseball pundits expected the Indians to compete with the Tigers for the division crown. Now, not so much, but I say there is still hope.
I am banking on the Indians offense to produce this year. That is not the issue I have to tackle. I need to shore up the pitching if I want to compete. I need pitchers who can get the power hitting Tigers out. Last year, the Tribe had one of the best bullpens in baseball. However, one year bullpens can be lights out, and the next they are all getting pink slipped. This is why I canít take the risk of having inexperienced players in these roles. So I looked to the free agent list to see what I can find. I decided to bring in Damaso Marte to provide a third left handed option out of the pen to go with Raphael Perez and Tony Sipp. With the addition of Dan Wheeler in the offseason, and Chris Perez at the back end, this gives the Indians a veteran bullpen that is to be reckoned with.
Now that my bullpen is set, I canít help but think my rotation needs a little help. With Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson at the front end, the back end leaves a lot to be desired. Derek Lowe has the experience factor, so I like that. He will be my No. 3 man. Josh Tomlin showed he can play -- Heís in. I need someone else to round it out. I decided to go after Javier Vazquez. I figure he has one more solid year in him, not to mention he can get the strike out.
I honestly have to say I am happy with the Indians lineup for the upcoming season. I donít think I will be making any changes. I like the acquisition of Casey Kotchman. He may not hit for a ton of power, but he puts the ball in play, and doesnít strike out much. This was a huge problem for the Indians last year. With him and guys like Santana, Choo, and Cabrera, I donít feel any need to make changes. My only question marks would be will Grady Sizemore stay healthy in the game unlike real life, and will Jason Kipnis continue to show us why the sky is the limit with him.
Preparing for the first season of Franchise mode can be a daunting task. Decisions must be made, and for the most part you have to live with them. There will also be a plethora of issues to deal with along the way, like injuries and performance matters. This is why itís also wise to pay close attention to your minor league system. I always like to have a good mix of young up and comers and wily veterans.
Well there you have it OS. This is how I prepared for my upcoming MLB season. Let us know how you do it.
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